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North Bend rallies past Aquinas, into C1-4 final
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North Bend rallies past Aquinas, into C1-4 final

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COLUMBUS — For three quarters Tuesday night, David City Aquinas kept the hottest team in Class C-1 cooled off.

But North Bend's ability to turn up the heat in the fourth quarter burned the Monarchs in a 56-43 Tigers victory in the Class C1-4 subdistrict semifinals at Columbus High School.

With the victory, North Bend, 22-1 and ranked 10th in Class C-1 by the Lincoln Journal Star, advances to Thursday's subdistrict final against fourth-ranked Scotus Central Catholic. The Shamrocks (21-3) moved on with a 56-40 victory over Lakeview earlier in the evening.

Aquinas (10-12) held an eight-point lead at halftime and nine-point edge in the second half against the Tigers. But North Bend, which has C-1's longest win streak at 22 straight games after a season-opening loss in Genoa against Twin River, outscored the Monarchs 27-7 in the fourth period to snatch the win.

"We've done that a few times this year where we haven't played four full quarters of good basketball," Aquinas head coach Kyle Eller said. "Give credit to them. They turned the pressure up, and we didn't handle it well."

North Bend did make a run at Aquinas in the third period, trimming the eight-point halftime lead to 29-27.

But the Monarchs responded with seven straight points. Lane Napier, who scored 12 points, hit a bucket sandwiched by a 3-pointer and 2-pointer by Tyler Vavrina, who led Aquinas with 13 points.

Vavrina's 2-pointer with 1 minute, 45 seconds left in the third gave Aquinas its biggest lead of the game at 36-27.

That's when North Bend, which also defeated Aquinas 57-49 in the first round of the David City Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29, went to work. The Tigers went on a 21-2 run to turn the nine-point deficit into a 48-38 lead.

Key in the run was Jake Wietfeld, who led the Tigers with 14 points. He had five points in two consecutive possessions, converting a traditional 3-point play and following with a defensive rebound and coast-to-coast layup.

Aquinas pulled within 48-41 on a Branden Daro free throw and a scoop in the lane by James Kobza, who had 11 points. But North Bend scored eight of the game's final 10 points to pull away.

The Monarchs were the superior team in the first half. Aquinas used speed and quickness to combat the size of North Bend, which had a 3- to 5-inch height advantage most of the night.

"The first three quarters that was our big strength," said Eller of his team's quickness. "Heading to the fourth, that might have hurt us because it led to some quick looks and some quick shots."

Napier scored 10 points in the first half, and Kobza added nine as Aquinas built leads of 12-8 after one quarter and 17-10 midway through the second. The Monarchs led 25-17 at intermission against a Tiger team coming off an impressive 59-30 victory over a 16-6 Fort Calhoun team on Friday.

"I thought we defended well," Eller said. "We wanted to do two things. No. 1, we wanted to stay in front of their guys. They have some great penetrators, so we wanted to stay in front, and No. 2, we wanted to get out and run. I thought we executed that well in the first three quarters."

Tuesday at Columbus High

North Bend (22-1);8;9;12;27 -- 56

Aquinas (10-12);12;13;11;7 -- 43

North Bend -- John Emanuel 0 0-0 0 0, Peter Emanuel 0 0-0 0 0, Dylan Emanuel 1 1-2 0 3, Nathan Boyce 3 0-0 3 8, Dawson Poessnecker 1 0-0 0 2, Jake Cleveringa 2 0-0 1 5, Hunter Oerman 2 3-6 2 7, Tanner Wietfeld 3 0-1 0 6, Matt Ortmeier 3 1-2 4 7, Jake Wietfeld 6 2-4 2 14, Gatlin Sindelar 0 0-0 0 0, James Seymour 1 2-2 0 4. Totals 22 9-17 12 56.

Aquinas -- Tyler Vavrina 4 4-7 3 13, James Kobza 5 0-0 2 11, Matt Nadrchal 0 0-0 1 0, Noah Pelan 0 1-2 1 1, Branden Daro 1 2-4 3 4, Gavin Rech 0 0-0 0 0, Lane Napier 6 0-0 3 12, Daniel Reiter 1 0-0 3 2, Kyle Ruth 0 0-0 3 0. Totals 17 7-13 18 43.

3-point goals -- North Bend 3 (Boyce 2, Cleveringa), Aquinas 2 (Vavrina, Kobza).

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