Eagles Eliminated by Eventual Champion Howells-Dodge In First Round Class D1 State Basketball Tournament
What has been a season of ups and downs ended in the first round of the Class D-1 State Basketball Tournament for Johnson-Brock.
The No. 8 seeded 12-15 Eagles’ improbable third consecutive trip to Lincoln concluded with the scoreboard reading 60-39 in favor of number 2 and eventual state champion Howells-Dodge.
The Jaguars held a slim 10-8 lead after the first quarter and then went on a 23-9 scoring run in quarter two to lead 33-17 at halftime. Howells-Dodge held the Eagles to three points in the third period and led 41-20 at its conclusion. Johnson-Brock outscored the winners 20-19 in a high scoring fourth quarter.
Coach Krenk’s Comments
Coach Nick Krenk said, “Howells-Dodge was a tough match-up for us as they are a very athletic team that pressures the ball hard and forces you to handle the ball. We struggled getting into our offense and executing plays because of their pressure. We also struggled to box out and hold them to only one shot per possession.
“The first quarter was pretty well played and we forced them into some tough possessions; however, during the second quarter Howells-Dodge started hitting some outside shots. Then we had a couple of poor turnovers at the end of the half which boosted Howells-Dodge’s lead from 11 to 16.
“We couldn’t recover during the third quarter as we struggled to get any quality possessions against Howells-Dodge’s pressure defense. We didn’t have enough in the fourth to close the lead.
“I’m very proud of the boys and their ability to handle an extremely difficult situation this season. Our team had been through more than any other team could imagine and the strength and poise of the young men was amazing throughout the season. They persevered throughout the season and got us to the postseason with a fantastic run through districts. They are an awesome group of boys.
“Although the season did not end up with a state title like we wanted, we have no reason to hang our heads. We accomplished a lot despite having many reasons to give up, he concluded.”
Nick Stahl led the Eagles with 11 points, the only Eagle in double figures. Dustin Niedermeyer scored 7 points; Nick Behrends and Dontavious Sturgeon-Rieger, 6 points each; Taylor Wenzl, 4 points; Lukas Buchmeier, 3 points and Tyler Ebeler, 2 points.
Niedermeyer led Johnson-Brock with 5 rebounds. Stahl and Sturgeon-Rieger each grabbed 4 rebounds; Behrends, Buchmeier, Ebeler and Wenzl each had 3 rebounds; and Austin Griggs and Sean Koperski each had 1 rebound.
Stahl and Wenzl each had 3 assists to lead the Eagles. Buchmeier had 2 assists; while Behrends and Niedermeyer each had 1 assist.
Wenzl led Johnson-Brock with 3 steals. Buchmeier, Niedermeyer and Stahl each had 2 steals while Koperski had 1 steal. Niedermeyer had 1 block.
The Eagles shot 16-of-40 from two-point range; missed their four three-point attempts; and were 7-of-15 from the free throw line.
Howells-Dodge shot 21-of-41 from two-point range; made 3-of-15 treys; and were 9-of-18 from the free throw line.
The Eagles were outrebounded, 27-to-36; and had 25 turnovers compared to 19 for Howells-Dodge.
Scoring by Quarters:
Luke Hegemann led Howells-Dodge with 14 points. Mat Gooch had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Nine other Jaguars got onto the scoreboard.
The Eagles were whistled for 15 fouls, three more than the Jaguars.
Ending their high school basketball careers were Eagle seniors Behrends, Buchmeier, Sturgeon-Rieger, Jordan Lempka, Wenzl, and Niedermeyer.
Other first round D-1 State Tournament scores: O’Neill St. Mary’s 67 to 56 over High Plains, Paxton 50 to 47 over Arapahoe, and Burwell 62 to 59 overtime win over Kenesaw.
Paxton 38 to 36 over St. Mary’s
Howells-Dodge 56 to 42 over Burwell
Championship Contest: Howells-Dodge 49-34 over Paxton
Third Place Game: St. Mary’s over Burwell 46-43
Final Rankings by Stu Pospisil of Omaha World-Herald:
1: Howells-Dodge 29-0
2. Paxton 27-1
3: O’Neill St. Mary’s 24-3
4: Burwell 26-3
5: High Plains 21-5
6: Kenesaw 23-2
7: Arapahoe 24-5
8: Johnson-Brock 12-15
9: BDS 21-4
10: Pawnee City 20-6
The Eagles also were ranked eighth in the Lincoln Journal Star Class D-1 ratings.