Northeast Nebraska Hoops
The 8th seeded Guardian Angels Central Catholic Boys upset top seeded Dundy County-Stratton 65-55 in the first round of the Class D-1 State Tournament at Lincoln East Thursday afternoon.
The Bluejays led 19-16 at the end of one. The Tigers won the second quarter 9-7 to make it a 26-25 game at halftime in favor of GACC.
The Bluejays outscored Dundy County-Stratton 19-15 in the third quarter to go up 45-40 at the end of three.
GACC put up 20 points in the fourth quarter compared to 15 for the Tigers.
Mitch Haas had a team-high 19 points for the Bluejays while Kobe Slaughter and Nolan Plagge totaled 17 and 16, respectively.
The Bluejays jumped on the Cardinals 18-8 at the end of one before Randolph doubled up GACC 18-9 in the second quarter to make it a 27-26 game at halftime in favor of the Bluejays.
GACC extended their lead to 7 at 38-31 at the end of three by winning the third quarter 11-5.
The Bluejays outscored the Cardinals 19-14 in the fourth quarter.
Plagge led GACC with a game-high 18 points while Slaughter totaled 14. Andrew Guenther chipped in 10.
Lourdes Central Catholic ended Guardian Angels Central Catholic’s hopes of a Class D-1 state championship by beating the Bluejays 47-44 Saturday morning at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Only three teams had won back to back titles in D-1, and now the Knights are the fourth.
A 10-2 run at the end of the third made the difference in the game even though the Bluejays hit four threes in the fourth quarter to keep it close.
Haas and Plagge totaled 13 points apiece while Slaughter notched 12.
Head Coach Brad Slaughter says playing at PBA is something he will never forget. "It was a big deal, not all kids and coaches get to experience that. To make that big of run with this groups of boys, and my son, will be something that will be cherished for the rest of my life. Childhood dream."
Slaughter adds there's not a lot he feels the team could of done differently to win. "I wouldn't of changed much, maybe try to get better movement within the offense."
GACC ends the year at 16-14.
Slaughter says he will always remember this team as a team that always gave it their all. "How competitive these kids are and how they left everything out on the floor every game."
The Bluejays graduate Haas, Plagge, Slaughter, Derek Petz, Cole Kreikemeier, Sam Ulrich, Guenther, and Bryant Rief.
GACC brings back the likes of Landon Stalp, Jared Minnick, and Casey Doernemann.
The Bluejays don't return a whole lot next year with most players lost to graduation, but Slaughter says making the state championship ought to give next year's team a boost. "Has to be a big step in developing a program. Should help us understand how the strength of schedule will help in the end if you maintain the proper mind set."
I don't know how GACC's JV did this year, but the Bluejays lose a lot off this year's team.
With that said, teams like GACC just reload instead of rebuild.
Slaughter says it's going to take off season work on basketball skill to be successful again next season.
The Bluejays certainly came up short of achieving their dream of winning a state title, but just to play at PBA and experience a state championship is something that will no doubt last a lifetime for everyone involved with the team this season.
A tough schedule definitely paid off and benefited GACC in the long run.
There's not much more you could ask from the Bluejays to end the year other than to win the state title.
I think not winning it leaves more to accomplish and play for next year though.
Next year's team ought to have a deep passion and burning desire to get back to Lincoln and PBA.
And GACC can definitely get back there, they just have to work hard in the offseason and trust the process.
I credit this year's team for continuing to fight and defy the odds no matter how difficult things got at certain times this year.
This team was very senior laden, and I think the senior leadership paid off in the end for the Bluejays.
The Winnebago Boys saw their dream of winning a second state championship in the last three years end on Friday as the Indians fell 55-52 to Wahoo in the Class C-1 State Semifinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Winnebago led 17-14 after one and outscored the Warriors 14-12 in the second quarter to take a 31-26 lead into the locker room.
The Indians won the third quarter 15-14 to extend their lead to 46-40 at the end of three.
Wahoo rallied in the fourth quarter, putting up 15 points in the frame compared to 6 for Winnebago to seal the deal.
David Wingett paced the Indians with 13 points while Manape Cleveland and Cedrick Blackdeer totaled 11 and 10, respectively.
Kearney Catholic gave Winnebago a run for their money in the first round at the Devaney Center Thursday morning, but the Indians held off the Stars, winning 67-63.
The two teams went back and forth in the first quarter as the game was tied at 18 after one. Winnebago distanced themselves from Kearney Catholic a little bit in the second quarter, outscoring the Stars 18-11 to take a 36-29 lead into the locker room.
The Indians extended their lead to 11 at the end of three, winning the third quarter 17-13 to go up 53-42.
The Stars got within 2 points in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter, and put up 21 points in the frame compared to 14 for Winnebago, but it wasn't enough as Wingett canned two free throws to seal the deal for Winnebago.
Wingett led all scorers with 24 points while Drake Gorrin added 18. Blackdeer and Cleveland registered 11 points apiece.
Winnebago beat Columbus Scotus 71-68 in overtime in Saturday's third place game as Blackdeer hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The game was tied at 18 after one. Both teams scored 16 points in the second quarter, and the game was tied at 34 at halftime.
The Indians won the third quarter 11-10 to go up 45-44 at the end of three.
The Shamrocks put up 19 points in the fourth quarter compared to 18 for Winnebago to tie the game at 63 and send it into OT.
The Indians outlasted Columbus Scotus 8-5 in the extra session.
It was a really good season for Winnebago. I'm sure the Indians would have liked to have won state, but third place is still very respectable.
Winnebago ends the year at 28-3.
It was a great year and a great ride for the Indians. This year's senior class accomplished a lot. 3 straight State Tournament appearances and a State Championship is an awful lot to be proud of.
Gorrin, Blackdeer, Wingett, Miguel Baker, Iktomi Rice, and Manazheega Cleveland are all lost to graduation,
Maurice Scott, D'Von LaPointe, Drew Parker, Ed Payer, Manape Cleveland, Makoonce Littlevoice, and Willy Wingett are all back and are key returners for Winnebago.
The Indians don't figure to be very tall next season, but they should be very fast and athletic.
I think Winnebago has a shot to at least get back to the State Tournament next season.
David Wingett is a huge loss for the Indians though and will be sorely missed.
You don't exactly replace that type of talent and production overnight.
With that said, there are many capable, worthy, and deserving players coming back for the Indians, and Winnebago ought to still be pretty good next year.
It will be interesting to see what the Indians have coming up though because a lot of talent will be lost after next year as well.
I do think the future of Winnebago Boys Basketball is bright, but new players have to emerge and develop, and make a name for themselves on this team.
The Indians have to play ball as much as possible in the offseason, whether it's at the school or at the outdoor court in Winnebago.
The returning players and newcomers have to work hard and put the work in this offseason to live up to what past players and teams have accomplished.
The Indians didn't accomplish what they accomplished the last three years without a lot hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and time commitment I'm sure.
I'm sure most if not all of these players put their heart and soul into the game this year and have done the same thing in past years, so the blueprint is definitely there for future players to follow I would say.
The Oakland-Craig Boys kept things close with defending Class C-2 State Runner-up Elmwood Murdock in the first round of State at Lincoln Southeast Thursday night, but in the end, Elmwood-Murdock was too much for Oakland-Craig as they won 44-38.
Elmwood-Murdock led 14-11 after one and extended their lead to 25-21 at halftime by winning the second quarter 11-10.
Elmwood-Murdock outscored Oakland-Craig 12-8 in the third quarter to go up 37-29 at the end of three.
Oakland-Craig cut the lead to 5 late in the game, but couldn't get any closer as they put up 9 points in the fourth quarter compared to 7 for Elmwood-Murdock.
Garrett Seagren led all scorers with 22 points while Carter Thiele chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds, good enough for a double-double.
I thought Oakland-Craig played a pretty good game, at least defensively. Oakland-Craig may not have been as sharp offensively though.
Oakland-Craig ends the year at 16-8.
It was a good season for the Knights, and Oakland-Craig should be very happy and content with what they accomplished this season,
Thiele was first on the team in scoring and rebounds with 448 points and 191 boards. Seagren was second with 437 points and 131 rebounds.
The Knights will definitely miss Thiele next season along with Zach Ahrens,
Oakland-Craig figures to be back next season though given everyone that returns.
Seagren, Kobe Benne, Evan Reinert, Robby Mayberry, Cole Bures, Tyson Harney, Wyatt Seagren, and others return for the Knights.
Oakland-Craig should be very good once again next year as long as they can find someone to replace Thiele.
That will definitely be the challenge though. His production and leadership doesn't figure to be easy to replace.
The Knights have to be excited about next year and the future though.
