DWIGHT – One of the subtle nuances of playing in regional basketball action is that two neighboring rivals may have to take a trip to play each other with postseason aspirations on the line. That’s exactly what happened Thursday night when Newark and Serena’s girls played for the Class 1A Dwight Regional championship.
But what’s 45 miles to travel to see a rivalry game, especially with regional hardware at stake?
It was the third time the teams have met this season, with Newark winning the first game, 45-40, and Serena taking the second game, 47-46.
It was not going to end so close on this occasion, however, as Serena defeated Newark, 61-48.
Serena led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter with Lindsey Larson leading the Huskers. She ended the first half with eight points. Serena then expanded its lead by going on a 10-0 run in the second quarter to lead 29-17 by halftime.
Newark managed to stay close, behind six points by Alexa Myre but the 3s were not falling for the Lady Norse in the first half.
Things continued to bounce Serena’s way in the third quarter when Jaclyn Thompson scored in front of a 3-point play by Demi Witter. After a Karri Stanley basket at 4:29, Newark coach Brian Holman used his timeout in the span of a minute with his team trailing, 36-18.
Jasmine Mitchell scored out of the stoppage for the Norse, but Serena countered that with two free throws by Witter. Rachel Lape got it back within 16 points but Witter scored again to make it 40-22.
The third quarter ended with Serena still well in front, 48-26, and carried the momentum into the fourth on a 3-pointer by Allie Melton with about five second left.
Newark did make a slight surge at the start of the fourth when Nicole Lawrence scored and Kristine Zitt added a conventional three-point play to make it 48-31. Lawrence made two buckets in a row and Zitt three free throws making it 50-38, but it was too little, too late.