A SEASON AROUND THE STATE — With the postseason upon us, it seemed appropriate to attach a little commentary to this week’s rankings as we look forward to the two-week dance to Lincoln. Some all-time games could come to Lincoln this year in the girl’s tournament.
The season has been filled with an awesome amount of text messages, Twitter DM’s and e-mails with coaches from across the state in all the classes. It’s always fun to get their thoughts each Sunday on random games and results throughout the week and what players keep them up at night as they watch film.
My eighth-grade daughter Ella has an unhealthy obsession with basketball. In short, she loves it. Yesterday’s South Carolina, LSU game was a “must record” on the DVR. She rolls her eyes at her phone watching Nebraska. She can rattle off all of UConn’s stats to you in a moment’s notice. Our trips to gyms this year let us see a game or team in every class.
So, I asked her a simple question today. “Who were your three favorite players to watch this season and why? They don’t have to be the BEST, but just your favorite.”
Through our travels and hitting most of the Grand Island Northwest games and many in between, I got this list. A list that’s sure to change in the first week of March. And a list that she’d like you to know that we didn’t get to watch Millard South and Bridgeport at the Girls Basketball Showcase. We’ll update it soon, but be careful players, she might want to get a picture for Instagram in Lincoln.
Britt Prince (Elkhorn North): “She is just super fun to watch. She sees the court so well and is a really good player.”
Kaitlyn Emanuel (North Bend Central): “So good on the inside and great at passing the ball up the court to her teammates. She is great at playing WITH her team.”
Kathryn Gaughen (North Bend Central): “She is playing to have fun. And she is always smiling and lifting her teammates up.”
“Dad, can I have an honorable mention?”
“Sure, I’ll allow it.”
Lindsey Emanuel (North Bend Central), Chaney Nelson (Oakland-Craig) and Makenna Willis (Shelton).
“How about a boy?”
Isaiah Zelasney (Osecola): “He’s a hustler. You can tell he’s a great leader and will step up when his team needs him.”
No one should have to endure my Twitter DMs when I post something silly on Twitter like a new postseason format for basketball. But it’s fun and I enjoy discussing it with you. I get feedback — both ways — from coaches on how the format works now.
There are a few general things I hear among most coaches and athletic directors. The biggest thing is finding formats and proposals that are agreeable to all corners of the state. It’s a hard process.
Class A: I think just about everyone in Class A likes their serpentine district format and if geography wasn’t a consideration, it would get plenty of play in the other classes. My thought: While it is the best format of all the classes, I sometimes wonder why coaches prefer playing a “better team” to preserve the wild card. If the districts were seeded with no wild card, the 7-seed would host the 10-seed to go to state. As it is, they have to host the 8-seed. It would also give one more school a chance to host districts.
Class B: Class B dad here. Wish we could figure out a way to make this class a little bigger — the basketball competition bears out that more teams can compete with Class B teams. Because the numbers in the class have dropped, the sub-district format doesn’t work in my opinion. My thought: Protect the top-8 teams all the way to a district final. Do that by using a bit of geography if you need to. Let’s not have Beatrice v Norris (2020) and Skutt, Elkhorn North (2022) in these sub-district games. Zero sense.
Everyone else: Really wish we could use some critical thinking from athletic directors and coaches to enhance the postseason for our players. Tomorrow night at Lincoln Christian in the sub-district semifinal round Milford (20-3) will play Malcolm (18-5). In that same round at Douglas County West, Fort Calhoun (9-13) will play Omaha Gross (6-14). The distance from Fort Calhoun to Milford is 87 miles. You should see Class D-1 boys (1, 2, 3, 8) and a girls sub with also seeds 1-2. Bonkers. My thought: Surely, we could come up with a process that would balance this out a little bit instead of doing straight geography.
In general, I am for formats that protects the best teams and don’t allow losing in the postseason. That said, it’s a hard process to go through. But if wrestling can do it (and they do it so well) other sports should look at doing it too. Or at least starting some communication on the subject.
Here are the ratings for February 13, with records as of games played on Saturday, February 11. Sub-district pairings are set for Classes C-1 to D-2 with post season play beginning tonight.
Class A (Record), Previous
1. Millard South (20-2), 1
2. Millard North (18-2), 4
3. Lincoln High (20-1), 3
4. Bellevue East (17-3), 5
5. Bellevue West (19-3), 2
6. Lincoln East (16-4), 6
7. Lincoln Pius X (16-5), 7
8. Millard West (14-6), 9
9. Lincoln North Star (13-7), 10
10. Kearney (13-9), RV
Receiving Votes: Omaha Central (14-8), 8; Lincoln Northeast (13-9), NR.
