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01/20/2015 - From The Press Box: I've Ruffled Some Feathers of Some Cardinals
 The new ratings from this week's Union Bank Basketball Top Ten seems to have struck a chord with some fans from Crete.

A link posted to our Twitter page from the Crete Cardinals wants us to watch the Thursday night boys basketball game with Lincoln Pius X.

My guess is to see why they are deserving to be in our Class B top ten.  If that's the case, then I must watch.

I'll be honest with you, I don't have a chance to see everyone play mainly due to my busy schedule of covering the Lincoln schools and working at the radio station.  Most times, I base my ratings simply by the outcomes of games and where teams are in the point standings from the NSAA.

Well, when I published this week's Union Bank Top Ten, some Crete fans didn't like where I put the Cardinals.

The thing is, I've had them as contenders all season long.  It's not like I've totally neglected their capability of being in the Class B ratings.  

Two things standout as to why they aren't rated.......just yet.

One, they suffered losses to a couple of powerful Class C1 opponents.  Columbus Scotus, who is 11-2, beat the Cardinals 53-50 in OT on Dec. 20.  A 9-3 Wahoo ball club got a 54-51 win over the Cardinals on Jan. 10.  Granted, it sounds like Crete put up a fight and gave each team a great game.

Secondly, a 64-57 loss at 6-6 Waverly on Jan. 6 sticks out as another reason for still listing Crete in the weekly poll.  Most of the wins have come against teams that are under .500.

With that said, I see the argument from Crete fans on why they should be rated ahead of at least one other team.  Omaha Skutt is ranked 10th with an 8-4 record, despite Crete edging them 45-44 in the Doane College Holiday Tournament.  The Skyhawks have won four straight.  

Based on some stats, the Cardinals have some good players.  Senior Alex McGinnis averages 15.3 points, while Jake Harms averages around 9 points a game and sophomore Rhett Harms is averaging around 7 points a contest.  Their talents could still help in some big games coming up in the following weeks.

There's still plenty of season left for Crete to get on a major roll.  Thursday's game with Pius X, who's 4-6 on the year, should be interesting.  Plus, the Central Conference Tourney is coming up next week and games against Falls City (12-1 in C1), Hastings (7-5), Aurora (10-2) and Seward (9-3) are very key to what needs to be a strong finish to the regular season.  

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Links Roll, Rockets fall but stay ranked

Lincoln High is red hot and appears to be in the driver's seat in the City Championship race after Saturday night's win at Lincoln Northeast. 

KeShawn Wilson's 22 points to lead the Links made the difference early in the game, which LHS won 68-60.  Northeast, still recovering from a 47-46 setback at Lincoln East the night before, has a task ahead of them Tuesday night at Fremont and Friday night back at home against Millard North.

Regardless, Lincoln High remains No. 3 in Class A and Northeast falls to 9th.  If Northeast can rebound against Fremont and Millard North this week, they likely can stay put in the ratings.

East, meanwhile, is now 7-7 on the year and picked up a little confidence in the win over Northeast.  It came six days after the Spartans suffered perhaps their worst loss in quite a while, an 83-47 defeat at the hands of Class A No. 1 Omaha Creighton Prep.

While it may seem like Prep and Norfolk (both undefeated and each with 13-0 records) are the front runners in the Class A championship race, anything is still possible.  Prep still has games coming up with rated teams Omaha South (this Friday) and Omaha Central on Jan. 30.  Those two games are at home and could provide a loud environment at the Heider Center.  

Norfolk has a home game with Lincoln Southeast Friday night and a road trip to defending Class A champ Bellevue West, who's caught fire as of late.  Other trips to Millard North, Fremont and Lincoln North Star could provide some difficulty for the Panthers.

Three big home games also lie ahead for Norfolk.  Lincoln High on Feb. 7, Kearney on Feb. 14 and Northeast on Feb. 20 are legitimate teams capable of pulling off upsets in a very rough environment.  Trust me, I know firsthand what it's like to play in that setting at the Norfolk Gym.

The game with the Links may be one of the top ones this season, based on what both teams bring on to the court.  Norfolk will have to be ready for what may be their biggest test of the season.

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