Published Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:28 am
basketball
No. 1 Northwest routs Seward, 67-45

It was smooth sailing for Class B No. 1-rated Northwest in the Central Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The Vikings never trailed and built up a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter en route to a 67-45 win over Seward Tuesday.

"It was a great effort," Northwest coach Mike Herzberg said. "We had three people in double figures, and that’s always one of our goals. We shared the ball offensively nicely and for the most part finished out the game in a positive manner."

McKenzie Brown led Northwest (15-1) with 22 points and seven assists. Katie Placke added 16 points and 11 rebounds while Kennadi Keezer chipped in 13 points.

Anna Schulz and Aubrey Duer topped the Bluejays (6-10) with 12 points apiece.

Northwest did struggle with some turnovers early, committing five in the first quarter. But the Vikings cleaned those up and only committed a total of one turnover over the next two periods.

"Everybody’s not going to be perfect every night, and we expect perfection, so maybe that’s why it seemed not as sound as we’re used to," Herzberg said. "But we just kept chipping away, and I like that about our kids. They never panicked.

"Give Seward credit. They made some 3-point shots. That was one of our points of emphasis defensively, to try and take as many of those away. They didn’t shoot a lot of them, but they hit a few to keep them close."

Turnovers could be more costly now that Northwest has advanced to the conference’s final four.

"Come this weekend, we’ll have to have our ‘A’ game," Herzberg said. "We’ll have to be sharp and crisp. Some of the turnovers that we did have, we were in the right spots. They were just uncharacteristic.

"As long as we’re being aggressive and the mistakes that we’re making are on the aggressive side and we’re doing the right things, we can live with those."

Shelby Schacher came off the bench to add six points.

"I thought we got some good production off the bench again," Herzberg said. "Shelby comes in and takes a charge. A lot of people don’t look at those little things, but I look at those things as being real pluses."

Northwest faces No. 7 York (12-3) in Friday’s semifinal. The times of the semifinals have been switched from the original schedule, so the Vikings and Dukes play at 8 p.m.

Northwest downed York 67-59 on Jan. 11.

"We’ll have to be very sharp mentally and physically defensively because if you break down mentally against them, there’s a chance for open looks," Herzberg said. "You can’t give a team like York a lot of open shots. Defensively we’ll not only have to be physically great but mentally great and handle their ball screens and transition offense like we did earlier this year.

"We know they’ll give us their best shot, but our kids will show up. They know what’s on the line. They love playing in championship games, and now we have a chance to get to the championship."

With No. 6 Holdrege and C-1 No. 4 Fairbury in the other semifinal, the teams remaining face tough back-to-back challenges Friday and Saturday.

"You’ll have to play 32 minutes," Herzberg said. "I don’t care if it is us, York or maybe Holdrege or Fairbury. There are four teams that have to show up not only Friday night but also Saturday. You can’t celebrate too long because win or lose, you’re going to have a great, competitive game the next day. It’ll be good for all of us to be in that situation.

"Hopefully we’ll play well like we can, then we’ll let the chips fall however they may. It’ll get us better for a month from now, which is obviously when we want to play our best."


Northwest 67, Seward 45

SEWARD (6-10)

Schulz 4-8 2-3 12, Ka. Heath 1-6 0-0 2, Duer 4-13 0-0 12, Ke. Heath 3-7 0-0 6, Hanson 3-6 2-4 8, Sloup 0-0 0-0 0, Hartman 2-5 0-0 5, Wolverton 0-0 0-0 0, Roth 0-0 0-0 0, Kamphaus 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-45 4-7 45.

NORTHWEST (15-1)

Ka. Placke 6-13 2-3 16, Sorahan 3-7 0-0 6, Brown 9-20 3-5 22, Rathke 1-3 1-2 3, Keezer 6-8 1-1 13, Fisher 0-0 1-2 1, Ke. Placke 0-1 0-0 0, Winton 0-0 0-1 0, Schleicher 0-2 0-0 0, Beckmann 0-0 0-0 0, Wieland 0-0 0-0 0, Schacher 2-3 1-1 6. Totals 27-57 9-15 67.

Seward 10 11 11 13—45
Northwest 20 15 21 10—67

3-point field goals—Seward 7-17 (Hartman 1-2, Schulz 2-4, Duer 4-10, Ke. Heath 0-1), Northwest 4-18 (Ka. Placke 2-6, Sorahan 0-3, Brown 1-5, Rathke 0-2, Schacher 1-2). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—Seward 28 (Hanson 10), Northwest 35 (Ka. Placke 11). Assists—Seward 9 (Hanson 3), Northwest 13 (Brown 7). Turnovers—Seward 21, Northwest 10. Total fouls—Seward 11, Northwest 11. Technicals—none.

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