NORFOLK - Brady Lollman didn't bat an eye when Lincoln Southeast went on a tear in the third quarter.
The Norfolk senior had a near-perfect night to help the Class A third-ranked Panthers earn a 73-67 boys basketball victory against the top-ranked Knights on Saturday in the final regular-season game.
"We just keep encouraging each other, whether we're up 20 or down 20. We can make up 15 points in a heartbeat with all the shooters we have," Lollman said. "We know if we get down a little bit, we just stay positive and try to come back."
Lollman finished the game with 28 points. He was 8-for-9 from the field, including 5-for-5 from three-point range, and he hit all seven free-throw attempts.
With the win, Norfolk assured itself the top seed going into districts and is in the driver's seat for the wild-card berth, if needed, for the state tournament.
It didn't look like the Panthers were going to need a comeback before the capacity crowd of 2,000. Quite the opposite, as Norfolk broke to a 29-14 lead early in the second quarter. Jalen Bradley hit four three-pointers in the Panthers' quick start.
The Knights started picking away at the deficit, trimming it to 36-28 at halftime. Southeast missed its first shot of the second half, then Lollman nailed a three-pointer, but that's when the Knights caught fire.
Southeast connected on its next nine shots from the field to turn the deficit into a 50-44 lead with 2:05 left in the third quarter.
Eric Jackson made a three and drove for another basket, Jaydee Jurgensen made a two-pointer and a three-pointer, both on assists from Derek Shouse, Derrius Vick drove for a basket and Shouse hit a jumper to give the Knights their first lead of the game at 42-41. Jackson hit another three, Jeff Sheets scored on a short jumper and Shouse fed Jurgensen for another three and the 50-44 advantage.
The Knights finished the quarter 10-for-12 from the field, hitting all five three-point shots.
"We knew we had to come out and get on them early," Lollman said. "We knew they would go on runs, we'd go on runs."
Lollman and Jonah Bradley sandwiched three-pointers around one by Cody Charlton, Bradley's coming at the buzzer to trim Southeast's lead to 54-51.
"We battled back and kept our composure. I thought we played a great third quarter," said Southeast coach Jeff Smith. "That three we gave up at the end of the third quarter was really big. We traded them two-for-one at the end and that's not a good situation."
The lead changed hands six times and the game was tied twice until Nathan Marsh scored on a putback with 2:06 left in the game to give Norfolk the lead for good.
Bradley grabbed the rebound on a missed shot by Southeast and fed Lollman for a three-point play that brought a roar from the crowd and set up the Panthers to take care of business at the line. Norfolk made 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute and a half.