Fremont Bergan didn’t serve as a gracious host against Mead on Thursday evening in the Knight Classic.
The Knights hit six 3-point field goals in the opening half to build a 36-18 halftime lead. The perimeter shooting helped Bergan down the Raiders 54-35 at the Wikert Event Center of Midland University.
The win advances Bergan to the championship game at 7:30 Friday night against Howells-Dodge. The Jaguars defeated Hartington Cedar Catholic 48-42 in the other first-round game.
Bergan never trailed as Grant Frickenstein, who scored a game-high 17 points, opened the game with a 3-point basket. Teammate Dylan Kucera added another trey with 6:58 left in the opening quarter to put Mead in a 6-0 hold.
“We talked a lot about getting off to a good start against these guys,” Bergan assistant coach Doug Moore said. “Getting them down 6-0 early was a key. That kind of gave us some energy.”
A Frickenstein field goal stretched the lead to 13-4 before Josh Quinn’s traditional three-point play helped the Raiders close to 13-7. The Knights, though used field goals by Kucera, Frickenstein and Kolby Boggs to end the period on a 6-2 run and led 19-9.
The Raiders closed to 21-16 on a Quinn three-point play with 6:00 left in the half, but Bergan’s defense limited the Raiders to only two points — on Jacob Felty free throws — the rest of the period.
Bergan led 36-18 at halftime.
“Our defense sets the tempo,” Moore said. “We knew we were a little bit bigger and taller than them. We didn’t give up many offensive rebounds and we wanted to force some quick shots. Our defense can lead directly to offense in transition.”
Frickenstein’s 3 early in the third quarter extended the lead to 41-20 as the Knights were never threatened the rest of the way.
Kucera scored 13 of his 15 points in the opening half. Junior guard Dre Vance added 12 points.
JT Haag led the Raiders with 14 points while Quinn added 12.
The Raiders will face Hartington Cedar Catholic in the consolation game at 6 p.m.
Moore said the Knights will face a strong challenge from the Jaguars.
“They are very athletic and strong guys,” he said. “They get out and play physical man-to-man defense. They get up in your face on the defensive side of the ball. We’re going to have to handle that pressure.”
Bergan 19 17 9 9 — 54
Mead 9 9 10 7 — 35
Bergan — Frickenstein 17, Vance 12, Kucera 15, Ostrand 2, Boggs 2, Lindberg 6.
Mead — Quinn 12, Haag 14, Pickworth 5, Felty 4.