LINCOLN — The first round game at the state basketball tournament is always the toughest, so says St. Cecilia girls head coach Jahn Kile.
He saw his No. 2 Hawkettes (22-3) sweat things out with No. 7 Dundy County-Stratton (23-4), relying on a strong fourth quarter finish to advance to the Class C-1 state semifinals for the third-straight time with a gritty 50-43 win Thursday afternoon at Lincoln Southwest.
"Oh yeah, there's a lot of pressure on that first game. You feel it," Kile said. "All the teams feel that pressure. It's just nice to advance."
The Hawkettes' game with the Tigers featured seven lead changes. Dundy County-Stratton got back-to-back buckets from Colby Duvel to take a 35-34 lead early in the fourth quarter. But from there on out, St. Cecilia's defense buckled down, helping the offense produce a 12-3 run midway through the final period and take control of the game for good.