BOYS STATE BASKETBALL: Lutheran Rallies To Reach First State Title Game

LINCOLN–(KFOR Mar. 8)–Lincoln Lutheran will play for a boys state basketball championship Saturday.

The Warriors, in only their second trip to state in program history, managed to bounce back from an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter with no momentum and pulled off a rally that gave Lutheran a 51-45 victory over Norfolk Catholic in the semifinals of the Class C2 tournament Friday afternoon at the Devaney Sports Center.

Lutheran (19-8) will play Amherst for the C2 title Saturday at 4:15pm, a game you can hear on KFOR.  Norfolk Catholic will play for third place against Cross County on Saturday at Lincoln Northwest.

Norfolk Catholic (18-9) broke away from a 30-30 tie to start the fourth quarter and went on an 8-0 run before a timeout was taken with 5:35 remaining.  Lutheran then mounted a major comeback, outscoring the Knights 21-7 over the final five-and-a-half minutes of the game.

Jacob Duitsman, a 6-4 junior forward, led the Warrior charge with a reverse layup along the baseline, then junior forward Grant Stowell hit a crucial three-pointer from the left side, Braxton Glines hit a mid-range shot and Stowell buried another three-pointer to give Lutheran a 40-38 lead.

Norfolk Catholic responded with Braeden Burbach’s jump shot to tie the game at 40 with 2:30 remaining.  Duitsman hit a pair of free throws to give the lead back to Lutheran and after stealing the inbounds pass and drawing a foul, he connected on one of two free throws.

Duitsman picked up a steal and on a two-on-one break, fed Logan Lebo for a basket to give the Warriors a 45-40 advantage.  Perhaps one of the most remarkable plays of the day came when Lutheran trapped Norfolk Catholic’s Carter Janssen at mid-court, which led to Duitsman stealing the ball and go up for a breakaway dunk, plus drawing the foul.  After making the free throw, Duitsman extended Lutheran’s lead to 48-40 with 1:12 to play.

Duitsman had a team-high 13 points for the Warriors, all of which came in the second half.  Lebo added 10 points in the Lutheran victory.

Junior Max Hammond led Norfolk Catholic with 13 points.