Sterling outlasts Chambers/Wheeler Central to advance to semis

LINCOLN, NE – In a game that was close throughout, Sterling (22-5) built a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter and hung on for a 44-37 win over Chambers/Wheeler Central in the first round of the Class D2 girls’ state basketball tournament at Lincoln Southwest High School on Thursday.

The Jets, who are back at state for the first time since 2014, will now face No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart (24-3) in the semifinals on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Sterling was led in scoring Thursday by junior center Colby Theis. She had 16 points. Freshman guard Ella Wingert wound up with 14 points and three rebounds.

Senior Malayna Wingert gave the Jets three players in double figures with 12 points.

Junior forward Taylor Peter led the Renegades with a dominant 28-point performance. She also grabbed five rebounds. Sophomore forward Morgan Ramsey finished with 10 points and five boards.

Friday will be the fifth meeting between Sterling and Sacred Heart this season alone. The Irish hold a 3-1 advantage over the Jets in the season series.

Sterling beat Sacred Heart at MUDECAS 25-23 in overtime, but the Irish have won the last two meetings in a row, including the Pioneer Conference championship (50-39) and then again in subdistrict finals (36-24).

Falls City Sacred Heart has won three of the last four Class D2 state championships in girls’ basketball, including 2017 and ’18.

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