Oakland-Craig's returning players and newcomers have to wake up everyday dreaming about state and what it would be like to play at the Devaney Center and Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Knights took that first step in making it to state, now it's a matter of getting back there and winning a game or two.
The ultimate goal has to be playing and winning on the final day of the state tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Oakland-Craig has to dream of what it would be like to win a state championship, and have it on their minds during every workout this offseason.
Champions are made from April to November, and the more work these kids put in this offseason, the better they will be in 2017-2018.
There has to be a lot of excitement and optimism around the Oakland-Craig program given the kind of season they had this year.
It's definitely an exciting time to be a Knight and part of the Oakland-Craig Boys Basketball Program.
The Oakland-Craig Boys have qualified for State via Wildcard following Thursday, February 23rd's 64-40 loss to Yutan in the C2-3 Sub-District Final at Fort Calhoun.
The Chieftains led 19-16 after one, and won the second quarter 16-10 to take a 35-26 lead into the locker room.
Yutan outscored the Knights 14-8 in the third quarter to go up 49-34 at the end of three.
The Chieftains put up 15 points in the fourth quarter compared to 6 for Oakland-Craig.
Carter Thiele had a team-high 11 points and 10 rebounds, good enough for a double-double. Garrison Dodge added 9 points while Garrett Seagren and Kobe Benne totaled 8 apiece.
Head Coach Aaron Meyer says his squad had an off game. "This is the time of year when you need to be hitting on all cylinders and we didn't do that. Yutan has quite a guard/post combo, so you have to help at times you really don't want to. To win, we need to defend, rebound, and make shots. Those 3 areas didn't come easy. We tip our hands to Yutan for a great game."
Meyer says the team thought the season was pretty much over after the loss. "Oh that was kind of a nightmarish game. One of those things where matchups wise we shot cold. I mean so before that game we had an idea going into subs that there was an outside possibility of Boys Town and GACC would go to state. We knew there was an outside possibility for a wildcard, but I'm going to be honest that night after the Yutan game we pretty much gave our thank you's and goodbyes, and thought that was it. It wasn't until on the bus ride home we saw that GACC had pulled the upset on Walthill, and we knew that there was still a little bit of life left."
16-7 and 7th seeded Oakland-Craig squares off with 23-3 and 2nd seeded Elmwood-Murdock in the first round of Class C-2 Boys State Basketball at Lincoln Southeast Thursday night Meyer says his team is going to need to utilize its strengths and turn in a good performance to come away with the win. "We're going to have to play well. We're going to have to make shots, we're going to have to defend and rebound. We're going to be quite a bit undersized, but hope that our athleticism will help us, and hope we can get out and run a little bit."
Oakland-Craig is certainly the underdog in this game, but that's not to say they can't win.
Oakland-Craig has had a nice season, and is a very athletic team, and if the Crofton Girls can get beat by Diller-Odell, then Oakland-Craig can beat Elmwood-Murdock.
Oakland-Craig has to play much better than they did against Yutan though.
That Yutan game was one of Oakland-Craig's toughest defeats of the year without a doubt if not the toughest defeat, in my opinion.
The good thing for Oakland-Craig is they get another shot...a second chance at redemption.
It's pretty special for Oakland-Craig to be at state, and they have to do everything to play and compete well and at a high level Thursday night.
If Oakland-Craig can get out and run and hit from the outside...look out.
I think Oakland-Craig can give Elmwood-Murdock a run for their money if they are on.
Size and State Experience could definitely be a factor in this game, but I fully expect Oakland-Craig to hold their own.
It will be interesting to see what happens. It would be a huge deal for Oakland-Craig to win as they haven't won a state game in 10 years.
Just being at state is a big deal in itself though. Opportunities like this don't come too often, and so Oakland-Craig has to make the most of their opportunity at state.
Oakland-Craig has to be ready to bring it for four quarters, and must play their best game Thursday night.
Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. Catch the action on 107.9 the Bull.
The GACC Boys had their way with East Butler in the D1-2 District Final at Clarkson last Tuesday night, winning 68-39.
The Tigers hit the first basket of the game, but the Bluejays quickly went on an 11-0 run, and led 16-10 after one. GACC won the second quarter 16-12 to take a 32-22 lead into the locker room thanks to a Sam Ulrich made shot near the end of the half.
The Bluejays outscored East Butler 24-11 in the third quarter to go up 56-33 at the end of three.
GACC doubled up the Tigers 12-6 in the fourth quarter.
The Bluejays were led by Kobe Slaughter, who had a game-high 22 points. Nolan Plagge chipped in 17 while Mitch Haas registered 11. Cole Kreikemeier totaled 8 rebounds.
Head Coach Brad Slaughter. "I mean they're a very nice team. I was wondering a little bit about the depth. I thought maybe the man pressure would get them tired and stuff, and it did get them tired. And they were gassed at the end. And we're conditioned well. So the key for us was pressure and just being smart with the ball."
Slaughter says his team was ready for the Tigers. "Yeah we had a good game plan for East Butler. We were wanting to create a lot of pressure for them, and we thought that would help us out in a couple different ways, but number one making them tired and also limiting the best shot selection."
14-13 and 8th seeded Guardian Angels Central Catholic and 23-3 and top seeded Dundy County-Stratton square off in the first round of the Class D-1 Boys State Basketball Tournament in Lincoln on Thursday. Slaughter says the Tigers are a very worthy opponent. "Well I think it's going to be a great game. They definitely have some nice athletes, they have some nice scorers. They've put together a very, very good season, and to play that many games and have that kind of record is a testimony to their team and part of their tradition."
The Bluejays are making their first appearance at state since 2012 while Dundy County-Stratton is there for the 3rd year in a row.
It'll be Slaughter's first trip to state. "We want to enjoy the moment. The seniors and all the kids that worked hard I mean I want them to cherish this opportunity. And of course we're going down to compete at a high level. We don't just want to get there, we want to get there and play."
The Bluejays will try and duplicate the girls' efforts at the state tournament this weekend by knocking off Dundy County-Stratton and winning state. Slaughter says it would be a tremendous accomplishment for both Bluejay teams to win state, but the D-1 field isn't easy by any means. "Well that would be great, that would be fun, it would be a great time to be a Bluejay. But we got our work cut out for us. It's definitely feasible, I mean the field that we have, the field of 8 teams, I mean looks to be a pretty well balanced field. And which the team that gets on the hot hand and the roll at any given point in time is probably going to come out pretty good."
I think GACC has a shot to win state.
The Bluejays have played their best basketball of the season as of late, in my opinion, and have played a very tough schedule, and are battle tested.
If GACC plays the way they did against Walthill and East Butler there's no doubt in my mind they have a chance to do something in this state tournament.
Basketball is really strong in the Mid-State Conference and in Northeast Nebraska, and I think the Bluejays will represent themselves very well in this State Tournament.
It would be awesome for GACC to play at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday. That's every kid's dream.
Thursday's game, which is set to start at 2:00 p.m. at Lincoln East, will air on 107.9 the Bull.
The Winnebago Boys secured the No. 1 seed in the Class C-1 State Basketball Tournament in Lincoln by downing Columbus Scotus 65-50 in the C1-3 District Final at Norfolk High last Monday night.
The Indians led 20-13 after one before the Shamrocks won the second quarter 12-7 to make it a 27-25 game at halftime in favor of Winnebago.
The Indians outscored Columbus Scotus 19-8 in the third quarter to go up 46-33 at the end of three.
Winnebago put up 19 points in the fourth quarter compared to 17 for the Shamrocks.
Head Coach Jeff Berridge says the win was bigger than just claiming the top seed. "It was big. More than that it was like a moral victory for us. Being they were ranked number one almost all year long, so we were kind of down in the rankings. So it was a big win for us that way, and it's a big win getting the number one seed going into the tournament. I mean we kind of got the easier side of the bracket, but Class C-1 there's so many good teams in the tournament anybody could win it really."
Berridge adds his team knew what to expect from and came ready to play against the Shamrocks. "Yes we did. We were anticipating a good game, and that's what we got. And our boys came out and they fought hard. And we kind of controlled the game for a while, and it got close, but at the end of the game we pulled it out and we won."
26-2 and top seeded Winnebago meets 21-5 and 8th seeded Kearney Catholic in the first round of the State Tournament Thursday morning. Berridge says the Stars are well coached, but if his team plays their game they should be fine. "I mean they're a solid team. They're there for a reason. And I've been told their coach has been there for a while. And he's got a pretty good system. And his kids always run his system pretty good. So we're just looking to play Winnebago Basketball, and if we do that there's not a whole lot of teams that can run with us up and down the court for the whole game."
The Indians are making their third straight state tournament appearance, and are looking to win C-1 again after winning it in 2015, while Kearney Catholic is making their first state appearance since 2014.
