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Prepzone Hardcourt Preview 2017

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VOLUME 1 • 2017


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CLASS A

12 Grand Island Senior High School

14 Kearney Senior High School

16 Lincoln East High School

19 Lincoln High School

18 Lincoln Northeast High School

20 Lincoln North Star High School

22 Lincoln Pius X High School

24 Lincoln Southeast High School

26 Lincoln Southwest High School

CLASS B

28

39

32

34

36

38

31

35

41

40

30

42

Aurora High School

Beatrice High School+

Crete High School

Hastings Senior High School

Holdrege High School

Lexington High School

McCook High School*

Norris High School

Northwest High School+

Seward High School

Waverly High School

York High School

CLASS C1

44 Adams Central High School

46 Aquinas Catholic High School

53 Boone Central-Newman Grove High Schools*

50 Broken Bow High School

52 Central City High School

- Chase County High School•

54 Cozad High School

56 David City High School

58 Fairbury High School

60 Fillmore Central High School

62 Gibbon High School

64 Gothenburg High School

45 Grand Island Central Catholic High School

68 Kearney Catholic High School

70 Lincoln Christian High School

76 Lincoln Lutheran High School

71 Malcolm High School

72 Milford High School

49 Minden High School*

74 O’Neill High School

57 Ord High School*

55 Raymond Central High School

48 St. Paul High School

66 Wilber-Clatonia High School

CLASS C2

78

80

82

84

88

90

94

92

86

77

108

96

102

98

83

104

-

106

Ainsworth High School+

Amherst High School

Arcadia-Loup City High Schools

Cambridge High School+

Centennial High School

Centura High School

Cross County High School

Diller-Odell Secondary School

Doniphan-Trumpbull High School

Freeman High School

Hastings St. Cecilia High School

Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer High School

Nebraska Christian High School

Neligh-Oakdale High School*

Perkins County High School*

Ravenna High School

Sandy Creek High School•

Shelby-Rising City High School

97

89

85

81

110

-

79

100

112

Southern High School

Southern Valley High School

Southwest High School

Superior High School*

Sutton High School

Thayer Central High School•

Twin River High School+

West Holt High School

Wood River High School

CLASS D1

114 Alma High School

116 Ansley-Litchfield High Schools*

118 Arapahoe High School

120 Bertrand High School*

122 Blue Hill High School+

124 Boyd County High School

126 Bruning-Davenport-Shickley High Schools

- Burwell High School•

128 Central Valley High School*

151 Clearwater-Orchard High School*

130 East Butler High School

131 Elgin-Pope John High School

150 Elm Creek High School

125 Franklin High School+

132 Friend High School*

134 Fullerton High School

136 Heartland Community High School

129 High Plains Community High School

123 Hitchcock County High School*

145 Kenesaw High School*

138 McCool Junction High School

123 Medicine Valley High School*

116 Meridian High School+

- Nebraska Lutheran High School•

140

142

121

119

115

144

146

117

148

North Central High School

Osceola High School

Overton High School

Palmer High School+

Pawnee City High School*

Pleasanton High School

Shelton High School

South Loup High School

Tri County High School

CLASS D2

152 Anselmo-Merna High School+

154 Axtell High School

155 Chambers-Wheeler Central-Ewing High Schools+

156 Dorchester High School

- Eustis-Farnam High School•

158 Exeter-Milligan High School

160 Giltner High School

162 Lawrence-Nelson High School

- Lewiston High School•

164 Loomis High School

157 Parkview Christian High School*

168 Silver Lake High School

166 St. Mary’s High School

153 Stuart High School*

155 Sumner-Eddyville-Miller High School+

- Twin Loup High School•

- Waunita-Palisade High School•

*GIRL’S COACH DID NOT SUBMIT TEAM INFORMATION

+BOY’S COACH DID NOT SUBMIT TEAM INFORMATION

• NEITHER COACH SUBMITTED INFORMATION

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CENTENNIALBRONCOS

2016-17 was a tale of two

seasons for the Lincoln High

girl’s basketball team, as

the group put together some

impressive showings before

dropping seven of its last eight

games.

The Links finished 10-14 under

head coach Marcus Perry,

who will have five returning

letterwinners on the court this

season.

Natayah Wilson will lead the

charge as Lincoln High looks to

do damage in Class A. Wilson

averaged an impressive 15 points

per game last season.

Joining Wilson on the court will

be Sirila Herrera, who knocked

down a total of 34 3-point field

goals last year.

Nyagoa Gony, Briley Phillip, and

Nyayongah Gony will be impact

players for the Links, as well.

“Athletic success is an ongoing

process,” Perry said. “A few

areas that stand out to me in

terms of our team having a

successful season would be

taking care of the ball and

execution.”

