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Lady Jets take first step to defending MUDECAS title
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Lady Jets take first step to defending MUDECAS title

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Last year, the Sterling Lady Jets entered the MUDECAS Tournament as a low seed and pulled off a trio of upsets to win the championship. They carried that momentum all the way to the state tournament.

This year they came into MUDECAS as the No. 2 seed in the A division and they were able to fend off a pesky seventh-seeded Johnson-Brock Monday night in the first round.

The Jets, who are ranked No. 5 in Class D2, defeated Johnson-Brock 41-35 to advance to the semifinals. They'll play Bruning-Davenport-Shickley at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Beatrice City Auditorium.

The final score was a little closer than it was 10 days ago when the Jets beat the Eagles 41-27. Sterling coach Josh Pfeiffer said it's always hard to beat a team twice in a season, especially when the games are so close together.

"I think that added to the challenge and we knew they'd be looking to knock us out of MUDECAS," Pfeiffer said. "They gave us a heck of a shot, but credit to our girls for handling the adversity and playing through it. They showed a lot of composure down the stretch and that's great to see from such a young team."

Sterling bolted out to a 13-8 lead in the first half, but Johnson-Brock fought back to tie it at 20-20. The Jets held a 22-20 lead at half time.

The Jets then opened the second half with a 5-0 run to make it 27-20. They maintained a 33-26 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but a flurry of baskets off of Sterling turnovers allowed Johnson-Brock to take a 35-33 lead with 4:07 left in the game.

A put back basket by Colby Thies and another basket by Macy Richardson gave Sterling the lead back 37-35. They then forced a Johnson-Brock turnovers and hit four free throws down the stretch to win 41-35.

Richardson led the way for Sterling with 15 points while Thies had 11 points. Thies is a returning all-state post player, but all of her points were hard to come by.

"Johnson-Brock is an athletic team and they get after you," Pfeiffer said. "They were moving the feet and they were trying to slide (Thies) down so they didn't get stuck behind her. They also did a nice job with help side defense."

Pfeiffer said he was happy to see his freshman Richardson step up and fill a scoring void.

"Macy does a heck of a job being aggressive," Pfeiffer said. "It's darn tough to stop her in transition. She gets the ball and looks ahead and if she doesn't see more than one or two defenders, she knows she has the green light and you're going to have to make a special play to stop her."

Kaitlyn Wusk had seven points, Tara Walters had three points Dani Jansen and Belle Haner had two points each. Ella Wingert added one point.

After delivering three upsets last year, Pfieffer said he's glad his team wasn't on the receiving end of a first round upset this year.

"It feels good to be advancing," Pfeiffer said. "We worked our butts off for this and we're going to get to work the next couple of days to get ready for a tough one."

BDS 60, Meridian 41

Bruning-Davenport-Shickley's pressure defense created turnovers and those turnovers turned into easy baskets Monday against Meridian.

The Class D2 No. 9 Lady Eagles defeated Meridian 60-41 in the first round of the A Division of the MUDECAS Tournament at the Beatrice City Auditorium.

BDS entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the A Division while Meridian was the sixth seed.

Meridian jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, but BDS held an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Regan Alfs then opened the second quarter on a 6-0 run by herself to extend the BDS lead to 16-8.

Meridian's Josie Sobotka came back with four straight points to make it 16-12, but BDS finished the second quarter on an 11-3 run to make it 27-15 at the half. They extended their lead to 44-25 at the end of three quarters.

Meridian got back to within 12 points in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too much as BDS would go on to win 60-41.

Regan Alfs led the way for BDS with 16 points while Macy Kamler had 13 points, Rylee Haecker had 11 points and Taylor Silva had 10 points. Jess Hudson had six points while Jordan Bolte and Raegan Fiala had two points each

Meridian was led by Josiee Sobotka's 19 points while Halle Pribyl had 14 points, Jaslyn Ward had four points and Ally Kort and Kala Most had two points each.

BDS advances to Thursday's semifinals where they'll play Sterling at 3:30 p.m. at the Beatrice City Auditorium.

Meridian will play Friday at 6:30 p.m. against Johnson-Brock at Southeast Community College.

Falls City Sacred Heart 45, Freeman 30

Falls City Sacred Heart in the No. 1 seed in the MUDECAS A Division and they opened with a 45-30 win over eighth-seeded Freeman Monday night.

Sacred Heart lead Freeman 10-8 after the first quarter and they led 19-17 at half time. After three quarters, the Irish led 31-22 and they held on for the win in the fourth quarter.

Sacred Heart was led by Erison Vonderschmidt's 20 points while Mackenzie Witt had eight points, Danielle Bippes had six points, Rachel Magdanz had four points, DeLanie Witt and Ella Simon had three points each and Olivia Eickhoff had one point.

Freeman was led by Addie Dorn's 16 points while Bryleigh Hartwig had 10 points, Kaylee Bures had three points and RaeAnn Hartwig had one point.

With the win, Freeman advances to Thursday's semifinals at 5 p.m. against the winner of Monday's late game between fifth-seeded Diller-Odell and fourth-seeded Exeter-Milligan. That game wasn't over by press time Monday night.

Freeman will play in a consolation game at 6:30 p.m. on Friday against the loser of Monday's late game between Diller-Odell and Exeter-Milligan.

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