This is a tough C-1 field, but there's no doubt that Winnebago is capable of winning the whole thing.
I think the state championship will come down to the Indians and either Bishop Neumann or Columbus Scotus, and if Winnebago plays the way they did against the Shamrocks they should stand a pretty good chance to win the C-1 title for the second time in the last three years.
David Wingett has to have a huge tournament, and must come up big with some monster dunks and things of that sort for Winnebago.
This tournament is a huge showcase for him in terms of where he could land in College.
More important than that though is how the team plays.
The Indians just have to play Rez Ball, and play it at a high level.
Winnebago just has to play their game, and do what they did two years ago, and they should be fine.
The Indians have to play their tails off for four quarters every game they play in this tournament, and cannot afford to take a single play off.
One possession, one turnover, one missed lay up, one missed free throw, could be the difference in at least one of these state tournament games for Winnebago.
The Indians simply have to do everything in their power to come out on top and become state champions once again.
The Indians take an 11-game winning streak into Thursday's game, which is set to start at 9:00 a.m. at the Devaney Center.
The game can be heard on 107.9 the Bull.
The Guardian Angels Central Catholic Girls Basketball Team won their 6th State Championship in School History on Saturday, knocking off Dundy County-Stratton 53-50 in double overtime at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the Class D-1 State Title Game.
The Bluejays led 8-7 after one before winning the second quarter 13-12 to take a 21-19 into the locker room.
The Tigers outscored GACC 12-10 in the third quarter to tie the game at 31 at the end of three.
Both teams scored 7 points in the fourth quarter, and the game was tied at 40 at the end of regulation.
Both teams scored 5 points in the first overtime, and the score was tied at 45 heading into the second overtime period.
The Bluejays outscored Dundy County-Stratton 8-5 in the second overtime session.
Lexis Haase led GACC with 19 points while Makayla Tomka and Maddie Knobbe registered 12 apiece.
GACC advanced to the Class D-1 State Championship Game by knocking off North Central 67-50 in the State Semifinals at the Devaney Center Friday morning.
The Bluejays led 15-10 after one before doubling up the Knights 20-10 in the second quarter to take a 35-20 lead into the locker room.
North Central won the third quarter 16-15, and the score after three was 50-36 in favor of GACC.
The Bluejays outscored the Knights 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
GACC was led by Haase with 25 points. Knobbe added 14 while Hannah Hunke and Lauren Wobken chipped in 9 and 8, respectively.
GACC was given a scare through three quarters by Meridian in the first round of the State Tournament at Lincoln Southwest Thursday morning, but the Bluejays used a 16-point fourth quarter to win 37-29.
GACC trailed 24-21 in the fourth quarter before going on a 10-0 run to lead 31-24.
The game was tied at 21 at the end of three after the Mustangs led 13-12 at halftime.
The Bluejays held a 6-3 lead at the end of one
Haase led GACC with 13 points while Tomka added 11. Wobken chipped in 9.
Head Coach Jerry Stracke says his team overcame a poor shooting performance to win on Thursday. "It seems like we always have one bad shooting day at the state tournament, but not too many teams could shoot like that and come away with a win. They did a nice job making up for it on the defensive end and never gave up when things didn't go their way."
The Bluejays end the season at 24-2 in claiming their first State Title since 2012.
Stracke says his players have a lot to be proud of. "Any time you get down to state its a great achievement and winning it is icing on the cake. It was nice to see their hard work pay off. We have good athletes and good support from the parents and fans. Just happy for them to have that chance to experience it - it will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives."
GACC graduates Hunke, Tomka, Knobbe, Wobken, and Emily Reeson.
The Bluejays bring back the likes of Haase, Maddie Bracht, Allison Plagge, Marissa Hunke, Allie Knobbe, and others.
Stracke adds this year's team was special. "This group was a great group to work with. Great attitudes and work ethic. They had to overcome a lot of obstacles and it made them stronger and better at the end."
It was a great run and ride for GACC, and the Bluejays had a tremendous season, and have plenty to be proud of.
Stracke says his team has to be willing to put in the work to get back next year though. "Commitment to shooting and working during the off season."
GACC has a great Girls Basketball Program, and I imagine the Bluejays will be back at state for a 21st consecutive season.
GACC figures to be sort of young next year, but the Bluejays should still be good as they always reload instead of rebuild.
GACC certainly loses some integral pieces from this year's state championship team, but should be good again next season.
What a ride and what a season the Bluejays had this year though.
I want to personally congratulate these girls on winning the state title...they have an awful lot to be proud of.
All the hard work, time, dedication, and sacrifice this team put in really paid off in the end.
It was a picture perfect end to the season for the seniors, and gives the underclassmen a clear cut idea of what being the best is like and what it's going to take to get back.
The Howells-Dodge Girls won their first ever State Championship as a Consolidated School on Saturday, topping Diller-Odell 39-30 in the Class C-2 State Championship Game at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Jaguars jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter and led 14-7 after one before the Griffin won the second quarter 14-13 to make it a 27-21 game at halftime in favor of Howells-Dodge.
Howells-Dodge outscored Diller-Odell 5-1 in the third quarter to lead 32-22 at the end of three.
The Griffin put up 8 points in the fourth quarter compared to 7 for the Jaguars.
Macey Kulhanek paced Howells-Dodge with 12 points while Sam Brester had 9.
Howells-Dodge advanced to the Class C-2 State Title Game by taking down Ponca 47-44 in the State Semifinals at the Devaney Center Friday afternoon.
Things were tight throughout as the Jaguars held just a one-point lead at the end of one, 12-11. The Indians outscored Howells-Dodge 12-9 in the third quarter to take a 23-21 lead into the locker room.
Ponca went on a mini 5-0 run to start the second half, and led 28-21, before the Jaguars responded with a 10-0 run of their own to pull in front 31-28.
Howells-Dodge led 33-30 at the end of three, and both teams scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Brester led all scorers with 22 points and 9 rebounds while Kulhanek notched 12 points.
Howells-Dodge advanced to the State Semifinals for the third year in a row on Thursday by knocking off Cambridge 58-41 in the first round of State at Lincoln North Star.
The Trojans led early, taking a 17-13 lead at the end of one, a quarter highlighted by the Jaguars' Sam Brester's buzzer beating three pointer. The difference in the game was in the second quarter as Howells-Dodge outscored Cambridge 21-6 to lead 34-23 at halftime.
Both teams scored 11 points in the third quarter, and the score after three was 45-34 in favor of the Jaguars.
The Jaguars won the fourth quarter 13-7.
Howells-Dodge was led by Brester, who had a game-high 25 points and 15 rebounds, good enough for a double-double. Kulhanek added 19 points.
Head Coach Scott Polacek says winning the state title means a lot to both communities. "It is great for our communities. The two towns have incredible traditions of sports, and expectations are high, so we put a lot of passion into our season, to keep the tradition alive."
The Jaguars end the year at 25-3.
Polacek adds having previous state experience really helped his team win it this time around. "We've been to the tournament for 2 years previous, so we were easily able to handle the stress of the weekend. We knew what to expect. We had different girls have great games throughout the tournament, and that balance gave us an edge."
Howells-Dodge loses Brester, Emily Ritzdorf, Kalli Brester, Chelsea Bayer, and Tessa Brester to graduation.
Polacek says these seniors meant a lot to the Jaguars' year. "We had an excellent group of seniors who had tremendous desire, and that was the difference the whole season."
Howells-Dodge brings back the likes of Kulhanek, Erin Prusa, Tonya Brester, Grace Dvorak, Jessi Brester, and Emily Wragge.
But Polacek says next year is the last thing his team is thinking about right now. "It will be awhile before we think about next year. We have our town/team celebration next Saturday, and we are going to enjoy it until then!"
This is something the Jaguars should let soak in and feel great about for quite a while.
Howells-Dodge should be very proud of what they accomplished this season. To win a state title is something these girls will never forget.
The Jaguars were a great team this season, and I feel honored and privileged to have broadcasted a game of theirs this season.
Howells-Dodge was definitely worthy of this state championship, and it couldn't of happened to a better team.
There's a lot to get after to defend their state title next year, but the Jaguars ought to enjoy this one for a while, and party and celebrate lots.
State titles are very rare to come by for most schools, and this is a time that Howells-Dodge has to really enjoy.
All that hard work and dedication put in by these players paid off and culminated with a state title.
The Jaguars reached the Pinnacle this year again, and came through when it mattered most this time around.
These Howells-Dodge seniors ended their careers on the Huskers' home court, and you could not ask for more if you are the Jaguars.
The Pender Girls saw their season come to an end at the State Tournament in Lincoln Thursday afternoon as the Pendragons lost 47-40 to Dundy County-Stratton.
