Central Nebraska Hoops
Overton finishes runner-up at state
2014-03-18T10:16











The last Class D-1 state quarterfinal at the boys state basketball tourney turned into a track meet on Thursday afternoon at Lincoln East as Overton held off Lourdes Central Catholic 65-58.

The Eagles trailed early by 6, only to grab a 26-19 advantage at half.

Overton would then jump out to a 17-point lead after they scored the first ten points of the second half to lead 39-17.

That's when Lourdes rallied and eventually cut the deficit to one at 40-39 late in the third quarter.

Overton however, would hang on to the win, thanks to the play of Senior Tanner Ryan, who had a double-double with 32 points.

He scored 25 points after half to propel the Eagles to the State Semifinals against Howells-Dodge.

Also in double figures for Overton were Caleb Ecklund and Joel Shafer, who each had 10 points.



Despite battling heavy foul trouble and the defending state champion the Overton Eagles found a way to knock off Howells-Dodge on Friday morning 41-39 in the Class D-1 state semifinals.


Hayden Cahoy hit a 17 footer with one second left to win it for the Eagles.

Overton jumped out to a 7-point lead in the first half, only to see Ryan and Ecklund get into foul trouble in the second quarter.

That allowed the Jaguars to go inside as they led 23-21 at the half.

In the second half, the game turned into a defensive battle as points were hard to come by.

Overton limited Howells-Dodge to just 23 percent shooting for the game.

In the fourth, Shafer scored the first five points of the quarter to help the Eagles out to a six-point lead.

Howells-Dodge, however, would counter and eventually tie the game with ten seconds left as Jesse Faltys hit a 23 foot three pointer to tie the game.

Overton inbounded the ball and Cahoy took it up the near side line, got to the right elbow, and then delivered the game winner.

Shafer led Overton with 15 points, and Cahoy scored 14 as they were the only Eagles to be in double figures. 


Nolan Nordhues scored 20 points, Garrett Watters had 14 and Randolph held Overton scoreless over a 7 1/2-minute span of the second half in a 54-42 victory in the Class D-1 boys basketball championship game on Saturday.

Creighton Ryan's two free throws with 6:53 left in the third quarter gave Overton its last lead. Overton didn't score again until 7:23 remained in the game, and by then Randolph was up by eight points.

Randolph converted Overton's 17 turnovers into 16 points and held Overton to 29-percent shooting.

Joel Shafer led Overton with 14 points, and Caleb Ecklund grabbed 10 rebounds.

Overton fell short of winning its first title. 
 
There was still a ton for the Eagles to be proud about though as Overton finished 2nd ranked in Class D-1 with a 24-5 record.

There were a couple of turning points in the season, in my mind.

The big second half leading to a huge come from behind win over Kearney Catholic was one turning point for me.

The other was how the Eagles responded following the second loss to Elm Creek.

Instead of pouting and feeling sorry for themselves, Overton won nine in a row before losing the state championship.

I really thought going into this season that the Eagles had a chance to win the whole thing. They just about did it.

If it weren't for Randolph getting hot at the end, I think Overton would have had their first state championship in boys basketball.

But they didn't as they lost, and that's just how things go sometimes.

Ryan had an outstanding senior campaign as he averaged 17 points per game this year. Joel Shafer and Hayden Cahoy averaged nearly 13 and 11, respectively.

These three were the Eagles' most experienced players this year, but all are seniors, and will be missed a bunch.

Overton also parts ways with Logan Kizer, J.D. Callahan, Logan Johnson, Chase Horn, and Matt Dolan.

These eight seniors were a huge reason why the Eagles finished runner-up at state. Without each and every one of them, Overton doesn't have as good a team as they did this year.

Now it's up to the likes of Ecklund, Creighton Ryan, Justin Hodgson, and Kris Seberger to carry the load.

Next year will certainly be interesting for the Eagles, who drop down to Class D-2.

That should help Overton some, but players will still need to develop quickly for the Eagles to have success.

The returning players and incoming freshmen really have to get after things this offseason.

Overton will be a fairly young team next year, but they can't use youth as an excuse. The Eagles have to figure out a way to be competitive next season.

It won't be easy, but a level of excellence has been set. Overton has been really good in boys basketball lately, and I know next year's team would love to keep the tradition going.

I think the Eagles have a chance to be competitive in 2014-2015.
Cozad falls to Wayne in first round of state
2014-03-18T09:54













The first game of the first round of the Class C-1 boys state championship at the Bob Devaney Sports Center matched the 23-4 Wayne Blue Devils against the 17-8 Cozad Haymakers.

In one of the more intriguing matchups of the first day of the tournament as these two teams came in red hot.

The Haymakers were winners of 12 of their last 14 and Wayne was winners of 22 of their last 24.

After one quarter Cozad would have a 15-14 lead, but the second quarter would spell the Haymakers doom as Wayne would outscore them 22-7.

Cozad would struggle outside the 3-point line all game hitting only 3 of 23.

They would make a run in the fourth quarter, cutting the one time 20-point lead down to 6, before Wayne put it away winning 60-45.

For Cozad, they were led in scoring by Jake Paulsen, who had 14 points, and Conor Young, who had 12.

Cozad finishes the season 17-9. 

It was quite a year for the Haymakers, who finished 10th in the Class C-1 rankings.

Young was the team's leading scorer on the season at almost 15ppg. Paulsen averaged 12 a game for the year.

Cozad loses five seniors in Paulsen, Tysen Werner, Nate Bubak, Jacob Stallbaumer, and Tanner Evertson.

However, the Haymakers return Young, Colin Wetovick, Jason Finnegan, and others.

I look for those three to have a big impact on next year's team. I think all three will step up and do big things for the Haymakers next season.

The loss of the seniors will certainly be felt next year, but what they did in their senior season should help things moving forward.

This year's team had a great run in the second half of the season, and really turned things around, in my mind, when they beat Gothenburg 52-49 in Gothenburg on January 16th.

That was one of three wins over the Swedes this season, and gave Cozad the confidence needed to make a run.

Hopefully, for the Haymakers, this year's second half run carries over to next year.

There will be some new faces and challenges next season, but if Cozad plays the way they are capable of, look for the Haymakers to compete for their second straight trip to state.

Coming off a successful season is always good, but it only affects next year if players work hard in the offseason.

The returning players and newcomers must use this season as a springboard into next year. They have to work just as hard if not harder than they did last offseason.

It will be interesting to see how Cozad fares in 2014-2015.
Elwood falls to Spalding/Spalding Academy at state
2014-03-18T09:38












Elwood lost in its first trip to the state basketball tournament since 1990 as the Pirates fell to top seeded Spalding/Spalding Academy 76-48 in the Class D-2 state quarterfinals at Lincoln East Thursday night.

The Knights jumped out to 15-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter, and were up big 41-22 at the half.

Skyler Werger paced Elwood with 20 points. The Pirates finish the year at 14-11.

It was a nice run at the end for the Pirates, who managed to find ways to bounce back after a couple of lopsided losses.

Elwood didn't let the Elm Creek loss affect their postseason. The Pirates also had a nice win over Medicine Valley following a 42-point loss to Overton.

This team overcame many obstacles this year to get where they did. Going to state is something these players will remember for the rest of their lives.

Elwood loses two players in Blake Summer and Jacob Schmeeckle. Both meant a lot to this team this year and were big reasons why the Pirates went to state.

Both were prolific scorers, and Summer was the team's best rebounder, in my opinion.

