Nazareth punches third straight ticket to State Tourney

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The Nazareth Swifts celebrate after downing New Home 54-39 in a Region I-1A final in Levelland on Saturday. [Mackenzie Teal/ Press Pass Sports]

LEVELLAND— The Nazareth Swifts love playing at the Texan Dome at South Plains College, and their 7-1 record in the past four years is a testament to that.

Sophomore sharpshooter Trent Gerber stepped up big for the Swifts when they were looking for  offensive firepower after a slow first half start that led to a 54-39 victory against New Home in a Region I-1A final Saturday afternoon.

Gerber, the Swifts unsung hero, scored 10 of the Nazareth’s 16 in the third going 3-of-4 from beyond the arch with one of those being a 4-point play, after a foul.

“Trent is a good shooter and he’s been waiting for his moment,” Nazareth coach Taylor Schulte said. “It’s huge having someone who can come off the bench and get points like that for us.”

The game was tied 22 all at halftime as the Swifts struggled to get their shots to fall.

“We just kept pushing,” Schulte said of his team. “We just keep going possession by possession, and we let our defense lead us until we start knocking down our shots.”

The Swifts did just that, in support of Gerbers 17 second half points, the Swifts outscore New Home a total of 32-17 en route to securing their third straight state berth.

“It’s great to get back to the state tournament,” said Gerber, who had been in a shooting funk previous to Saturday. “In the playoffs, I haven’t been shooting well, but we’ve had different guys step up along the way and it felt great that it was me today.”

Senior Nathaneal Van Dijk added 11 and Kaden Cleavinger poured in 10.

Nazareth (28-8) will make its unprecedented 18th appearance at the UIL Class 1A state on Thursday.

Nazareth  11  22  38  54

New Home  6  22  30  39

Na–– Trent Gerber 22, Nathaniel Van Dijk 11, Kaden Cleavinger 10. NH— Reagan Fielder 16, Kaleb LeClair 10. Records: Nazareth 28-8; New Home 26-10.

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