26-2 and top seeded Winnebago meets 21-5 and 8th seeded Kearney Catholic in the first round of the C-1 Boys State Basketball Tournament in Lincoln Thursday morning. Winnebago Head Coach Jeff 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.
Winnebago secured the No. 1 seed in Class C-1 by downing Columbus Scotus 65-50 in the C1-3 District Final at Norfolk High last Monday night. 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.”
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.