After three weeks of competition, the boys basketball race in Lincoln is starting to show three teams that potentially could make a city title run.
Lincoln East, at 5-1, may be the biggest contender, despite dropping a 62-44 game to defending Class A champ Creighton Prep. The Spartans are likely to be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Heartland Athletic Conference tournament in Grand Island.
Northeast, 3-2, overcame some early obstacles in losses to Millard West and Prep. The Rockets have won three straight (Columbus, Bellevue West and Grand Island) and will have their first city game Tuesday night, hosting Southeast.
Ultimately, the HAC Tourney will be the determining factor on how well both East and Northeast fare and where they stand in the city standings. Lincoln Pius X would not likely be factored in because they only play one city team this year (Northeast).
The East girls, also 5-1, are the front runner in the city standings, yet on their heels are Northeast (3-3), Southeast (3-3) and Southwest (3-3). Like the boys, how the Spartan girls fare in the city standings early will ultimately be determined on how they perform in the HAC Tourney.
By the way, congratulations to Northeast girls coach Steve Bartek for picking up his 300th career win (100th as girls coach at LNE). Bartek got the win after the Rockets beat Southeast 67-46 on Saturday night.
SCHNEIDER IS A LONG-RANGE THREAT
If you haven't seen Jake Schneider shoot the ball, you'll need to ask Elkhorn and Gretna to find out how well he can hit from three-point range.
The 6-2 senior guard from Waverly helped the Vikings to a 58-57 win over Elkhorn two weeks ago by scoring 15 points, all in the second half and from three-point range. This past Friday night, Schneider scored 15 points in the first quarter, as part of his team-high 21 points in a comeback that fell short to Gretna 55-52.
Talking to Waverly athletic director Brad McMillan after the game, he said Schneider is notorious for staying after home games and shooting baskets until the custodians want to turn off the lights and head home around 11pm. How many kids do that nowadays?
That's called dedication. Something to admire. A great way to set an example.
The way Schneider's shooting and scoring from outside all time is like former Lincoln Northeast and Creighton basketball player Jimmy Motz (now the head coach at Columbus). Jimmy simply became a long-range threat in his junior and senior years at Creighton. If memory serves me right, most, if not all, of his field goals during senior campaign with the Bluejays were from behind the arc.
Waverly coach Anthony Harms (another great outside shooter from Filley and UNK) has to be pleased with how Schneider can be effective from outside.
Honestly, as I near the age of 40, I'm at a time in my life where I wish everyone a safe Christmas and New Year. Be youthful, but know your limitations. Always try to spend as much time as possible with your family.
Gifts are nice, but anymore, you mainly want the bare essentials (clothes, underwear, socks, a new hat or latest technological gadget that you will use everyday and not once or twice a year).
Christmas is the one day that I could sit down with my son and hang out, play with some the cool toys or games he gets and become a kid again myself.
To all of the athletes, coaches, administrators and fellow media members, here's to a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Now, I'm off for my three-mile walk!