ASHLAND –The Fremont Bergan boys’ basketball team combated a slow start with a strong finish on Friday.
Baskets were hard to come by for the Knights in the first half, but they found their footing after halftime to defeat Ashland-Greenwood 51-35 in the first round of the Bluejays’ holiday tournament.
The win advances Bergan (7-2) to Saturday’s championship game at 3:45 p.m. against Class B Omaha Roncalli. The Crimson Pride (6-2) defeated Plattsmouth 63-42 on Friday.
Bergan’s slow start offensively against the Bluejays resulted in just three field goals and nine first-quarter points. The Knights took their first lead of the contest when Grant Frickenstein hit a free throw to put Bergan up 10-9 to begin the second quarter.
Consecutive baskets by Ashland-Greenwood gave the Bluejays’ their final lead of the game. Jake Ridder’s putback gave Bergan a 20-17 halftime lead.
“That first half we struggled shooting the ball from anywhere on the court,” Bergan assistant coach Doug Moore said in a postgame radio interview. “The ball wasn’t going in from the 3-point line, and we weren’t finishing our shots inside the lane. We just weren’t playing tough enough in that first half.”
The momentum swung Bergan’s way after intermission when the Knights scored 13 straight points to go up 33-17. Washburn scored the Bluejays’ only field goal of the third quarter on a 3-point basket.
“We came out in the third quarter and we finished a lot more shots and shot the ball better,” Moore said. “On defense we picked up the intensity and we moved our feet a lot better in the third quarter.”
Ashland-Greenwood cut Bergan’s lead to 10 points (43-33) late in the game, but the Knights responded by making eight free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Frickenstein and Dre Vance each finished with 15 points for Bergan. Dylan Kucera and Riley Lindberg added eight and seven points, respectively.
Jacob Ludwig and Jarrod Nafzinger each had six points for the Bluejays.
Fremont Bergan 9 11 15 16—51
Ashland-Greenwood 9 8 3 15—35
FREMONT BERGAN — Dylan Kucera 8, Jake Ridder 2, Grant Frickenstein 15, Dre Vance 15, Trentin Ostrand 2, Riley Lindberg 7, Dylan Gartner 2.
ASHLAND-GREENWOOD — Nolan Kasuske 4, Bryce Kitrell 5, Jacob Ludwig 6, Tobias Welling 4, Jarrod Nafzinger 6, Gavin Bergsten 5, Hunter Washburn 5.