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In an all-Antelope County conference final, Neligh-Oakdale edged the OC Cyclones 47-40 to win the Niobrara Valley Conference championship on Saturday night in Niobrara. It was the second NVC title for the Warriors in three years.
Cyclone senior Blake Hoke sank a 3-pointer to close the Warrior lead to just four points with 8.8 seconds remaining in the game. Beau Murray went to the line and connected on the back end of a 2-of-2 to make it a five-point game. The Cyclones couldn't find the hoop and sent Isaic Kurpgeweit to the line, where he finished the game with a pair of free throws.
The Warriors held the advantage after a low-scoring first half, 17-15. Neligh-Oakdale out-rebounded the Cyclones 38-28 and hit three 3-pointers compared to the Cyclones tree treys.
It was a balanced attack for the Warriors. Austin Rice led N-O with 10 points while Cole Belitz, Murray and Kurpgeweit each had eight points. Hunter Charf and Julian Hearn added six points apiece.
Hoke scored more than half of the Cyclones' points with 22 to lead all scorers. Ryan Wilhelm finished with nine points, including seven in the second half. Jake Long added eight points, and Chris Kester had one point.