The Tigers led 11-7 after one before winning the second quarter 12-10 to lead 23-17 at halftime.
Dundy County-Stratton outscored Pender 10-8 in the third quarter to lead 33-25 at the end of three.
The Pendragons put up 15 points in the fourth compared to 14 for the Tigers.
Pender was led by Amber English with 15 points. Kam Anderson added 9 while Hallie Ballinger totaled 8.
It was a great season for Pender. A trip to state is a great way to end the season.
The Pendragons end the year at 18-9.
Big wins for Pender this season came over Oakland-Craig, BRLD, Hartington Cedar Catholic, North Bend Central, and Stanton.
I thought the season defining game for the Pendragons was the second game against Stanton. Pender was down 12 and came back in won in overtime. And had the Pendragons lost that game there would of been no wildcard to state.
I thought Pender had a great season. These girls meant a lot to and did a lot for this program this season.
The impact the Pendragons had on the area this year was significant, and they should be very proud of their accomplishments.
I'm sure Pender is probably disappointed they couldn't beat Dundy County-Stratton, but I still feel the Pendragons were one of the top teams in D-1.
I think it could be argued that Pender was the third best team in the state in D-1 this year.
Pender says goodbye to seniors Ballinger, Anderson, English, and Cecilee Jacobsen.
These seniors meant a lot to Pender Girls Basketball, and will be deeply missed without a doubt.
The Pendragons return the likes of Michaela Wegner, Tymaree Krusemark, Rylee Lehmkuhl, Sarah Krueger, and Briana Jorgensen.
So Pender loses quite a bit of talent, but returns some good players too.
I think the Pendragons have a chance to be a good and competitive team in the future.
The returning players and incoming freshman have to work hard in the offseason, and live up to the standards set by this year's senior class and past senior classes that made the state tournament.
Pender has been a real solid program since about 2010-2011, and the Pendragons have to keep working hard and improving to continue their success of the past 7 seasons.
There's still some talent in the pool at Pender, but it's critical for next year's players to put in hard work this offseason if the Pendragons want to be successful in the future.
The Howells-Dodge Girls are at state for the third year in a row after defeating Twin River 50-42 in the C2-4 District Final at Central Community College in Columbus on Saturday.
The Jaguars led 14-9 after one before doubling up the Titans 20-10 in the second quarter to take a 34-19 lead into the locker room.
Twin River won the third quarter 6-4 to make it a 38-25 game at the end of three.
The Titans outscored Howells-Dodge 17-12 in the fourth quarter.
Sam Brester finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds while Chelsea Bayer and Macey Kulhanek registered 11 points apiece. Kalli Brester chipped in 7.
A fast start and a good first half appeared to be the difference in this one.
22-3 and 3rd seeded Howells-Dodge takes on 20-3 and 6th seeded Cambridge in the first round of the State Tournament in Lincoln Thursday night. Head Coach Scott Polacek says the Trojans have some girls that can play. "I watched some film, and they look pretty tough. Their number one player is Alea Shaner. And she was an All-State Player already a year ago. She can penetrate, and she can post up, and she can shoot 3's And they have another good outside three-point threat and a couple freshmen that are playing very, very well for them."
Both teams were D-1 State Qualifiers a year ago with the Jaguars finishing State Runner-Up.
Polacek says his team has had balanced scoring lately, and that's made it tough on opponents. "We've been pretty successful with our balanced scoring the last few games. We've had a couple other girls step up, and our outside game has been real strong lately. And that's helped us out. We haven't had to rely a lot on our inside game. We've been able to kind of score from a lot of different places. That's made us a lot harder to stop for the opponent, definitely."
Howells-Dodge has a pretty favorable draw if you ask me. The Jaguars are facing a team that has fluctuated between C-2 and D-1 themselves so both of these teams are sort of having to adapt to playing up a class.
The difference is the Trojans have been C-2 before so some of their girls probably know what to expect maybe more so than Howells-Dodge.
At the end of the day state is state and basketball is basketball though, and all the rules and everything are the same as if the Jaguars were in D-1.
The difference is the field is definitely tougher in C-2 than in D-1 so Howells-Dodge definitely has their work cut out for them this weekend, but there's no doubt in my mind the Jaguars can make a run and find themselves playing on Saturday.
If Howells-Dodge wins on Thursday, they would play either Hastings St. Cecilia or Ponca in the semifinals on Friday.
This has to be an exciting time for all the players coaches, fans, and the communities of Howells and Dodge.
The Jaguars have had a great run these last few years, and hopefully Howells-Dodge finds themselves playing three games this weekend.
It should be a lot of fun and an electric atmosphere as always.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 at Lincoln North Star, and the game can be heard on 107.9 the Bull.
It was a back and forth affair in the D1-4 Sub-District Final at Wisner-Pilger on Thursday, February 16th between the Guardian Angels Central Catholic and Pender Girls with the Bluejays outlasting the Pendragons 59-56.
Pender jumped on GACC early and led 19-15 after one before the Bluejays outscored the Pendragons 15-11 in the second quarter to tie the game at 30 at halftime.
Pender started the second half on a 10-0 run, and won the third quarter 12-10 to lead 42-40 after three.
GACC came through in the end though, putting up 19 points in the fourth quarter compared to 14 for Pender.
Kam Anderson led all scorers with 18 points while Amber English registered 16. Hallie Ballinger totaled 13 points and 11 rebounds, good enough for a double-double, while Cecilee Jacobsen added 9 rebounds.
Head Coach Larry Ballinger says the game was well played. "Yeah, no I thought my team played well. I thought both teams played extremely well. It was probably one of the best played games that I've been a part of. Both teams hitting key shots. The other one would go on a little run, and then the other one would answer. And I thought it was just a great game to be a part of and a lot of fun."
18-8 and 7th seeded Pender meets 25-0 and 2nd seeded Dundy County-Stratton in the first round of the State Tournament in Lincoln Thursday afternoon. Ballinger says the Tigers are a very good team. "Yeah, no they're undefeated for a reason. And they're just a well disciplined team. They get aggressive on defense and throw a lot of different presses at you. And they're just a scrappy team that likes to get up and down the floor a lot."
The Pendragons received one of two wildcards to the state tournament.
Ballinger says it wasn't easy having to wait and see if they were going to get in. "Yeah that was a tough thing to do was sit and wait. And we did have practice trying to keep our spirits up a little bit and just try and do what we could and prepare. And if we did get ready, if we did make it in, we could be ready to go."
The Pendragons are appearing at state for the first time since 2014.
I think if Pender plays up to their capability they can upset and knock off the Tigers.
Howells-Dodge beat Dundy County-Stratton last year in the first round so perhaps the Pendragons can duplicate the Jaguars' efforts this year.
One thing is for sure...a lot of good basketball is played in Northeast Nebraska, and Pender is very battle tested.
The Tigers are undefeated though and are a very good team so beating them will be a very tall and daunting task.
The Pendragons have to play the way they did against the Bluejays in the Sub-District Final.
Pender has to play with that same sense of urgency and purpose that they played with against GACC.
The fans have to get excited and jacked up for this game...after all this is state.
Days and moments like these don't come very often in life so the Pendragons have to make the most of their State Tournament stay, and stick around a while if they can.
Pender is guaranteed three games if they win on Thursday so the Pendragons would be hanging around for a while if they are able to pull off the upset against Dundy County-Stratton.
Pender has to stay calm, poised, and relaxed at all times. The Pendragons can't let the atmosphere get to them.
Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. at Lincoln Southwest, and the game will air on 107.9 the Bull.
The Guardian Angels Central Catholic Girls blew out Weeping Water 59-18 in the D1-2 District Final at Elkhorn South on Saturday.
The Bluejays led 21-4 after one before outscoring the Indians 22-7 in the second quarter to take a 43-11 lead into the locker room.
GACC won the third quarter 12-2 to go up 55-13 at the end of three.
Weeping Water put up 5 points in the fourth quarter compared to 4 for the Bluejays.
This was a very dominant win for GACC. The Bluejays definitely appeared to be in championship form.
21-2 and top seeded GACC and 20-6 and 8th seeded Meridian meet in the first round of State in Lincoln Thursday morning. Head Coach Jerry Stracke says the Mustangs are battle tested and athletic. "Yeah Meridian can give us a lot of problems. They have a lot of speed and quickness, they've played a lot of good teams. It just depends how well we can adjust to their speed and how well we play."
Meridian topped Lourdes Central Catholic 42-39 in the D1-1 District Final at Crete Friday night.
The Mustangs are a tough team, and should not be taken lightly or for granted.
The Bluejays should win, but Meridian isn't your typical 8 seed, in my opinion.
GACC has to come out and play the way they did against Weeping Water, and leave the Mustangs in the dust.
