Payton Helmstadter scored 36 points on Friday to lead Lincoln Northeast to a 78-56 win over North Platte at the Dawg House.
Friday's game between the Rockets and the Bulldogs could be best described as wild. Lincoln Northeast (7-12) led 35-23 at halftime after outscoring NPHS 23-9 in the second quarter.
The Rockets then scored the first six points of the second half to take a commanding lead. But the Bulldogs (8-10) put on a furious rally behind the hot shooting of senior guard Kade Erickson.
North Platte pulled to within 47-42 when Erickson made a three-pointer with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.
Then after Tyler Keller made a free throw for Northeast, Erickson hit another three to make it a one-possession game.
Erickson then made a couple of free throws to make it 48-47 with 26 seconds left. But that was the closest the Dawgs got. Connor Springman drilled a three from the left corner at the buzzer to make it a four-point Rocket lead going into the fourth.
Then Helmstadter really took over. The senior point guard who transferred from Lincoln High at the beginning of the school year scored the first seven points of the fourth on a three-point play, a layup and two free throws.
With the lead back up to double digits, Northeast never let up on their way to the win.
Lincoln Northeast 12 23 16 27 - 78
North Platte 14 9 24 9 - 56
Lincoln Northeast (78)-Derrick Curtis 4, Dalton Hegeholz 5, Payton Helmstadter 36, Tyler Sorensen 2, Tyler Keller 3, Spencer Kirk 13, Connor Springman 14, Jai Cadwell 1
North Platte (56)-Brady Mason 2, Shane Mauch 14, Bradey Anderson 8, Kade Erickson 21, Darian Allberry 2, Drew Callaghan 7, Kolby Foote 2
Free Throws: LNE 21-25, NP 11-14; Three Point Goals: LNE 3 (Helmstadter 2, Hegeholz), NP 7 (Erickson 3, Mauch 2, Anderson 2)