SIDNEY-The Sutherland girls' basketball team wil return to the state tournament by virtue of an overtime win against Hemingford, 63-60, in the district finals.The Sailors (20-5) were down by three in the final seconds, but Sam Staggs tied the game with a shot from downtown to force overtime. In the extra period, Sutherland outscored Hemingford to earn a state berth for the second straight year.
Kaley Stokey finished with 21 points, six rebounds, four steals and four assists to lead Sutherland. Jalyne Schuster scored 18 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Staggs had nine points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Brooke Turek scored 17 points for Hemingford. Teammate Natalie Gasseling scored 15 and Precious Campbell had 11.
At state, Sutherland will play rival North Platte St. Pat's Thursday morning in the opening round. The teams will meet for the fourth time this year.
St. Pat's earned a berth to state as a wild card, after a 20-4 season. But the surging Sailors defeated the Lady Irish in the subdistrict finals.
The Lady Irish needed Friend to win its district final on Friday to get a wild card after No. 1-ranked O'Neill St. Mary's lost to Boyd County in its subdistrict. Friend defeated Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the D1-1 district championship, opening the door for St. Pat's.
The Irish will be the third seed in the tournament, based on season ratings compiled by the Nebraska School Activities Association. Sutherland is the sixth seed. The tip off is at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Lincoln North Star gymnasium.
St. Pat's won the first two meetings of the season, nipping the Sailors 34-30 in the second game of the season, then dominating, 45-31. in the conference tournament, but the Sailors shocked the Lady Irish 43-28 in the subdistrict finals.
It will be the third straight trip to state for St. Pat's.