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JVC tops Platte-Geddes in Class B title game

Platte-Geddes' Tate Wagner, right, fights for the ball with James Valley Christian's Andrew Ulvestad, left, in the fourth quarter of the Class B state championship game Saturday at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

ABERDEEN – Top-seeded James Valley Christian got off to a hot start from behind the three-point line and held on down the stretch to win its first state title.

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The Vikings topped the No. 7 Platte-Geddes Black Panthers 67-54 in the championship game of the Class B state boys’ basketball tournament Saturday at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen.

Alex Waldner made 3-pointers early and often, sinking five shots from beyond the arc in the first half to push JVC to an early lead.

“I have to take blame for that,” Platte-Geddes coach Frank Cutler said. “We didn’t get anybody out there quick enough and he lit us up.”

Despite 13 first-half points from junior Coby Johnson, the Black Panthers trailed by 15 at halftime, as Waldner made his fifth three-point shot as time expired in the second quarter.

The teams played even in the third quarter with the Black Panthers still trailing by 15 heading into the final eight minutes of the season.

Platte-Geddes cut the deficit to nine points, but could not climb all the way back, as JVC continued to hit big shots and come away with steals to secure the win.

“We knew we had a monster hole to climb out of,” Johnson said. “We kept on shooting ourselves in the foot. We thought we had control a couple of times but it just slipped away.”

Johnson finished with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and 13-of-16 from the free-throw line. The junior also grabbed 14 rebounds for the double-double and four steals, while Carter Dykstra added 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks for Platte-Geddes.

The Black Panthers shot 17-of-51 from the field and 19-of-25 from the free-throw line, while outrebounding the Vikings 42-27.

“We kept fighting and fighting,” Cutler said. “We would cut the lead to 12, then 11, but couldn’t get over the hump.”

The Vikings (25-1) were led by Waldner with 24 points and nine rebounds, while finishing with six 3-pointers.

“Once the first one went in, I thought I better just keep shooting,” Waldner said. “Being the No. 1 seed put a big burden on us to prove ourselves and we did.”

Nathan Wedel scored 20 points for the Vikings, while making two 3-pointers and grabbing eight rebounds. Andrew Ulvestad added 15 points for JVC, which shot 20-of-50 from the field, 19-of-25 from the free-throw line and turned the ball over eight times. Platte-Geddes had 16 turnovers.

After the game, Johnson made no excuses and said next season the mission for Platte-Geddes is to finish with a title. The Black Panthers took third at the Class A tournament a year ago and will have Johnson and Dykstra back to lead a group of players that have experienced tournament success.

“First place is what I want,” Johnson said. “It’s not going to be a cakewalk, but we are optimistic about next year.”

NOTES: Johnson and Dykstra were each named to the all-tournament team for the Black Panthers, joined by Nathan Wedel, Alex Waldner and Andrew Ulvestad from James Valley Christian. The Platte-Geddes cheerleading squad won the Spirit of Six award during a presentation at halftime of the championship game.


PLATTE-GEDDES (19-7): Qualm 1-1 0-2 2, Heller 3-7 0-0 6, Steffel 0-1 0-0 0, Wynia 0-1 0-0 0, Dykstra 3-12 6-7 12, Wagner 1-6 0-0 2, Johnson 7-16 13-16 28, Holter 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 17-51 19-25 54.

JVC (25-1): J.Waldner 0-3 0-0 0, Glanzer 1-2 1-2 3, Wager 1-2 3-4 5, A.Waldner 8-16 2-2 24. Wedel 7-15 4-6 20, Ulvestad 3-12 9-11 15. Totals: 20-50 19-25 67.

Platte-Geddes 7 21 28 54

James Valley Christian 19 36 43 67

3-pointers: PG 1-11 (Heller 0-2, Dykstra 0-2, Johnson 1-7), JVC 8-18 (J.Waldner 0-1, A.Waldner 6-10, Wedel 2-5, Ulvestad 0-2). Rebounds: PG 42 (Johnson 14), JVC 27 (A.Waldner 8). Assists: PG 5 (Heller 2), JVC 11 (Wedel 3, Ulvestad 3). Total fouls: PG 17, JVC 19. Fouled out: Ulvestad.