The Minden Whippets boys basketball team has achieved the one of its goals on Thursday by winning the Class C1-9 subdistrict championship and positioning itself for its next goal, in the C1-5 district final.
The Whippets won their 12th game in a row by defeating the Kearney Catholic Stars 55-41 to improve to 21-1 on the season.
Minden advanced to take on the Valentine Badgers (20-4) in the C1-5 district final set for Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in Broken Bow.
For all practical purposes, Minden has already sown up a place in the Class C-1 boys state tournament win or lose versus Valentine beginning March 8 in Lincoln.
Seniors Carson Blum and Derek Kissinger look to be in state tournament mode as the pair carried the Whippets to the win. Blum scored a team-leading 23 points on seven field goals and a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line. Kissinger joined Blum in double-figures with 12 points hitting four field goals including a pair of three-pointers.
Minden and Kearney Catholic jostled for control in the first period with Minden building a 5-3 lead on a three ball from Kissinger. On the following possession, Kissinger was called for his second foul and forced to the bench only 2:58 into the first period.
Jonas Lovin and Christian Schwenka made back to back buckets to push the Whippet lead to 9-5 and Blum would widen the Minden the lead to 12-7 on an old fashioned three-point play. The Stars would end the period with a basket to cut the Dawg lead to 12-9 going into the second.
In the second, the Stars went on a 7-1 run to take a three point lead over Minden, 16-13. Blum went on his own 4-0 run to give Minden the lead at 17-16. After trading baskets with the Stars Minden went ahead on a Lovin basket and an Isaac Carlson free throw, 22-20. Blum scored his 13th point of the half to lead Minden into intermission holding a 24-21 advantage.
Kearney Catholic opened the third with a three to tie the game at 24-24. Kissinger got back into the scoring column with four straight points to put the Dawgs back ahead 28-24 only to have the Stars hit another three and cut the lead to 28-27.
Minden then went on a 7-0 run with Kissinger scoring three points and Blum and Dan Kristensen two each as Minden went ahead 35-27. Kearney Catholic ended the quarter with a pair of threes and were matched by layups from Lovin and Carlson.
The Whippets entered the fourth and final period with a 39-33 lead. RJ Watson would spark the team in the opening minutes of the fourth by hitting a three-pointer and free throw to widen the lead to ten points, 43-33. The Stars hit another three only to be answered by Blum scoring back to back layups to get the lead to 11, 47-36, before the Stars hit a three to cut the lead down to eight, 47-39.
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