YORK — The Elkhorn Antlers boys basketball team played soft man-to-man defense, packed the paint and protected the dribble drive Friday in the nightcap of the York Holiday Tournament against the host Dukes at York High School.
The result was what the Antlers wanted — they stayed in the game against the bigger and more physical Dukes. But in the end, York’s athletes overcame Elkhorn’s gameplan and advanced to the tournament championship Saturday afternoon against Platteview at 3:30 p.m. with a gritty 44-39 victory.
York improves to 7-1 on the season while Elkhorn drops to 5-3 and will play Hastings St. Cecilia Saturday in the third place game at 12:30 p.m.
Going into Friday’s contest, York was only shooting 26 percent from 3-point range. Head coach Scott Lamberty thought his team would be seeing more zone or sagging defenses until the Dukes proved they can make shots.
York wound up making six 3s against Elkhorn. And Brady Danielson, who scored a game-high 22 points, hit four long-range bombs.
“He got hot,” Lamberty said of Danielson after the game. “He worked a lot in the barn over break, I bet, because his shot looks better than what it did when we left before break.”
York led 14-9 after the opening eight minutes of play and took a 19-16 edge into halftime. The Dukes outscored Elkhorn 10-6 in the third, and York ended the quarter on a 7-3 run after a layup from Danielson and Reid Hoffmann and a 3 from Garrett Snodgrass.
But in the fourth, the Antlers’ shooters started getting hot, too. Elkhorn also made six 3s in the game with five coming in the last eight minutes.
“We wound up going under screens because they were hurting us on some curls,” Lamberty said of his team’s defense in the fourth. “So we went under the screens which leaves the three open in the fourth quarter, which I don’t like to do. So I was kind of kicking myself there. But credit to Elkhorn, they hit five threes in the quarter.”
York’s lead was cut to just one point, 31-30, with 4:40 left in regulation after Mitch Kahre drilled a shot from behind the arc. There were three ties after Kahre’s make — at 34, 36 and 39 — but Snodgrass was able to get post position under the hoop and put in a short shot to give his team a 41-39 advantage with 1:45 left.
After a defensive stop, Jeb Lucas went 2 of 2 from the free-throw line while Hoffmann was 1 of 2 to end the game.
“I’m happy with the win,” Lamberty said. “I’ve seen enough film to know that’s what Elkhorn does every night.”
Elkhorn (5-3)..........9 7 6 17 — 39
At York (7-1)........14 5 10 15 — 44
York scoring: Brady Danielson 22, Reid Hoffmann 9, Garrett Snodgrass 7, Wyatt Cast 2, Jeb Lucas 2.
Elkhorn scoring: Mitch Kahre 12, Wyatt Behlen 9, Caden Reynolds 8, Kyler Beekman 8, Drew Christo 2.