Class C-1 No. 2 Winnebago evens season series, ends Ponca's 25-game winning streak

Winnebago senior guard D'Von LaPointe.

WINNEBAGO, Neb. — One winning streak had to go.

Winnebago kept its alive — never losing at home in Jeff Berridge’s seven seasons as coach — while ending Ponca’s 25-game winning streak that started last season.

“It was another classic Ponca-’Bago matchup,’’ Ponca coach Adam Poulosky said. “I told our guys there’s nothing to be ashamed of. This is a tough place to play. I don’t know how many games in a row they’ve won here, so had we won tonight it would have been a big win.”

A big difference in Winnebago’s 52-50 win, compared with its 60-58 loss to Ponca in a holiday tournament at Wisner-Pilger, was Winnebago newcomer Lance Denney.

The 6-foot-6 senior moved in this season from South Sioux City, where he played the past two seasons. He began his high school career at Homer. He said he was looking for a change for his senior year.

Denney was 9 of 11 for a season-high 20 points. In the previous Ponca game, he was 1 of 6 for two.

“The only time he touched it in the paint he scored,’’ Berridge said. “So tonight, we tried to make the focus getting it to the big man. He can go to work down there and he proved it.”

Denney said he called for the ball more and found open spots.

“We turned it over less tonight and found our open people,” he said.

In the closely contested game in which neither team led by more than five points, Class C-1 No. 2 Winnebago (13-1) broke a 37-37 tie with TJ Frenchman’s 3 to start the fourth quarter and never trailed again.

Class C-2 No. 1 Ponca (15-1) tied the game at 43 and 45, the latter on two Connor Day free throws with 1:22 left.

Winnebago point guard D’Von LaPointe, whose passing was much better than his 2-for-10 shooting, drove the lane for the go-ahead basket with 1:11 left. Frenchman, whose 15 points backed Denney, made two free throws for a 49-45 lead.

With Ponca down 51-48, Day intercepted a long inbounds pass but threw away the ball trying to go downcourt. Manape Cleveland made it a four-point game with a free throw with 9.2 seconds left, and all Ponca could do with the remaining time was a putback by Max Masin at the buzzer.

Logan Kingsbury, who had missed Monday’s practice because of illness, had a game-high 17 points for Ponca, but in the fourth quarter he was 1 of 7 from the field while missing a pair of free throws.

Younger brother Carter Kingsbury mustered 10 points while going 1 of 9 from 3-point range. Winnebago employed a 1-3-1 zone after playing Ponca the first time in man defense.

A third Ponca-Winnebago meeting seems possible in the Lewis & Clark Conference tournament that has its final Feb. 5 in Laurel.

Before then, Winnebago makes an appearance Saturday against two-time defending Class B champion Gretna at 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Prep Classic at Ralston Arena.

Ponca (15-1)..................9 16 12 13—50

Winnebago (13-1).........11 12 14 15—52

P: Dalton Tremayne 2-5 0-0 6, Connor Day 4-7 2-4 10, Logan Kingsbury 6-17 5-8 17, Max Masin 1-5 2-2 4, Carter Kingsbury 3-13 3-4 10, Gage McGill 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Kneifl 1-2 0-0 3, Jayde Reid 0-0 0-0 0, Evan Anderson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-51 12-17 50.

W: Maurice Scott 2-7 0-0 4, D’Von LaPointe 2-10 3-4 7, T.J. Frenchman 3-8 8-10 15, Manape Cleveland 2-7 1-3 6, Lance Denney 9-11 2-3 20. Totals 18-43 14-20 52.

3-point goals: P 4-24 (Tremayne 2-4, Kniefl 1-2, C. Kingsbury 1-9, Day 0-2, L. Kingsbury 0-4, Masin 0-1, Anderson 0-2), W 2-10 (Frenchman 1-3, Cleveland 1-5, Scott 0-2). Total fouls: P 16, W 12. Fouled out: Tremayne. Technicals: none. Turnovers: P 11, W 5. Rebounds: P 40 (Masin 11, L. Kingsbury 10), W 25 (Denney 8). Field-goal percentage: P .333, W .419. Free-throw percentage: P .706, W .700. A: 900 (est.)

Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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