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Cedar girls set to take on a determined O-C squad

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OAKLAND — The Cedar Catholic Lady Trojans pulled a huge upset over state-rated Ponca in the Subdistrict title game.

If they want to make a trip to state, they will need to pull yet another huge upset this Friday.

Cedar will take on 20-3 Oakland- Craig Friday at South Sioux City.

The Lady Knights ended the regular season rated as the second-best C2 team by the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star, but the team is the four seed in Districts due to Power Points Cedar was unrated in the final regular-season polls, but the Lady Trojans started the season rated fifth by LJS and eighth by OWH. Cedar earned the 13 seed after upsetting Ponca in the Subdistrict Finals.

The O-C team is blessed with depth, experience, and size. The team features the rare combination of an explosive offense and a deadly stiff defense.

The team averages just over 58 points per game on offense while holding opponents to just over 44 points per game.

The Lady Knights are led by a pair of double-figure shooters.

The offense relies on senior Dacey Nelson who averages 26.7 points per game. Her go-to move is to slice through the paint on the way to the rim. Over the years, she has also honed her shooting skills, as she can hit from almost anywhere on the floor. This year she is shooting 41-123 from three-point range.

Nelson is a senior who scored her 1,000th point this year after sitting out her junior season with a knee injury. In November, the senior signed to play basketball with Hillsdale College, a Division II program in Michigan.

O-C junior Kennedy Benne also averages in double figures as she has connected for 13.5 points per game this season.

The Lady Knights have a good inside-outside game thanks to sophomore Jeannina Blahak. The 6-1 post patrols the paint well, averaging just over six

rebounds and four points per game. Blahak just edges out Nelson for the team lead in rebounds per game.

Oakland-Craig put together a 14- game win streak to open the season before finally tasting defeat in a 52- 49 setback to C-1 powerhouse North Bend Central. The team’s only other two losses came at the hands of C-1 opponent West Point-Beemer. WPB won a conference tournament matchup in overtime, and then again six days later in regulation play.

Cedar Catholic has also played West Point-Beemer, losing 57-44 on Dec. 31. Cedar and O-C also have common opponents of Pender and Guardian Angels Central Catholic, which were wins for both teams.

These common opponents may offer some insight for both sides on what it will take to earn a win and punch a ticket to the State Tournament.

A key to the Lady Trojans success will be the continued growth for a team that is finally healthy but has dealt with injuries throughout the year. In fact, only ve Cedar players have recorded stats in all 20 of the team’s games this season.

Brianna Miller has played just ve games, dealing with a lower leg injury, but returned to play against Homer on Feb. 5.

Another senior, Jada Cattau, has played in 19 games but has dealt with an ankle injury for much of the season. She still has managed to average nearly 10 points per game through the season, and she scored the go-ahead layup against Ponca to advance to the District Finals.

Cedar now produces offense with a crew of scorers. Brynn Wortmann leads the team with 11.5 ppg, Maddie Wieseler follows with 10.7 ppg, and Abby Hochstein also averages double digits with 10.2 ppg.

As a team, Cedar averages 50.6 points per game, while the Lady Trojan defense holds opponents to just under 48 points per game.