North Platte St. Pat’s fell behind Johnson-Brock early on Saturday and faced an uphill battle in the Class D1 Nebraska State Boys’ Basketball Championship game.

The Irish nearly made up the deficit in the second half but ultimately fell to the Eagles, 46-40, at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

St. Pat’s, who won Class D1 last year, finishes their superlative season with a 25-3 record.

“”It was unfortunate because we gave them some rhythm and we couldn’t find good shots,” St. Pat’s Head Coach Bill O’Malley said. “(Johnson-Brock) did a good job defensively, but I was proud of how we hung in there.”

Johnson-Brock (25-4) began the game by going up by eight points before the Irish scored, but then St. Pat’s went to work and got within 12-6 at the end of the first quarter. 

The Eagles from Nemaha County in the southeast part of the state stretched the lead to double figures, 19-8, when Nick Parriott hit a three-pointer that followed a Camden Dalinghaus basket.

St. Pat’s rallied, and finished the first half with buckets by Logan Winder, Brecken Erickson and Sam Troshynski to trail 22-15 at the break.

The Irish drew closer in the second half. Will Moats made a pair of free throws. Johnson-Brock got a free throw from Sloan Pelican, but St. Pat’s continued to push when Erickson scored inside.

Lane Buchmeier scored the next basket for the Eagles. Then Troshynski hit a three from the left corner to make it a one-possession game at 25-22.

Zarek Branch chases a loose ball against Johnson-Brock’s Sloan Pelican (#3) in the fourth quarter. (Photo by James Parrish)

Pelican answered with a three-pointer of his own and Johnson-Brock took a 31-25 lead into the fourth quarter.

“That was a little rough because I thought we outplayed them in the third quarter, but we only made up a point,” O’Malley said.

The Eagles began the fourth quarter with Casen Dalinghaus and Camden Dalinghaus each burying two free throws. With a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, it looked like Johnson-Brock was ready to put the game away.

But the Irish weren’t ready to hand over their crown. Troshynski caught fire, draining back-to-back threes to bring St. Pat’s within two points at 40-38 halfway through the fourth quarter.

“It was going to be one of us (to step up),” Troshynski said after the game. “We always go on runs like that. I’m just glad we (made one last run).”

Parriott scored the next basket for Johnson-Brock, but Winder scored inside on the other end with a minute and a half left.

The Eagles, to use the clock to their advantage, ran a motion offense, passing the ball around to force the Irish to foul. Pelican even gave up a sure layup when he received the ball near the hoop. Instead he dribbled it back to the left side.

That strategy backfired when the Irish stole the ball. On the other end, St. Pat’s tried to get the ball inside to Erickson, their leading scorer on the season. But the pass was off and Pelican stole the ball back.

Camden Dalinghaus was fouled on the other end and knocked down both free throws to make it a two-possession game with 22.7 seconds left.

Troshynski drove for a runner but it didn’t connect. Jalen Behrends got the rebound and he passed it down the court to Parriott who was wide open for the layup that clinched the title for Johnson-Brock.

“We don’t have a shot without that string of shots (by Troshynski),” O’Malley said. “But that was late. We just had the one chance to tie or take the lead and we weren’t able to get that done.”

Top photo by James Parrish. Will Moats puts up a shot against Jalen Behrends in the second quarter.


Last year, St. Pat’s won the state championship by defeating Loomis in the finals after vanquishing Burwell and Nebraska City Lourdes Central Catholic in the previous two rounds.

That Irish team graduated two seniors — Jack Heiss, the program’s all-time leading scorer, and starting forward Caleb Munson.

Erickson, Moats and Troshynski were returning starters. Seniors Andrew Brosius and Zarek Branch received significant playing time off the bench.

St. Pat’s proved to be dominant. They rolled to the South Platte Valley Association tournament championship, dominating Bridgeport, 64-31, in the finals.

They only had two losses going into the state finals. One was to Ogallala, who was undefeated until they lost to the eventual Class C1 champion Ashland-Greenwood, which is coached by North Platte High graduate Jacob Mohs, in the state semifinals. The other loss was to a decent Cozad team that played at their best.

The Irish also proved to be the best among a crowded field of top ball teams in southwest Nebraska. They won the toughest sub-district in the state, defeating No. 9-ranked South Loup in the semifinals and No. 2 Maywood-Hayes Center in the finals. St. Pat’s also defeated powerful Dundy County-Stratton twice, including in Friday’s semifinal.

“The kids just did an incredible job,” O’Malley said. “Every team is different and unique. For our guys to come back after a great season last year and follow it up, keeping focus on every game, was really impressive.”

This year, four seniors will graduate — Moats, Brosius, Branch and Seth Engler. Troshynski and Erickson, the two leading scorers in the finals with 14 and 10 points, respectively, will return to try and lead the Irish back to the state tournament for a fifth consecutive year.

“There’s an expectation of success and success breeds success,” O’Malley said. “There’s a lot of work to do. We lose guys who did a lot of things, but we’ve got to pick up the slack. The kids have the right attitude. They work hard and try to get to the same spot because it’s a lot of fun.”

Troshynski agreed that the tone has been set. He and the rest of the underclassmen will be ready to carry on the Irish’s winning ways.

“It’s a lot of fun to watch guys like (the seniors) work so hard and come up short,” Troshynski said. “We want to get back here for them.”

Score by quarters:

Johnson-Brock: 12-10-9-15 – 46

St. Pat’s: 6-9-10-15 – 40

Johnson-Brock (46)-Sloan Pelican 7, Camden Dalinghaus 8, Brody Koehler 3, Casen Dalinghaus 5, Jalen Behrends 1, Nick Parriott 15, Lane Buchmeier 6, Lleyton Behrends 1.

St. Pat’s (40)-Andrew Brosius 3, Logan Winder 6, Zarek Branch 4, Brecken Erickson 10, Sam Troshynski 14, Will Moats 3.

Free throws: JB 16-23, SP 7-16; Three-point goals: JB 6 (Parriott 3, Pelican, Cas. Dalinghaus, Koehler, SP 5 (Troshynski 4, Brosius).

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