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Trojans blow through SubDistricts; take on Yutan in District finals

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HARTINGTON — Cedar Catholic rolled through the C2-6 Sub-District Tournament at the Msgr. Werner Activity Center with a 7034 win over Crofton in the opening round and a 57-40 win over Ponca in the finals to set them up for a District final date with 14-10 Yutan back in Hartington on Feb. 28.

“We played our worst game against South Sioux City a few weeks ago,” Cedar Catholic coach Matt Steffen said. “We are coming around at the right time of the year — we have been getting better after a few games (where) we seemed a little stagnant.”

Against a Ponca team that is always a tough match-up this time of year, the Trojans took care of business and rolled to the 17-point victory.

“Ponca had a nice game plan and stuck to it,” Steffen said. “They really slowed the game down and limited our possessions on offense.”

Despite the Indians’ tactics, the Trojans ran out to a 30-16 lead after the opening half before Ponca came back a bit in the third quarter.

The teams headed into the final eight minutes with Cedar Catholic in front by 10, 41-31, and then kept the heat on with a 16-9 final frame.

“We handled the slow pace and shot a high percentage from the floor,” Steffen said.

The Trojans shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and 44.7 percent for the game, most of the damage coming from inside the three-point line.

Andrew Jones had a solid night with 13 points and three steals as Cedar Catholic made hay with 16 points off Ponca turnovers.

Jaxson Bernecker tossed in 11 points to go with nine rebounds. Nolan Becker and Tyan Baller each added 10 points.

In the opening round of the tournament, Cedar Catholic ran away from Crofton by 36 to easily advance to the SubDistrict final.

Other than a 12-7 deficit in the first quarter and down 15-13 at the end of the first, Bernecker stepped outside and hit a three to give the Trojans the lead early in the second eight minutes, 16-15.

Another three by Baller with just under seven minutes left in the second made it 19-15 and then Jones swiped a steal and a hit a lay-up to make it 21-15 with 6:38 left before the halftime break.

The Trojans never looked back. Bernecker hit Baller on a drive to the bucket and he was fouled with 5:21 before the half.

Baller hit the two foul shots and then Jones grabbed another steal and went coast-to-coast for a basket and then Bernecker stole the ball and hit Baller for a lay-up and suddenly it was 27-15.

Cedar Catholic finished off a 21-0 run with a bucket by Baller with 4:24 left and a basket by Isaac Kuehn after he grabbed a missed free throw by Baller on a foul committed after the layup.

Baller completed the run with a long ball and the Trojans were on the way to the SubDistrict final.

“We took care of business in this game,” Steffen said. “We got after them early and just kept going — it was a good game for us.”

Baller poured in a game-high 23 points against the Warriors on 8-for-12 shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 performance from behind the three-point line.

Bernecker tossed in 16 points and Jones had another solid offensive night with 11 points without missing a shot.

Jones also added another three steals and Bernecker handed out four assists and pulled down seven rebounds.

Cedar Catholic, 19-4, took on Yutan in the C-4 District Final Tueday night with a return trip to Lincoln on the line. The Chiefs had a 14-10 record prior to the game.

Cedar Catholic 13 25 14 18—70 Crofton 15 5 9 5 — 34 SCORING

Cedar - Tyan Baller, 23; Jaxson Bernecker, 16; Andrew Jones, 11; Nolan Becker, 7; Grant Arens, 6; Isaac Kuehn, 6; Carson Arens, 1.


Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 7; Andrew Jones, 6; Carson Arens, 4; Nolan Becker, 4; Grant Arens, 2; Isaac Kuehn, 1; Jaymison Cattau, 1.


Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 4; Grant Arens, 2; Isaac Kuehn, 1; Nolan Becker, 1; Andrew Jones, 1.


Cedar - Andrew Jones, 3; Grant Arens, 1; Jaymison Cattau, 1; Carson Arens, 1; Isaac Kuehn, 1; Jaxson Bernecker, 1; Keaton Arens, 1. Cedar Catholic 15 15 11 16 - 57 Ponca 9 7 15 9 - 40 SCORING

Cedar - Andrew Jones, 13; Jaxson Bernecker, 11; Tyan Baller, 10; Nolan Becker, 10; Carson Arens, 5; Grant Arens, 5; Isaac Kuehn, 2; Keyton Arens, 1.


Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 9; Tyan Baller, 3; Andrew Jones, 3; Carson Arens, 3; Nolan Becker, 3; Grant Arens, 2; Isaac Kuehn, 1; Breaden Reifenrath, 1.


Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 2; Carson Arens, 1; Andrew Jones, 1. STEALS Cedar - Andrew Jones, 3; Nolan Becker, 2; Carson Arens, 1; Jaxson Bernecker, 1; Grant Arens, 1; Keyton Arens, 1.