It took an extra period, but after a highly-contested game throughout, the St. John-Hudson Tigers advanced into the 1A State Championship Game Saturday, beating Osborne 43-37.
They’ll face Central Plains at 6:15 Saturday.
Osborne will play in the third-place game scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.
It was a one-basket game most of the way.
That’s something St.John coach Clint Kinnamon said is his team’s mantra, and something he learned from another coach who he worked with.
“If you can play a one-basket game, get a stop and a score every trip, the scores going to take care of itself,” Kinnamon said.
With only a couple exceptions, the Tigers were pretty locked in defensively.
The Tigers led 11-8 after the first quarter, but a better second quarter by the Bulldogs, where they outscored the Tigers 10-9, sent the two teams into the halftime break with the Tigers leading 20-18.
Each team had 14 rebounds, with St. John shooting 35 percent from the field while Osborne shot 41.2 percent, but with St. John having gone 5 of 10 from the free-throw line in the first half while Osborne went 1 of 1 from the line.
Neither team was able to create any separation in the third as the teams each continued to struggle to find their rhythms. That resulted in a low-scoring quarter as Osborne outscored St. John 5-4, sending the game into the fourth quarter with St. John leading 24-23.
A massive score on an alley-oop by Osborne senior Darnell Holloway after he had just saved the ball from going out of bounds on a 2-on-1 break cut St. John’s lead to 28-27 with about 5:39 left in the fourth.
Two late buckets by Osborne sent the game into overtime with the tied game at 34-34, but the Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 9-3 in overtime to secure the win.