Eagle girls finish year fourth best D-2 team
Brady upsets No. 1 seed in first round at state.
LINCOLN—With success comes higher expectations.
That means this year’s return trip to the girls state basketball tournament was far more than a token appearance.
The Eagle girls made sure before they left for Lincoln on Wednesday that there was room in one of the school’s trophy cases for another piece of hardware.
“These girls worked very hard to reach their goal of getting back to state,” said coach Lance Arterburn. “They did everything we as coaches asked of them all season long and I couldn’t be more proud of every one of them.”
The Eagles got their hardware by finishing fourth in Class D-2. After upsetting the No. 1 seed in the first round, the Eagles fell in a heartbreaker to Hay Springs in the semi-finals and ran out of staying power against Lindsay Holy Family in the consolation game.
The team brought home a fourth-place trophy and individual medals.
“It was an amazing ride,” Arterburn said. “Simply amazing.”
The girls finish the season with a 21-6 record and a No. 4 state ranking by both the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World-Herald.
Both the record and the rating are the best in school history.
Just a few days after the season ended, coaches are already looking ahead.
“I’m very excited about the future of Brady girls basketball,” Arterburn said. “In fact, we’ve already started planning for the summer.
“But what the girls have to understand is that several of those teams at state this year are just as likely to be back there as we are. If we want to do it again, we’re going to have to continue to improve.”
Brady 40, Lawrence-Nelson 34
Brady coaches and players spent hours watching films of Lawrence-Nelson games before the girls left for Lincoln on Wednesday afternoon.
“I was pretty sure we could attack them with our quickness,” Arterburn said of the top seeded team in Class D-2.
Lawrence-Nelson entered the tournament with a 21-2 record. Arterburn was confident the Raiders were beatable if they could shut down 6-foot-1 center Kelsey Biltoft.
“We changed up our defense to concentrate on their big girl,” Arterburn said of Biltoft.
Normally a man-to-man team, Arterburn pulled a 2-1-2 defense out of his hat for the Raiders and it worked.
The Eagles suffered from some first-half jitters, missing several easy buckets early in the game.
The score was tied 4-4 after one quarter and Brady trailed 13-12 at halftime of the defensive battle.
Brady had a 7-0 run to end the third period with a 25-22 advantage that grew to as many as 10 with a little more than a minute to play in the fourth.
Despite five Raider free throws late in the game, the Eagles pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament winning 40-34.
“We just never quit pushing the tempo,” Arterburn said, “and we kept the Biltoft girl in check, holding her to only 10 points.”
The tall post was Lawrence-Nelson’s leading scorer for the season averaging 13 points per game.
Brady junior Courtney Widick hit three three-pointers in the second half and finished with a game-high 15 points to lead the Eagles.
Scoring by quarters:
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