Their presence will be missed next year, but I think Elwood has a chance to be successful again next year with who they bring back.

The Pirates bring back Werger, Zack Hackbart, Billie Smith, Sean Clouse, and others.

Those four should start. I'm not sure who the fifth starter will be.

Elwood should have Blake Tiede back next year, who missed this season with an injury.

That could really help the Pirates, who figure to lack depth again next year.

That's the biggest thing going into next year. Elwood has to develop some bench players to help out their starters.

The Pirates went only about 6, maybe 7 deep this year, and I think things would have been even better with a little more depth.

But Elwood's players seemed to be in pretty good shape as they brought it night in and night out for the most part.

I think getting to state is something that will fuel the returning players. They have been there once, and I know they would like to get there again.

That's something that has to be on their minds during offseason workouts and conditioning.

Think Lincoln. It happened once, and it can surely happen again.

Look for the Pirates to be very competitive again in 2014-2015.
Elm Creek Boys lose at first round of state
2014-03-18T09:20








Elm Creek's first appearance at the boys state basketball tournament in ten years was a short one as the Buffaloes lost in the Class D-1 state quarterfinals to Randolph 41-39 at Lincoln East Thursday morning.

The day started well for Elm Creek, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led 15-9 at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, with four minutes left, the Buffaloes led 23-15.

Randolph, however, finished up the first half on an 8-0 run as foul trouble forced the Buffaloes to go to the bench. Randolph had the game tied at 23.

Randolph would then score the first 6 of the second half and would lead 29-23.

Elm Creek came back and tied the game at 29 on back-to-back three pointers by Zach Johnson and Austin Fraser, but that would be the last tie of the game, as Randolph would respond with 6 nothing run.

In the fourth quarter, Elm Creek had numerous chances to take the lead, but never could get the big shot they were looking for.

The Buffaloes, who normally are a very good free throw shooting team, hit just 4-11 on the day.

Nic Crowley led the Buffaloes with 12 points while Johnson had 10.

For Elm Creek it ends one of the best year's in school history as they finish ranked 4th in D-1 at 20-4.

That also included the regular season and FKC tournament championships. 

It was truly a season to remember for the Buffaloes, who were led in scoring this year by Crowley, who put up 13ppg. Johnson averaged almost 13 ppg this year while Jake Bartling averaged about 10.

Elm Creek graduates 7 players in Johnson, Bartling, Fraser, Jake Fields, Devon Halliwell, Bailey Schoenofer, and Nick Mostek.

All will be missed in one fashion or another, but I look for the Buffaloes to be competitive again next year.

I think Crowley, Gabe Hubbard, LaShaun Thornabar, Dominic Johns, Austin Stolp, and others will be big contributors in one way or another.

Elm Creek will be a fairly young team next year, but I believe they will have just as many options off the bench, if not more, than they did this year.

I suspect multiple players will step up and do big things for the Buffaloes. I don't think there's any reason to think that Elm Creek won't be in contention for the FKC title and state tournament again next year.

I believe a season like this will go a long ways in dictating future success. The returning players have experienced winning, and know what it takes to get the job done.

I think Elm Creek will be successful again, but the key is not getting complacent. Complacency usually leads to poor results. The Buffaloes have to work just as hard if not harder this offseason than they did last offseason.

Should be an interesting season for Elm Creek in 2014-2015.
Southern Valley Boys lose to Archbishop Bergan at first round of state
2014-03-18T09:01














Defending C-2 State Champion Southern Valley gave it a good run, but came up short on Thursday night at the boys state basketball tournament in Lincoln as the Eagles fell to top ranked Fremont Bergan 68-59.

Southern Valley got off to a great start and led 17-9 at the end one and eventually got out to a 10-point first half lead, before Bergan closed the first half with a 24-9 run and led 33-28 at the break.

The Eagles went on an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter and carved a 12-point deficit down to 4 at 53-49, but that is as close as they would get.

Hunter Quinn wrapped up a great junior season by leading the Eagles with 16 points, Alex Kaup had 15, while Seth Miller scored 14.

Southern Valley finishes the year ranked 7th in C-2 with a 21-4 record.

It was a great season for the Eagles, who found success again in 2013-2014. 

Southern Valley says goodbye to Dylan Brooks, Michael Longsine, and Alex Kaup.

The latter is a big loss as he averaged just over 13 points per game this season.

The Eagles will miss Kaup's offense and Brooks's defense as both really got the job done for Southern Valley.

The Eagles will look for Quinn, Alan Verela, Seth Miller, Jeremiah Perkins, Chance Best, Dalton Best, and others to step up.

Quinn returns as the team's leading scorer as he notched almost 17ppg this season. Perkins put up 9 per game.

Duplicating the success of this year won't be easy. However, given how good a coach John Miller is, I suspect Southern Valley will be right there competing for a state berth again.

I look for Quinn, Miller, Perkins, and Verela to do some special things next year, and make this team successful.

With hard work and determination, don't be surprised to see the Eagles back at state in 2015.
Cozad beats Valentine in C1-6 District Final to go to state
2014-03-12T01:49



Cozad's long drought to the boys state basketball tourney is over, as the Haymakers won the C1-6 District title last Monday night in Broken Bow 66-57 over Valentine.

Cozad had beaten Valentine twice during the regular season, but the Badgers were on a 4-game winning streak coming in.

Valentine would come out ready to play and their zone defense caused Cozad problems in the first quarter as they led 12-8.

However, as they have all post season, Cozad exploded for 26 points in the second and took a 12 point lead into half time.

Valentine would come out strong in the 3rd quarter.

Brooks Coleman scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the third and his team was within one, 37-36, but Cozad went off again and would lead by 9 at the end of 3rd, 49-40, and would hold on for the win.

The Haymakers were led in scoring by Jake Paulsen, who had 4 three pointers and ended up with 17 points. Conor Young chipped in 14 and Nate Bubak had 11.

For the first time since 1979, Cozad is in the Boys State Basketball Tournament as the Haymakers play Wayne in the first round on Thursday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

The Blue Devils defeated Norfolk Catholic 71-46 in last Monday's C1-4 District Final at Wisner-Pilger to punch their ticket to Lincoln.

Wayne, who comes in with a 23-4 record, is led by Ben Hoskins, who puts up nearly 18 points a game. Jalen Barry averages about 17 per game.

Cozad, who is 17-8 on the season, is led in scoring by Conor Young, who averages almost 15 points per game. Jake Paulsen puts up around 12 per game.

The Haymakers average around 58 points per game offensively while allowing just over 50. The Blue Devils average 62 while giving up about 45.

Wayne has won six in a row and nine out of their last ten while Cozad has won five in a row and twelve out of their last thirteen.

This won't be an easy game for the Haymakers. Cozad has to slow down the Blue Devils' perimeter game. The Haymakers can't let Wayne get hot from three, or it could be a difficult game for the Red, White, and Black. Cozad has to get back on defense, and must wisely pick their spots to run on offense.

I think the Haymakers have what it takes to make this thing close and interesting for a while. And given the fact these kids know how to win, you can never count out Cozad.

The winner gets either Falls City or Wahoo in Friday Morning's Semifinals. Tip off would be at 9:00 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Thursday's game is scheduled to tip off at 9:00 a.m. The game can be heard on 93.1 the River KRVN FM with pregame beginning at 8:45.
Elwood knocks off Kenesaw in D2-4 District Final to advance to state
2014-03-12T01:39













For the first time since 1990, the Elwood Pirates boys basketball team has qualified for the state tournament.

