YORK — Brady Danielson was motivated Friday night, and that translated into a big night for the 6-foot-3 all-state senior guard.
Danielson went off for 29 points to lead Class B No. 6 York to a 61-45 boys basketball win over Class B No. 9 Seward before an estimated 1,600 spectators at the York High School gym.
On top of the offense, the Northern State recruit drew the defensive assignment of guarding Seward’s 6-7 senior standout Nate Lliteras, holding Lliteras to six points.
“People have been talking about this matchup, and I wanted to prove and show what I could do,” said the left-handed Danielson, who knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the opening period, then started driving to the basket and finishing with either a layup or a floater in the lane.
Danielson, who is still feeling the effects of a sprained ankle suffered last month, finished 11 of 16 from the field and hit all five free throws he attempted. He had 18 points in the first half to lead York (18-3) to a 26-23 lead at intermission, but he went off for nine third-quarter points to put the Dukes in control.
A three-point play with 59.4 seconds left in the period followed by a 10-foot floater in the lane as the third quarter expired gave York a 42-32 edge heading into the final eight minutes.
“Brady was just on fire tonight, and we didn’t have an answer for him,” said Seward coach Mark Cidlik, whose team dropped to 15-5. “He shot the ball well right from the start. We switched up defenses and it didn’t make a difference. He still found a way to score.
“York was the aggressor tonight, and we played a little too passively, especially in the second half,” Cidlik added. “We were only down 10 after the third quarter, but it felt like more than that.”
York coach Scott Lamberty said his defending state champions Dukes “are getting locked in on both ends of the court.
“Our guys are taking care of the ball against the trap, they’re doing a great job of cutting to the basket and making the pass for the easy basket and we’re rebounding much better,” the coach added. “I was pleased with how we played tonight.”
Three other senior starters combined for 27 points as Jeb Lucas netted 10, Nebraska football recruit Garrett Snodgrass contributed nine and Reid Hoffmann added eight.
Brett Meyer and Joseph Krause paced Seward with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
It’s a state tournament-type weekend for the Dukes with a game against No. 8 Bennington Saturday at 5:45 p.m. in the Heartland Hoops Classic at Grand Island’s Heartland Events Center, a rematch of last year’s state tournament semifinals. It’s a good dress rehearsal for a subdistrict that includes No. 2 Aurora and No. 7 Hastings, as well as the state tournament next month.
“We’re looking forward to playing in that atmosphere of a big arena against a good team tomorrow,” Danielson said. “This will tell us where we’re at heading into the postseason.”