FIRTH, Neb. — Its long winning streak is over, but Seward has shaken off any aftereffects from that recent loss.
That was evident Saturday night as the top-ranked Bluejays, the four-time defending Class B champions, posted a 55-45 road win over second-ranked Norris. Seward (5-1) saw its 104-game girls basketball winning streak snapped last week by Class A Lincoln Pius X.
“That was a hard-fought win,” Bluejays coach Tom Tvrdy said. “We pressured them on defense and kept them from getting the ball into their post.”
The Bluejays got a big game from 6-foot-2 senior Kourteney Zadina, who scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
“We came out ready to play,” she said. “Our defense was really there tonight.”
Seward trailed by four early in the game but went on an 11-0 run to take charge. Part of that spurt occurred in the second quarter when the Titans (3-1) turned the ball over 10 times and scored just six points.
“We didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to get a shot off in that quarter,” Norris coach Mark Hagerman said. “This was the first time we’ve been tested this year.”
The Titans still trailed by only five at half but could not get closer the rest of the way. Their best chance came with 1:40 left and the score 47-41, but a 3-point attempt by Kylie Hohlen bounced off the rim.
Seward put the game away at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter as Zadina and senior guard Hannah Tvrdy combined to sink 14 of 16 foul shots.
“We were only down by two baskets, a 3 and a 2,” Hagerman said. “But even coming back that far against a team like Seward is easier said than done.”
Zadina, a Northern Colorado recruit, said the recent 40-38 loss to Pius has taken some of the heat off the Bluejays. They came up seven wins short of the state record of 111, set by West Point Central Catholic from 2001 to ’06.
“I think in the back of our mind there was pressure,” she said. “We’ve gotten over it, and now we’re playing ball the way we do.”
Tom Tvrdy complimented his team for bouncing back from that Dec. 7 setback with wins over seventh-ranked Grand Island Northwest and second-ranked Norris.
“That Pius loss was gut-wrenching, but we came back out and answered the bell,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of our team, the way we’ve played since then.”
Tvrdy’s daughter Hannah, a Nebraska recruit, finished with 18 points.
Kasey Hohlen led the Titans with 15 while Bridget Bucher had 11.
Norris returns to action Tuesday night against visiting Pius while Seward’s next game will be Friday night at home against third-ranked Elkhorn South.
Seward (5-1) ................. 8 15 14 18—55
At Norris (3-1) ................. 12 6 10 17—45
S: Hannah Tvrdy 18, Lindsey Placke 6, Taylor Seaman 3, Anna Schulz 2, Jordan Nelson 3, Kourteney Zadina 23.
N: Alix Bryant 2, Hannah Hoefler 4, Mackenzie Allen 3, Kasey Hohlen 15, Andrea Jameson 2, Elizabeth Ehmen 2, Kylie Hohlen 6, Bridget Bucher 11.
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