Elwood downed Kenesaw on Thursday night 57-48 for the D2-4 District title at Kearney Catholic High School.

Elwood jumped out to a big 30-15 lead at half and was able to hang on for the win.

Kenesaw outscored the Pirates 26-15 in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough.

Junior guard Skyler Werger led Elwood with 27 points and 10 rebounds, good enough for a double-double. Billie Smith was also in double figures with 10 points.

The Pirates will be going up against Spalding/Spalding Academy in the first round of state on Thursday. The Knights were last year's runner-up.

Spalding/Spalding Academy knocked off defending state champion Wynot 62-54 in last Tuesday's D2-3 District Final at Northeast Community College in Norfolk to earn the number one seed.

Brandon Stevens leads the Knights in scoring at about 15 points a game. Tanner Hudson is Spalding/Spalding Academy's second leading scorer at about 11 points a game.

Werger is Elwood's leading scorer at 20 points a game. Zack Hackbart and Jacob Schmeeckle average almost 12 a game while Blake Summer puts up 10 points and 12 rebounds a game, good enough for a double-double average.

The Pirates, who are 14-10 on the year, average almost 63 points per game while allowing about 57. The Knights, who come in with a 22-3 record, average about 64 while giving up about 47.

Elwood has won three in a row and four out of their last five while Spalding/Spalding Academy has won five in a row and eight out of their last nine.

This is going to be a very tough game for the Pirates. The Knights are the real deal. However, upsets have happened at the state tournament before, and one certainly can happen here. Elwood has to believe they can beat Spalding/Spalding Academy, because anything is possible. The Pirates can't be nervous or afraid.

I think Elwood has a good chance to make things close.

The winner gets either High Plains or Exeter-Milligan at 8:45 p.m. Friday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Thursday's game is scheduled to start at 8:45 p.m. at Lincoln East. The game can be heard on 93.1 the River KRVN FM with pregame at 8:35.
Overton beats Cambridge in D1-5 District Final to advance to state
2014-03-12T01:32















For the fourth time in the last five years Overton is headed to the Boys Class D-1 State Tournament as the Eagles downed Cambridge 70-48 in the D1-5 District Final at Holdrege last Tuesday night.

Overton was never really challenged as they led 10-4 at the end of one and 30-16 at halftime.

The Eagles went on a 16-2 run that spanned the end of the first quarter into the second quarter. Overton led 24-6 in the second frame before the Trojans outscored them 10-6 the rest of the second quarter.

The Eagles continued their dominance in the third quarter, notching 19 points. Cambridge scored 13 and the score at the end of three was 49-29 in favor of Overton.

The Eagles outscored the Trojans 21-19 in the fourth quarter.

Caleb Ecklund led all scorers with 23 points. Tanner Ryan added 20 while Creighton Ryan notched 13.

Overton plays Lourdes Central Catholic on Thursday in the first round of state at Lincoln East.

The Knights defeated BDS 59-43 in last Tuesday's D1-1 District Final at Doane to secure a spot in the state tournament.

Noah Vasa leads Lourdes Central Catholic in scoring and rebounding at about 13 points and 10 rebounds per game. Marco Fabietti notches just over 11 points per game while Mitch Gude averages nearly 11.

Tanner Ryan is Overton's leading scorer at around 17 points per game. Joel Shafer averages about 12 while Hayden Cahoy puts up about 11.

The Eagles, who are 22-4 on the year, average around 64 points per game offensively while giving up almost 48.

The Knights, who are 20-6 on the season, put up almost 62 while surrendering around 51.

Lourdes Central Catholic has won four in a row and five out of their last six while Overton has won seven in a row and nine out of their last ten.

I like the Eagles in this game. I feel like Overton is the better team, and is poised and ready to make a run at the state championship. I don't think there's a team in this tournament the Eagles can't beat. If Overton plays up to their potential they can beat anyone they play.

The winner gets either Howells-Dodge or Fullerton in Friday Morning's Semifinals at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tip off would be at 10:45 a.m.

Thursday's game is scheduled to tip off at 3:45 p.m. Pregame will start at 3:35 on 93.1 the River KRVN FM.
Elm Creek Boys go 1-1 in sub district play; head to state via wildcard
2014-03-12T01:27








The Elm Creek Boys advanced at the Boys D1-9 Subdistrict tournament at Kearney Catholic on Tuesday, February 25th.

Elm Creek used a 21-8 run in the second quarter to down Wilcox-Hildreth 58-36.

Zach Johnson and Nic Crowley led the way, as Johnson scored 23 points, while Crowley added 19.

The Buffaloes led 33-19 at half and were never threatened in the second half.

The third time was the charm for the Overton Eagles, who knocked off Elm Creek 57-39 on Thursday, February 27th for the Boys D1-9 Subdistrict title.

Elm Creek had beaten the Eagles in the first two meetings of the year.

In round three though, Overton would never trail as they held the Buffaloes to a season low 39 points.

Overton led by 7 at the half and then went on a 7-0 run midway through the 3rd quarter to take control of the game.

The Eagles held Elm Creek to 36% shooting on the night and forced the Buffaloes into 19 turnovers.

Only Jake Bartling finished in double figures as he scored 18 points and hauled in 9 rebounds.

Elm Creek earned one of two wildcards into the Boys Class D-1 State Tournament. The Buffaloes drew the number three seed and will play Randolph at 10:45 a.m. Thursday at Lincoln East.

The Cardinals earned their way to state by upsetting top seed Howells-Dodge 62-60 in overtime in the D1-2 District Final last Tuesday night.

The Buffaloes have three players who come in averaging double digits on the season. Crowley leads the way at about 13 points per game. Johnson averages almost 13 while Bartling notches nearly 11 points a game.

Randolph has two players who average double digits in Nolan Nordhues and Garrett Watters. Nordhues averages around 12 points per game while Watters puts up almost 11 a game.

Randolph, who is 20-4 on the season, averages 48 points per game while allowing 34.

Elm Creek, who comes in with a 20-3 record, puts up about 57 a game while giving up around 40.

The Buffaloes had won seven in a row prior to their loss to the Eagles. The Cardinals have won four in a row and five out of their last six.

This is Elm Creek's first state appearance since 2004.

This isn't an easy draw for the Buffaloes. Randolph proved how good they are by beating Howells-Dodge. Elm Creek is going to have to play its best game of the season to come out on top.

The winner gets either North Platte St. Pat's or Clearwater/Orchard in Friday Morning's Semifinals at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tip off would be at 9:00 a.m.

Thursday's game can be heard on 93.1 the River KRVN FM with pregame slated for 10:35.
Southern Valley Boys fall to Hastings St. Cecilia in sub districts; earn wild card to state
2014-03-12T01:21













The Southern Valley Boys will have a chance to defend their C-2 state title despite falling 58-49 to Hastings St. Cecilia in the C2-8 sub district semifinals at Minden on Tuesday, February 25th.

The Bluehawks jumped out to an early lead, doubling up the Eagles 16-8 in the first quarter. Southern Valley won the second quarter 8-7 to make it a 23-16 game at halftime.

Both teams notched 11 third quarter points and the score at the end of three was 34-27 in favor of Hastings St. Cecilia.

The Bluehawks outscored the Eagles 24-22 in the final frame.

Hunter Quinn led the way with 19 points. Alex Kaup added 12 while Jeremiah Perkins had 10.

