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CURRENT ARTICLE
03/01/2015 - From The Press Box: Basketball, Swimming Start Up Statewide Madness

 It's that time of the year!

Like a broken record, I mention that each time the state high school basketball tournament rolls around each March.

The girls tournament could be extra exciting, if you're a Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln Pius X, Norris or Lincoln Christian fan.  Each of them stand a good chance of advancing in the tournament.

Christian, though, may have a challenge when they face two-time Class C1 runner-up Minden Thursday morning at the Devaney Center.  State Tourney inexperience may come into play for the Crusaders, who start three freshmen and two sophomores.

However, if you have seen Christian play this year, you'd think they had been playing at the high school level the last three to four years.  Taytem Coleman, Chloe Dworak and Emie Hollenback (who has received some Division I offers) are in their first year of playing high school basketball, while Ashlyn Power and Mollie Shepard have a year experience in the system.

With that said, they may have the biggest challenge of all the other area teams simply based on the lack of tournament experience.

 


Northeast rolls into the Class A tournament with lots of expectation on their shoulders.  The Rockets cruised through the A-2 district to get back to state for the fourth-straight year.  Seniors Tantashea Giger, Shaneequah Watkins, Tierra Beard and Jamie Holscher would like to cap their high school careers with a state title. 

The road ahead consists of Kearney in the Class A quarterfinals Thursday at 8:45pm, followed by a potential semifinal matchup with either Omaha Westside or Millard West before they could reach the championship Saturday at 6:30pm.  Nothing guaranteed, of course, but it seem possible Northeast could be playing deep into the weekend.

The key for not only Northeast but other Class A teams is which one will stop defending state champ Omaha Benson?

The Bunnies may be a little vulnerable without senior and Arizona State signee Kianna Ibis.  She suffered a season-ending knee injury in Benson's 40-point rout of Northeast back in January.  Still, the Bunnies won by large margins the rest of the season and through districts to get back and defend their title.

Lincoln Pius X, who fell short of winning the Class B title in last year's championship game, is back to get what the Bolts haven't been able to do since 1992.  The Class B tournament field this year is loaded with great teams like Norris, York, Elkhorn South and Elkhorn.


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Those of us in the media firmly believe Pius X will be playing on Saturday afternoon.  If the Thunderbolts win over Scottsbluff Thursday, that would draw a potential semifinal game with Elkhorn South or Omaha Gross, both of whom are just as tough despite what their records show.

As for Norris, the Titans would need to get past Hastings and face a tough semifinal matchup between either York or Elkhorn.  I firmly believe the Class B tournament may just as exciting compared to Class C1.

We're planning to webcast the Christian/Omaha Concordia game in Class C1 Thursday at 10:45am and the Northeast/Kearney Class A quarterfinal game Thursday at 8:45pm. 

Click here to listen to the games through your computer desktop Internet Explorer. 

Or, you can listen to it here through your mobile device or cell phone.


STATE SWIMMING BRINGS PLENTY OF EXCITEMENT

We are not trying to be neglectful toward our friends who participated or helped with the NSAA Swimming and Diving Championships over the weekend.  Basketball takes up a lot of my time and other staff members during this time of the year.

Lincoln Northeast's Austen Alexander wins the boys state diving title for the second straight year.  Lincoln Southwest came close again to winning the boys and girls team titles, falling to Omaha Creighton Prep and Omaha Marian respectively.

Lincoln Southwest's girls 400 yard freestyle relay won the gold, edging out Millard West.

Final results from Saturday's championship races are here.  

HEARTBREAK ALREADY IN BOYS DISTRICT BASKETBALL

One of the favorites goes down in the A-6 district semifinal.

Lincoln High suffered a 57-50 loss at the hands of Lincoln Southeast on Saturday night on the Links' home court inside the Earl Johnson Gym.

The loss to a 7-17 Southeast ball club puts Lincoln High appears to be out of contention for a wild-card berth to the Class A Boys State Basketball Tournament.  The Links were the No. 1 seed in the A-6 district and No. 6 in the Class A power points and the loss to the Knights dropped them down to a "Division 2" status, right behind Lincoln Northeast, who Lincoln High defeated twice during the season, including the Heartland Athletic Conference tournament.

Now, it seems that the wild-card could come from Monday's A-7 championship game, which features Northeast and top-seed South Sioux City.  That's barring if everyone ahead of them in the power points wins out their district tournaments. 

District coverage continues Monday night with Class C1 District 2 championship at Doane College in Crete between Lincoln Christian and Wilber-Clatonia on LincolnPrepSports.com.  Tuesday night, we'll be at Millard West, as the Wildcats host Southeast in the A-6 championship game.

Southeast and Northeast appear to be two Lincoln teams left to try to make a bid for the Class A tournament, which starts March 12.


HISTORICAL PIECE ON 100 YEARS OF BASKETBALL ALL-STATE TEAMS

The Omaha World-Herald's prep sports beat writer Stu Pospisil put together a great spread detailing the All-Nebraska teams the paper has put together since 1915.  A great read and I highly recommend it to get you into that "Madness" we have every March.  Click here to read.

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