Saturday evening the RPAC 3rd and 4th place games and championship games took place in McCook at the Graff Events Center at McCook Community College. After a long and exciting week of hoops, it all culminated at this facility with the stands packed with fans. Before we dive into the championship games, let's discuss the consolation games.
GIRLS CONSOLATION GAME
In the girls matchup for the 3rd and 4th place game, it was #1 seeded Alma from the East and #2 seeded Paxton from the West battling. A pair of teams that don't see each other often, which is cool when a conference as large as the RPAC is, allows for matchups like this. Alma captured the 3rd place plaque by winning 65-43.
Paxton had a lead of 13-12 after the game's first eight minutes. After that though, Alma took control. They outscored the Tigers 53-30 in the next three quarters to get the win. Alma found success in the middle of the lane with little jumpers and floaters. The three-point shot fell well for them too, hitting six in the game. Paxton did find success on offense too, but holding the Cardinals down on the defensive side was a challenge.
Alma was led on offense by Addison Siebels and Riley Scot. Siebels had 18 and Scott poured in 20. For the Paxon Tigers, they were led by Jacelyn Jorgensen and her 15 points and 12 rebounds.
For Alma, they grow their history in playing on the final Saturday in the RPAC Tournament. They were runner-up in 2022 and 2021, 4th place in 2019, and 3rd place in 2017, and now in 2024.
Paxton made some history on Saturday. This was the first time they had played in a final Saturday game in conference tournament action.
BOYS CONSOLATION GAME
The boys consolation game was a repeat of last year's matchup. It was a pair of #2 seeds, Dundy County Stratton from the West and Cambridge from the East. Last year, DCS won the matchup by a large margin and this year, they did too. The final tally was in favor of the Tigers, 61-33.
The Trojans played well alongside the Tigers for the first two quarters, and DCS led 21-17 at halftime. In the third quarter, DCS opened the game up and scored 23 points while holding Cambridge to just five. They pressed forward and closed out the game.
DCS was led by Jackson Kerchal with 24 points. Lane Bybee had 18 points and nine rebounds. Lane Brown had seven assists.
Cambridge was led by Krayton Ruggles with 10 points.
For DCS, their history in the RPAC grows. They were champions three years in a row, 2020, 2021, 2022, and in 2017. They were runner-up in 2016, 3rd place in 2009, 2011, and now 2024, and fourth place in 2012 and 2018.
For Cambridge, they get their second fourth-place finish, the other coming in 2015. They took home the title in 2018. They finished runner-up in 2010 and 3rd place in 2020.
It was a rematch of last year's title game between #1 seeded Maywood-Hayes Center from the West and #2 seeded Southern Valley. The Eagles claimed another RPAC title, their second in as many years, winning over MHC, 50-34.
The Eagles initially looked to set the tone with pressure as per usual, but the younger Wolves countered nicely by running the floor and forcing turnovers. It was a tight game after the first period, tied up at 8-8. In the second quarter, Southern Valley was able to get their offense going including some deep shots hitting, and they controlled the glass. But, MHC stayed within striking distance and limited the damage.
At halftime, it was 23-13 with the Eagles ahead in the game.
In the third quarter, it was similar to the second, the Eagles scored 15 points, and they ended up holding the Wolves to seven points. The third quarter was Southern Valley showing their experience in a situation like this and it is how they win a lot of games, defensive pressure.
In the final quarter, MHC had an excellent period scoring 14 points while holding the Eagles to 12. For MHC, Karissa Stengel had nine points to lead the team. Kesli Cox added five.
Southern Valley was led by Ann Bose with 20 points in the game, Adi Hunt had eight points, as did Brynn Bailey.
For MHC, they are the runner-up for the second time, last season being the first time, they have been 3rd place finishers in 2020 and 2019. They were 4th place in 2018. Prior to the co-op, Maywood finished 3rd in 2009, Hayes Center finished 4th in 2012. Of course, MHC has titles in 2021 and 2022.
Southern Valley, wins their second straight title and their fifth one overall (2010, 2011, 2018, 2022, 2024). Also, they have runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2012, 3rd place in 2014, and 4th place in 2020 and 2015.
Following the game, we caught up with senior Adi Hunt and got her thoughts on winning back-to-back RPAC Championships.
In the boys championship game, it was the #1 seed from the West Maywood-Hayes Center versus the #1 seed from the East, Alma. It was a grind-it-out, tough, and great game, which was what everyone was hoping for. The Wolves won their second straight title, 40-34 over the Cardinals.
The Wolves of course have experience in this game. The Cardinals are a youthful team and have not been in this situation before, but the moment didn't look too big. From the jump though, MHC went with a gameplan to ball pressure like crazy out of their 1-3-1 they utilized 6'7 Jerry Ingison at the top of the defense to cause a lot of problems for Alma.
The Cardinals adjusted and handled the pressure well, but it was a factor. MHC led 10-7 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the teams found their footing a little bit more, patient offense was a theme for both teams. MHC led at halftime, 19-16.
In the third quarter, Alma came out strong, hitting three, three-pointers including two from Zavier Mitchell. They scored 14 in the quarter and held MHC to 10. Alma led 30-29 going into the final stanza.
In the final quarter, MHC locked in on defense, holding the Cardinals to four points while scoring 11. Haydn Farr had a big final quarter with seven points and hit some big free throws.
Alma was led by Mitchell and Jakin Neal with 11 points, Tucker Biskup added nine. For MHC, Ingison had 23 and Farr added 12.
For Alma, they get their third runner-up plaque, the others coming in 2008 and 2017. They finished 4th in 2011 and 2021.
MHC is building its history in the RPAC Tournament. Back-to-back titles now. Prior to the co-op, Hayes Center won the title in 2008, runner-up in 2009, 3rd place in 2010.
We caught up with Ingison after the game and discussed the title and what they did on defense to have success.