SEWARD, Neb. — Aurora’s Big Two sat more than they were in the game together in the second quarter Friday night.
Lukas Pohlmann made the time go by fast for Henry Penner, Baylor Scheierman and the Huskies.
The senior backup guard went 3 for 3 on the 3-ball to keep Class B’s No. 5 team in front of Adams Central in the Central Conference semifinal that it won 61-41 at Seward Middle School.
Pohlmann started four games while Cade Reichardt was out with a wrist injury, coach Tom Leininger said, and filled in well. But this was one of his best games.
“He doesn’t shoot a lot. He’s very selective,’’ Leininger said. “When he does shoot, he’s pretty deadly.”
With Penner’s 18 points and Scheierman’s 15, Aurora will be playing Saturday for its third conference tournament title in a row.
It won’t come easy. The Huskies’ opponent in the 5:15 p.m. final at Seward High School will be Class B No. 1 York, which defeated them 61-44 on Dec. 15 and beat Crete 59-43 in Friday’s other semifinal.
Forcing the conference to schedule a Friday night blizzard of semifinals — girls, too — was the real thing earlier in the week. Schuyler’s boys and Columbus Lakeview’s girls, from some of the harder-hit areas, were in the play-in games, so the tournament couldn’t get going until Wednesday. All quarterfinals were played at home sites Thursday, the day the boys semifinals were set, thus pushing back the semis to a single night.
Alas, at two sites. The high school and the middle school. For some, including yours truly who never thinks he needs GPS, getting from the high school for Seward-Crete girls to the parking lot of the middle school for Aurora-Adams Central meant more wrong turns than in the corn maze at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch during Halloween season.
Adams Central, in Class C-1 this year, tried to keep up with Aurora through outside shooting and made eight treys. The last, by senior Jack Keller, cut the Huskies’ lead to 46-37 early in the final quarter before Aurora scored the next nine points.
Scheierman, who had only three points in the first half, and Penner, who had 11 in the first quarter, clearly were the best players. Scheiermann, a 6-foot-6 junior, has pledged to South Dakota State and is averaging about 15 points a game since getting a late start after a football injury. Penner, a 6-5 senior who’s bound for UNK, is averaging more than 20, his coach said.
Adams Central has one of the state’s tallest players, 6-9 sophomore Haggan Hilgendorf. He played better in the second half than the first, getting six of his eight points.
“The thing about him is he has good range,’’ Leininger said. “We guarded him because we knew we had to. That’s his love, the 3-point shot, and he can shoot it. He stretches the defense good, he jumps well and can be tough inside, too. As a sophomore he’s a nice player.”
With the injuries to Scheierman and then Reichardt, Aurora hasn’t had many games with its starting five available.
Aurora prefers man defense, which is what York is going to get, but it sat in a zone after the first quarter. Partly because of the fouls and also to save legs for the Dukes.
At Seward High School, Reid Hoffmann started undefeated York on the way to its 17th win with three 3s in the first quarter of a 59-43 win over Crete. He led the Dukes with 16 points. Brady Danielson added 11.
Carter Kent’s 18 led Crete (11-6).
Aurora (14-2) 16 17 11 17—61
Adams Central (11-6) 12 10 12 7—41
Aur.: Henry Penner 18, Baylor Scheierman 15, Lukas Pohlmann 9, Ian Boerkircher 7, Jayden Herzberg 5, Caden Schuster 5.
AC: Nolan Sughroue 16, Haggan Hilgendorf 8, Gavin Lipovsky 6, Jack Keller 3, Thomas Hunt 2, Landon Weber 3, Tyler Slechta 3.
Crete (11-6) 8 9 12 14—43
York (17-0) 16 12 14 17—59
C: Carter Kent 18, Carson Deisley 3, Jonah Weyand 5, Klay Uher 8, Josiah Gardiner 2, Ethan Mach 8.
Y: Jeb Lucas 3, Reid Hoffmann 16, Simon Otte 2, Wyatt Cast 4, Bryce Danielson 6, Brady Danielson 11, Nick Weskamp 5, Tyler Cast 5, Garrett Snodgrass 7.
Seward, York girls in final
Defending champion Seward returns to the 7 p.m. Central Conference girls final after beating Crete 48-40. Kelsie Zadina made three 3s in the third quarter, helping her to a game-high 15 points and picking up the scoring after the Class B No. 2 Jays (13-3) ended the first half with a 13-11 lead.
Crete (9-8) scored the first five points of the final quarter to get within six, but the Jays went on an 8-1 run to gain control.
No. 9 York (12-5), with 29 points by Lauren Riley, defeated No. 10 Aurora 52-36 in the semifinal played at the middle school. Riley scored 31 Thursday in a win over Adams Central.
Seward (13-3) 6 7 19 16—48
Crete (9-8) 8 3 10 19—40
S: Camryn Opfer 6, Rylee Opfer 3, Kate Mullally 4, Kendra Placke 8, Kelsie Zadina 15, Kayla Luebbe 12.
C: Hannah Newton 4, Jayda Weyand 4, Ellie Allen 9, Morgan Maly 12, Camry Moore 9, Lexi Mach 2.
York (12-5) 13 5 17 17—52
Aurora (11-6) 13 12 4 7—36
Y: Lauren Riley 29, Karlee Seevers 10, Reegon Cast 5, Carsyn Zumpke 4, Tenly Hansen 4.
A: Corrie Schneider 10, Tanner Ohlsene 7, Jadyn McDonald 2, Bailey Collingham 2, Maya Nachtigal 6, Kennedy Krejdl 4, Brooke Williams 5.