Southern Valley has drawn perennial power Archbishop Bergan in the first round of state, which begins on Thursday.

The Knights beat Winnebago 65-58 in last Monday's C2-2 District Final at Oakland-Craig.

Quinn is Southern Valley's leading scorer at almost 17 points per game. Kaup is the team's second leading scorer at about 13 points a game.

The Knights are led in scoring by Adam Dykman, who puts up nearly 17 points a game. Colton Brdicko comes in averaging almost 14 points per game.

The Eagles, who are 21-3 on the season, average 58 points per game while giving up about 40.

Bergan is also 21-3 on the year, and averages about 63 points per game while allowing about 48.

The Knights have won nine in a row and ten out of their last eleven. Southern Valley had won eleven in a row prior to their loss to the Bluehawks.

This is a very tough draw for the Eagles. Southern Valley definitely has what it takes to win, but they are going to have to play very well. Bergan is used to being at state, and is normally very successful at the state tournament.

The winner of Thursday's game plays either Doniphan-Trumbull or Sutton at 3:45 p.m. in Friday's Semifinals at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Thursday's game is set to tip off at 8:45 p.m. at Lincoln Southeast. The game will be carried on AM 880 KRVN with pregame at 8:35.
Holdrege Girls finish 4th at state
2014-03-11T08:02













Despite trailing by 7 points with one minute left, the Holdrege Lady Dusters found a way to advance on Thursday night, stunning York at the Class B State basketball tournament winning 54-53 in overtime.

Haley Schroeder forced overtime with a 17 footer at the buzzer after York missed a free throw with 6 seconds left. The Dusters then rode that momentum to the victory.

Holdrege was paced by senior Rachel Jelden, who scored 14 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter. Jenna Gillespie was also in double figures with 13, while Jamie Issacson had 10. 

This time around there would be no late game magic for the Holdrege Dusters at the Class B Girls State basketball tournament as the Dusters fell in the state semifinals on Friday to Lincoln Pius X 57-43.

Holdrege got off to a great start leading 5-0 in the first quarter, but Pius X quickly erased that lead and took a 28-15 advantage into halftime. The lead would expand to 20 at the start of the fourth quarter before Holdrege would cut it down to 8 with 2 minutes left, before being unable to come up with the win.

Holdrege struggled from the floor, shooting just 27%. Pius X, on the other hand, shot 47% for the game.

Jelden scored 13 points to pace the Dusters. Julianna Burr was also in double figures with 12. 

The Dusters played Norris for third place at Lincoln North Star on Saturday, losing 54-41.

The Titans led 13-11 after one before Holdrege won the second quarter 13-12 to make it a 25-24 game at halftime in favor of Norris.

The Titans put up 14 third quarter points to the Dusters' 10 to make it a 39-34 game at the end of three.

Norris outscored Holdrege 15-7 in the fourth quarter.

Jelden had 20 points and 10 rebounds, good enough for a double-double in her final game in a Duster uniform. Gillespie added 10 points.

Holdrege, who finishes the year 21-6, loses Jelden, Issacson, Burr, Schroeder, and Ashley Alber.

All five were outstanding players for the Dusters this year and during the course of their careers. They won't soon be forgotten.

It will be up to players like Gillespie, Kim Jurado, Paige Andrijeski, and Celeena Holt to pick up the slack for Holdrege next season.

The move to C-1 may or may not help the Dusters in my mind. If Holdrege is put in the same sub district as Minden and Kearney Catholic, returning to state for the 11th straight year will be a very tall task.

The Dusters will be experienced at the guard spot, but inexperienced in the post.

Holdrege will match up well with smaller teams, but teams with size could give the Dusters some trouble.

It will be interesting to see what Holdrege has for size next year, and how effective their post players are.

I suspect the Dusters will be a very perimeter oriented team next year. However, I look for their guards to do a good job of attacking the basket, forcing teams to respect their inside and outside games.

I definitely think the Dusters, who finished the season ranked 5th, have a chance to be successful again next season.
Arapahoe Girls fall to Friend at state
2014-03-11T07:45













For a second straight year, Arapahoe's season ended at the Class D-1 state tournament in Lincoln as the Lady Warriors lost 69-33 to Friend in the state quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Lady Warriors got off to a slow start and trailed 20-6 at the end of the first.

Arapahoe was down 32-15 at the break and was never able to get back into it.

Kaylea Watson led Arapahoe with 14 points while Rochelle Wendland had 9 for the Lady Warriors, who wrap up the season 23-4. 

The loss ended the careers of five Arapahoe players in Wendland, Lora Taylor, Stephanie Paulsen, Carley Polston, and Hannah Hanke.

Wendland and Polston are significant losses, and Taylor and Paulsen were quality role players who will be missed. All five will be missed as a matter of fact.

Despite the loss of these players though, I think the Lady Warriors have a chance to be good again next year.

Arapahoe brings back Watson, Danielle Eichenberger, Clare Anderson, Jacci Stagemeyer, and others.

All four saw significant minutes for the Lady Warriors this year, and should make up four out of five starters next year.

It's critical for players like Olivia tenBensel, Brielle Weverka, Gabby Stephens, and Michaela Gellerman to improve over the offseason.

Arapahoe is going to need each and every one of them in some capacity next season, so the more basketball they play in the offseason, the better.

I don't think there's any doubt the Lady Warriors will be in contention for a third straight trip to state next year. Wendland is a huge loss, but I really look for Eichenberger and Anderson to improve a lot over the offseason. I think Arapahoe has a chance to be a more balanced team next year than they were this year.

Look for the Lady Warriors, who finished the season ranked 8th, to be very competitive again in 2014-2015.
Minden Girls finish runner up
2014-03-11T07:35















Minden's run to perfection was stopped on Saturday in the Class C-1 State title game as defending State Champion Pierce upset the Whippets 69-60.

Pierce jumped out to an early 9-1 lead and that would set the tone for the entire game. Pierce's 2-3 zone forced Minden to the outside as the Whippets were 13-45 from three point range.

Minden came back and grabbed a 50-49 advantage going into the fourth quarter, but Pierce responded with an 8-0 run to begin the fourth and would never trail again.

The Whippets also went cold in the fourth quarter hitting just one field goal. Brooke Kissinger wrapped up her career with 7 three pointers and finished with 28 points. Jamie Kissinger and Taylor Kissinger finished with 11 points a piece.

The Whippets wrap up the season 27-1.

Minden beat Platteview 79-39 in the state quarterfinals on Friday. 

The Whippets turned a close game into a blowout as they outscored the Trojans 26-16 in the second quarter and led 46-29 at half. 

The Whippets, for a second straight day, were red hot from the outside as they hit 12 three pointers. 

Brooke Kissinger who was on fire as she hit five three's and finished with 29 points.

Taylor Kissinger had 18 points while Rebecca Stewart finished with 11.

Minden beat Lincoln Lutheran 72-38 on Thursday morning in the Class C-1 state quarterfinals.

The Whippets took control early by hitting 10-17 three point attempts in the first half.

Minden went on to tie the state tournament record by finishing the day with 15 made threes.

Freshman Taylor Kissinger stole the show by nailing 7 three's and finished with a game-high 28 points. Jamie Kissinger had 15, Brooke Kissinger scored 11, while Jenna Denney scored 10. 

I'm sure second place is not what the Whippets had in mind, but this was no doubt the best team in school history.

The Kissingers and Rebecca Stewart had outstanding seasons for Minden, and did everything in their power to bring home the school's first state championship.

