LINCOLN – Humphrey St. Francis star and University of Nebraska recruit Allison Weidner exploded for 39 points in leading the Flyers to a 68-38 victory over Mullen in a Class D2 state semifinal on Friday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
“She was on a mission,” St. Francis coach Bryan Reichmuth said. “She had everything under control. We kind of rode on her coattails a little bit but she's on our team and she's feeling it and she earned everything she got.”
The media buzz centered around the showdown between who some regard as the two best players in the state: Weidner and Mullen's Samantha Moore. If that's the case, after Friday, there's no doubt about who's number one.
Weidner guarded Moore on the defensive end and held her to eight points, nine below her average.
“She's a great player, I've been to a few camps with her,” Weidner said. She's tall, she can pretty much do it all; it was a lot of fun to play against her.”
Fans in the stands turned to page 50 of their official programs to see if Weidner had a shot at one or more state tournament or Class D2 records.
For the record, her 39 points was 13 off the pace set by Darcy Stracke of Chambers, who in 1996, set both the D2 and state tournament records of 52.
Weidner also came up two shy of the mark for free throws in one game, 15, set by Tanya Dugan of Elba, also in 1996. Jaycee Bradley of Norfolk holds the state tournament record of 20, set in 2015.
Weidner said she and her teammates went into the game focusing on not letting up. “Yesterday, (against Sterling) we had a 24-point lead and we let it get down to seven and we didn't want that to happen today. We wanted to finish strong and show people why we should be in the championship.”
St. Francis jumped on top early. Two Weidner free throws had the Flyers up 15-6 late in the opening frame, but a pair of Mullen buckets late pulled the Broncos to within five (15-10) after one quarter.
The girls from Humphrey then opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run with a pair of Alissa Kosch field goals – one a 3-pointer – and four Weidner free throws.
The Flyers outscored the Broncos 20-7 in the second quarter. Kyleigh Sjuts' layup at the buzzer made the score 35-17 at the break.
Weidner had 19 points at halftime and showed her incredible athletic skill by going coast to coast, splitting double-teams, finding open seams to the basket and hitting open jump shots.
St. Francis led 48-29 after three quarters and rolled through the fourth for the final of 68-38.
The most notable moment in the second half came in the fourth quarter when Weidner drove to the basket, was fouled and fell to the floor hard. Flyer fans held their collective breath as she lay on the floor for a few seconds, but she was able to get to her feet and shoot the free throws.
“It was just a little stinger, I kind of landed on my hands a little bit. It's a little sore, but I'll be fine,” Weidner said.
The Flyers will face defending state champion Wynot in an all-Northeast Nebraska final beginning at 4:30 on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“I think we got the two best teams in the finals and that's the way it should be,” Reichmuth said.
St. Francis defeated the Blue Devils in the opening round of the St. Francis holiday tournament, 66-50, but Wynot was victorious when the two met in the quarterfinals of last year's state tournament, 45-44 en route to the title.
Weidner said the Blue Devils have improved a lot since December. “They've got five seniors that start and they're all very good, great shooters, phenomenal defense. It's going to be a tough challenge, but it's going to be a great game.”
Mullen 10 7 12 9 - 38
Humphrey St. Francis 15 20 13 20 – 68
MULLEN (26-2); Shelby Welsh 5-8 3-7 13; Samantha Moore 3-19 1-2 8; Kylie Licking 2-6 0-0 5; Taylor Svoboda 5-22 0-0 11; Madison Jones 0-6 1-2 1; Brooke McCully 0-2 0-0 0; Totals: 15-63 5-11 38.
HUMPHREY ST. FRANCIS (25-2): Allison Weidner 13-22 13-16 39; Emma Baumgart 0-1 0-0 0; Jalyssa Hastreiter 1-2 0-0 2; Kyleigh Sjuts 1-4 0-0 3; Kayla Brandl 1-1 0-0 2; Lauren Pfeifer 0-2 1-2 1; Kaylee Stricklin 5-11 0-0 10; Alissa Kosch 3-6 3-4 11; Caitlin Jarosz 0-1 0-2 0; Totals 24-50 17-24 68.