LINCOLN-With a stout defensive effort, Hershey beat St. Pat's 53-34 on Thursday in the first round of Class C2 girls' state basketball tournament.
In the fifth meeting between the two Lincoln County schools, the Lady Panthers (21-4) win the season series with the Irish 3-2.
Hershey will play No. 2 seed Hastings St. Cecilia (22-4) on Friday morning while St. Pat's finishes 22-4 on the season.
The Panthers had the advantage throughout most of the game. They took a 10-5 lead in the first quarter after a three-pointer by Brooke Frederick and they never trailed after that. The closest the Lady Irish got was three points.
After leading 21-13 at halftime, Hershey scored the first six points of the second half to really take control of the game.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers led 31-17 and they scored the first five of the final period on a three-point play by Daynlee Miller that made it 36-17.
St. Pat's, who shot miserably throughout the game, started to thaw a little and went on a seven-point run to draw within 36-24.
But Hershey answered back with six straight to put the game out of reach and notch their first state tournament victory in school history.
St. Pat's 8 5 4 17 - 34
Hershey 11 10 10 22 - 53
St. Pat's (34)-Anna O'Malley 4, Mandy O'Malley 7, Samantha Byrn 7, Shelby Allberry 14, Erin Nozicka 2
Hershey (53)-Aleisha Dethlefs 2, Jenna Young 4, Daynlee Miller 13, Brooke Frederick 13, Maegan Hiatt 9, Tayler Baker 7, Maddie Seamann 5
Free Throws: SP 12-23, H 18-30; Three Point Goals: SP 2 (M. O'Malley, Allberry), H 3 (Frederick, Hiatt, Baker)