The Whippets fell short, but the loss to the Bluejays shouldn't take anything away from the type of season Minden had.

The Whippets lose just two seniors in Brooke and Jamie Kissinger, but they are very significant losses.

Both had outstanding careers and are headed to Division I schools next season.

Replacing them will be about as hard as replacing two players can be. Taylor Kissinger and Stewart will really have to raise their level of play next season.

Minden should still be good next year though.

The Whippets bring back Kissinger, Stewart, Denney, Ali Rowse, Addi Woodward, Emily Malcom, and others.

I look for Stewart to play an even bigger role as a Junior than she did as a Sophomore. She and Kissinger will be Minden's one-two punch for the next two seasons, and will dictate how successful this team is.

I don't know if the Whippets will have as good a team next year as they did this year, but I definitely think Minden has a chance to get back to state.

Finishing runner up and ranked second this year should only fuel the Whippets for next season.
Kearney Girls fall to Omaha Benson at state
2014-03-11T07:12












The season came to an end for the Kearney Girls on Thursday as the Bearcats lost 63-36 to eventual state champion Omaha Benson in the first round of state at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Kearney led 6-5 after one before the Bunnies tripled up the Bearcats 21-7 in the second quarter to take a 26-13 lead into the locker room.

Benson won the third quarter 15-9 to lead 41-22 at the end of three.

The Bunnies outscored Kearney 22-14 in the fourth quarter.

Skyler Snider paced the Bearcats with 10 points.

I'm sure Kearney, who finishes the season ranked 6th, wishes and thinks things could have gone better against Benson, but the loss to the Bunnies should not take away from the type of season the Bearcats had.

Kearney, who ends the year 19-7, really turned it on in the second half of the year, winning 13 out of their last 14 games prior to the state loss to Benson.

A lot of credit goes to Snider and Kelsey Stithem, who led this team night in and night out.

Brianna Miller, Claire Sickler, Payton Cudaback, and Abby Ray also stepped up for this team at different times throughout the season.

The Bearcats lose five seniors in Sickler, Ray, Cudaback, Abbie Graham, and Karmin Moncrief.

All meant a lot to this team this year, and will be missed dearly.

However, Kearney has lots to look forward to next year with the return of Snider and Stithem.

The Bearcats also bring back Miller, Breanna Obermiller, Lauren Speicher, and others.

I expect next year's team to be just as good as this year's, if not better.

Ray and Cudaback are big losses inside, but Snider and Stithem will only get better in the offseason.

I'm anxious to see what kind of offseasons they have, and how big a impact they make next season.

It is critical for other players to develop as well given the departure of the five seniors listed above. But again, with Snider and Stithem returning, I think the sky is the limit for this team.

Don't be surprised if Kearney makes a return trip to state in 2015.
Overton Boys reach District Final
2014-03-02T11:26












Overton turned it on in the second half of Tuesday night's sub district semifinals against Amherst to pull away from the Broncos 58-39.

The game was tied at 20 at half before Overton took control, outscoring the Broncos 22-6 in the third quarter.

The Eagles were paced by Tanner Ryan, who scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to earn a double-double. Caleb Ecklund had 13 points while Joel Shafer finished with 12.

The third time was the charm for the Overton, who knocked off top ranked Elm Creek on Thursday 57-39 for the Boys D1-9 Subdistrict title.

Elm Creek had beaten the Eagles in the first two meetings of the year. In round three though, Overton would never trail as they held the Buffaloes to a season low 39 points. Overton led by 7 at the half and then went on a 7-0 run midway through the 3rd quarter to take control of the game. The Eagles held Elm Creek to 36% shooting on the night and forced the Buffaloes into 19 turnovers.

Overton had great balance on offense with four players in double figures. Ryan had 14 points while Ecklund and Hayden Cahoy each had 12. Shafer added 10.

Overton improves to 21-4 and will take on Cambridge (16-7) in the D1-5 District final at Holdrege Tuesday night. 

This is a must win for the Eagles if they are to advance to state. Elm Creek and O'Neill St. Mary's are ahead of them in wildcard points, and will most likely get the two wildcards if Howells-Dodge and North Platte St. Pat's win their District Finals.

Ryan, Cahoy, Shafer, Ecklund, Creighton Ryan, and others have to play well for Overton.

The Eagles have a golden opportunity to knock off the Trojans and get to state for the fourth time in the last five years.

Overton has to play with the same passion, desire, and intensity they played with against Elm Creek.

The Eagles have to remain hungry, and have to really want this. Overton has to come out and dominate like they are capable of.

The Eagles have played too well down the stretch and have come too far to lose now. Overton has won six in a row since their second loss to the Buffaloes, and have won eight out of their last nine.

Cambridge has played well lately too though as the Trojans have won five in a row and seven out of their last eight.

As long as the Eagles play they I know they can, they should win. But Overton has to play well. The Trojans will give the Eagles their best shot.

Tuesday night's game will be aired on 93.1 the River KRVN FM. Pregame is scheduled for 6:50 with tip off at 7:00.
Elwood Boys win D2-8 sub district
2014-03-02T11:08












The Elwood Boys are headed to the D2-4 District final thanks to wins over S-E-M and Bertrand in the D2-8 sub district tournament at Lexington last week.

The Pirates defeated the Mustangs 69-43 in Tuesday night's semifinals.

S-E-M led 17-13 after one, but Elwood outscored them 18-2 in the second quarter and went up 31-19 at halftime.

The Pirates won the third quarter 22-15 to go up 53-34 at the end of three.

Elwood notched 16 fourth quarter points to the Mustangs' 9.

Skyler Werger and Blake Summer led all scorers with 17 points each. Jacob Schmeeckle added 13 while Zack Hackbart had 12 points and 13 rebounds, good enough for a double-double.

The Pirates knocked off the Vikings 64-49 in Thursday night's sub district final.

Elwood went up 21-14 at the end of one before winning the second quarter 18-12 to take a 39-26 lead into the locker room.

The Pirates notched 15 third quarter points compared to 12 for the Vikings to go up 54-38 at the end of three.

Bertrand won the fourth quarter 11-10.

Billie Smith posted a team-high 17 points. Werger and Hackbart added 14 apiece. Schmeeckle notched 12.

Elwood (13-10) battles Kenesaw (12-12) in the D2-4 District Final Tuesday night at Kearney Catholic.

The Blue Devils survived Pleasanton and Lawrence-Nelson in the D2-7 sub district, beating the Bulldogs 45-44 and the Raiders 39-33.

Kenesaw has played a tougher schedule than Elwood and overall has competed better against common opponents, but the Pirates definitely competed better in their sub district.

I think Elwood has a good chance to win if they come to play for four quarters.

Werger, Hackbart, Summer, Smith, and Schmeeckle all have to play well for the Pirates to win.

This has to be Elwood's best performance of the year if they are to win. The Pirates have to play the way they did against Axtell.

Chances like these don't come very often, and Elwood has to make the most of this opportunity. I know it would mean a lot to these players, the coaches, and the fans to get to state.

I'm sure there's lots of excitement within the community for this game.

The Pirates have to be prepared to give it their all for 32 minutes.

If Elwood plays the way they are capable of, and defends the way they did in sub districts, they should put themselves in a good position to win.