The Links open the season

on Nov. 30 at a tournament in

Kearney.

TEAM FACTS

Head Coach: Shawn Mulligan

Career Record: 7-11

Assistant Coaches:

Class: C-1

Team Name: Patriots

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BOYS STATE BASKETBALLBRACKET

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MARCH 8, 2018

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CHAMPIONSHIP

MARCH 8, 2018

QUARTERFINALS

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CLASS A CLASS C-2

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GIRLS STATE BASKETBALLBRACKET

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GIRLS STATE BASKETBALLBRACKET

MAKE YOUR PREDICTIONS NOW OR FOLLOW ALONG DURING THE STATE TOURNAMENT

MARCH 1, 2018

QUARTERFINALS

MARCH 2, 2018

SEMIFINALS

MARCH 3, 2018

CHAMPIONSHIP

MARCH 1, 2018

QUARTERFINALS

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SEMIFINALS

MARCH 3, 2018

CHAMPIONSHIP

CLASS A CLASS C-2

CLASS B CLASS D-1

CLASS C-1 CLASS D-2

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GRAND ISLAND SENIOR HIGHGIRLS

Even though the Grand Island

girl’s basketball squad is coming

off a 7-17 season, there are reasons

for optimism, as participation

numbers continue to increase

within the program.

“Our program depth continues

to rise as we will have more

girls competing for varsity spots

than we have had in the past five

seasons,” Grand Island Head

Coach Alex Michel said.

The Islanders are hoping the rise

in numbers leads to continued

improvement in 2017-18, as 10

letterwinners and four returning

starters are due back on the court.

Leading the charge will be senior

guard Sydney Wald, who averaged

7.2 points and 2.5 rebounds a game

last year.

Complimenting Wald on the court

will be senior forward Alexa

Blase, who posted 5 points and 3.4

rebounds a contest as a junior.

Sophomores Lauren Hauser and

Rya Chavez will also be key

players, as the duo brings starting

experience to the hardwood.

“I believe Sydney and Alexa

are going to have solid senior

seasons. I look forward to them

being great leaders for us,” Michel

said. “Lauren Hauser and Rya

Chavez really came on strong at

the end of last season. They have

been working hard this offseason

and are ready to have a great

sophomore year. We have 10 to 15

other girls who will be competing

for varsity time this season. I am

going to feel comfortable with a lot

of different lineups.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Islanders

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 7-17

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Alex Michel

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KEARNEY SENIOR HIGHBOYS

The 2016-17 campaign was an

impressive one for the Kearney

boy’s basketball squad.

The Bearcats went 22-5 before

falling to Papillion-La Vista in

the second round of the NSAA

state tournament.

The season was highlighted by

a dominant 19-game winning

streak that led the Bearcats to

the end of the regular season and

through districts.

Under head coach Drake

Beranek, who owns a 38-13

record as a Bearcat, Kearney will

be looking for more of the same

in 2017-18.

The team will be led by senior

guard Kanon Koster, who is

coming off a solid junior season.

Also looking to contribute will

be juniors Shiloh Robinson

and Carson Schwarz, as well as

senior forward Sam Straka.

But for Beranek, the success of

his team will hinder on whether

the Bearcats are content with last

year’s run, or are motivated to

push even farther.

“We were fortunate to play in

some great environments and

enjoy some amazing experiences

last season,” Beranek said.

“Having some success can either

make you hungry for more

or satisfied. We are excited to

see if our program is ready to

consistently compete at a high

level.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bearcats

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 22-5

Playoff Appearances: 37

Head Coach: Drake Beranek

Career Record: 56-42

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KEARNEY SENIOR HIGHGIRLS

The Kearney girl’s basketball

squad will have a lot of

momentum heading into

the 2017-18 campaign, after

finishing 17-9 and making

an NSAA state tournament

appearance last season.

Under tenured head coach

Jason Boyd, who owns a 170-

106 career record as a Bearcat,

nine letterwinners return, as

the group will look to make

another run in Class A.

Leading the charge for

Kearney will be junior Alexis

Mishou, who posted 9.5

points and 4 rebounds during

her sophomore campaign.

Also playing a key role will

be senior guard Avery Wood,

who averaged 3.1 points,

1.8 steals, and 2 rebounds a

contest last year.

Sophomore guard Adison

Wood, and juniors Claire

Vanderbeek and Elle Dahlgren

will likely carve out significant

playing time as well.

“The Bearcats return nine

letterwinners from the

team that went to the state

tournament last season and

finished with a 17-9 record,”

Boyd said. “We hope to build

on that success as several of

these returners will take on

larger roles this season.”

