BEATRICE, NE – The media table was full. Three TV stations, two radio stations and several newspapers were on hand.
The old-fashioned wooden-chairs in the Beatrice Auditorium were all filled up. Two of the hottest teams in the area played their hardest for a trip to the title game on the line.
Tri County and Freeman had all of the earmarks of a MUDECAS classic on Thursday night – and a classic it was.
The No. 4 Trojans (10-3) overcame a nine-point, halftime deficit to upset No. 1 Freeman, 41-39 on Thursday night in a boys’ A Division semifinal.
Tri County, who just won its sixth straight game, was once again led in scoring by sophomore sensation Cole Siems.
The 5-foot-10 guard dropped a game-high 20 points for the second game in a row after doing the same against Exeter-Milligan on Tuesday.
With his team trailing 20-11 at the half, Siems willed Tri County back into the game by knocking down four three-pointers over the final two quarters.
Fifteen of Siems’ 20 points came from long range.
Freeman (12-3) had three players finish in double figures, led by senior Tyler Adams who tallied 11 points. Junior Trey Yates and senior Brady Ideus each scored 10.
After Tri County used a 19-9 run in the third quarter to take a 30-29 lead at the start of the fourth, the game was pretty much a toss-up from that point.
There were six lead changes and three ties, but back-to-back three-pointers by Siems and Evan Larson inside of three minutes left may have sealed the deal.
Larson, who hit five threes against Exeter-Milligan, was just 1-of-7 from distance Thursday and he settled for five points.
Sophomore Lucas Weise was also solid for Tri County. He ended up with 12 points.
Tri County will now face No. 3 Falls City Sacred Heart (12-1) in the MUDECAS A Division championship on Saturday evening at 7:30.
The Irish upset Class D2 rival Johnson-Brock 61-43 on Thursday in the second A Division semifinal.
In the B Division, No. 1 HTRS (10-3) came back from a 35-25 halftime deficit to beat No. 4 Diller-Odell, 51-42. After that, No. 2 Southern (6-7) beat No. 3 Palmyra 50-33.
The Raiders and Titans will play for the B Division title on Saturday evening at 5:45 p.m.
The A and B Division titles will both be carried on Ol’ Red 99.5.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @Tommy_NCN.