Twenty-nine basketball teams from Nebraska traveled down to Kansas City this week to take part in the MWBC Midwest Basketball Showcase, a scholastic live recruiting period for Division I coaches.
The Hy-Vee Arena played host to two days of girls games and two days of boys games featuring teams from all over the region. Here are some of the Nebraska standout performances from the girls games on Friday and the boys games on Saturday.
Lincoln Southwest Senior Kennadi Williams
Of the eight games I tracked on Thursday, nobody scored more than the future Husker. With her mom, Husker head coach Amy Williams, standing along the baseline, Williams led the Silver Hawks to a 54-46 victory over Omaha Westview with an incredibly efficient 18-point performance.
The senior point guard went 5-for-8 from the field including 3-for-4 from deep. She converted a tough and-one at the rim early and also hit a pair of bonus free throws late to help secure the win. She dished out a couple of assists and notched two steals as well.
Omaha Westview Sophomores MaCardyn King and Lucy Fierro
Lincoln Southwest earned the win against the Wolverines, but it didn’t come easily, largely because the stellar play of these two sophomores. King nearly matched Williams with 16 points on 5-of-8 from the field (including a 3) and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
Fierro got the Wolverines off to a great start with a pair of 3s early and dropped in a floater plus a foul for a three-point play late, finishing with 11 points. She also did a great job of setting up her teammates, dishing out six assists with just one turnover.
Kearney Senior Kiara Dutenhoffer
The Bearcats lost 29-27 on a buzzer-beating put-back, but Dutenhoffer accounted for more than half Kearney’s point total and did so in efficient fashion, finishing with 14 points on 6-of-8 from the field and 1-of-1 from the line, and she corralled six rebounds as well. Dutenhoffer showed off her touch and athleticism around the basket throughout the game with a handful of impressive finishes.
Omaha Westside Sophomore Sanai Foster
The 6-foot-2 sophomore recorded a double-double in a 33-28 win for the Warriors against Raymore-Peculiar (Missouri). Westside split minutes pretty evenly in the game, but Foster made the most of her playing time with 11 points, 10 rebounds (including four offensive) and an emphatic block. She’s still a bit raw offensively but showed off a soft touch as she knocked down all of her free throws for the majority of her points.
Bellevue West Senior Naomi White
White was one of the breakout stars of the 2022-23 high school season for the Thunderbirds. She already holds multiple Division I offers and had more coaches there watching her in Kansas City. The game I caught certainly wasn’t her best (and she wasn’t alone), but she came alive just in time to lead the Thunderbirds to a 27-26 win against Lincoln Pius X.
With Bellevue West trailing 19-13 in the second half, White took over and put together a personal 9-2 run to put her team back in front. She drew a foul and hit the free throw, then knocked down a 3, then finished at the rim, then got to the line and converted again. She also hit a pair of bonus free throws to push Bellevue West’s lead to four in the final seconds, making a deep buzzer-beating 3 for the Thunderbolts simply cosmetic.
In total, White scored 11 of Bellevue West’s 18 second-half points in the defensive struggle, and she was the only player in the game in double figures.
Lincoln Northeast Junior Chuck Love
Love was the top scorer of the day among the games I tracked, going off for an efficient 28 points, though it wasn’t enough to get the Rockets a win against Maryville (Missouri) as team rebounding woes doomed them to a 67-58 loss.
Love shot 12-of-19 from the field including 4-of-8 from 3 for his 28, scoring at all three levels while creating most of his own offense off the bounce. Additionally, he corralled eight rebounds (five offensive) and dished out six assists as he operated as the main ball-handler for the team.
Lincoln Southwest Junior Braden Frager
The Silver Hawks suffered two close defeats, but Frager’s first half in the first game of the day, a 58-56 loss to Shawnee Mission Northwest (Kansas), was as impressive an 18 minutes of basketball as I’ve seen all spring and summer.
Frager finished with 19 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals, but the vast majority of production came before halftime. He poured in 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting (3-of-4 from 3), and the lone miss went halfway down before popping back out. In addition to the three 3s he threw down three dunks (including one where he faced up his defender in the halfcourt, blew by his man and elevated for the flush) and knocking down a step-back jumper from the elbow. He closed out the half by stealing the ball and taking it all the way for a flush to beat the buzzer.