The Bluejays have to put away Meridian early so they can coast to the easy win, and get ready for their semifinal game on Friday.
I think this GACC team is the team to beat in this state tournament. Pender or Dundy County-Stratton could have something to say about that, but when it's all said and done, I look for the Bluejays to hoist the State Championship Trophy on Saturday and receive gold medals.
GACC is a fixture at the state tournament, and has been a very good team for a very long time.
The Bluejays are experienced, veteran laden, and well seasoned so that should really benefit GACC.
This is an experience of a lifetime for these girls, and they have to enjoy it.
Tip-off is set for 9:00 a.m. at Lincoln Southwest.
Stracke says his team likes the early start time. "Actually we probably play our best games in the morning. Seems like whenever we get morning draws down at state that we play really well. And it's kind of nice cause then you have the rest of the day to work on other things and just enjoy the day and experience down there."
The Bluejays, who are seeking their first state title since 2012, are appearing at state for the 20th consecutive year.
Thursday's game can be heard on 107.9 the Bull.
Ponca's Emma Kneifl hit a shot that will forever live in Ponca lore as she canned a three-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation to send Saturday's C2-2 Girls Basketball District Final against Oakland-Craig into overtime tied at 51.
The Knights captured a 19-18 lead at halftime after falling behind 14-6 at the end of one.
Oakland-Craig extended their lead to 4 at 36-32 at the end of three before the Indians battled back in the fourth quarter.
Ponca never looked back in the extra session, tripling up the Knights 12-4 to win 63-55.
Oakland-Craig was led by Dacey Nelson with 21 points. Kennedy Benne posted 12 while Melanie Snader added 7. Shannon Pille chipped in 10 rebounds.
It was a great run for the Knights as Oakland-Craig came up a little bit short of making state.
Oakland-Craig ends the season at 14-7.
Oakland-Craig's biggest wins of the year came over Omaha Nation, BRLD, Fremont Bergan (Twice), and Yutan.
I thought the Knights played their best basketball when it mattered most this season with the exception of the East Husker Conference Tournament.
Nelson was the team's leader in scoring with 480 points and rebounds with 158. Benne was second on the team in scoring with 221 points while Pille was second in rebounds with 133.
Oakland-Craig says goodbye to four seniors in Pille, Emmy Bousquet, Snader, and Grace Maline.
These girls are significant losses for the Knights and don't figure to be easy to replace.
Key returners for Oakland-Craig include Nelson, Benne, Natalia McNeil, Ashley Denton, and Ellie Weitzenkamp.
The Knights overcame the loss of four starters from last year's team so I don't see why Oakland-Craig can't overcome the loss of the four seniors they lose from this year's team.
Nelson is one of the best players in the area and I'm excited to see what she can do next year.
Benne should also have a solid sophomore campaign, and compliment Nelson very nicely.
New starters and role players will have to emerge for the Knights, but with an entire offseason to improve, mature, and grow...that should happen.
Oakland-Craig has to get faster, stronger, more physical, and tougher in the offseason.
The Knights are already a very good team, but to be even better Oakland-Craig's returning players and newcomers have to work hard in the weightroom, run, work on agility drills, shoot, and participate in pick up games, open gyms, summer and team camps, and summer leagues.
The Knights have to be basketball minded as much as possible from now until November.
There's a lot of time for these players to hone their skills and develop even more than they already have, but there's only so much time before the season begins.
With an entire offseason to improve in every aspect of the game and in life I look for Oakland-Craig to have a really good 2017-2018 season.
The GACC Boys kept their season alive Thursday night by upsetting Walthill 59-55 in the D1-4 Sub-District Final at Wisner-Pilger.
The Blujays led 18-10 after one before the Bluejays outscored Walthill 20-14 in the second quarter to make it a 32-30 game at halftime in favor of the Blujays.
GACC won the third quarter 13-9 to pull in front 43-41 at the end of three.
The Bluejays notched 16 points in the fourth quarter compared to 14 for Walthill.
GACC was led by Mitch Haas with 26 points. Kobe Slaughter added 9 while Andrew Guenther and Nolan Plagge totaled 8 and 7, respectively. Landon Stalp added 7 rebounds.
Head Coach Brad Slaughter knew his team could come out on top. "I knew it was going to be a battle, and watching their film and things like that. But I do believe that Mid-State grind of that tough games competition day in and day out has actually helped us. And if we can survive those runs and make good decisions and knock down our free throws, these kids can play. So I'm just glad that they stepped up to the challenge."
Slaughter likes the way his team is playing at the moment. "They're playing hard, and I couldn't be prouder of the group of boys. They don't want to stop practicing, they want to keep playing."
Slaughter's boys made 26 of 35 free throws. "We have been coming on. I told you last time our free throws have been getting better. And we are getting more consistent at the line. And the kids are having the confidence to step up and knock them down. So it's a credit to focus and being able to step up in those pressure situations."
Slaughter says the win was also due in large part to Haas. "Mitch had a nice game. He did a good job of knocking down his free throws and he converted on a lot of his short jumpers. And that was just a big boost in that fourth quarter when you get up to that line and knock down those free throw shots. I mean those are gimme's that you got to take advantage of. And him and a couple others knocked down some big free throws that really helped keep the pressure on Walthill."
The Tigers squeaked by Omaha Christian Academy 41-40 in the D1-3 Sub-District Final at Wahoo Thursday night.
Slaughter says the Tigers are a solid ball club. "They play several different defenses. The athletes that they send on the floor they do a nice job. And they work hard too. I mean I'm sure they're chomping at the bit to get after this."
East Butler isn't that bad of a team as they've beaten a few good teams and lost to some other quality squads.
I think the Bluejays will definitely have their work cut out for them in this one.
With that said, I feel GACC has played the tougher schedule and is battle tested.
The win over Walthill was a great win for this squad, but the journey isn't complete yet.
I know the Bluejays have aspirations of winning the State Tournament, but GACC has to get there first.
The Bluejays should be over the joy and elation of the Walthill win by now. It's time to refocus and get ready for the task at hand.
GACC has to come ready to play with a business like attitude.
The Bluejays can't take the Tigers lightly or for granted, GACC has to be ready to play a complete four quarter game.
Haas, Slaughter, Guenther, Plagge, and Stalp all need to have good games for the Bluejays.
GACC has to be confident shooting the ball from the field and at the free throw line.
The Bluejays have to bring their A game and be ready to go toe to toe with East Butler.
GACC has to have a good game offensively, and can't afford to go through the shooting woes that they have at times this season.
The Bluejays have to put things all together once again to punch their ticket to Lincoln.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m., and the game can be heard on 107.9 the Bull.
The Logan View/Scribner-Snyder Boys lost 72-59 to Winnebago in the C1-6 Sub-District Final Thursday evening.
The Indians jumped out on the Raiders 17-8 after one. Both teams scored 14 points in the second quarter, and Winnebago led 31-22 at halftime.
LV/SS won the third quarter 18-16 to make it a 47-40 game at the end of three.
The Indians outscored the Raiders 25-19 in the fourth quarter.
Jacob Polk led the way with 25 points while Ben Moxness registered 18. Nathan Taylor chipped in 7.
I thought Logan View/Scribner-Snyder competed well and held their own against Winnebago.
The Raiders end the season at 18-6.
Logan View/Scribner-Snyder had a tremendous season, in my opinion, knocking off the likes of Oakland-Craig (twice), Wayne, North Bend Central, Wisner-Pilger, West Point-Beemer, Howells-Dodge, BRLD, Yutan, and Arlington.
Moxness finished the season as the team leader in points and rebounds with 511 points and 157 rebounds. Polk was second in points with 355.
The Raiders lose just one senior in Andrew Poppe, otherwise everyone else is back.
Moxness, Polk, Taylor, Alex Hagerbaumer, Alex VonSeggern, and Nathan Wacker are all key returners for Logan View/Scribner-Snyder.
I think the Raiders have a chance to be very good and make state next season.
Logan View/Scribner-Snyder has to have a juggernaut of an offseason, and be ready to have a breakout and great season in 2017-2018.
I thought the Raiders were a very good team this year, and have a chance to be a great team next year.
Boys Basketball should be really strong in the conference and in the area next year so Logan View/Scribner-Snyder has to work harder than everyone else to get where they want to next season.
I look for the Raiders to run the table and lose like 3, 4, or 5 games at most next year.
I thought LV/SS could go 20-5 this year, and I was close.
So you can bet the Raiders will be back and ready for more next season.
Winnebago is the team to beat in C-1 at the moment I would say, and at the very least LV/SS saw what it's going to take to be the best by playing them.
I still say the Raiders, along with North Bend Central, are among or close to among the 8 best teams in C-1.
I really think both teams were good enough to make State this year, although the field figures to be very stacked.
