FREMONT, Neb. — A pair of missed free throws increased the resolve in Morgan Hansen to get South Sioux City back to the girls basketball state tournament.
“I didn’t let it bother me,” Hansen said. “I needed to stay composed for my teammates.”
The senior had a basket and two free throws in the final minute, after Elkhorn had taken its only lead of the second half, as South Sioux City claimed the District B-3 title Saturday with a 55-50 victory at Fremont High School’s Bahe Gymnasium.
The Cardinals (16-8) will be in the Class B tournament for the first time since 2010.
“I can’t begin to tell you what this means,” said Cardinals coach Ashley O’Dell, a former South Sioux standout. “This group grew up watching our teams go to state every year and then we hadn’t gotten there the past (two) years.
“To get back there means all the world to them and to me.”
Hansen had game highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Madison Voss, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, came off the bench for 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
“She doesn’t get all the minutes she deserves,” O’Dell said. “She stepped up and played huge.”
Elkhorn coach Jennifer Wragge said Voss was the difference in the game.
“If you double down or sag in on her, they have tons of girls who can shoot the 3,” Wragge said.
The Antlers (15-8), who spotted South Sioux a 16-5 lead after one quarter, got within a point in the third quarter and finally — after four previous chances — took their first lead since 2-0 on Anna Ebet’s second three-point play of the final quarter. The 5-10 sophomore put Elkhorn ahead 51-50 with 44.6 seconds left.
Leanne Willer missed a shot for Elkhorn after Hansen’s basket, with Hansen fouled on the rebound.
Elkhorn took its last timeout with 19 seconds left after Hansen’s two free throws were good for a 53-50 lead. Wragge said a set play off the inbounds pass wasn’t there, but the Antlers worked the ball to its desired shooter, 5-8 senior Kelsey Martin.
South Sioux hounded her into taking a 19-footer, not a 3-pointer, that went long. Cardinal junior Audra Thramer sealed the win with two free throws with 2 seconds left.
Martin led Elkhorn with 14 points. Alicia Mountain had 11 and Willer 10. Parese Greeley, the Cardinals’ other senior starter, had 12 points to be the third double-digit scorer for South Sioux.
Elkhorn (15-8) ................. 5 14 18 13—50
South Sioux City (16-8) ................. 16 10 15 14—55
E: Alicia Mountain 11, Kelsey Martin 14, Leanne Willer 10, Kristin Lange 8, Anna Ebet 7.
SSC: Audra Thramer 4, Parese Greeley 12, Morgan Hansen 17, Jordan Closter 6, Madison Voss 12, Emily Schram 4.
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