Nebraska assistant Nate Loenser was sitting court-side for the game, and that first half showed why the Huskers offered him a scholarship.
On Sunday, Frager received an offer from Iowa State.
Omaha Bryan Junior A’mare Bynum
Bynum’s presence changes things significantly for the Bears, who won two close games on Saturday. He dropped 20 points on 50% shooting with a pair of 3s, nine rebounds and four blocks against Union (Oklahoma).
Bynum showed off his incredible touch, knocking down a few very difficult mid-range shots off the dribble in addition to his 3s and buckets at the rim. He also blocked Union’s 7-foot center multiple times.
Bynum did the heavy lifting throughout the game, but it was LC Doss Jr. who stole the ball and threw it ahead to Rylan Rodriguez for the breakaway layup in sudden death overtime, giving Bryan a 46-44 victory to start the weekend.
On Sunday, Bynum received an offer from Creighton.
Kearney Junior Ben Johnson
Kearney also went 2-0 on Friday with Johnson leading the way. In a 70-40 blowout over Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (Iowa), Johnson stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points on 6-of-12 from the field including 3-of-7 from 3 and 2-of-2 from the foul line, four rebounds and four assists.
Johnson is the centerpiece for a Kearney team that saw four other Bearcats also score eight or more points, the others being Colt Straka (11), Luke Draper (10), Asher Endorf (nine point and four assists) and Karter Lee (eight points and six rebounds).
Omaha Creighton Prep Junior Trinell Parker and Senior Dillon Claussen
Creighton Prep’s fantastic frontcourt is going to create all kins of matchup problems for opposing teams come the winter, and Friday’s 55-49 win against Liberty (Missouri) to finish 2-0 on the day provided a preview of that.
Parker scored 12 of Prep’s first 15 points and finished with 18 on 7-of-9 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
His frontcourt partner, Claussen, added 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting (1-of-3 from 3) and 5-of-7 from the charity stripe, nine rebounds and three assists.
At one point, Claussen called for Parker to set a ball screen and Claussen dropped a dime to him rolling to the rim for an and-one. A successful 4-5 pick-and-roll isn’t something you’re going to see from many other teams in Nebraska.
Millard North Seniors Neal Mosser and Elijah Gaeth and Sophomore Sutton Piatkowski
The Mustangs produced the best overall team offensive performance I saw on Saturday in a 77-47 rout of DeSmet Jesuit (Missouri), shooting 62% from the field including 11-of-21 from 3 with 22 assists on 29 buckets.
Mosser led the way with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting (4-of-7 from 3) and three assists. Gaeth added 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field (2-of-3 from 3) and 1-of-1 from the free-throw line, six assists and three steals. The duo combined for Millard North’s first 20 points.
Whereas the seniors did the heavy lifting early, it was an underclassman who stepped up in the second half as Piatkowski scored nine of his 14 after halftime. He shot 6-of-7 overall including 1-of-1 from 3 and split his two free throws while grabbing four rebounds.
Papillion-La Vista South juniors Bryson Bahl and Reece Kircher
The Titans finished the weekend unblemished (4-0). Point guard Reece Kircher averaged 14 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2 assists and one turnover per game. The impressive statistic was the juniors 3-point shooting. Kircher was 14-of-27 from distance (51.9%). Bahl led the Titans in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounds (7.5).
A few more….
Papio South sophomore Grant Beckenhauer has the ability to stretch the floor, particularly from the corner. He should have a significant role for the Titans when the high school season comes in the winter.
Lincoln Northeast senior Kyan Lenhoff had a good first game for the Rockets. At 6-foot-6 he showed he has the ability to be a secondary scorer alongside Love.
Omaha Westside senior guard Rickey Loftin will be a key contributor once again. Loftin, transferred from Omaha South prior to his junior season suffered an injury that sidelined him for a portion of his junior season. Saturday, he looked similar to how he played prior to his injury. He showed he can provide significant depth and another scoring guard option for the Warriors in the winter.
Note: With 16 teams in the boys event and four at the same time we (Jacob Padilla & Mike Sautter) were not able to see every team from Nebraska play at least one game.