A good chunk of the top boys basketball teams in Classes D-1 and D-2 showed up at Grand Island Central Catholic on Friday for the Class D Top 10 Camp.
Last season’s D-1 state champ, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, was in attendance, as was D-2 runner-up Parkview Christian.
St. Mary’s (O’Neill, Neb.), Loomis, Osceola and Mullen — all teams that made the D-2 state tournament last season — competed as well. As did Sumner-Eddyville-Miller (SEM), Stuart and Wallace.
It was hard not to notice Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family and its big three of the 6-foot-5 Sjuts brothers — Jason and Jacob — and Ethan Keller on Friday. The Bulldogs will likely be the ones to beat again next season.
Coach Joe Hesse’s group topped Loomis in the championship game 32-30 after the Wolves advanced with a 3-1 record in Pool A getting to the finals after a 43-40 overtime win over Osceola, which also finished 3-1. The Bulldogs played in the finals without Jacob Sjuts who had a baseball commitment.
Here are some players that highlighted the camp:
2022 Loomis guard Quinn Johnson
A straight-up bucket-getter, Johnson has a very quick release and he’s not shy from behind the arc. He’s showed that at Loomis, where he averaged over 20 points per game as a junior last season; while playing for his AAU team in Lincoln, Nebraska Supreme; and on Friday at Grand Island Central Catholic. In Loomis’ game against St. Mary’s, Johnson scored at least 16 points, hitting four 3s. Johnson hit a free throw when it counted in a 39-37 win over Sumner-Eddyville-Miller. He’ll again be one of the top scorers in the state in the 2021-22 season.
2022 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family forward Jason Sjuts
There’s not a lot lacking to Sjuts’ game (pictured above). At 6-5, he has guard skills that make him a huge threat to bigger, slower defenders. So do you guard him with a smaller player? Sjuts moves well and is quick enough off the dribble with a nice handle, but he can also notice a mismatch and use his size to get to the hoop. He averaged 15.9 points, four assists and four rebounds per game last season while helping lead his team to the state championship over Howells-Dodge.
2022 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family forward Jacob Sjuts
Like his brother, Jason, Jacob Sjuts is a bear to handle for opposing defenses. While Jason seems to be more comfortable around the perimeter, Jacob looked to be right at home in the paint on Friday, using his length to haul in rebound after rebound. Don’t be mistaken, though, Jacob has range just like Jason does — he made 27 3s last season in his junior year.
2022 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family forward Ethan Keller
Out of all the players competing on Friday, there weren’t many who were bigger or stronger than Keller, the Bulldogs’ tough 6-3 post. He owned the boards — both offensive and defensive — and was efficient with the ball in the paint. When he got his hands on the rock near the rim, it usually meant two points. He averaged 11 points and seven rebounds last season for the state champs.
2023 Osceola guard Isaiah Zelasney
Many across the state might not know about Zelasney, but he’s no doubt one of the state’s top multi-sport athletes, and he’s going to be just a junior next fall. Along with being a key member of the Bulldogs’ 8-man football team, Zelasney won four gold medals at the Class D state track meet in May, winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes while also being a member of the gold-medal-winning 4×400 relay. Zelasney is a fast and strong guard who can score from all three levels on the basketball court. There weren’t many defenders that kept him from getting to the hoop when he wanted to on Friday. Loomis’ defense may have done the best job of that all day — the Wolves beat Osceola 43-40 in overtime.
2022 St. Mary’s guard Aidan Hedstrom
In St. Mary’s game against Loomis, Hedstrom took it upon himself to be the one who led the team back from a large deficit, and he wasn’t even close to 100 percent healthy. Hedstrom, who tweaked an ankle in an earlier camp this month and had ice packs taped to his knees between games Friday, shot the ball very well against Loomis, especially in the second half when the comeback happened. He made four 3s and was smart with the ball, passing out of double teams and not forcing anything. His fourth and final 3 of the game was the game-winner, giving St. Mary’s a 41-38 win. Hedstrom, also a solid football player, averaged 23 points per game last season for the Cardinals.