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Northeast Nodaway junior Dylan McIntyre shoots a jumper against Princeton in the South Harrison Tournament semifinals on Thursday in Bethany. 

BETHANY, Mo. — For the first three years of Ben Boswell, Lane Dack, Auston Pride, Zach Pride and Colton Swalley’s high school careers, the goal was to make it to a tournament championship game.

“We haven’t done this in forever — I don’t even know since when,” Northeast Nodaway senior Auston Pride said. “It is really big, really exciting.”

In December, the Bluejays didn’t just make it to a championship, but they won the Platte Valley Invitational. Now Northeast Nodaway is trying to go 2-for-2 in tournaments this season.

“These seniors, they’ve worked hard for the last four years and every year, we’d get to a tournament and we’d always play for third,” Northeast Nodaway coach Rory Jackson said. “That first tournament this year, that was their goal — to play for a championship and win it. And we did that."

Northeast Nodaway (9-4) advanced to the championship game of the South Harrison Tournament with a 59-52 victory over Princeton. For much of the game, it wasn’t that close.

Princeton (6-8) built a 10-6 late in the first quarter, but Swalley and Boswell capped the first quarter with baskets to knot the game at 10-10. The Jays turned it into a 10-0 run with the first three baskets of the second quarter.

Boswell scored again to push the lead to 20-12. The two teams traded scores the rest of the half and the Jays took a 26-18 lead into halftime.

“I thought we executed well offensively,” Jackson said.

Northeast Nodaway pushed the lead to 37-20 early in the third quarter thanks to seven quick points from Dylan McIntyre. McIntyre’s points came off two assists from Boswell and one by Swalley.

“The guards were driving, the defender was helping on them and they were just dumping it to me for the layup,” McIntyre said. “They were doing all the work and I was just finishing it.”

Princeton got back within 41-32 late in the quarter, but McIntyre beat the third-quarter buzzer with a hook shot and then scored the first four points of the fourth quarter. Lane Dack added a basket and the Jays went up 49-32.

Princeton closed the game with a 10-2 run to close the gap against the Bluejay reserves.

Northeast Nodaway finished the game with 28 2-point field goals and no 3-pointers as they used their superior passing to create point-blank opportunities.

“We came into this game ready,” Auston Pride said. “We had to be the more physical team and keep them off the boards. I think we, for the most part, accomplished that goal.”

McIntyre finished with 25 points while Boswell had 16 points. Dack and Auston Pride each had six points, Swalley had four and Jake Redden had two.

“We definitely play our best running and gunning,” McIntyre said. “Getting steals was the biggest part of it and then just finishing on the other end of the floor.”

The Bluejays will play top-seeded Maysville for the tournament championship on Saturday at 7 p.m., in Bethany.