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Eagles Advance To State

Signal Editor

Bruning-Davenport/Shickley needed a win in the D1-1 District final last Tuesday to earn a berth into the 2017 NSAA State Class D-1 Basketball Tournament.  And, standing in its way for a fourth-straight season in a district final was No.1 state-rated Lourdes Central Catholic.
No problem.  The Eagles led the district final almost start-to-finish last week and upended the 21-5 Knights 50-42 at Crete High School to punch its ticket to Lincoln for a third-straight year.  BDS (20-4) will be the fourth seed at state and will square off with 17-6 Randolph this Thursday at 3:45 p.m., at Lincoln East High School.  Lourdes CC will also be in Lincoln this week by earning a wild card. They play 19-7 Burwell at 10:45 a.m., at Lincoln East on March 9.
After a back-and-forth first period, the Eagles opened up a 24-19 led with two minutes left in the second quarter.  Lourdes CC closed with the final three points of the stanza.  BDS led 24-22 at the break.
"We did get them out of their offensive style," Eagle coach Fred Kluck said.  "We were able to spend some time in practice talking about how to defend their top two players.  This is a fun rivalry with them...they play hard.  They play the game the way it needs to be played and I'd like to think we do that, too."
BDS got by the Knights last year to advance to state and lost to them 59-43 in 2014 to fall short of Lincoln.  BDS is 4-4 in its games at state.
Caden Norder drilled a pair of 3-pointers midway through the third quarter which put BDS up 32-24.  But true to their high ranking, the Knights went on a 9-3 run to end the period and trailed by only two, 35-33, entering the final quarter.
Lourdes CC took the lead for the first time since the opening period 23 seconds into the fourth quarter at 36-35.  BDS got back on track and inched out to a 42-38 lead with two minutes left in the game behind a pair of Norder free throws.
"Caden is a hard worker," Kluck said.  "He works very hard in the gym all year.  We like to be patient. When they got the lead, I was hoping we would respond.  We got right back into it, got the lead and never gave it back."
Kale Kleinschmidt, who handled a good portion of the ball handling duties against the  pesky Knight press, made three free throws next to put BDS up 45-38.  Norder put in a fast-break bunny after a blown Lourdes CC press attempt and the Eagles were up nine 47-38.  Noel Gines added a pair of free throws late and BDS prevailed by eight.
Norder led all scorers with 22 points.  Kleinschmidt added nine points and eight assists. John Christensen netted seven points and Holden Stengel had four points and nine rebounds.
Last year, the Eagles entered state the top seed at 24-3 but were only able to win one game in Lincoln—a first-round victory over Archbishop Bergan, followed by losses to Walthill and High Plains. BDS has been elevated to No. 1 in the Omaha World Herald after downing Lourdes CC.
"We want to go down there and have some fun and play hard," Kluck said.  "Of course, you want to win the first one and keep on playing."
After graduating a stellar cast of post players and its leading scorer last year, seniors Kleinschmidt and Gines help lead this years' team.  Other starters include juniors Norder,  Stengel and Garrett Schardt. Sophomore Christensen and junior Anthony Beavers both see extensive action.  Seniors Brett Holtzen, Hunter Krehnke, John Alfs and Josh Hinrichs provide minutes off the bench at times.  
 "It would've been a shame for these guys to not make state," Kluck said.  "They work hard, and way before that, they're just super kids."
Norder is the Eagles' leading scorer averaging 12.8 points per game, but the Eagles, who come into Lincoln having won nine straight, have seven players on its roster that average five or more points per contest. Balanced scoring and solid defense is the calling card for BDS.
Randolph started its season 2-4 before righting the ship and come into Lincoln with a seven-game win streak.  The  Cardinals are led by a 6-foot, 4-inch senior post who averages 17.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.  A pair of 5-9 and 5-10 guards both score right at nine points per contest. Like BDS, Randolph likes to keep its games in the 50s.
Top-seeded Dundy County-Stratton, the Eagles likely Friday morning opponent (10:45 a.m., Devaney Sports Center), is led by a 5-11 junior guard who averages 17 points a clip.  A 6-3 senior post pitches in 10.4 points per game. The 23-3 Tigers have not lost to a D-1 opponent this year—13-10 C-2 Kimball; 17-5 C-1 Hershey and a Kansas school.