LINCOLN – Thursday night’s first round Class D-2 state tournament matchup between the No. 7 seed Exeter-Milligan Timberwolves (21-4) and No. 2 seed Riverside Chargers (22-0) is much like an irresistible force against an immoveable object.
The Timberwolves have given up a stingy 39.6 points per game on defense while the Chargers average a click under 70 points on offense each time they take the floor.
Riverside’s defense has also been stout, giving up 40.8 points a night while the Timberwolves are averaging right at 50.6 points a game.
Something has to give.
The Timberwolves’ last D-2 state championship came in 2015.
Riverside was runner-up in D-2 last year and finished third in both 2015 and 2016, but are still seeking their first state championship.
Thursday night’s game will be played at Lincoln East High School with tip scheduled for 7 p.m.
Riverside has been pushed three times during its undefeated season as it slipped past Lutheran High Northeast 49-47 and had two four-point wins against D-1 state-tournament qualifiers Fullerton and Humphrey Lindsay/Holy Family.
Exeter-Milligan has dropped four contests this year, but comes into the state tournament on a 10-game winning streak which includes wins over Friend, Diller-Odell and Giltner to make the D-2 tournament field.
The two teams have not played a common opponent this season.
Riverside has played five of its games against state qualifiers from D-2 and D-1, while the Timberwolves have not matched up against any other state-qualifying teams.
The Chargers are led in scoring by 5-foot-11 junior guard Tredyn Prososki with 17.9 points per game. He’s also the catalyst on offense with 3.7 assists per game.
Putting up 16.8 points per contest is 6-7 senior Joseph Bloom, who is also a terror in the paint with 4.3 blocks per game and 6.2 rebounds.
Another double-digit scorer is sophomore Michael Brent at 12.2 points a night.
The Timberwolves are led in scoring by 6-1 sophomore Jackson Beethe, who puts up 15 points per game. Spencer Pribyl, a 6-4 senior, averages 9.9 points and eight boards while junior Max Zeleny puts up 9.7 and pulls down 6.2 rebounds. Zeleny is also leading the team with 5.4 assists per game and 43 steals.
Senior Colton Bossaller, a 5-10 guard, scores at a 7.7-per-game clip and has 52 assists.
Following the win over Giltner in the district final, Exeter-Milligan head coach Dean Filipi said, “We will take who we get at state and I’m sure we will come out and play hard and give it all we can. We may have had a few hiccups along the way, but I knew this team had a real good nucleus returning and you just never know what will happen. But this team has really come together nicely.”