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For the first time the in history of Clearwater-Orchard Schools, the Cyclones are headed to the boys state basketball tournament.
Clearwater-Orchard defeated Sandhills/Thedford 57-56 on Tuesday night in the D1-4 district final at Burwell.
In a finish that could have only been scripted in Hollywood, Trevor Mlnarik hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key to put the Cyclones within one point with just six seconds left.
Sandhills/Thedford then threw the ball inbounds - but lobed the ball too high and hit the rafters, giving the ball right back to the Cyclones. With the ball back under their hoop, Andy Kerkman leaned in and connected for the 57-56 lead and even got the foul. With less than a second remaining, Kerkman let the ball skim off the rim as the clock round out.
Clearwater-Orchard (21-4) will compete in the boys state basketball tournament in Lincoln on March 13-15. Orchard last competed in the state tournament in 2006 while Clearwater advanced in 1995.
In Tuesday's victory, Sandhills/Thedford (17-8) came out with the hot hand, hitting four 3s in the first quarter to grab an early 21-13 lead. The Cyclones outscored the Knights 17-8 in the second quarter to go up 30-29 at the half.
The game went back-and-forth throughout the second half until the Knights took the lead at 47-46 on an offensive rebound and never relinquished that advantage until Mlnarik nailed the trey with six ticks left in the game.
Kerkman led the Cyclones with 22 points while Mlnarik added 13 - with none bigger than the 3-pointer with just seconds to play.