Tuesday night's game is slated to begin at 7:00.
Cozad Boys advance to District Final
2014-03-02T10:48













 
In the semifinals of the C1-11 subdistricts in Sutherland Tuesday night, the Gothenburg Swedes and Cozad Haymakers met for the third time this season and the Haymakers would win again this time beating the Swedes 60-46.

The Haymakers led by 3 points after the first quarter and by only 1 at halftime.

However, Conor Young scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half as the Haymakers pulled away.

The C-1 11 subdistrict final came down to a couple of teams that faced off on opening night, but this time around the stakes were much higher as the loser's season would end.

In that first game, Chase County beat Cozad 52-48. Thursday's game was much different as the Haymakers would beat up on the Longhorns 73-49.

Cozad's Jake Paulsen was on fire all night as he led all scorers with 27.

The 'Makers would lead after one 16-8. The Longhorns would cut the lead to 4 at half, but a buzzer beating tip in would give Cozad a 10-point lead going in the fourth, and a 27 point fourth would be too much for Chase County as Cozad pulled away.

Cozad shot an amazing 78% from the floor in the second half going 14 out of 18.

Cozad improves to 17-8 and will play Valentine (13-9) on Monday in the C1-6 District Title game at Broken Bow.

The Haymakers beat the Badgers twice this year, winning 56-40 the first time around and 57-49 in the Southwest Conference Tournament.

It's always tough to beat a team three times in one season, but Cozad did it against Gothenburg, and that should help them against the Badgers.

The Haymakers have won 11 out of their last 12, and are playing their best basketball of the season right now.

It took a while for Cozad to get going, but they have certainly gotten the job done down the stretch.

So has Valentine though as the Badgers have won six out of their last seven following their second loss to the Haymakers.

Valentine upset Chadron in the C1-12 sub district final on Thursday, and shouldn't be taken lightly.

The Badgers are capable of beating Cozad, and the Haymakers can't play with the attitude that this one is already in the bag.

Cozad has to play the way they did in the second half of their sub district games. If Cozad does that they will be in good shape.

Monday night's game can be heard on AM 880 KRVN starting with pregame at 5:50 p.m. Tip off is set for 6:00.
Holdrege Boys go 1-1 in last two regular season games; Girls advance to state
2014-03-02T10:32












The Holdrege Boys went 1-1 to end the regular season, defeating Aurora 51-49 at home last Friday night before losing 73-44 at York last Saturday.

The Dusters defeated the Huskies for a second time thanks to Jared Karlson's lay up at the buzzer.

Holdrege led 9-6 after one before Aurora outscored the Dusters 21-12 in the second quarter to take a 27-21 lead into the locker room.

Holdrege won the third quarter 23-16 to go up 44-43 at the end of three.

The Dusters notched 7 fourth quarter points. The Huskies scored 6.

Andrew Maaske had a team-high 15 points. Karlson added 12 while Jackson Berney notched 11.

Holdrege hung with York in the first quarter as the Dusters led 19-14 after one. However, York won the second quarter 22-7 to take a 36-26 lead into the locker room.

The Dukes outscored the Dusters 21-9 in the third quarter to go up 57-35 at the end of three.

York notched 16 fourth quarter points compared to just 9 for Holdrege.

Maaske paced the Dusters with 15 points.

Holdrege showed up to play early against the Dukes. It was just the Dusters' inability to sustain that same level of play throughout the game that cost them.

Holdrege (10-12) battles Grand Island Northwest (9-16) Monday night in the B-5 District Semifinals at Grand Island Senior High.

The two teams met on February 7th in Holdrege with the Vikings winning 52-45.

Northwest has won three games in a row, including Saturday's play in game over Hastings. The Vikings won that game 39-27.

I'm not sure Northwest is a team anyone in this district wants to see right now, but in the Dusters' case they are going to have to beat them to advance to the district final.

Holdrege is a senior laden team, and often times teams with a lot of seniors fare well in wide open districts.

Maaske, Karlson, Brenden Kreutzer, Charles Hosier, Dillon Hixson, Dakota Fulk, and Walker Hohensee are all suiting up for their final district run for the Dusters.

All will play a significant role in determining the outcome of Monday night's game.

Holdrege has to play as if there's no tomorrow, because if they lose, there's not.

The Dusters have to dive on the floor after loose balls, box out, contest shots, and most importantly take care of the ball.

Holdrege has to play with the heart of a champion because they can win this district.

Monday's game is slated to tip off at 6:00 p.m. It can be heard on 93.1 the River KRVN FM with pregame starting at 5:50.














The Holdrege Girls lost 57-36 to Grand Island Northwest in Friday night's B-5 District Final, but earned a wildcard to advance to the state tournament for the 10th straight year.

The Dusters advanced to Friday night's District Final by beating Hastings 58-37 in Thursday night's Semifinals.

The Dusters led 17-9 after one before outscoring the Tigers 19-9 in the second quarter to go up 36-18 at halftime.

Holdrege won the third quarter 15-13 to extend their lead to 51-31 at the end of three.

The Dusters notched 7 fourth quarter points. Hastings put up 6.

Rachel Jelden had a team-high 12 points. Julianna Burr added 11.

Holdrege and the Vikings were tied at 8 at the end of one. Northwest won the second quarter 12-9 to take a 20-17 lead into the locker room.

The Vikings put up 19 third quarter points while the Dusters scored 15 to make it a 39-32 game at the end of three.

Northwest outscored Holdrege 18-4 in the fourth quarter.

Jelden and Haley Schroeder had 9 points apiece to pace the Dusters.

I was surprised Holdrege lost to Northwest the way they did, but at the same time you have to take into consideration that both teams were already going to go to state anyways, and the Vikings no doubt had revenge on their minds given what happened in last year's district final.

The Dusters (20-4) battle York (18-6) at state Thursday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Holdrege and the Dukes met once in the regular season with the Dusters winning 46-42.

I expect Thursday's game to be very competitive as well, but I look for Holdrege's state experience to make the difference.

The Dusters have been there and done that before while York is sort of a newbie to the state tournament.

I suspect Jelden, Burr, Schroeder, Jenna Gillespie, and Jamie Issacson will all have big games in one way or another for Holdrege.

The Dusters have to try and slow down the Dukes' Erin Malleck.

She is a very good player who has hurt teams on the inside all season, and is a very athletic and lengthy player who is tough to defend.

Jelden, Ashley Alber, and whoever else defends her has to do a good job of playing straight up.

The last thing Holdrege wants is their post players getting in foul trouble.

I look for the experience of Gillespie to really make a difference for the Dusters as some of York's guards are young. It will be critical for Gillespie to slow down Hannah Riley, who is the Dukes' leading scorer at almost 18 ppg.

Thursday's game is scheduled to tip off at 8:45 p.m. The game will be carried on 93.1 the River KRVN FM with pregame starting at 8:35.
Lexington Boys win final regular season game; Girls' season ends in districts
2014-03-02T09:50







The Lexington Minutemen ended an up and down regular season with a 65-59 win over Phillipsburg last Thursday night.

Lexington never trailed while picking up its 10th win of the year.

Lexington appeared to be in good shape with a 14 point lead with 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers, however, went a 11-0 run to cut the lead to three with 1:30 remaining. That's when sophomore Trevor McKeone stepped up for Lexington as he went 7-7 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points to help Lexington escape with the win. Lewis Lewis added 14 for Lexington and Arliss Alvarez pumped in 13. 

It was a big win for the Minutemen and prevented them from having to play in the B-5 District play in game.

Lexington (10-14) battles Aurora (10-12) in the B-5 District semifinals at Grand Island Senior High Monday night.

