A big fourth quarter by Clearwater-Orchard on Thursday propelled the Cyclones to a 46-42 win over North Platte St. Pat's in the first round of the state boys' basketball tournament at Lincoln East High School.
St. Pat's finishes the season with a record of 24-2. Clearwater-Orchard (22-4) will play the winner of Elm Creek and Randolph.
The Irish got out ahead and they held a 13-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a stalemate with each team scoring 10 points and it was 23-15 at halftime.
Clearwater-Orchard made up some ground in the third quarter but they still trailed St. Pat's 37-33 going into the fourth quarter.
The Cyclones then took the lead in the fourth as the Irish's offense short circuited with some untimely turnovers and they made enough free throws in the final minutes to get the win.
St. Pat's was led by Andrew O'Neill with 12 points. Bryce Byrn had 10 and Alex Harms had nine.
Andy Kerkman, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, led a balanced effort for Clearwater-Orchard by scoring 13 points. Trevor Menarik had 12 and Tate Schutt had 11.