Happy New Year!
Yes, it's that time for you to make a New Year's resolution and try to stick to that for as long as you can throughout the year.
For the Lincoln North Star boys and Lincoln Southeast girls basketball teams, it's simply to build upon victories in the Heartland Athletic Conference tournament.
The Navigators won the boys championship 67-55 over an athletic Grand Island ball club that could still make a run in the next two months. Kiefer Musiel, who had been plagued by injuries in the past year, showed he was in prime form Saturday, when he sank 22 points to help North Star to their first HAC title.
Noah Housh, who scored 17 points, Jon Dau and Hudy Holt help the Gators as major contributors.
Two more months of basketball lie ahead before post season play gets underway. For North Star, each game will be a test to see if they are among the state's elite and be in contention for a city title. Their game with Lincoln Southeast on January 13 may be the top city game of the season.
As for the Southeast girls, what else can be further explained about them? Other than just simply talented.
Their forte' is outside shooting, but they have an option of feeding into the post unlike what they had a year ago. The Knights' 6-3 freshman center Jess Shepard is proving to be the key ingredient to round out a solid offense. Alexa Kastanek, Southeast's 5-9 junior guard, has expanded her game with more dribble penetration to the basket and looking inside to Shepard.
Kastanek still can be lethal from outside and her defense remains pretty tough.
Lauren Stricker is the third Southeast player that's another offensive threat. Of the 19 points she scored against Lincoln Northeast in Saturday's HAC championship, 12 were from three-point range. Like Kastanek, Stricker is tough to beat on defense, especially in the transition game.
Other Lincoln Class A teams will be looking to make good on their respective New Year's resolutions.
Each of the boys teams will try to find their identities and improve on whatever weaknesses they've had through the first month of the season. At Northeast and Lincoln High, free throw shooting may be a starting point. At East, it may be playing a full 32 minutes of basketball.
For the girls teams, it's about improving on strengths and weaknesses. Northeast looks legit, but more players need to step up to keep what has been already a great start to the season.
Happy New Year and may it be a prosperous 2012 for you and your family!