LV/SS should get down to state and watch so they can get an idea of what it would be like to get there next season.
The season came to an end for the North Bend Central Boys Thursday night as the Tigers lost 63-38 to Columbus Scotus in the C1-5 Sub-District Final at Columbus High.
I thought North Bend Central would keep things closer with the Shamrocks, but it just wasn't in the cards for the Tigers.
North Bend Central ends the year at 19-5.
Big wins for the Tigers came over Twin River, Oakland-Craig, BRLD, Logan View/Scribner-Snyder, and Howells-Dodge.
I think the highlight of the season definitely had to be winning the East Husker Conference Tournament Championship.
Personnel losses for North Bend Central include Jake Wietfeld, Matt Ortmeier, and Jack Post.
Key returners include John Emanuel, James Seymour, Tanner Wietfeld, Austin Endorf, and Peter Emanuel.
I think the Tigers have the nucleus and players capable of having another solid campaign in 2017-2018.
Jake Wietfeld and Ortmeier are significant losses though. Both were very good players throughout their careers for North Bend Central.
So the returning players and incoming freshman have to put in a lot of hard work this offseason and come back with a vengeance in 2017-2018.
You can bet the Tigers will be back in the thick of the State Tournament Picture next season given all who Columbus Scotus loses.
Sub-Districts can change, but I think North Bend Central will have a very good team again next season.
The Tigers need to have a great offseason of growth, development, and maturity though.
North Bend Central has to get after things in the weightroom and in the gym whether that be just lifting, shooting, running, playing pick up games, or participating in open gyms, team camps, agility drills, summer leagues, and summer camps.
There's a lot that goes into having a successful program, and the last two years have treated the Tigers very well.
North Bend Central honestly ought to be hungry, anxious, and ready for more in 2017-2018.
So the sooner the Tigers get to work this offseason....the better they will be next season.
The BRLD Boys lost 57-32 to Ponca in the C2-4 Sub-District Final at West Point-Beemer Thursday afternoon/evening.
The Wolverines led 12-11 after one only to see the Indians double them up 10-5 in the second quarter to take a 21-17 lead into the locker room.
Ponca outscored BRLD 20-6 in the third quarter to go up 41-23 at the end of three.
The Indians won the fourth quarter 16-9.
Montana Riecken totaled 12 points while Kenyan Lovejoy recorded 7.
It was a tough way for the Wolverines to end the season. I thought BRLD would make things closer with Ponca.
The Wolverines end the year at 15-11.
Big wins this season for BRLD came over Howells-Dodge, Oakland-Craig, Wakefield, Twin River, and Omaha Nation (twice).
Lovejoy was the team's leading scorer and rebounder this year with 303 points and 141 boards.
BRLD says goodbye to Riecken, Aaron Ras, Jon Christiansen, Joel Ferguson, Wyatt Hennig, and Cole Christofferson.
Key returners include Lovejoy, Jacob Zuhlke, Michael Snyder, Trent Gatewood, Will Gatzemeyer, and Jaxon Johnson.
I think the Wolverines have a chance to be better next year than they were this year without a doubt.
This year was the first year of the new co-op, and everyone had to adjust and get used to things.
Everyone should be acclimated now though if they weren't already.
Everyone should know what to expect from the coaches and their fellow teammates next season.
BRLD has to have a great offseason to reach an elite level, in my opinion.
Both schools have had success in the past, and the Wolverines had a fairly good year this year, but I feel there's a lot of room for growth and improvement among this team.
The returning players and newcomers have to keep working hard and working together to get more familiar with and know what to expect from one another.
BRLD has to have a quality offseason, and be ready to get down to business in November.
The Wolverines have to have a quality work ethic, and be ready to get after things as much as possible this spring, summer, and fall.
I know a lot of these kids are involved in other sports like spring and summer baseball, and football, but devoting proper time to basketball is important for these kids to do.
BRLD has to have a lot of drive and determination in their offseason workouts. The Wolverines have plenty of time to grow and improve, and so it's important for BRLD to take steps forward from now until the start of next season.
The West Point-Beemer Boys knocked off Pierce 52-46 in the C1-7 Sub-District Semifinals at Norfolk High Tuesday night before losing 56-39 to Wayne in the Sub-District Final Thursday night.
The Bluejays led the Cadets 9-8 after one before outscoring West Point-Beemer 16-11 in the second quarter to take a 25-19 lead into the locker room.
The Cadets won the third quarter 16-10 to tie the game at 35 at the end of three.
West Point-Beemer notched 17 points in the fourth quarter compared to 11 for Pierce.
Austin Streeter led the way with 17 points while Chase Streeter totaled 12. Tate Ernesti added 8 while Ben Vander Griend notched 7.
The Blue Devils led the Cadets 13-9 after one before West Point-Beemer outscored Wayne 12-9 in the second quarter to make it a 22-21 game at halftime in favor of the Blue Devils.
The Cadets won the third quarter 14-13 to tie the game at 35 at the end of three.
Things unraveled in the fourth quarter though Wayne went on a 17-0 run to put West Point-Beemer away.
Chase Streeter had a team-high 17 points and 9 rebounds while Cole Hughes registered 9 points.
Head Coach Cody Bobolz says his team gave Wayne a run for their money. "Before Thursday night’s game we had played Wayne 2 times and both were close games. I knew that we could hang with them, but it was a matter if we could limit their outside looks, keep them off the glass, and limit mistakes. We really did all those things for 3 quarters and I was pleased with going into the 4th tied."
Bobolz adds the Cadets fell apart at the end. "Unfortunately the final score was not indicative of how the game really was. However, in the 4th Wayne turned us over and got some easy runouts and then it snowballed on us from there. Their full court pressure that didn’t bother us early began to hurry us up. We really lost our composure in the 6 minutes and that was disappointing."
West Point-Beemer concludes the season with a 12-14 record.
The wins over Arlington, BRLD, Wisner-Pilger, and Pierce had to be the highlight/signature wins of the year for the Cadets.
Chase Streeter finished first on the team in scoring and rebounds with 271 points and 189 rebounds while Austin Streeter was second with 246 points and 130 boards. Blake Anderson was third with 198 points and 112 rebounds.
Everyone on the team returns for the Cadets.
Bobolz says the future looks promising for West Point-Beemer, but the players still have to put the work in. "Anytime you bring back your starting 5 and the overall nucleus of your team your expectations are going to rise, as they should. These kids have worked hard and should embrace those expectations because that is why you put the time in. However, we know that just because you return everyone doesn’t automatically lead to success. We have to have a great offseason and improve individually as well as a team. The future is bright, no doubt about that."
I think the Cadets have a good chance to make a District Final and perhaps reach state next season.
Bobolz says a lot of teams in the East Husker Conference are in the same boat as them though. "When you look at the conference it is going to be very difficult as many of the top tier teams bring almost everybody back. So for us it is going to be about how do we get better to get up with those other teams. The players have to be willing to put that time in during the offseason because you know those teams are as well. It is going to take another great offseason in the gym and in the weight room for us to take the next steps in our program."
These kids simply have to grow, develop, mature, and consistently improve throughout the offseason.
Getting after it everyday in pick up games, agility drill sessions, weightlifting sessions, open gyms, summer camps, summer leagues, and team camps will all be important for West Point-Beemer.
Next year has a chance to be a banner year for the Cadets, in my opinion, but West Point-Beemer has to have a tremendous offseason.
The Cadets have to take a lot of steps forward from now until November, and get better and improve everyday.
West Point-Beemer has to come ready to work hard at everything they do this offseason, whether it's just shooting around or running or whatever.
The season came to an end for the Howells-Dodge Boys Tuesday night as the Jaguars lost 55-54 in a heartbreaker to Battle Creek in the C2-7 Sub-District Semifinals at Norfolk Catholic.
The Braves led 19-17 after one only to see Howells-Dodge double them up 18-9 in the second quarter to take a 35-28 lead into the locker room.
Battle Creek won the third quarter 10-7 to make it a 42-38 game at the end of three.
Both teams traded layups at the end of the game before the Jaguars' Lane Hegemann missed a shot at the buzzer that went in and out.
The Braves outscored Howells-Dodge 17-12 in the fourth quarter.
Connor Blum paced the Jaguars with 19 points. Zach Bayer registered 12 while Dax VanLengen recorded 10.
Head Coach Cole Fischer says his team gave it everything they had. "Sometimes the game of basketball can be cruel and games end in a way you cannot explain. Our boys played their hearts out and left it on the court. Thank you to the seniors for being great leaders and the hard work over the past 4 years."
Howells-Dodge ends the season at 10-13.
The highlights of the season had to be the wins over West Point-Beemer, Humphrey St. Francis, and Wakefield.
