RANDOLPH — The C2-3 district final between Ponca and Creighton wasn’t an instant replay, but the outcome was definitely similar.

When the two teams met just 10 days ago, Ponca defeated the Bulldogs by 33 points on their home floor. Monday night, the Indians earned a return trip to state with a 68-36 win.

“This was a pretty similar game to the (65-32) one a week ago, but we got off to an even better start tonight,” Ponca coach Adam Poulosky said. “I was real proud of our kids’ defensive intensity to start the game. I was kind of worried about our mindset after beating a team by 30 just a week ago, but they really got after it.”

Although Creighton didn’t succumb to Ponca’s intense full-court defensive pressure, the Bulldogs did turn the ball over against the Indians’ half-court defense seven times in the first quarter alone. On the other end of the floor, the Ponca offense took advantage of the extra possessions even though Creighton frequently changed defenses, deftly dissecting each while building a 15-0 lead before the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard with a Brady Brockhaus 3-pointer.

But that was all the scoring Creighton would manage, and Ponca led 16-3 after one quarter.

Six of the nine players who played in the first period quarter for the Indians, attesting to the depth Ponca is able to employ.

The Indians kept the defensive pressure on in the second quarter, exploding for 26 points as Connor Day provided 11 of his 19-point total in the period, helping Ponca to a 42-12 halftime lead.

“They all played well; I can’t single out one kid,” Poulosky said. “Right now we’ve got four guys averaging double figures, with no one more than around 13 points per game. We go nine-deep right away in the first quarter, and I think that helps us. We can afford to play full-court defense and get after it a little bit.”

Ponca maintained control of the game during the second half as well, leading by no less than 28 points in the third quarter and by no less than 32 points in the final period.

Along with Day, fellow senior Max Masin contributed double-figure scoring with 13 points, while Logan Kingsbury and Carter Kingsbury provided nine and eight points.

Noah Lilly led the Bulldogs with 10 points, while Alexander Homan and Wyatt Diedrichsen totaled six points each for Creighton (14-11).

Poulosky, a 2000 Ponca graduate who helped the school to a state runner-up finish that year, returned to the school as an assistant coach in 2011 and took over the program the next season. He now leads the Indians (27-1), the defending Class C-2 champions, back to Lincoln to defend their title.

Creighton (14-11).....3 9 9 15—36

Ponca (27-1).....16 26 10 16—68

C: Clay Curtis 0-1 0-1 0, Chase Largen 2-9 0-1 5, Brady Brockhaus 1-1 0-0 3, Carson Lilly 0-1 0-0 0, Wyatt Diedrichsen 2-7 2-2 6, Noah Lilly 4-6 2-2 10, Conner Hammer 0-3 0-0 0, James Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Brady Nelson 2-3 0-2 4, Sam VanMetre 0-2 0-0 0, Alexander Homan 3-4 0-1 6, Brian Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-32 4-9 36.

P: Dalton Tremayne 2-3 0-0 4, Gage McGill 0-2 2-3 2, Brandon Kneifl 2-7 0-0 5, Connor Day 7-12 5-7 19, Logan Kingsbury 2-6 5-6 9, Carson Fox 1-1 0-0 2, Max Masin 4-8 4-4 13, Carter Kingsbury 3-10 2-2 8, Andrew McLean 0-1 0-0 0, Jayde Reid 1-2 0-2 2, Jacob Brockhaus 0-2 0-0 0, Evan Anderson 1-5 2-2 4, Cole Richards 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-54 20-23 68.

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