WILBER, NE – Exeter-Milligan (19-4), the odds-on favorite to win the D2-2 subdistrict, overcame a sluggish start to blow out Friend, 62-36 on Tuesday evening at Wilber-Clatonia High School.
Friend (1-22), who played its way in with a 47-41 win over Dorchester Monday, got off to a quick 5-0 start early in the first, but then surrendered a 15-3 run, allowing the Timberwolves to take a 15-8 lead by the end of the first.
By halftime, Exeter-Milligan was about at its cruising speed, leading 35-17.
Sophomore guard/forward Jackson Beethe came off the bench and dropped a game-high 16 points for the T-Wolves. Senior Spencer Pribyl and junior Max Zeleny each scored 10. Senior Colton Bossaller settled for 9.
Junior forward Jacob Bottom led Friend with 11 points. He also had a blocked shot. The Bulldogs were an exceptionally young team in 2018-19, with six of their 12 players being freshmen. Blaze Miller, who just joined the team this year, is the lone senior on the squad.
“In all my time coaching, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Friend head coach Bryan Arp said before the game. “We’re really young, and the experience they’ve gotten now is going to make next year’s transition much smoother.”
Diller-Odell survives close, scrappy game against Parkview Christian
In a back-and-forth affair filled with questionable calls, Diller-Odell (10-12) weathered a second half rally from Parkview Christian (10-12) and held on for a 50-44 win in the D2-2 subdistrict semifinals.
The Griffins, who won their fourth straight game and are now 5-1 in their last six, blew a 10-point lead in the third quarter, and allowed Parkview Christian to tie the game, 39-39 heading into the fourth.
The Patriots tied it twice in the second half, but were never able to grab a lead. A big reason for that was senior forward Bryston Warren. Warren ended up with 20 points and 10 rebounds, unofficially. Eight of his 20 points came in the fourth quarter alone.
Warren helped the Griffins outscore the Patriots, 11-5 in a rugged fourth quarter. Junior Jamal Smith hit a three-pointer with just over a minute left to cut Diller-Odell’s lead to 45-44.
On the ensuing possession, Warren took the ball to the rim, made a layup and got fouled. Warren missed the free throw, but junior Conner Klecan got to the free throw line inside of 20 seconds to go, and made both shots to put the Griffins ahead 49-44.
Klecan finished with just two points. Senior William McLaughlin and sophomore Austin Jurgens each scored 10.
Diller-Odell did a nice job Tuesday of not letting Parkview Christian drive the lane or get shots by the rim. The Patriots shot three-pointers all game long, making 5/19 shots from that range, unofficially.
Senior Rashad Woods finished with a team-high 16 points, but made no threes. Senior Davion Helmstadter made three triples, and finished with 11 points. Sophomore Josh Platter contributed seven.
It was a rough-and-tumble game throughout, especially late. There were 30 combined fouls called, including two charges. There were also four jump balls – three of those coming in the final quarter.
There was some trash talk after the whistle on a couple of occasions, but no technicals issued. No players fouled out, either.
Tuesday’s result sets up a Thursday subdistrict final between No. 1 seed Exeter-Milligan and No. 2 seed Diller-Odell. Tip-off from Wilber-Clatonia High School is set for 7 p.m. Coverage begins at 6:40 on OI’ Red 99.5.
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