The Jaguars gave it everything they had against the Braves, and the loss honestly has to be crushing and heartbreaking.
It might take a little bit for Howells-Dodge to get over that one.
Blum led the team in scoring this season with 268 points while Lane Hegemann was the team leader in rebounds with 125. VanLengen was second in rebounds with 116 while Blum was third with 103.
The Jaguars lose two seniors in Bayer and Justin Shonka, that is it.
Key returners for Howells-Dodge in 2017-2018 include Blum, Jordan Brichacek, Caden Jackson, Kade Hegemann, Ryan Macholan, Josh Brester, Seth Cech, and Lane Hegemann.
The Jaguars figure to be good and mighty next year given how this season ended.
I think how this year concluded has to leave a sour taste in the mouths of Howells-Dodge.
I look for the Jaguars to use the finish as motivation and fuel to the fire though.
I think you will see Howells-Dodge come back with a vengeance next season, and be ready to go on a tear.
The returning players and newcomers have to wake up every morning from now until November ready to work and ready to get after it.
Obviously everyone will need breaks at some point, but everyone should be thinking play basketball as much as possible when they wake up, so at the very least they have a basketball mindset.
Football and Track are obviously big for a lot of these kids too so working hard on those sports is important too, but devoting proper time to basketball is also key.
Shooting, working on agility drills, and lifting as much as possible are all important for and key to the Jaguars having a successful season in 2017-2018.
The more basketball these kids play against one another from now until November, the better they are going to be next season.
The Pender Boys saw their season come to an end Tuesday night as the Pendragons lost 68-35 to Guardian Angels Central Catholic in the D1-4 Sub-District Semifinals at Wisner-Pilger.
The Bluejays led the Pendragons 13-9 at the end of one before winning the second quarter 17-12 to take a 30-21 lead into the locker room.
GACC outscored Pender 18-8 in the third quarter to go up 48-29 at the end of three.
The Bluejays notched 20 points in the fourth quarter and held the Pendragons to 6.
I thought the Pendragons performed at a high level in both of those games despite coming up short.
The best win and game overall was probably the contest against Homer.
Pender parts ways with four seniors in Dylan Roth, Braden Peters, James Bensen, and Cade Ballard.
These four will be missed no doubt, but the Pendragons have to be excited for the future given who they all bring back.
Sam Mailoux, Chris Rutar, Jordan Springer, Tyler Nelson, Eric Schopke, and Jaydon Jump all return next season for Pender.
I think the Pendragons have a chance to be good next year, but it's going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, commitment, determination, and guts on the part of Pender's returning players and newcomers.
Pender improved from last year to this year, nearly doubling their win total, so I don't see why they can't be even better next season.
Roth and Bensen are very significant losses, in my opinion, but I feel there will be players prepared and ready to take their place.
The Pendragons have to shoot, work on agility drills, and get in the weightroom as much as possible this offseason.
The harder Pender works from now until November, the better off they will be next season.
Hopefully with a year to grow, develop, and mature...the Pendragons will be primed for bigger and better things in 2017-2018, but only time will tell if Pender has what it takes to have a good team next season.
Attending open gyms, summer camps, team camps, and summer leagues will be very important for the growth and development of these boys.
Everyone has to work together, play hard, and most importantly have fun.
The Pendragons also have to mature in the offseason as well.
The Stanton Girls' season came to abrupt end last Tuesday night as the Mustangs lost 37-31 to Battle Creek in the C2-7 Sub-District Semifinals at Norfolk Catholic. Stanton fell 40-32 in overtime at home to Pender in the regular season finale on Saturday, February 11th after beating Norfolk Catholic 42-22 at home on Friday, February 10th. The Mustangs lost 38-33 at home to Clarkson/Leigh on Thursday, February 9th.
The Patriots and Mustangs were tied at 5 at the end of one. Stanton doubled up Clarkson/Leigh 6-3 in the second quarter to take an 11-8 lead into the locker room.
The Patriots tripled up the Mustangs 18-6 in the third quarter to go up 26-17 at the end of three.
Stanton won the fourth quarter 16-12.
Jessie and MacKenzie Brandl had 8 points apiece.
The Mustangs doubled up the Knights 14-7 in the first quarter. Norfolk Catholic won the second quarter 8-6 to make it a 20-15 game at halftime in favor of Stanton.
The Mustangs tripled up the Knights 12-4 in the third quarter to go up 32-19 before outscoring Norfolk Catholic 10-3 in the fourth quarter.
Jessie Brandl led the way with 2 points while MacKenzie Brandl and Hannah Heppner had 9 apiece. Bree Burtwhistle chipped in 7.
The Mustangs doubled up the Pendragons 12-6 in the first quarter before winning the second quarter 8-7 to take a 20-13 lead into the locker room.
Pender outscored Stanton 19-12 in the second half to send the game into overtime.
The Pendragons blanked the Mustangs 8-0 in overtime.
MacKenzie Brandl posted 11 points and 8 rebounds while Heppner and Jaiden Hartl notched 8 points apiece. Heppner totaled 10 rebounds as well.
Stanton jumped on Battle Creek 17-4 in the first quarter only to see the Braves outscore them 17-4 in the second quarter and tie the game at 21 at halftime.
The Mustangs won the third quarter 6-4 to lead 27-25 at the end of three.
Battle Creek tripled up Stanton 12-4 in the fourth quarter.
MacKenzie Brandl posted a game-high 12 points while Jessie Brandl recorded 10 points and 7 rebounds.
It was a tough way for the Mustangs to end the season after things looked so promising for most of the season.
Stanton ends the year at 19-5.
The Mustangs had a marvelous season, beating the likes of North Bend Central, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, West Holt, Oakland-Craig, BRLD, and Pender.
Stanton was definitely a good team this year it was just their late season collapse that prevented them from going to state.
The Clarkson/Leigh and Battle Creek losses ultimately cost this team a trip to Lincoln.
MacKenzie Brandl was the team's leading scorer with 297 points while Jessie Brandl and Burtwhistle were 2nd and 3rd with 239 and 200, respectively.
Jessie Brandl was the team leader in rebounds with 123.
The Mustangs say goodbye to four seniors in MacKenzie Brandl, Ashley Colwell, Alysan Wurdinger, and Kiley Wiedeman.
Brandl is the biggest loss of the four by far, but the other three will be missed as well I'm sure.
Jessie Brandl, Burtwhistle. Tenna Beel, Sidney Stallbaum, Heppner, and Allie Spence all return for Stanton.
The Mustangs figure to be good and solid once again in 2017-2018, but it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone involved for Stanton to be good again next season.
The Mustangs have to work that much harder in the offseason to get back to state next season after missing out on the party this year.
I'm sure Stanton is pretty disappointed they didn't make state this year. It probably stings the Mustangs to have to sit at home while other teams take part.
Stanton's players should go watch state if they get the chance though just to get an idea of what it would be like to be there again and what they're missing out on.
The Mustangs have to grow and improve drastically from now until the start of next season if they want to experience Lincoln again next year.
State and Unfinished Business has to be Stanton's motto everyday they wake up to workout this offseason.
The Winnebago Boys defeated Logan View/Scribner-Snyder 72-59 in the C1-6 Sub-District Final at Oakland-Craig Thursday night.
The Indians jumped out on the Raiders 17-8 after one. Both teams scored 14 points in the second quarter, and Winnebago led 31-22 at halftime.
LV/SS won the third quarter 18-16 to make it a 47-40 game at the end of three.
The Indians outscored the Raiders 25-19 in the fourth quarter.
Head Coach Jeff Berridge says it was a solid start to the game for his team. "It’s always good to get a fast start, I think it could have been better but we will take what we get."
Berridge adds his team did well against LV/SS's 1-3-1 zone. "I think the way we played against the 1-3-1 defense was the best we played in awhile."
Winnebago (25-2) takes on Columbus Scotus (23-1) in the C1-3 District Final at Norfolk High Monday night.
The Shamrocks knocked off North Bend Central 63-38 in the C1-5 Sub-District Final at Columbus High Thursday night.
Berridge says his team is ready. "We are looking forward to this game a lot, we are going in to prove some people wrong. Big crowd and loud just the way we like it, we live for games like this. Looking for them to try and slow the game down."
I'm sure the Indians would like to get out and run and push the tempo. I think that's something Winnebago is going to need to do to win too.
Berridge says they'll simply do what they do. "My players play with confidence no matter who is on the other end of the court, we will play our game no matter what. It should be a good game to see the difference both teams have 2 years later should be a fun game. "
This is a rematch of the 2015 State Championship game and it should be a dandy. I would recommend getting to the game early if you plan on going because you can bet fans from both teams will be lining up to get in early.
