NORFOLK — It was a chilly night at the Hawk’s nest for second round action of the Mid-State Conference tournament Friday night, as the #2 seeded Hartington Cedar Catholic Trojans squared off with the third seeded Wayne Blue Devils.
With a trip to the finals, and Rice Auditorium on the line, the Trojans wasted little time making their presence known.
A few quick strikes early on and an acrobatic steal and coast-to-coast lay up combination from Hartington senior Brady Steffen would set the stage for a 12-point first quarter for the Trojans.
Cedar Catholic was left to fend off Wayne’s offensive attacks without starting sophomore Carter Arens who would find himself in foul trouble early on, however they would still control the tempo on defense allowing only nine first quarter points by the Blue Devils ending the first quarter with a 12-9 Trojan lead.
The second quarter picked up right where the first ended for the Trojans.
After a few down and backs, Wayne would tie up the score at the hands of two consecutive three pointers delivered by heavy hitting senior Shea Sweetland. No sooner than the Blue Devils tied up the score, the Trojans dialed up the help of sophomore Tate Thoene who would knock down his own three pointer from NBA range, shifting the tide back towards Hartington with 5:30 left to play in the half. From that point on it was all Cedar Catholic. Carving up the Blue Devil defense while tacking on 18 additional points while allowing only 12 more behind their stingy 2-3 zone defense, sending the Blue Devils to the locker room trailing 30-21.
Coming back from the break with their heads held high and all the momentum in the world, the Trojans would allow Wayne to claw back into the game. Wayne playing a swarming man defense would use two quick steals to their advantage going on a 9-0 scoring run provided by (Shea) Sweetland, who scored a game high 20 points.
Cedar once again pulled the rug out from underneath Wayne’s comeback attempt with three consecutive shots from beyond the arc from Tate Thoene and Myles Thoene, shifting the momentum back. The third frame ended with a trip to the charity stripe by Trojan freshman Jaxon Bernecker who connected on both freethrows sending the Trojans into the final frame nursing a 41-38 lead.
Things fell apart after that. A quick trey from Sweetland followed by a roughly contested shot from Wayne’s Cody Rogers gave the Devils their first lead of the night. The Trojans flipped on the full court pressure, managing to tie it up again after a pair of freethrows from Myles Thoene before relinquishing the tone back to Wayne as time wound down leaving the young Trojans no choice but to foul, Wayne put it on ice with free throws ending the game 59-52.
The Trojans were paced by the Thoene boys, who scored 14 and 17 points, followed by Charlie Schroeder’s eight.
Cedar 12 18 11 11 —52 Wayne 9 12 17 21 —59
Cedar Wayne FG 9-20 9-21 3PT 9-20 10-22 FT 7-12 11-17 Reb 28 26 TOs 12 8 Fouls 17 13 SCORING Cedar - Myles Thoene, 17; Tate Thoene, 14; Charlie Schroeder, 8; Carter Arens, 7; Jaxon Bernecker, 4; Brady Steffen, 2. Wayne - Shea Sweetland, 22; Tanner Walling, 11; Tyrus Eischeid, 11; Cody Rodgers, 10; Josh Lutt, 5. REBOUNDS Cedar - Brady Steffen, 7; Tate Thoene, 6; Charlie Schroeder, 6; Carter Arens, 3; Jaxon Bernecker, 3; Myles Thoene, 1. Wayne - Cody Rodgers, 6; Shea Sweetland, 4; Tyrus Eischeid, 4; Tanner Walling, 3; Noah Lutt, 2. ASSISTS Cedar - Brady Steffen, 9; Tate Thoene, 3; Jackson Bernecker, 1; Myles Thoene, 1; Charlie Schroeder, 1. STEALS Cedar - Brady Steffen, 3; Jaxon Bernecker, 2; Myles Thoene, 1.