By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Three teams from western Nebraska left their mark on the 2013 boys state basketball tournament with one state championship and two runner-up finishes.
Third-seeded Southern Valley claimed the school’s first ever championship by defeating top-seeded Sutton 38-34 in an overtime finish in the C2 championship game.
The Southern Valley consolidated system consists of six communities; Beaver City, Edison, Hendley, Orleans, Oxford and Stamford. It’s located eight miles south of Oxford.
Southern Valley defeated sixth-seeded Lincoln Lutheran High NE in the opening round, 41-34.
They defeated second-seeded Freeman 58-51 in the semi-finals to advance to the finals.
In other C2 action, North Platte St. Pat’s, representing the SPVA, fell in the first round to Hartington Cedar Catholic, 56-49. Hartington finished the tournament in third place.
Southern Valley finished the season 24-3, with one of their three losses coming to Paxton, the state runner-up in Class D1.
Paxton defeated Southern Valley in the finals of the RPAC tournament in mid-January.
Paxton came into the tournament undefeated at 25-0, garnering the third seed.
They defeated another outstate team in the opener, Arapahoe, 50-47.
They needed a late rally in the semi-finals, with a nine-point run for a 38-36 come-from-behind victory over St. Mary’s on Friday night.
In the championship game, Paxton could never get their offensive machine in gear in the finals, falling to a tough Howells-Dodge team, 49-34.
Class B defending champs Scottsbluff made a return trip to the championship game only to fall in a thriller to South Sioux City 55-53.
The game was a rematch of last year’s final when Scottsbluff won the crown.
Scottsbluff won close games in the opener and semi-finals, defeating Aurora 59-56 in the opener and Gretna 55-51 in the semis.
W-P plays tough in opener
The eighth-seeded Wauneta-Palisade Broncos gave 21-1 top-seeded Leyton all they wanted in the opening round of the Class D2 boys state tournament in Lincoln last week.
In their last two state tournament appearances, the Broncs went all the way to the finals but it wasn’t to be this year.
Playing at 8 a.m. MT Thursday morning, the Broncos came within five points of upsetting the top seed.
A rally in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter brought the Broncos even with Leyton 35-35.
However, the offense went silent as Leyton pulled back ahead for the 42-37 win.
Leyton fell in the semi-finals to Spalding/Spalding Academy and then lost the consolation game to Falls City Sacred Heart.
Kimball represented the C1 district from western Nebraska. Coming in a 20-1 record, they won their first game against Gibbon 62-58.
However, they fell to Boone Central/Newman Grove 53-33 in the semi-finals and lost to Wayne in the consolation game 56-50.
In Class A, North Platte, the most western team in all of the state’s top class, fell to Omaha South 52-36 in their opener.