Sutherland beat Stapleton-McPherson County 48-22 on Tuesday night in the girls' subdistrict semifinals at North Platte St. Pat's."We worked hard on our man-to-man defense," said Sutherland coach Jason Gunderson. "I am pleased on how we shut down (Tori) Opela, their leading scorer. We made things hard for her."
The Lady Sailors (18-5) started the game by scoring the first eight points of the game and they led 11-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Sam Staggs and Sam Kennedy scored the first two baskets of the second before Joli Hopping made a three-pointer to give Sutherland an 18-2 lead.
At halftime, the Sailors led 23-7 and while Gunderson liked his team's defense, its offense was off its game in the first half.
"We had a slow start, offensively," Gunderson said. "Joli hit a three early to get us going a little. But we just weren't moving the ball against the zone very quickly."
Sutherland rode out the last 16 minutes of the game to advance to the D1-11 finals against the winner of Paxton and Hitchcock County on Thursday.
Whether it's the Tigers or the Falcons, Gunderson will be expecting a challenge.
"We just got done playing Paxton five days ago and it was a battle until the last minute and Hitchcock County is a very athletic team," said Gunderson. "We're going to have to be ready to play."
SMC 2 5 7 8 - 22
Sutherland 11 12 13 12 - 48
SMC (22)-Mariah Harm 4, Tori Opela 7, Ashley Starr 3, Kensie Burnside 2, Jackie Sonnenfeld 6
Sutherland (48)-Sam Kennedy 3, Joli Hopping 8, Morgan Simpson 2, Alison VanSkiver 2, Kaley Stokey 8, Jalyne Schuster 4, Sam Staggs 11
Free Throws: SMC 10-20, S 13-22; Three Point Goals: SMC 0, S 3 (Hopping 2, Stokey)