LINCOLN — After splitting their two matchups during the regular season, with their seasons on the line, the third meeting between Exeter-Milligan and High Plains looked destined to go down to the wire.
But, after a back-and-forth first half that saw the teams go into the locker room tied 26-all, fourth-seeded High Plain took control in the second half and held on for a 49-45 win in the battle of Crossroads Conference foes in the opening round of the Class D-2 state tournament Thursday night at a full-capity Lincoln East High School.
“A lot the same, back and forth,” E-M coach Dean Filipi said of comparing Thursday’s game to the first two between the Timberwolves and Storm. “It’s very competitive, hard fought. The guys go at each other. I think they’re all pretty good friends with each other, but out there they go hard. It’s one of those deals where tonight they probably pulled away a little bit more than the others. It’s always a battle.”
With the win, High Plains — ranked No. 3 in Class D-2 (Omaha World-Herald) — improves to 26-1 and will play in the semifinals today at 8:45 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The top-ranked Timberwolves, seeded fifth in the D-2 bracket, end the season 22-4 after seeing their 14-game winning streak snapped.