Austin Malone poured in 18 season-high points – 13 in the second half – Thursday morning to lead Falls City Sacred Heart Irish over Leyton 58-50 at Lincoln Southeast High School in the first round of the Class D-2 state tournament.
Second-seeded Sacred Heart, now 24-4, trailed Leyton 12-8 after the first quarter, then rallied for a 19-3 run in the second to build a 31-16 halftime lead.
The Warriors got to within five points, but FCSH connected on 9-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter to fend them off and advance to the semifinals where they will take on Bancroft-Rosalie.
FCSH senior Chaz Dunn had eight points in the first 16 minutes and finished with 13 for the game, while senior Matt Goltz scored six in each half to finish with 12 points.
Leyton senior Dylan Brenner finished with a game-high 20 points.
FCSH and B-R (24-3) tip-off Friday at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Sports Center. B-R defeated Hitchcock County 64-29 in the 9 a.m. game Thursday at LSE.
The bottom-half of the D-2 bracket will be played Thursday night at Lincoln East and includes No. 4 High Plains (25-1) versus No. 5 Exeter-Milligan at 7 p.m., followed by top-seeded Spalding/Spalding Academy (23-3) against No. 8 Elwood (14-10).
FCSH – Niemeyer 6, Dunn 13, Malone 18, Goltz 12, Scheitel 2, Fiegener 5, Jorn 2.
Leyton – Drew Brenner 1, Frerichs 5, Westman 3, Schuessler 2, Dylan Brenner 20, Cruise 13.