Berridge says his team has to play their game to come out on top. "Playing WINNEBAGO BASKETBALL is the key!!! We can’t get stuck in their game. We have to make them play our game. Big games the lil things come into play so we have to do them."
This game is a big deal and a big opportunity for the Indians to make a statement.
I'm sure some people probably feel Columbus Scotus will win, but this is anyone's ball game, in my opinion.
David Wingett has to have a big game for the Indians, and Rez ball has to be effective for Winnebago.
Both teams are going to state regardless of who wins this game, but I'm sure the Indians would like to get to state via district championship rather than wildcard.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Clarkson/Leigh Boys rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Emerson-Hubbard 39-35 in the D1-4 Sub-District Play-in-Game at Wisner-Pilger Monday night before losing 74-38 to Walthill in the Semifinals Tuesday night.
The Pirates and Patriots were tied at 6 at the end of one. Emerson-Hubbard won the second quarter 13-10 to go up 19-16 at halftime.
The Pirates put up 9 points in the third quarter compared to 7 for Clarkson/Leigh to extend their lead to 28-23 at the end of three.
The Patriots outscored Emerson-Hubbard 16-7 in the fourth quarter.
Anthony Bruhn led the way with 17 points and 9 rebounds while Garrett Schroeder registered 10 points. Blake Paprocki totaled 8 points and 10 rebounds.
The Blujays jumped out to a 16-10 lead on Clarkson/Leigh at the end of one. Walthill outscored the Patriots 22-7 in the second quarter to take a 38-17 lead into the locker room.
The Blujays won the third quarter 29-10 to go up 67-27 at the end of three.
The Patriots put up 11 points in the fourth quarter compared to 7 for Walthill.
Bradley Bunner led the way with 11 points while Schroeder chipped in 8.
It was a difficult season for Clarkson/Leigh, but I felt the Patriots got better towards the end of the year.
Clarkson/Leigh ends the 2017-2018 campaign at 3-20.
The highlights of the year for me were competing with Madison, Winside, St. Edward, Twin River, and Wisner-Pilger.
I felt the Patriots did some nice things at the end of the season that can carry over to next year.
Clarkson/Leigh parts ways with Bunner, Luiz Mayorga, Paprocki, Mark Aguirre, and Tanner Stanley.
These are significant losses for the Patriots, in my opinion, but Clarkson/Leigh returns quite a bit of talent.
Bruhn, Haden Held, Schroeder, Isaak Wiese, and others are set to return for the Patriots.
Bruhn led the team in scoring this year with 248 points while Paprocki was second with 191.
Paprocki led the team in rebounding with 128 boards while Bruhn was second with 123. Bunner was third with 115.
So the Patriots lose a good chunk of this year's production, but I think Clarkson/Leigh has to be excited given who all returns.
I think the Patriots can use the confidence and momentum they gained at the end of this year and carry it over to next year.
The offseason starts now for Clarkson/Leigh though.
The sooner the Patriots get back in the gym to workout, whether it be weightlifting or just playing the game, the better they will be.
Clarkson/Leigh has to be committed to getting bigger, faster, stronger, and more physical.
A year of growth and maturity figures to do next year's team quite a bit of good.
I think 2017-2018 has a chance to better than this season was for the Patriots.
The Emerson-Hubbard Boys lost 70-28 at home to Stanton to end the regular season last Friday night before losing 39-35 to Clarkson/Leigh Monday night in the D1-4 Sub-District Play-in-Game at Wisner-Pilger.
The Mustangs led the Pirates 16-1 after one and outscored Emerson-Hubbard 24-14 in the second quarter to take a 40-15 lead into the locker room.
Stanton won the third quarter 17-9 to go up 57-24 at the end of three.
The Mustangs outscored the Pirates 13-4 in the fourth quarter.
Joshua Sebade had 10 points and 12 rebounds, good enough for a double-double, while Spencer Burcham totaled 7 points.
The Pirates and Patriots were tied at 6 at the end of one. Emerson-Hubbard won the second quarter 13-10 to go up 19-16 at halftime.
The Pirates put up 9 points in the third quarter compared to 7 for Clarkson/Leigh to extend their lead to 28-23 at the end of three.
The Patriots outscored Emerson-Hubbard 16-7 in the fourth quarter.
Taylor Donner had a team-high 13 points.
It was a tough end to a difficult season for the Pirates I would say.
Emerson-Hubbard ends the 2016-2017 campaign at 2-21.
There weren't a lot of bright spots for the Pirates this year, but competing with Hartington-Newcastle, Winside, and Elgin Public/Pope John had to be encouraging I would say.
Donner led the team in scoring with 211 points while Sebade was second with 197.
Sebade was the team's leading rebounder with 153 boards while Jacob Kneifl had 116.
The Pirates lose just two seniors in Donner and Austin Carper.
Key returners include Kneifl, Burcham, Nolan Belt, Johnny Orr, Chandler Emmons, and Sebade.
Emerson-Hubbard was very young this year, and the type of season they had was understandable with a new coach and everything.
With that said, the Pirates will be more veteran laden next year and should be more competitive than they were this season.
The returning players and newcomers have to understand that it takes hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to be successful.
Everyone has to be committed to working hard and getting better, bigger, faster, and stronger in the weightroom and on the court.
Emerson-Hubbard has a lot of work to do this offseason if they want to be better in 2017-2018 so everyone has to get after things as soon as possible.
The more basketball the returning players and newcomers play, the better they are going to be.
There can't be any coaches organized practices or anything like that in the offseason, but the players have to take it upon themselves to work together, working on plays and offenses if at all possible.
The more continuity, togetherness, and cohesiveness these boys can have together, the better they will be next season.
The Wisner-Pilger Boys beat Stanton 52-32 in the C2-7 Sub-District Play-in-Game at Norfolk Catholic Monday night before losing 71-68 to Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family in the Semifinals Tuesday night.
The Gators led Stanton 13-10 at the end of one before outscoring the Mustangs 14-5 in the second quarter to take a 27-15 lead into the locker room.
Wisner-Pilger won the third quarter 10-9 to go up 37-24 at the end of three.
The Gators put up 15 points in the fourth quarter compared to 8 for Stanton.
Hunter Waterman led Wisner-Pilger with 15 points. Keegan Ruskamp added 14 while Jayden Raabe notched 11.
In the Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family/Wisner-Pilger Game, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 24-15 lead at the end of one. The Gators won the second quarter 20-17 to make it a 41-35 game at halftime in favor of Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family.
The Bulldogs outscored Wisner-Pilger 17-14 in the third quarter to extend their lead to 58-49 at the end of three.
The Gators put up 19 points in the fourth quarter compared to 13 for Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family.
Ruskamp led Wisner-Pilger with 19 points while Waterman and Gunner Labenz added 14 apiece. Nathan Hatterman and Raabe notched 11 and 10, respectively for the Gators.
Head Coach Duane Mendlik on the loss. "We did a nice job. Came up a little short. We missed a couple of shots down the stretch that we'd certainly like to have back. But it was a good game. I'm pleased."
Mendlik's boys put up 19 points in the fourth quarter to make it close. "Offensively I think we did a pretty good job. We did come back and shoot the ball pretty well. They're really a good ball club. And they've got a lot of players that can do a lot of different things. I thought our kids showed a lot of heart, and I thought they played very well. We made a couple of mistakes down the stretch that we probably shouldn't of, but that's the way the game is. I tried to tell them that this is the way it is every single game at this point in the season."
Wisner-Pilger ends the season at 11-13.
It was a strong finish to the season for the Gators, who won five out of their last seven games.
I think the progress Wisner-Pilger made and the success they had at the end of the season will definitely carry over to next year.
I feel the Gators finished the season about as well as anyone could have hoped for.
Sure Wisner-Pilger could have done some things differently during the Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family game, but overall I thought it was a very good performance from these kids.
The wins over BRLD, West Point-Beemer, Wakefield, and Howells-Dodge (twice) were the biggest victories of the season for the Gators, in my opinion, and are wins I feel Wisner-Pilger can build off of heading into next season.
The Gators graduate just two seniors in Gage Reicken and Hatterman.
Big returners include Waterman, Labenz, Koehlmoos, Ruskamp, and Raabe.
Next year should be Wisner-Pilger's year as they figure to be senior laden.
The seniors to be and the rest of the players need to work their tails off this offseason so they can have a good season next year.
Waking up early in the morning in the dog days of summer to get workouts in will be very important, in my opinion.
The more running, lifting, conditioning, skill honing, and just playing of the game the Gators can do, the stronger they will be for next season.
These players have to work together and for one another during open gyms, team camps, summer leagues, and other summer camps.
Everyone has to want to get better, and must work towards the same common goal.
The pieces definitely appear to be in place for Wisner-Pilger to have a really good 2017-2018 campaign.