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ECNC Champions

The Yutan boys basketball team claimed the East Central Nebraska Conference tournament championship for the first time since 2011 when the Chieftains defeated Johnson County Central Feb. 8 at Southeast Community College

Yutan defeated Elmwood-Murdock and Mead to advance to the championship game.

The Chieftains committed 19 turnovers in the championship game and Johnson County Central didn’t just hand over the conference title.

JCC held a 28-27 lead at halftime because the Chieftains weren’t in the swing of their game.

 “We had nerves in the first half,” said head coach Andy Timm. “We tried to do too much and forced the ball.” 

After mounting a 12-point run in the closing minutes of the game, the Chieftains pushed their way past the errors.

Down by one in the fourth quarter, junior Boston Rew scored a basket to set the score 48-47. Rew contributed four points for Yutan. The score was tied 48-48 with almost three minutes left. Both teams felt the pressure.

“The seniors kept their composure,” Timm said, “and Nick Josoff had key plays that jumped us to a lead.”

Josoff, a senior, was fouled and made both free throws. Josoff ended the game with 15 points and made all eight of his freethrows.

Josoff said that he can handle himself under pressure. He doesn’t let the clock or score make him tense.

Senior Nate Fisher put in a layup during a fast-break to bump up the lead. Fisher finished the game with 21 points.

JCC had a turnover that led to Josoff shooting and making two of his free throws. 

Junior Matt Oviatt scored three points, while senior Danny Greblunas had two. 

With a final lead of nine points, the score stood 60-51 when the buzzer sounded. 

This is a senior’s last chance at a conference title, so how do the underclassmen feel?

 “I didn’t want to disappoint the seniors,” said sophomore Wyatt Zaugg who scored 15 points.  “We had to play good defense, put pressure on the ball and play our game.” 

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