LINCOLN — The Adams Central boys basketball team's first-round matchup of the Class C-1 state tournament against Wayne was similar to when both teams met earlier in the season. While each team equaled their respective offensive totals from that game — in which neither team reached 30 points — in the third quarter Thursday, it was still a defensive slugfest throughout the game.
The Patriots' quest for the program's first state tournament win fell just short on Thursday, as fifth-seeded AC fell against fourth-seeded Wayne 48-39 at the Pershing Center.
"It just felt like a lot of the 50-50 balls, people always talk about 50-50 balls that could go either way, it seemed like they got those today," said Adams Central head coach Zac Foster, whose Patriots (21-6) had defeated Wayne 28-24 earlier this season. "Sometimes there's not a rhyme or reason for why that is. It seemed whenever we needed a big play, whenever we needed to get a rebound or a lose ball, they got it. In key times, the ball just seemed to find its way into their hands."
Adams Central's only lead was 85 seconds into the game when the Patriots made a free throw for the game's first point. That lead lasted just 18 seconds. After that, the Patriots spent the rest of the game battling from behind. However, the Blue Devils never led by more than 10 points.
AC had its chances in the fourth quarter. With 4:40 remaining in the game, a basket from senior Blake Overmiller cut the Wayne lead down to four points. But that was as close as Adams Central got. The Blue Devils (23-5) made it interesting by missing eight of their 15 free throws in the fourth quarter, but senior Grant Anderson hit two key attempts from the line with 51 seconds left before putting the finishing touches on the game with a fast-break dunk for the game's final points.