MURDOCK – The Elmwood-Murdock boys milled a large amount of winning lumber during their regular-season schedule.
That work helped the Knights build a state-qualifying structure after Monday night’s district finals.
Elmwood-Murdock secured one of two wild-card berths into the Class C-2 State Tournament. The Knights were fourth in wild-card point standings after their 48-44 loss to Yutan in Friday night’s subdistrict title game. That put the team in position to capture a state berth pending the outcomes of eight district finals.
The results of the district championship games fell in Elmwood-Murdock’s favor. The three teams sitting above E-M in the wild-card standings – Ponca, Yutan and Hastings St. Cecilia – all won their district contests, which allowed E-M to safely receive a wild card. Ponca defeated Creighton 68-36, Yutan stopped Freeman 45-37 and Hastings St. Cecilia edged Centennial 45-35.
Nebraska School Activities Association officials released brackets for the state boys basketball tournament Wednesday morning. Elmwood-Murdock (19-4) will be the fourth seed in the Class C-2 State Tournament. The Knights will take on fifth-seeded Bancroft-Rosalie-Lyons-Decatur Northeast (24-2) at 8:45 p.m. Thursday, March 8. The first-round game will take place at Lincoln Southeast High School.
B-R-L-D will enter the state tournament on a six-game winning streak. Ponca and Logan View/Scribner-Snyder have handed the Wolverines their two losses during the year. Ponca won 50-42 in late December and L-V/S-S won the East Husker Conference Tournament title game 38-36 on Feb. 3.
Elmwood-Murdock will enter the state tournament with victories in four of its last six games. Two of the team’s losses this year have come to top-ranked Class C-1 Wahoo and top-ranked Class D-2 Falls City Sacred Heart. The Knights defeated Class C-1 state qualifier Syracuse and Class C-2 state qualifier Yutan earlier in the winter.
The winner of the first-round state game will take on either top-seeded Ponca or eighth-seeded Perkins County in the next round. The semifinal game is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Friday, March 9, at Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.
The third-place game will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at Lincoln East High School. The Class C-2 championship game will tip off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
Elmwood-Murdock will participate in the program’s ninth state boys basketball tournament. Elmwood-Murdock won the Class C-2 state title in 2008 and finished second in both 2001 and 2016. The Knights also played at state in 1998, 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2017.
Class C-2 State Boys Basketball Tournament Pairings
Thursday, March 8
Game 1: #3 Hastings St. Cecilia (22-3) vs. #6 South Loup (21-3) @ Lincoln Southeast – 2 p.m.
Game 2: #2 Yutan (24-1) vs. #7 Arcadia-Loup City (22-4) @ Lincoln Southeast – 3:45 p.m.
Game 3: #1 Ponca (27-1) vs. #8 Perkins County (16-7) @ Lincoln Southeast – 7 p.m.
Game 4: #4 Elmwood-Murdock (19-4) vs. #5 Bancroft-Rosalie-Lyons-Decatur Northeast (24-2) @ Lincoln Southeast – 8:45 p.m.
Friday, March 9
Game 5: Semifinal #1 @ Bob Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln – 2 p.m.
Game 6: Semifinal #2 @ Bob Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln – 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, March 10
Game 7: Third-place game @ Lincoln East – 9 a.m.
Game 8: First-place game @ Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln – 4:30 p.m.