The Huskies lost their final two regular season games, falling to Holdrege and Grand Island Northwest.

Aurora did, however, beat the Minutemen 54-40 in the regular season.

Lexington is going to have to play much better than they did against the Huskies the first time if they want to win.

The Minutemen's experience should help them. Lewis, Alvarez, Brody Lauby, Ted Berke, and Marco Muniz are all seniors who need to step up for Lexington.

This district is so wide open and this is the Minutemen's best chance to get to state in a long time.

Lexington must come ready to play, and must be on top of their game to beat Aurora.

The Huskies have won this district the last two years, but the Minutemen would love to change that.

A lot of things hinge on how Lewis plays, in my opinion. If he is on, Lexington has a great chance to win. But if he is off, the Minutemen could falter.

Big players step up in big games, and that's what Lewis has to do for Lexington.

Tip off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. with pregame slated for 7:30 on 93.1 the River KRVN FM.









The season came to an end for the Lexington Girls Tuesday night as Aurora downed the Minutemaids 45-29 in the B-5 District play in game at Grand Island Senior High.

The Huskies led 9-6 at the end of one before going on an 11-2 run in the second quarter to lead 20-10 at one point in the second frame. Aurora maintained a 10-point lead at halftime as they went into the locker room up 21-11.

Turnovers hampered Lexington in both halfs as the Minutemaids had 13 turnovers in each half.

Lexington found their offense some in the third quarter, putting up 9 points. However, Aurora scored 10 and went up 31-20 at the end of three.

The Minutemaids could never get to within single digits in the fourth quarter as the Huskies put up 14 points in the final frame to put the game away. Lexington notched 9 points in the final 8 minutes.

The Minutemaids, who end the year 8-17, were led by Hannah Ostrom, who had a team-high 13 points.

Lexington loses five seniors in Odaliz Santoyo, Katelin Schultze, Mackenzie McKeone, Bethany Dolezal, and MaKenzie Hammond.

All five played a big role in this year's success. All were leaders, and that was exemplified with their play on the court.

I thought the Minutemaids got a lot better towards the end of the season. Lexington won five in a row before losing their last two.

I figured the Minutemaids would play much better than they did against the Huskies, but Aurora played well.

Next year's squad should be very competitive as Lexington brings back Ostrom, Kaelyn Pack, Aly Leger, Leesa Gierhan, Ellie Rowe, and others.

Losing the five seniors they did hurts Lexington, but now it's time for other players to emerge.

The five listed above and other returners and newcomers have to develop in the offseason for the Minutemaids to be good next year.

I think Lexington can build off of this year's late season success, which should only help them next year.

Look for the Minutemaids to be very competitive again in 2014-2015.
Gothenburg Boys lose to Cozad in sub districts
2014-03-02T09:28












In the semifinals of the C1-11 subdistricts in Sutherland Tuesday night, the Gothenburg Swedes and Cozad Haymakers met for the third time this season, and the Haymakers would win again, this time beating the Swedes 60-46.

The Haymakers led by 3 points after the first quarter and by only 1 at halftime.

However, Conor Young scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half as the Haymakers pulled away.

The Swedes were led by Tanner Borchardt, who scored 18 points and secured 14 rebounds to earn a double-double. Ross Ostendorf added 8 points.

Gothenburg finished the season 12-12. 

It wasn't a bad season for the Swedes, but most of their success can be attributed to Borchardt.

He was truly a man among boys this year, and was the main reason why this team had as much success as they did.

Credit goes to Blake Ristine, Dawson Graham, and Collin Hahn as well, but Borchardt did the bulk of the damage.

Gothenburg says goodbye to Ostendorf, Ristine, Nathan Graham, Roy Slack, and Adam Speck.

However, the Swedes bring back Borchardt, Hahn, Dawson Graham, and Connor Schwanz, among others.

I think Gothenburg will be a better team next year than they were this year, but other players besides Graham and Hahn have to help out Borchardt.

The rest of the returning players and newcomers have to develop this offseason. The Swedes can win 15 games next year the way they are going now, but to be a really good team other players have to develop.

That's going to be the biggest thing for Gothenburg. The development of other players to help Borchardt. 

Should be an interesting offseason for the Swedes.
Bertrand Boys' year ends with sub district final loss; Girls lose in district final
2014-03-02T09:12













The Bertrand Boys gave it their best shot in last week's D2-8 sub district at Lexington, beating Eustis-Farnam 43-42 in Tuesday night's semifinals before losing 64-49 to Elwood in Thursday night's final.

Bertrand got up early on the Knights, taking an 11-7 lead at the end of one. The Vikings won the second quarter 13-11 to lead 24-18 at halftime.

Bertrand notched 10 third quarter points while Eustis-Farnam put up 9 to make it a 34-27 game at the end of three.

The Knights outscored the Vikings 15-9 in the fourth quarter.

Jake Samuelson had a game-high 22 points.

Elwood went up 21-14 at the end of one before winning the second quarter 18-12 to take a 39-26 lead into the locker room.

The Pirates notched 15 third quarter points compared to 12 for the Vikings to go up 54-38 at the end of three.

Bertrand won the fourth quarter 11-10.

Robert Edgren led all scorers with 25 points.

I'm sure the Vikings are very disappointed in the way their season finished. Up until the last couple weeks of the season it looked like Bertrand was going to have a good chance to go to state. But injuries and a surgery did the Vikings in.

13-9 is a respectable mark, but again Bertrand has to be disappointed with how this season ended.

The Vikings lose just two seniors in Edgren and Edgar Estrada, so on the positive side the future looks really good.

I look for Samuelson, Dakota Fitzgerald, Tyrell Younger, Cooper Grabenstein, Jared Kugler, Garrett Dodson, and Creighton Peterson to all play significant roles next year.

Bertrand has a chance to be pretty good again if everyone stays healthy. Edgren is a big loss, and replacing him won't be easy, but I suspect the Vikings will be just fine.

Samuelson figures to be the only senior on next year's team as the majority of the squad will be sophomores and juniors. This is good news for the future of Bertrand Boys basketball.

As long as the returning players and newcomers put in the type of offseason work they need to, the Vikings should have more success in 2014-2015.














The Bertrand Girls hung with Giltner for a while in the D2-4 District Final at Gibbon Friday night, but the Hornets ended up pulling away for a 51-32 win.

Down 26-14 late in the second quarter, the Vikings went on an 11-2 run spanning the second and third quarters to pull within 3 at 28-25 in the third quarter. That was as close as Bertrand would get though as Giltner outscored the Vikings 23-7 the rest of the way.

With the game tied at 4 early, the Hornets went on a 10-1 run expanding the first and second quarters to build a 14-5 lead early in the second quarter. Giltner led 11-5 after one and 26-17 at halftime.

The Hornets held a 35-29 lead at the end of the third before winning the fourth quarter 16-3.

Bertrand was led by Brittany Shipp, who notched 10 points.

The Vikings, who end the year 12-9, lose six seniors in Shipp, Karli Nelson, Savannah High, Ali Mason, Matti Peterson, and Kate Chesterman.

Bertrand came up a little short of reaching their ultimate goal of going to state, but getting to a district final was pretty impressive considering this team hadn't had a winning season since the 2005-2006 campaign.

The Vikings return a number of good players in Mollie Kaps, Alexa Berry, Haley Dannehl, Kristine Edgren, and Jadyn High.

