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01/19/2009 - From the Press Box: Northeast boys on a bit of a roll


Jeff Motz

Before the season started, I didn't think the Lincoln Northeast boys basketball team would have more than four wins this year.   Now the Rockets are on a five-game win streak since their loss to Norfolk at Home on December 20th and have an 8-3 mark coming into their showdown with their longtime rival Lincoln High on Thursday night at Northeast's Ed Johnson Gym.

In it's 67th year, the city's oldest rivalry in high school basketball will culminate into a matchup of two Class A top ten teams vying to rise up in the ratings.

Northeast has been tough behind the inside presence of 6-6 senior center Dol Kutey, who is averaging in the neighborhood of 20 points per game, and 6-8 forward Sunday Wur.  Guards Tyler Francis, Tommy Johnson and Trevor Vidlak have been helping distribute the basketball inside and are taking the right shots.  Reserve players, like 6-3 forward David Heim and 6-2 sophomore Jordan Brown have, been getting good minutes and have contributed to Northeast's success. 

The win streak is on the line Thursday against Lincoln High, who has stumbled a bit this season with a 5-5 record.  The Links beat Norfolk 63-45 on Friday night behind 6-6 junior Dylan Flinn's 25 points and Pete Uhing's 12 points.  The matchup with Flinn and Kutey in the paint on Thursday night should make for quite a battle underneath the basket.  Taking Kutey out of the offense and having Northeast heavily rely on their perimeter game could determine the momentum factor for each team.

Over the years, the Lincoln High/Northeast rivalry has determined who would represent Lincoln at the state tournament, who would play for a state championship, who the state champion was and most importantly.....bragging rights.

In the very first school year Northeast open their doors for classes (1941-1942), the Rockets lost the Class A state championship to Lincoln High.  It would mark only the beginning of what would become arguably the school's best sport.  Lincoln High in the 1940s and 1950s was one of the toughest basketball programs in the state.  But through the years, regardless of record, it was always a game that you had to see because of their historic battles.

Omaha Central soaring back to toward the top

You might have read in the Omaha World-Herald that Omaha Central has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in Class A, after beating Omaha Bryan 68-56 Saturday night.  Central is at No. 2 in our Union Bank top ten and Bryan is 3rd, while Lincoln Southwest remains at No. 1. 

Some of you have expressed concern with my rankings.  Your feedback is welcome at

Until Southwest gets beat, they'll remain No. 1. 

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