LINCOLN -- Freeman dug themselves into a hole early against Yutan and was unable to completely get out of it.
The third-seeded Falcons fell to second-seeded Yutan 34-31 in the semifinals of the East Central Nebraska Conference Tournament Thursday at Southeast Community College in Lincoln.
Yutan jumped out to a 15-5 lead in the first quarter and maintained a 24-14 lead at half time.
The Falcons defense was able to lock down in the second half, only allowing 10 total points in the final two quarters.
Freeman cut the deficit to 28-23 after three quarters. They would outscore Yutan 8-6 in the final quarter, but it wasn't enough, making the final score 34-31.
Freeman didn't have any players score in double figures. Tyler Yates led the way with nine points while Korey Beu had eight points. Also scoring for Freeman was Tyler Adams with six points and Blake Kastanek and Logan Anderson with four points each.
Yutan was led by Mason Timm's 11 points while Jason Simon had eight points.
Yutan moves into the championship game against Auburn at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Auburn was the eighth seed in the tournament and has scored upset wins over top-seeded Elmwood-Murdock (43-36) and fourth-seeded Palmyra (52-38) to reach the championship.
Freeman falls to the third place game against Palmyra Saturday at 1 p.m. The Falcons entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed and defeated sixth-seeded Louisiville in the quarterfinals 39-32 before Thursday's loss to Yutan. The Falcons are now 15-5 on the season.
Top-ranked Irish survive Trojans in Pioneer semis
Class D-2 No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart survived D-1 No. 8 Tri County 45-43 in a Pioneer Conference Tournament semifinal Thursday at Lourdes Central Catholic in Nebraska City.
Tyler Witt had a team-leading 18 points and added six rebounds for the Trojans. Creighton Niemeyer had 19 points for the Trojans.
Tri County missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer.
In Thursday's other semifinal, D-1 No. 9 Lourdes CC downed D-1 No. 5 Johnson-Brock 56-46. Brandon Fredrichs had 20 points for the Knights, while Cole Fossenbarger scored 18 points to lead the Eagles.
Falls City SH and Lourdes CC meet in the final Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Lourdes CC, while Tri County and and Johnson-Brock meet for third at 4:30 p.m.
Other Thursday scores
JOHNSON-COUNTY CENTRAL 47, LOUISVILLE 46
Johnson-County Central 15 14 10 8 -- 47
Louisville 14 7 11 14 -- 46
Johnson County Central--Waring 17, Kleespies 11, Liberty 9, Cabrales 6, Dorsey 2, Sedersten 2.
Louisville--Geise 11, Klein 7, Makey 7, Wolcott 7, Cosgrove 6, Towell 6, Hrabik 2.