I look for each and every one of them to have a significant impact on next year's team.

Dannehl had a really good season, and I think her junior campaign will be even better.

High figures to be the only senior on next year's team, which means her leadership will be very important.

Other players are going to have to develop for the Vikings to add some depth, but I'm sure Bertrand will find a way to be competitive again next year.

The Vikings were one game away from reaching the state tournament for the first time since 1987, and I think that's going to motivate them to try and get there next year.

Bertrand has a chance to be good again in 2014-2015.
Eustis-Farnam ends year with sub district loss to Bertrand
2014-03-02T08:45










The Eustis-Farnam Boys were so close to advancing to Thursday night's D2-8 sub district final at Lexington, but came up just short against Bertrand in Tuesday night's semifinals, losing 43-42.

The Knights advanced to Tuesday night's game by winning Monday night's play in game over Loomis 47-40.

Eustis-Farnam went up 9-5 at the end of one and led 29-8 at halftime after winning the second quarter 20-3.

The Wolves outscored the Knights 15-9 in the third quarter to make it a 38-23 game at the end of three.

Loomis put up 17 fourth quarter points to Eustis-Farnam's 9.

Hunter Johnson led all scorers with 19 points.

Bertrand got up early on the Knights, taking an 11-7 lead at the end of one. The Vikings won the second quarter 13-11 to lead 24-18 at halftime.

Bertrand notched 10 third quarter points while Eustis-Farnam put up 9 to make it a 34-27 game at the end of three.

The Knights outscored the Vikings 15-9 in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Lauby led the way with 20 points. Johnson notched 13.

A 7-16 season is not too bad. Eustis-Farnam kind of figured coming into this year that they could win some games, and they did just that.

I'm sure the Knights wish they could of won a few more, but Eustis-Farnam did some good things this season.

Two wins stood out to me....Alma and S-E-M. Both were road games where the Knights probably weren't supposed to win. Yet Eustis-Farnam found a way to get the job done each time.

The Knights lose just two seniors in Johnson and Tanner Redenbaugh, but they are significant losses.

Johnson really stepped up and led this team this season. When he was on the floor he did some special things. Without him Eustis-Farnam wouldn't have experienced the success they did.

Lauby, Mitch Rieker, Hayden Rupe, Collin Thompson, and Austin Boller should all be good players for the Knights next year.

Eustis-Farnam will be fairly young again next season, but will have experience, which should help the Knights be successful.

I think Eustis-Farnam might be a little bit better next year than they were this year. I would say 10 wins is not out of the realm of possibility.

There is a lot for these players to work on in the offseason, but the potential is there for more success next season.

Look for the Knights to be very competitive in 2014-2015.
S-E-M Boys lose to Elwood in sub districts
2014-03-02T08:28









The season ended for the S-E-M Boys Tuesday night when the Mustangs lost 69-43 to Elwood in the D2-8 sub district semifinals at Lexington.

S-E-M led 17-13 after one, but was outscored 18-2 in the second quarter and found themselves trailing 31-19 at halftime.

The Pirates won the third quarter 22-15 to go up 53-34 at the end of three.

Elwood notched 16 fourth quarter points to the Mustangs' 9.

Andrew Sleicher had 14 points and 12 rebounds, good enough for a double-double.

S-E-M parts ways with Sleicher, Andrew Simmons, and Angel Boteo, who all played key roles in helping the Mustangs go 8-12 this season.

Some may say 8 wins is hardly anything to be proud of, but it is given where S-E-M was a year ago.

This team should only be better next year and in the future as the Mustangs bring back Jason Line, Stetson Dittmar, Dalton Nichols, Micah Eggleston, Austin Jeffrey, Nathan Schroeder, and others.

These six played significant roles for S-E-M this year and I only look for their roles to expand next year and in the future.

All of these players will be sophomores and juniors next year as there is only one junior on this year's roster.

In two years the Mustangs should be really good, but next year should be successful as well.

There's a lot of potential in this team going forward, but the only way this group is going to reach their potential is by working hard in the offseason.

These young players need to get after things on the court and in the weight room. There is lots of room for every player to improve, and I look for each one of them to take full advantage of their opportunities.

Don't be surprised if S-E-M wins 12 or more games next season.
Loomis Boys end year with loss to Eustis-Farnam
2014-03-02T08:15












The season ended for the Loomis Boys Monday night as the Wolves lost 47-40 to Eustis-Farnam in the sub district D2-8 play in game at Lexington.

The second quarter really hurt Loomis as the Knights turned a 9-5 lead at the end of one into a 29-8 halftime lead as Eustis-Farnam outscored the Wolves 20-3 in the second quarter.

Loomis won the third quarter 15-9 to make it a 38-23 game at the end of three.

The Wolves put up 17 fourth quarter points to the Knights' 9.

Kelly Thorell had a team-high 13 points in his final game for Loomis. Collin Rodenbaugh chipped in 11.

There's not a lot of positives to take away from a 2-16 season, but I think the way the Wolves played at the end of the season will only help them moving forward.

Loomis was 2-2 in their last four games, and was competitive in their two losses.

This was a very young team as the Wolves only lose three seniors in Thorell, Evan Dow, and Nam Le.

I look for Rodenbaugh, Zach Clark, Josh Taylor, Greydin Ludeke, and Levi Asp to all play significant roles for Loomis next season.

These five players have to step up and lead by example as does Jack Otting-Crandell.

These players are the future of Loomis basketball, and what they do or don't do in the offseason will dictate how next year goes.

I think there's a lot of potential for next year's team, but the key is having a successful offseason.

Each and every returning player or newcomer needs to be involved in offseason workouts, conditioning, summer leagues, team camps, and open gyms.

Most if not all of these players play football too, but they also need to make time for basketball in the offseason.
Elm Creek Girls' season ends in district final
2014-03-02T07:59







A strong second half propelled Arapahoe to a 47-32 victory over Elm Creek in the Girls D1-5 District title game on Friday night in Lexington. 

Elm Creek led 22-21 midway through the third quarter before Arapahoe used a full court press to eventually wear the Buffaloes down. The Warriors outscored the Buffaloes 17-8 in the final eight minutes to put the game away.

Elm Creek, which was making its first appearance in a district final since, 2006 was led by Corinne Jonak, who scored 13 points.

I thought Shelbi Brown needed to have a big game for the Buffaloes to win. She had 7 points, but that just wasn't quite enough.

Still though a 16-8 is season is something to be awfully proud of, especially considering the fact the Buffaloes won just two games last year.

Elm Creek's turnaround this year was quite remarkable, and one that will be remembered for a long time I'm sure.

The Buffaloes say goodbye to five seniors in Brown, Jonak, Casi Sutherland, Sydney Martin, and Anna Ourada.

All will be missed as they did a lot of good things for the program not only this year, but over the course of their careers.

Looking ahead to next season, Elm Creek will look to Hannah Robbins, Sage Martin, Shelby Ferguson, McKenzie Deyo, and others to pick up the slack left by this year's graduating seniors.

I'm really excited to see what Deyo can do with another year under her belt. She had an outstanding freshman campaign, and I only look for her to be better next season.

There is a lot of work to be done before next year, but having the success they had this year will only help Elm Creek as they move forward.

Coming off a winning season should help motivate returning players and newcomers to get after things in the offseason.

Tea party big wigs in Nebraska for Sasse

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) _ A slew of tea party favorites are heading to central Nebraska this week to support Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse, less than three weeks before the May 13 primary election. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be at ...

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