SEWARD — There were no wildcard spots to be had. The Huskies needed to be on top of their game, and they were.
The Class C-2, No. 4 Shelby-Rising City girls basketball team had four players reach double figures Friday against Yutan in the C2-3 District final, topping the Chieftains 62-36 at Seward.
“We played our best game of the year tonight,” Shelby-Rising City head coach Travis Weber said. “I am really proud of my girls. We had a ‘refuse to lose’ attitude going into the game.”
The Huskies opened the game with a 7-1 scoring run and never looked back, much to Yutan’s chagrin.
“We wanted to slow them down, obviously we couldn’t do that,” Yutan head coach Rod Henkel said. “We tried to do something tonight and coach Weber had a nice scheme against what we wanted to do.”
The Huskies are making its second-ever appearance at the state tournament and the first as Shelby-Rising City.
Shelby’s only other trip to state was in 1990, which ended quickly with a 65-49 loss to Lincoln Christian.
Rising City made six state tournament trips, including a 1984 Class D-2 state championship, and its last appearance was in 1994.
“It real exciting,” Weber said. “It’s been a long process after a 1-19 first season. When you have players like this, it a credit to them.”
Shelby-Rising City had height in 6-foot-3 sophomore Chatrice White, and used it to its advantage. The center finished with a game-high 21 points, and 6-2 senior Maddie Scow — who came off the bench after suffering a concussion against Twin River in the subdistrict final — was one of two SRC players to score 11.
The Huskies wanted to push the tempo and got the first five points of the game from senior guard Makanna Davis. Yutan tried to play at Shelby-Rising City’s pace but couldn’t keep up, falling behind 7-1 and forcing Henkel to take a timeout less than two minutes into the game.
After the timeout, the Chieftains pulled within four points of Shelby-Rising City midway through the first quarter. However, Yutan got no closer the rest of the period as White scored eight of the next 11 points to help the Huskies lead 18-11 after the first quarter.
Yutan did a better job of knowing where White was on the floor in the second quarter, as she was limited to just two points because of early foul trouble.
Sophomore Jessica Nekl stepped up and made plays for SRC while White was on the bench. Nekl finished the half with nine points.
The Huskies’ physical man-to-man defense limited Yutan to two mid range jumpers in the second quarter. However, the Chieftains got to the free-throw line six times in the frame and cashed in on five of them.
SRC took a 32-20 lead at halftime, but Weber was not pleased with his team giving up 20 points in a half.
“That’s not the way we play defense,” he said.
Shelby-Rising City’s defense answered Weber’s challenge at halftime, and held Yutan without a basket until midway through the third quarter, limiting the Chieftains to seven points.
Nekl’s scoring output didn’t drop off after halftime as she and Scow combined to score 14 of the teams’ 16 points. The Huskies expanded its lead to 48-27 heading into the final stanza. After getting to the line 12 times in the first half, the Chieftains had two attempts in the third and fourth quarters.
The final eight minutes saw White score nine of the teams’ 14 points after being held scoreless in the third. Yutan senior Alexis Egr tallied six points in the fourth quarter. All of the Huskies played in the game as they walked away with a lopsided victory.
White led all scorers and added 18 rebounds for her 21st double-double of the year. Nekl scored 16, while Makanna Davis and Scow both had 11 points.
Yutan senior Morgan Davis finished with 14 points.
The Huskies earned the No. 3 seed in the Class C-2 State Championships and will play No. 6 Crofton — who beat Elgin Public/Pope John 55-29 to win the C2-5 District final — at 3:45 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Southeast.
C2-3 District final
Friday at Seward
Shelby-Rising City (23-1) 18 14 16 14 — 62
Yutan (15-10) 11 9 7 9 — 36
n SHELBY-RISING CITY — Makanna Davis 11, Kylee Macken 1, Jessica Nekl 16, Kiley Samek 2, Maddie Scow 11, Chatrice White 21; Totals 27 7-13 13 62
n YUTAN — Alexis Egr 7, Brooke Kelly 2, Shelby Anderson 2, Morgan O’Malley 6, Madison Egr 5, Morgan Davis 14; Totals 12 11-16 13 36
n 3-point field goals — Shelby-Rising City 1 (Davis), Yutan 1 (O’Malley).