Comments: Mya Skoff scored 30 points in Bellevue East’s 65-51 win over Bellevue West and the Chieftains moved up to fourth and West drops to fifth. Millard North advanced past 20-1 Lincoln High, who has only a loss to BE as well. It kind of looks like if you make it to Lincoln, you might have a chance to win the whole darn thing. Games of note: Lincoln North Star at Lincoln East (Tuesday), Lincoln Northeast at Lincoln Pius X (Tuesday), Lincoln Pius X at Lincoln High (Thursday), Millard North at Bellevue West (Friday), Omaha Central at Millard West (Friday), Millard South at Bellevue East (Saturday).
Class B (Record), Previous
1. Skutt Catholic (22-1), 1
2. Elkhorn North (19-1), 2
3. Sidney (21-1), 3
4. York (17-3), 4
5. Norris (13-8), 5
6. Beatrice (15-3), 6
7. Omaha Duchesne (14-6), 7
8. Waverly (14-6), 9
9. Scottsbluff (17-5), 8
10. Seward (13-9), 10
Receiving Votes: none.
Comments: Waverly moves up with a win over Duchesne, but they also lost to the two teams behind them earlier this season. That said, they have a “prove it” week with games against York and Beatrice. Skutt and Elkhorn North firmly locked into the top-two spots. Games of note: York at Waverly (Tuesday), Waverly at Beatrice (Thursday), Omaha Duchesne at Bennington (Thursday).
Class C-1 (Record), Previous
1. Bridgeport (21-0), 1
2. North Bend (22-1), 2
3. Adams Central (21-1), 3
4. Lincoln Christian (20-2), 4
5. Wahoo (18-4), 5
6. Milford (20-3), 6
7. Minden (18-4), 7
8. Scotus Central Catholic (17-5), 9
9. Malcolm (18-5), 8
10. Gothenburg (17-4), 10
Receiving Votes: Yutan (20-3), RV.
Comments: Not much change, but Scotus jumps Malcolm after the Clippers lost to Wahoo 53-51. Malcolm will play Milford in a first round sub-district game (insert eye roll emoji) with the winner likely getting Lincoln Christian. North Bend, Wahoo and Yutan will also be in the same sub-district as well. You can’t make it up.
Class C-2 (Record), Previous
1. Crofton (21-1), 1
2. Ponca (20-1), 3
3. Pender (21-3), 4
4. Oakland-Craig (19-4), 5
5. Guardian Angels CC (18-3), 2
6. Clarkson/Leigh (18-5), 6
7. Southern Valley (18-3), 7
8. Superior (19-4), 9
9. Gordon-Rushville (16-3), RV
10. Cross County (19-4), RV
Receiving Votes: Archbishop Bergan (14-7), 8.
Comments: GACC tumbles once more after a 63-60 loss to new No. 3 Pender, with Oakland-Craig close behind. Those two have split games this season. Gordon-Rushville and Cross County re-enter the ratings heading into the postseason.
Class D-1 (Record), Previous
1. Ravenna (22-1), 1
2. Centura (20-3), 2
3. Maywood-Hayes Center (21-1), 3
4. Hartington Cedar Catholic (17-6), 5
5. Hastings St. Cecilia (14-7), 4
6. Elmwood-Murdock (18-5), 7
7. Elgin Public/Pope John (19-4), 8
8. Alma (15-3), 9
9. Bruning-Davenport/Shickley (18-5), 10
10. Johnson-Brock (18-5), RV
Receiving Votes: Niobrara/Verdigre (17-5), 6.
Comments: Ravenna still No. 1 and bracing for a possible Thursday matchup with Centura in a sub-district final. Both will advance to the district final round as they are 1, 2 in the Class D-1 points. Centura must get past S-E-M (17-3) first.
Class D-2 (Record), Previous
1. Falls City Sacred Heart (20-3), 1
2. O’Neill St. Mary’s (19-2), 2
3. Shelton (19-1), 5
4. Humphrey St. Francis (17-5), 3
5. McCool Junction (21-2), 7
6. Wynot (13-9), 6
7. Parkview Christian (17-6), 8
8. Overton (17-6), 4
9. Wilcox-Hildreth (16-6), RV
10. Howells-Dodge (13-10), 10
Receiving Votes: Lewiston (14-8), 9; Sandhills/Thedford (15-5), NR.
Comments: Sacred Heart is still No. 1 with some perennial powers in close behind. Wilcox-Hildreth had the win of the week over then No. 4 Overton 46-33. The win also gave the Falcons the chance to host the D2-8 sub-district, which likely includes a game with Overton to advance to the round of 16.