MINDEN – The Ashland-Greenwood boys basketball got a second chance to make the cut for the state tournament, and they took full advantage.
The Bluejays defeated Chase County 54-28 in Minden to earn a spot in the Class C-1 State Basketball Tournament, which starts March 12 in Lincoln.
More details on the district final will be included in next week's issue of The Ashland Gazette.
The Bluejays fell to the Bishop Neumann Cavaliers 52-43 in the Class C1-4 sub-district final at Waverly High School on Feb. 27. However, the team was fortunate enough to earn a wildcard spot in the district finals.
The Bluejays started sub-district play on Feb. 25 in Waverly as they avenged a loss earlier in the season. They notched a 67-56 win over Douglas County West.
The Bluejays led 14-12 after one quarter and broke open the game in the second quarter by outscoring the Falcons 16-6 in the second quarter.
The Bluejays were able to maintain their lead throughout the second half by playing efficient basketball on the offensive end. AGHS scored 37 points in the second half.
Sophomore Cale Jacobsen led the Jays with 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists
The AGHS sophomore tied the school record for made free throws, finishing 15-of-16 from the charity stripe.
Senior Gavin Bergsten and junior Jarrod Nafzinger added 12 points apiece against DC West.
“We did a great job defensively to take away what they wanted to do. In the second quarter, we were able to build a double digit lead and take control of the game. Our offense was efficient as we also took good care of the basketball. It was great to play such a solid overall game, especially since we did not play our best the last time we met,” said Ashland-Greenwood Coach Jacob Mohs.
AGHS shot 54 percent from the field and converted on 71 percent from the line.
The Bluejays also turned the ball over just six times.
The win put the Jays into the sub-district final against Neumann on Thursday.
Offensive inequities in the fourth quarter cost the Jays and the Cavaliers were able to pull away for the nine-point win.
The Bluejays trailed 28-22 at the half, but outscored the Cavaliers 18-9 in the third quarter and took a 40-37 lead into the final eight minutes.
Ashland shot 1-of-10 in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over six times.
The Bluejays shot 42 percent from the field, compared to 66 percent for the Cavaliers. The Bluejays also turned it over 17 times.
“Offensively, we had to work really hard to get good shots and score against their aggressive defense. We were able to really gain momentum in the third quarter, but
lost our composure in the fourth quarter and did not finish the way we wanted to,” added Mohs.
Jacobsen scored 13 points and added six rebounds, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Senior Rece Kissinger scored nine points on three made 3-pointers.
Nafzinger added seven points, four rebounds and four assists.