Northeast hasn't won a state championship in girls' basketball since 1979. The Lady Vikings are now just 24 hours away from possibly ending that drought.
Second-ranked Northeast rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit and defeated top-ranked and defending state champion Snyder, 55-49 in overtime Friday night at State Fair Arena.
The victory puts Northeast (25-2) into the state 2A championship game against the winner of Thomas and Fairview, who were playing late Friday night.
“We've been dreaming of this a long time,” said Northeast senior guard Shayla Williams, who scored a game-high 18 points including five in the overtime period. “It would mean so much to win it.”
Snyder, which won its first state championship in school history last year, controlled the game in the first half as senior center Jordynn Vanpelt scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds to build a 28-21 halftime lead for the Lady Cyclones.
“In the first half, she did whatever she wanted,” said Northeast coach Londaryl Perry. “She just dominated us on the boards. She didn't give us a chance.”
The Lady Vikings made a halftime adjustment and brought backside help to defend Vanpelt, who finished the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Northeast defended more aggressively in the second half and held Snyder to just 16 points after intermission.
“Our girls picked it up defensively,” Perry said. “I told them (at halftime), they had 16 minutes to decide is the way you want your season to be.”
The Lady Vikings scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to take a 41-37 lead, but Snyder (23-4) was able to answer and regain the lead, 44-42, with less than two minutes remaining.
Northeast's T'ona Edwards, who scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half and overtime, hit a driving layup to tie the game at 44-44 with 1:27 remaining. After a Snyder turnover, Edwards barely missed winning the game in regulation when her layup rolled around the rim and off in the final seconds.
Northeast dominated in overtime as Williams opened the extra period with a long three-pointer. Edwards added two more baskets as Northeast never trailed in overtime.
Now, the Lady Vikings are one win away from a state championship.
“I think it would be a great thing not only for the school but the community,” Perry said on the possibility of winning a state title. “No one knows who we are or where we are. We are trying to put ourselves on the map.”