The Mitchell girls basketball team gave a tremendous effort on Friday morning in the C-1 state semifinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Unfortunately that great effort wasn’t enough as the Tigers were beaten by Lincoln Christian 44-42.
With the loss it’s Mitchell dropping into a Saturday morning third place game while the Crusaders will play for a state championship.
This was the third time in the last four years at the state tournament that the Tigers lost to Lincoln Christian. Three years ago the final was 67-27. Last year in a third place game the final score read 56-34.
Things started slowly for Mitchell; they fell behind 10-2 and 12-3 in the first quarter before really finding the sea legs at Pinnacle Bank Arena. By the time the first quarter had come to a close the Tigers were trailing by just four points, 19-5, and Lincoln Christian star post player, Olivia Hollenbeck had picked up two fouls (she also had 10 points in the opening quarter).
With Hollenbeck on the bench for nearly the entire second quarter Mitchell got back even at halftime. Keyana Wilfred scored 6 of her 11 first half points in the second stanza and a late three pointer from Bethany Sterkel sent the two teams to the locker tied up 26-26.
In the third quarter Mitchell got up by as many as four points with Annabelle Gillen leading the charge scoring six of Mitchell’s eight points. Both Wilfred and Hollenbeck were scoreless in the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a real grind with the two squads combining for a total of three made field goals. The offense really dried up for Mitchell and the touches for Wilfred were few and far between. In fact, Wilfred was held scoreless for the entire second half.
A real key down the stretch was the free throw line for Lincoln Christian as they hit 9-11 at the stripe late to pull out the two point win.
Mitchell showed a tremendous amount of heart and desire in today’s game, proving, once again, they belonged with the best in C-1.
Annabelle Gillen led Mitchell with 16 points while Wilfred also touched double figures with 11. Bethan Sterkel, Kenzey Kanno, and Ricci Ayala all finished with five points.
Hollenbeck, despite the foul trouble, was able to finish the game on the floor and that was huge for Lincoln Christian. She blocked multiple shots in the fourth quarter and hit all six of her free throws in the closing moments to help seal the win. Hollenbeck finished with 16 points and Barrett Power tallied 12.
In the second semifinal it was a neighborhood brawl with Wahoo Neumann beating Wahoo 42-40.
Mitchell will play Wahoo on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. MT and we’ll wrap up the girls basketball season on KNEB with the broadcast on 94.1 The Brand and kneb.com starting at 9:45.
Wahoo Neumann will play Lincoln Christian for the C-1 state title at 9 am CT.