LINCOLN — Sterling used its superior size to block 11 Chambers/Wheeler Central shots — 10 in the second half — to win 44-37 on Thursday in the opening round of the Class D2 girls state tournament at Lincoln Southwest.
The Renegades had plenty of open looks in the first quarter, but converted just 2 for 11 from the field. Sterling led 7-6 late period when Malayna Wingert drained a 3 from the top of the key and Sterling led 10-6 after one.
CWC got going offensively in the second quarter. Michelle Koenig's baseline 3 was followed by Morgan Ramsey's put-back and one to tie it at 12 with 6:47 left.
More importantly, Ramsey was fouled on the play by the Jets' leading scorer 6-foot-2 inch Colby Thies. It was her third, forcing her to sit on the bench for the remainder of the half.
Still, the Jets outscored the Renegades 9-7 during the remainder of the half and took a 23-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Thies returned in the third and made her presence felt, scoring six points and combining with 6-foot teammate Belle Haner to block six CWC shots.
Meanwhile, CWC's Peter had trouble finding space but still managed to score four of the Renegades' six points in the quarter.
Sterling led 36-27 after three, then Peter heated up early in the fourth by going coast-to-coast for a pair of buckets and cutting the Jets' lead to 38-34.
But the Sterling defense clamped down and held the Renegades to 3 of 18 shooting in the final quarter en route to the 44-37 win.
Sterling improved to 22-6 and is scheduled to play in the state semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Peter led the Renegades with 19 points while Ramsey added 11.
CWC (21-5) 6 15 6 10 - 37
Sterling (22-5) 10 13 13 8 - 44
CWC: Michelle Koenig 6, Morgan Ramsey 10, Taylor Peter 19, Rachel Dierks 2.
S: Malayna Wingert 12, Carly Wenzl 2, Ella Wingert 11, Morgan Haner 2, Belle Haner 5, Colby Thies 12
Officials: Mary McGee, Kyle Poore, Tim Washburn.