LINCOLN — The Sutton boys basketball team plays with the philosophy that defense wins championships. And in Saturday's Class C-2 state title game against Southern Valley at the Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, the Mustangs defense played well enough to win a championship.
The 38 points Sutton gave up was the fifth lowest total for a team in the history of the C-2 finals. The only problem was the Mustangs' 34 points on offense were the fourth lowest total, as Sutton lost the championship game 38-34 in overtime to the Eagles in the second lowest scoring title game since Class C-2 was formed in 1984.
"When we did get a few opportunities, we weren't able to knock them down," said Sutton head coach Steve Spongberg, whose team finished the year 27-2. "I really think we fell in love with the 3 — as well as we shot it (Friday). We took some shots that, I don't want to say were poor shots, but we took a lot of 3s and didn't get enough touches inside."
The Mustangs hit 10 3-pointers in their semifinals game against Hartington Cedar Catholic, including five from senior Reed Stone. Against Southern Valley, Sutton hit two of its first five shots from beyond the arc — both made by Stone — but was just 3-for-20 for the rest of the game.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well and we didn't have our legs underneath us. You don't shoot the ball well, you're not going to win," Sutton senior Austan Rath said. "We just didn't get the job done."
If there was one thing the Sutton defense couldn't do, it was consistently stop Southern Valley's Spencer Kucera from scoring. The 6-foot-9 senior was 9-for-20 from the floor, totaling 20 points and 12 rebounds.