Centennial Public School in Utica on Tuesday was the setting for a great day of girls basketball as a wide range of high school teams from Classes B through D-2 took to the courts for scrimmages.
In total, 16 teams competed, including the hosts Centennial, as well as Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur, Clarkson-Leigh, Douglas County West, Superior, Sutton, York, Humphrey St. Francis, David City, Pleasanton, Seward, Fairbury, Sandy Creek, Fillmore Central, Elmwood-Murdock and Boone Central.
Back in the best gym in the state. #nebpreps pic.twitter.com/Ej4hWZ3hlB
— Steve Marik (@Steve_Marik) June 22, 2021
Many of the teams at the camp are coming off strong seasons. One won a state championship while a few others earned state tournament appearances.
St. Francis was the D-2 champ last March. Flyers’ head coach Bryan Reichmuth loses all-everything guard and current Husker basketball player Allison Weidner of course, but the cupboard isn’t bare in Humphrey. More on that later.
Other teams that enjoyed state-tournament runs that were in Utica on Tuesday include York in B, BRLD and Centennial in C-2 and Pleasanton and Elmwood-Murdock in D-1. Pleasanton was runner-up while BRLD took third.
Here are some standouts from the camp, in no particular order:
2024 Clarkson/Leigh guard Chloe Hanel
Absolute stud. At 5-foot-11, Hanel, who’s going to be just a sophomore for the Patriots, showed a fantastic burst, footwork and handle at point guard during her scrimmages. She averaged 12.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game last year in her first season of high school basketball. On Tuesday, Hanel got to the rim by beating her defenders off the dribble and, on more than one occasion, avoiding a help-side defender with a euro-step for a layup. Her length also makes her a pesky defender.
2023 Humphrey St. Francis guard Emma Baumgart
Talk about quick. Baumgart, as well as her twin sister Hannah, was all over the court creating havoc for opposing ball handlers. Emma and Hannah definitely wouldn’t be mistaken for the tallest players at the camp, but what they lack in height, they make up for in quickness and energy. On one play Tuesday, Emma snatched a steal and quickly covered the length of the court for a coast-to-coast layup. One another, she grabbed yet another steal, then led her sister perfectly down the court for a layup.
2023 Humphrey St. Francis guard Hannah Baumgart
Again — the speed and quickness that Hannah Baumgart and her sister possess on a basketball court was fun to watch. Hannah was on the other end of her sister’s aforementioned pass on Tuesday and avoided a defender with a nicely-timed euro step for a layup. That play led her head coach, Reichmuth, to yell “That was beautiful!” Yes, it was a beautiful play and layup, coach. The defending state champ Lady Flyers are in good hands.
2023 York forward Anna Briggs
York head coach Matt Kern didn’t have a full varsity roster on Tuesday as at least three of his returning starters from last year — South Dakota State University volleyball commit Masa Scheierman, Destiny Shepherd and Mattie Pohl — didn’t play, but it was fun to watch the first-year Duke, Briggs, showcase her length and talent. At 6-2, Briggs, who moved from Kansas, has solid post moves and touch in the paint. She didn’t have a ton of room to work on Tuesday — Scheierman, Shepherd and Pohl will help space the floor once the season comes around — but you could see the skills. As a sophomore at Quinter High School in Kansas last year, Briggs averaged a double-double with 12.4 points and 11 rebounds.
2022 Fillmore Central forward Lexi Theis
A Rockhurst University (Kansas City, Mo.) volleyball commit, Theis was one of the better athletes on the court Tuesday. She’ll have a lot on her shoulders during the season — the Panthers lost point guard Jackie Schelkopf to graduation; she’s now playing for Hastings College — but Theis is capable of doing a lot on the floor. Theis showed an ability to grab a rebound on one end of the court, and coast to the other end for a layup. The 5-11 forward will also be a key defender for head coach Shad Eberhardt’s team.
Check out this finish from Theis with her left hand:
2022 Fillmore Central guard Abby Nichols
Shooter. On more than one occasion, Nichols hurt defenses on out-of-bounds plays, coming off screens hard, hauling in the pass and letting a 3-pointer fly. Nichols, as well as her teammate Theis, will lead Fillmore Central next season. As a junior, Nichols averaged 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds according to MaxPreps.com. Here’s an example of what Nichols can do behind the arc:
2022 Centennial forward Halley Heidtbrink
Centennial head coach Jake Polk has to find a way to replace nine seniors from last season’s team that made state. That won’t be easy, but one player who showed promise on Tuesday was the 6-foot Heidtbrink, who didn’t seem afraid of contact in the paint and stood her ground well against the camp’s stronger players. She also did well running the court and getting some putbacks. She’ll have a bigger role next season for the Broncos.
2022 Pleasanton forward Chelsea Fisher
Pleasanton head coach Jordan Arensdorf will need to replace six seniors who were a huge part of the Bulldogs taking runner-up at state last March. But he brings back a good one in the senior-to-be Fisher, who was the second-leading scorer last season at 11 points and seven rebounds per contest. On Tuesday, Fisher used her size well, outrebounding smaller defenders. At 6-2, she was also a problem for opposing teams when she caught the ball at the high post — she sees over the defense and had a few nice passes to teammates who had sealed their defender. Fisher also showed off a nice mid-range game while at the high post.
2023 Pleasanton guard Regan Weisdorfer
One player for the Bulldogs who will have a bigger role this upcoming season was Weisdorfer. On Tuesday, the guard was fast, confident and dribbled well, taking care of the ball. She was also pretty active on the defensive end.
2022 David City forward Neely Behrns
With Lauren Vandenberg graduated, the athletic Behrns will most likely become David City’s top option next season. Behrns was aggressive at the camp and, more than once, took the fight to the defender, driving the ball hard to the rim to draw fouls. As a junior, Behrns averaged 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Behrns also showed she can make 3s, as she shot a team-best 39 percent (34 of 87) last season.
2022 David City guard Emily Johnson
Like Fillmore Central’s Nichols, David City’s Johnson can shoot the 3. Johnson, who shot 31 percent (57 of 182) from deep last season, has a quick release and isn’t shy about taking shots behind the arc, as she launched a deep trey a couple feet behind the arc on Tuesday. She nailed it, by the way.
2022 BRLD forward Jordan Snyder
BRLD had a heck of a team last season, and Snyder was a big reason why. At 6-2, Snyder can score inside and out. She averaged 13.9 points and 7.3 boards per game as a junior, and on Tuesday she showed off her offensive versatility by getting buckets in the paint and behind the arc. Here are just two of the many plays Snyder made at the camp:
2022 BRLD forward Alyssa Buchholz
Buchholz was impressive at the camp. It seemed like she had the best handle of anyone on her team, and at a physical 5-9, she could bully smaller players down low with her strength. On one play, Buchholz even dribbled the length of the court and avoided a defender with a behind-the-back move, and barely broke stride while doing it. She averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season. Here’s a glimpse of her Tuesday:
2022 Sutton guard Xytlaly Bautista
Sutton’s Bautista plays with fire and passion, and that was great to see on Tuesday. She was the top 3-point shooter for the Fillies last season at 36 percent (35 of 98) and will likely see her role expand even more as a senior now that leading scorer Kylie Baumert is graduated and balling at Hastings College.