The girls MUDECAS Tournament bracket was loaded with three state ranked teams, but it was sixth-seeded and unranked Sterling who made it through unscathed.
The Lady Jets pulled off their third straight upset on Friday night to claim the MUDECAS A division championship.
And that third upset wasn't even close.
Sterling dominated top-seeded Exeter-Milligan from start to finish. When the final buzzer rang, the scoreboard read 55-26.
"It's a great feeling," said Sterling coach Josh Pfeiffer. "I feel great for these girls. We've had some rough seasons because we've been young, but now we are starting to come into our own. They are playing some good basketball now and I feel so happy for them because their hard work is paying off."
Exeter-Milligan was rated No. 3 in Class D2 entering the tournament. Prior to the upset, Sterling knocked off Class D2 No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart in the semifinals and upset Class D2 No. 4 Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the opening round.
"We can compete with anybody and we can beat anybody, we just need to play good basketball to make sure we get that done," Pfeiffer said. "We did that this week and now I hope these girls realize the sky is the limit for us."
Sterling opened the game with an 8-0 run and never looked back. Colby Thies had five points during that opening run while Carly Wenzl had a three pointer.
Exeter-Milligan finally broke the run with three straight points, but Wenzl finished the first quarter with two free throws to make it 10-3.
Belle Haner opened the second quarter scoring with a lay-up on the fast break and Malayna Wingert made a free throw to make it 13-3.
Exeter-Milligan hit two free throws to make it 13-5, but a basket by Thies in the post and a jumper by Sydney Huls extended the lead to 17-5.
Exeter-Milligan scored four of the next five points to make it 18-9, but eight straight points by Wenzl, including two three pointers -- made it 26-9.
The Timberwolves finished the second quarter with four straight points to make it 26-13 at half time.
The Jets used a dominating inside game to continue pulling away in the third quarter. Thies opened the quarter with two free throws and then after an Exeter-Milligan basket, Thies scored three straight baskets on the low block to extend the lead to 34-15.
She then picked up her fourth foul, but Haner took over with a basket in the low post to make it 36-16. Kaitlin Wusk then answered an Exeter-Milligan basket with another basket in the post to make it 38-18.
The Timberwolves scored to make it 38-20, but Haner finished the third quarter scoring with a basket to make it 40-20 entering the fourth quarter.
Thies fouled out immediately with 7:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, but it wouldn't matter. Sterling coasted to the 55-26 win in the fourth quarter
It is the second consecutive MUDECAS championship for the Jets. Last year, they won the B Division.
"I'm also just happy for the community of Sterling," Pfeiffer said. "They were so amped for this and you can just feel a buzz in the community all week long."
Despite sitting for a good chunk of the game due to foul trouble, Thies led the way for Sterling with 16 points. Carly Wenzl paced Sterling early, scoring all 13 of her points in the first half. Haner had 12, Wusk had six, Malayna Wingert and Huls had two each and Ella Wingert had one.
"We have a nice balanced team and that's one reason I've been confident about this season," Pfeiffer said. "We've got good inside play and good perimeter play. So whatever a team wants to do to us, I like to think we have a counter for that. You can take away some things, but we'll find something we can attack you with."
With the championship at the 90th MUDECAS Tournament, Sterling improves their record to 12-3 on the season.
"This is unreal and awesome," Pfeiffer said. "This whole week is super fun, but it's also a blur. It's a hectic week, but it was great to come out on top and hopefully we can carry this momentum forward."
MUDECAS boys games snowed out
Saturday was supposed to be the day the boys took center stage at the MUDECAS Tournament, but the snow forced the postponements of all games, including both championships.
Tournament officials made the decision mid morning on Saturday when forecasts indicated the snow wouldn't taper off until later in the afternoon.
No announcements have been made about when or if any of those games will be played at a future date.
Orangemen fall to No. 4 Aurora
The Beatrice boys hung tough with Class B No. 4 Aurora on Friday night, but the Huskies were able to pull away in the second half.
The Orangemen fell 65-47 Friday night at the Ozone in Beatrice.
Aurora led 13-6 after the first quarter, but Beatrice outscored Aurora 19-13 in the second quarter to trail by just one point at half.
Aurora owned the third quarter, though, outscoring Beatrice 21-4 to take a 47-29 lead. They would hold off the Orangemen in the fourth quarter for the 65-47 win.
Bennett Crandall had 13 points for Beatrice while Elliot Jurgens had 12, Griffen Vater had eight, Peyton Murphy had six, Devin Smith and Josiah Wallman had three each and Jace Pethoud had two.
Both Beatrice girls and boys teams were scheduled to play at South Sioux City on Saturday, but those games were postponed due to snow.
Both teams play in the River Cities Conference this week. The Lady O opened at home against Omaha Gross Monday night. That game wasn't over by press time.
The Beatrice boys play at South Sioux City Tuesday night at 6 p.m.