In the third, final and rubber game between Exeter-Milligan and Giltner, the Exeter-Milligan boys’ basketball team came out on top 41-30 Feb. 25, earning a trip to the Class D2 state championships.
“The guys made good decisions on the floor,” Coach Dean Filipi said.
Filipi said the Timberwolves did a good job rebounding and getting into good position. The team shot well, as well, in a game that could have gone either way.
The teams split their previous two games. Giltner edged EM 34-32 Jan. 24, the last loss the Timberwolves suffered. EMHS came back Jan. 29 with a 52-43 win.
“It was nice to see us finish, not like at CRC,” Filipi said. “This was a good team effort. Everyone has their moments. It’s not just one or two guys carrying the team.”
Jackson Beethe was the team’s leading scorer, recording 14 points on 6-8 shooting. Colton Bossaller scored 11, and Max Zeleny added 10 points. Zeleny also had seven rebounds and seven assists, and Spencer Pribyl notched seven rebounds.
Filipi said this group of Timberwolves works well as a team and gets along both on and off the court.
“They pull for each other and love each other’s success,” he said.
The Timberwolves (21-4) are the No. 7 seed and will play Riverside March 7 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln East.
The state tournament starts Thursday, March 7, in Lincoln. EM has won eight consecutive games since their loss to Giltner in January.
Exeter-Milligan’s most recent trip to state was 2015 when it won the Class D2 state title, beating Bancroft-Rosalie in overtime. This is the fourth trip to the state tournament for the Timberwolves.
To get to the district final, Exeter-Milligan defeated Friend 63-26 Feb. 19 and Diller-Odell 52-38 Feb. 21.
Against Friend, the Timberwolves were able to pull away in the second half, holding the Bulldogs to just nine points. Beethe scored 17 and Zeleny 13 to lead EMHS. Jacob Bottom led Friend with 12. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 1-21 record.
Against Diller-Odell, Exeter-Milligan held a 19-11 lead at halftime and outscored the Griffins 23-11 in the third quarter. Beethe put up 19 points, and Zeleny scored 11. Pribyl recorded 11 rebounds.