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Thunder Girls Place 4th In 3A State Tournament
By Jake Spalding
Copyright: MSC Sports

Hutchinson, Kansas

The final day of the 2018-2019 basketball season saw Nemaha Central face off with Norton in the third-place game of the 3A State Tournament. Coming off a semifinal loss to top seed Cheney, the Lady Thunder looked to bounce back and end the year with a win, a tall task for Nemaha on the inside as Norton fronted two 6'2 forwards and tough man to man defensive pressure. Nemaha jumped out with the early 2-0 lead following a Jacy Dalinghaus bucket, but two quick fouls on Dalinghaus within the games first 2:35 forced 9th year head coach Hadden Hiltgen to bring the senior to the bench for the majority of the first half. As a result, Nemaha would have to rely on others to step up in the first half to keep pace with the BlueJays. Norton led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, and both squads decided to pick up the defensive intensity into the second.

Norton and Nemaha traded just two buckets in the second quarter, and at the half Norton maintained a one point advantage 16-15. A big third quarter by Norton gave the BlueJays their biggest lead of the game at 26-19 with just over 3:00 left in the third quarter, with Dalinghaus picking up her third personal foul the Thunder rode the hot hand of Alleigh Kramer and closed the third quarter on a 7-0 to climb back within one at 26-25. Nemaha would continue their massive run all the way to a 31-26 advantage, their first lead since the first quarter, with 6:48 to go in the game. The Thunder's 12-0 run was finally stopped by Sophomore Tessa Hauser and Norton. With the game quickly shifting back into the BlueJays favor, Norton capitalized from the free throw line going 6-7 in the fourth quarter while Nemaha went ice cold from the field, and the BlueJays ultimately prevailed 36-33 ending the game on a 10-2 run.

Nemaha Central had many opportunities down the stretch, but costly turnovers and the inability to hit big shots proved to be the difference. Kramer led all scorers with 12 points, all in the second half, something that became the norm for Alleigh in the state tournament scoring 50 of her 52 points in the second half of the Thunder's games. Jacy Dalinghaus was only able to play 14 of the 32 minutes due to foul trouble and never had an opportunity to get going. Dalinghaus, along with Ashley Larkin and Ashley Hammes have played their final game in their outstanding prep careers. Key players coming back vying for a 4th consecutive state tournament appearance will be Hannah Macke, Cassidy Corby, Aydan Bass, Alleigh Kramer, Emma Elder, Kirsten Lortscher and Riley Rottinghaus. The Thunder end their season with plenty of accolades including another Big7 league title, sub-state championship, fourth place finish in the 3A State tournament and a record of 21-5.



Nemaha Central – A. Kramer – 12, A. Larkin – 7, A. Hammes – 4, R. Rottinghaus – 4, J. Dalinghaus – 2, K. Lortscher – 2, E. Elder – 2.


                                            1    2    3     4    F  

#2 Norton Community –  12 | 4 | 10 | 10 | 36

#4 Nemaha Central -        11 | 4 | 10 |  8  | 33



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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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