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Balanced offense leads Creek Valley to double digit win over Potter-Dix

SIDNEY, Neb. - The D2-12 Sub-District Semifinals began Tuesday evening at the Cabela’s Athletic Facility in Sidney High School. The newcomer to the district, the Creek Valley Storm (9-10, 4-0 D2-12), earned the top-seed based on their regular season performance and would take on the fourth-seed Potter-Dix Coyotes (2-15, 1-4 D2-12) in the first semifinal game.

In an earlier meeting between these two teams in December, the Storm used a suffocating defense to force 33 turnovers and cruise to a 64-23 road victory. Turnovers have been the Achilles’ heel for Potter-Dix this season, averaging 27 per game, with their lone two wins over Leyton and South Platte being the only two games with less than 19 turnovers in the box score.

Needless to say, that would be a key for the Coyotes in their attempt at the four-one upset against Creek Valley, to limit the mistakes. The lower seed would also be playing with a little extra motivation as well as their head coach Ryan Mumm wasn’t at the game due to the birth of his next child who, with impeccable timing, was born Tuesday.

The Storm weren’t immune to the turnover bug themselves as they ended the regular season with a 49-34 loss against Wallace in which they turned the leather over 22 times, and shot only 31 percent from the field.

The game opened, however, with a good sign for the top seed as junior Tanner Crass knocked down his first three-point attempt to get the scoring started. Senior Michael Rahe followed later in the quarter by sinking only his second made three of the season. Potter-Dix senior Dylan Nielsen put up five points of his own in the opening frame, but by the end of one the lead was eight, 13-5.

In the second quarter, the offense exploded for Creek Valley as they racked up 25 points with five different players scoring. Crass added six more to his total to give him 11 at the half, while a pair of juniors, Sam Grabowski and Garrett Sawyer combined for 13 points off the bench. A 25-5 advantage allowed the Storm to enter halftime with a 38-10 lead.

The third quarter between these two was much closer as the Coyotes equaled their first half production by putting up 10 points, Nielsen with four and junior Sheign Krafczik chipping in four off the bench as well, while Creek Valley didn’t have a starter score in the quarter, all 12 points came from Grabowski and Sawyer.

Still, despite the slower start to the second half, the large lead at intermission proved to be safe as the Storm advanced to Sub-District Final on Thursday with a 59-25 victory.

For his performance off the bench, Sawyer earned co-player of the game honors finishing with 11 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Terrell Gray of Potter-Dix had a strong fourth quarter scoring five of his seven points on his way to sharing player of the game with Sawyer.

The season comes to an end for the Coyotes at 2-16 overall, and the careers of three seniors also wrapped up Tuesday evening. Nielsen had 12 points to lead the team while fellow seniors Connor Williams and JT Herboldsheimer did not score, but still made their presence felt elsewhere as Williams had a pair of assists, and Herboldsheimer a rebound. Krafzcik’s four points in the third were his total for the game while junior Grant Hickman added two as well. The goal of limiting turnovers played out as Potter-Dix finished, unofficially, with just 16, but the offensive execution from their counterparts was too much overcome.

For Creek Valley, they move back to .500 on the year with the win and did it with production from all areas. Three different players scored in double digits, Sawyer (11), Grabowski led the way with 16, and Crass poured in 13. Senior Michael Smith had seven, the other Michael, Rahe, tallied five, three players finished with two points each, senior Pierce Leef, and a sophomore duo of Noah Knapp and Patrick Hansen, while freshman Justin Ningen made one-of-two free throw attempts for his lone point.

With the win, the Storm enter their second straight Sub-District Final where they will meet the two-seed in D2-12, the Leyton Warriors. Leyton knocked off the Minatare Indians 49-43 in double overtime Tuesday evening. After losing in overtime themselves in last year’s D1-12 Sub-District Final to Paxton, 52-51, Creek Valley will try to punch their ticket to a District Final for the first time since February 2007 and move one game closer to the State Tournament.



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