LINCOLN–(KFOR Mar. 1)–Two teams worthy of playing on Championship Saturday clashed Friday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena to see who would play top-seed Millard West in the NSAA Class A Girls State Basketball Title game.


Both Bellevue West and Lincoln Southwest led during the game, but most of the time it was the Thunderbirds who had control and survived a late rally in the fourth quarter to win their 14th-game in a row for a 57-51 victory over the Silver Hawks. Bellevue West, now 20-6) will play for the Class A championship in Saturday’s 6:15pm final against the Wildcats, who defeated Lincoln North Star 59-24 in the other semifinal game.


The Thunderbirds got 16 points from Naomi White, 14 from Danielle Coyer and Ahnica Russell Brown added 12 points in the victory.


A 10-0 run for Bellevue West to begin the third quarter put them ahead 40-31 before Southwest rattled off seven straight points to pull to within two. The Thunderbirds scored two more times and took a 44-38 lead into the final quarter.


The Silver Hawks (22-4) never led the rest of the way but threatened about midway through the fourth quarter, when Emma Dostal hit a three-pointer and senior guard Kennadi Williams stole the ensuing inbounds pass and scored on a layup to pull Southwest to within one, 49-48.


Bellevue West got a big boost to essentially put the game out of reach when Kenzie Melcher hit a three-pointer with 3:30 to play. The Thunderbirds outscored the Silver Hawks 8-2 the rest of the way, capped by a pair of free throws from Kara Muller to seal the win.


Williams finished out her high school career with a team-high 15 points for Southwest. She will now continue her career playing at Nebraska.

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