Both Custer teams won the championships during the ninth annual Chadron Rotary George Watson Holiday Basketball Classic on Tuesday.
The Custer girls built a 19-11 halftime lead and went on to defeat Valentine 36-17 for their title. Josey Wahlstrom led the winning Wildcats with 12 points and Kellyn Kortemeyer added 11 points while also dominating the rebounding. Aluxyn Hollenbeck was Valentine’s top scorer with six points.
The boys’ championship game was more dramatic. Chadron led 24-23 at halftime, but Custer was ahead 38-31 heading into the fourth quarter, went ahead by as many as 15 points and won 54-50.
There was lots of suspense during the final 2 ½ minutes when the Cardinals began fouling to send the Wildcats to the free throw line. Custer missed five of its first six foul shots there, allowing Chadron to pull within five points with 38 seconds remaining.
Both Trevor Berry and Cooper Heusman hit 3-pointers for the Cards in the final 25 second to cut the deficit to 53-50 before time ran out.
Altogether, the Wildcats were nine of 19 from the line in the fourth period, but junior Dustyn Fish hit all four of his free shots to help save the day.
Jace Kelley, who sank six 3-pointers, led Custer with 19 points, Daniel Sedlacek added 13 and Fish 11.
Berry nailed five treys, three of them in the final quarter, while pacing the Cardinals with 21 points. Kristian Bartlett, who had three treys, contributed 13 points and Heusman scored 12.
Both Custer teams are now 5-3 for the season. The Chadron boys are 5-5.
The Chadron girls, forced to play again without leading scorer Olivia Reed because of a sprained ankle that she sustained early in Monday’s game, won their consolation game on Tuesday by downing Hemingford 46-30. Shea Bailey had 12 points and Anika Burke 11 for the Lady Cardinals, who are now 8-2.
Makenzy Chancellor, Catherine Bryner and Kamryn Ash all scored seven points for the LadyCats.
Hemingford used a 21-0 margin at the free throw line to help defeat Valentine 42-37 in the boys’ consolation contest. The Bobcats were 21-33 at the charity stripe and the Badgers were 0-3.
Brian Turek led Hemingford with 10 points while teammates Alex Plog and Kenny Wyland each scored seven. Grant Fischer paced Valentine with 14 points. Brysen Limbach added eight.