For the ninth time in the last ten seasons the Scottsbluff boys basketball team has qualified for the Class B State Tournament as they picked up a 63-61 overtime win at Scottsbluff High School.
The atmosphere was electric as the No. 3 seed Bearcats were pushed to the limit and then some by the No. 14 seed Vikings.
Scottsbluff took control in the first quarter as sharpshooting junior, Dawson Mohr, got loose from downtown, connecting on three treys in the quarter as Scottsbluff led 15-9 after one.
The Cats would go up 19-9, forcing Waverly into a timeout.
Waverly would start to forge their back into the game behind their two stars on the day, senior Noah Stoddard and junior Andrew Heffelfinger. That combo would score of 11 of their 13 in the second quarter.
After forcing five Scottsbluff turnovers in the first quarter it was more of the same in the second as the Cats coughed up the ball four more times.
Waverly shut down everyone except senior Jasiya DeOllos in the second quarter but DeOllos was able to get his usual flurry of drives and the occasional three pointer to score all nine Scottsbluff points in the quarter as the Cats led 24-22 at halftime.
The second half won’t soon be forgotten.
Waverly’s Heffelfinger went off the rest of the game including scoring nine points in the third quarter while Stoddard ran the show and scored four more.
For Scottsbluff DeOllos and Mohr eached scored four while senior Chance Parker did the same as the Cats took a slim, 38-37 lead to the fourth quarter.
The gym was rocking at this point with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Heffelfinger and Stoddard combined to score 52 of Waverly’s 61 points in the game and in the fourth it was Heffelfinger with eight more to give him 27 at the end of regulation.
In a quarter where DeOllos was held scoreless Mohr, Parker, Jack Darnell, Sam Clarkson, and Sabastian Harsh combined to score 15 points but it wasn’t enough to close things out.
Stoddard was fouled with 1.2 seconds on the clock on a drive to the basket and stepped to the line and was able to knock down two foul shots on the road with the game on the line to force overtime.
In overtime it was DeOllos, Heffelfinger, and Stoddard stepping to the forefront.
Heffelfinger gave Waverly an early edge with a pair of three pointers while DeOllos was able to answer back a couple of times of his own including a huge trey to give Scottsbluff the momentum.
A back and forth affair would finally come to a close as Stoddard connected on a pair of free throws to the tie the game followed by a drive and foul on Mohr for Scottsbluff, who calmly sank a pair to give the Cats a two point lead.
Then after a timeout it was Stoddard taking it himself, dribbling the clock down and missing a contested three pointer defended well by Darnell.
It’s an old cliche, but in games like this one it always rings true, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. Those emotions were on the faces of the two teams. Scottsbluff back to Lincoln again and heartbreak for the underdog Vikings.
DeOllos scored 9 of his team high 26 points for Scottsbluff in the overtime to lead the way. Mohr, who had the hot hand early and the two late free throws, finished with 19.
Heffelfinger. He was awesome, hitting big shot after big shot for Waverly. Heffelfinger finished with a game high 33 points. Stoddard, their engine, had 19.
Scottsbluff, uncharacteristically, turned the ball over (unofficially) 17 times.
Waverly hit 20 of 27 at the free throw line.
Scottsbluff is now 24-3 on the season and waiting the official pairings from the NSAA on the bracket for the Class B State Tournament that will run from March 12th -14th.
Alliance also qualified for the State Tournament with a home win over Lexington.
Waverly was outstanding but their season ends with a record of 13-10.
Again, Scottsbluff has now qualified for state in nine of the last ten years.
You can also re-watch the full action below:
Or the condensed version here: