LINCOLN — Humphrey St. Francis went ice-cold for a quarter — and Johnson-Brock took full advantage.
The fifth-seeded Eagles held the fourth-seeded Flyers to 1 of 14 from the field in the entire third quarter, which helped Johnson-Brock turn a tie at halftime into a 67-57 win over St. Francis at Lincoln Northeast High School on Thursday morning.
The Flyers ended their season with a 22-5 record, while the Eagles advanced to Friday’s Class D-2 semifinals to take on the winner of No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart and No. 8 Blue Hill.
After leading by seven in the first quarter, St. Francis found itself having to rally just to tie the game at 28 going into halftime. From there, the Eagles took control again — and for good.
At one point in the third quarter, Johnson-Brock hit four straight 3-pointers, sparked by Ty Hahn’s back-to-back triples as part of his game-high 28 points. But he also found teammate Kaden Glinn for a deep ball between the 3-point arc and halfcourt.
Meanwhile, St. Francis simply couldn’t hit anything, as the Eagles outscored the Flyers 20-3 in the third quarter. St. Francis never got closer than 10 the rest of the day.
Humphrey St. Francis coach Eric Kessler said his team didn’t have the energy he expected to begin the second half.
“They just didn't start off like I thought they would, and they (Johnson-Brock) took advantage," Kessler said. "They got five points right away and we got behind the eight-ball, and they just did a better job of handling our pressure for whatever reason. That's a credit to them.”
When Johnson-Brock played defense with intensity, that only added to St. Francis’ problems, Kessler said.
“They cranked up their defense, and we couldn't get the ball to go in the basket, and it just kind of snowballed on us for most of that third quarter," he said. "They just played with a lot of confidence, and we didn't."
In the first half, it didn’t appear the game was heading toward this kind of a finish.
The Flyers’ man-to-man pressure defense kept St. Francis in the game during the first half. St. Francis was charted with 11 steals as part of forcing 18 Johnson-Brock turnovers in the first half.
"We played really well in the first half, especially defensively," Kessler said. "We got some turnovers and some things in transition."
Still, the Eagles overcame those miscues for an 11-0 run — with nine of those points coming in just 1½ minutes — to turn the Flyers’ leads of 14-7 and 18-14 into Johnson-Brock leads of 25-18 and 27-20, the latter of those coming with 2:50 left in the first half.
St. Francis quickly got back to work as the second quarter wound down, getting a baseline jumper from Evan Foltz before he also notched a putback. Less than 30 seconds later, Trevor Pfeifer drove the lane, drew a foul, and hit both free throws with 35.6 seconds on the first-half clock to deadlock it at 28.
The Flyers had the momentum early, thanks in part to Trevor Pfeifer’s football-style pass to Tanner Pfeifer for an easy layup and a 10-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Justin Leifeld added both free throws on the next possession for a seven-point lead.
But after Trevor Pfeifer’s layup for a 14-7 lead with 2:22 to go in the first quarter, Johnson-Brock took control, scoring 20 of the game’s next 26 points to flip the momentum.
Johnson-Brock.........14 14 20 19 — 67
St. Francis...............16 12 3 26 — 57
Johnson-Brock (22-4): Cole Fossenbarger 2-3 1-2 6; Kolt Davis 0-1 0-0 0; Wyatt Volker 1-4 0-0 2; Dylan Rowe 3-10 3-4 9; Kaden Glinn 5-6 2-2 14; Ty Hahn 9-12 8-12 28; Seth Moerer 3-6 1-2 7. Totals: 23-42 15-22 67.
Humphrey St. Francis (22-5): Taylor Wemhoff 1-4 0-0 3; Jarrett Weidner 3-10 0-0 7; Landon Kush 0-3 0-0 0; Justin Leifeld 1-5 3-4 5; Trevor Pfeifer 4-17 6-8 14; Austin Leifeld 3-3 0-0 8; Haustyn Forney 1-3 1-1 3; Tanner Pfeifer 3-7 1-1 7; Evan Foltz 4-12 0-0 8; Sam McPhillips 1-1 0-0 2; Kolbe Classen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-66 11-14 57.
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