The season will get underway

for Kearney on Nov. 30 at

home against Papillion-La

Vista South.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bearcats

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 17-9

Playoff Appearances: 16

Head Coach: Jason Boyd

Career Record: 286-184

14 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 15


LINCOLN EASTBOYS

The Lincoln East boy’s basketball

squad is coming off an 18-7

season that featured a seven game

winning streak. The campaign

came to a close with a 63-51 loss

to Norfolk.

Under head coach Jeff Campbell,

who owns a 59-39 record at

Lincoln East, the group will look

to make some noise in Class A

in 2017-18, and according to

Campbell, his squad will have to

come together as one to make it

happen.

“We want to play selfless

basketball and have each

player’s focus be on making their

teammates better and become an

overachiever,” he said.

The Spartans will have to

navigate a difficult schedule that

gets underway on Nov. 30 in the

Early Bird Classic Basketball

Tournament in Fremont.

“We want to consistently improve

our level of play throughout the

season and have every player

fulfill their role to their maximum

ability,” Campbell added. “Playing

great defense and rebounding will

help our consistency throughout

the season. Offensively, we need

to exploit mismatches and play

physical.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Spartans

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 18-7

Playoff Appearances: 18

Head Coach: Jeff Campbell

Career Record: 59-39

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LINCOLN EASTGIRLS

The Lincoln East girl’s basketball

squad is coming off an impressive

2016-17 season.

senior forward Regan Sankey,

who averaged 13.7 points a game

last season.

The season tips off on Nov. 30 on

the road against Fremont.

EARN YOUR BETTER

The Spartans went 19-7 before

being eliminated in the NSAA

state tournament by Lincoln Pius

X 44-36.

Alli Roh, who posted 11.5 points

a contest in 2016-17, will also be

a key contributor for the Spartans

come late November.

In 2017-18, head coach Dennis

Prichard will be back at the helm

of the Lincoln East program. And

although the exact make up of

the squad is undetermined, the

Spartans will have a core group of

five seniors and eight letterwinners

returning to the hardwood.

Prichard will rely heavily on

Seniors Mira Patel, Ellie

Bliemeister, and Rachel Weber

will all look to carve out

significant roles, as well.

When asked what the keys to a

successful season are, Prichard

kept it simple, stating his team

must stay healthy and continue to

get better each day.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Spartans

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 19-7

Playoff Appearances: 16

Head Coach: Dennis Prichard

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LINCOLN NORTHEASTBOYS

LINCOLN HIGHBOYS

The Lincoln Northeast boy’s

basketball team put together

a decent 2016-17 campaign,

navigating a difficult schedule to

finish with a 14-11 record.

As a new season approaches, the

Rockets will look to take another

step forward, and push through

to the NSAA state tournament

under head coach David Mercer.

However, the roster will have a

different look to it this season.

Eight seniors from last year’s

team were lost to graduation,

meaning a number of younger

athletes will have to step into

large roles in 2017-18.

“We have a very new and young

team, improvement each week

will be our goal,” Mercer said.

The season will open up for

Lincoln Northeast on Nov. 30 at

a home tournament.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Rockets

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 14-11

Playoff Appearances: 41

Head Coach: David Mercer

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The 2016-17 season didn’t

produce much in the way of

wins for the Lincoln High boy’s

basketball squad, as the team

finished 6-18, losing 11 of its

final 12 games.

However, the 2017-18 campaign

brings a clean slate for the Links

under head coach Dan Noble,

who will look to get back on

the winning track, and do some

damage in Class A.

Noble will have eight

letterwinners returning this

season, but only two of them are

seniors, meaning the Links will

lean heavily on a large junior

class.

Seniors Jihad Muhammad, who

averaged 4 points a game last

season, and Carlos Santistevan,

who posted 3.6 points a contest,

will be asked to show veteran

leadership once the campaign

tips off.

The Links leading returning

scorer is junior Morgan Perry,

who contributed 11.7 points as a

sophomore.

Juniors Boomer Jock, Jaden

Horton, and Cedric Case will

also look to carve out significant

roles.

“We need to defend and

limit teams to one shot per

possession,” Noble said. “We

need to get good quality shots on

the offensive end.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Links

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 6-18

Playoff Appearances: 57

Head Coach: Dan Noble

LINCOLN NORTHEASTGIRLS

LINCOLN HIGHGIRLS

Not that it is much of a surprise,

but the Lincoln Northeast girl’s

basketball squad was very good

during the 2016-17 campaign.

Winning is nothing new for

Northeast, as head coach Steve

Bartek owns an impressive 135-

43 record at the helm of the

program.

The Rockets finished last season

24-3, falling in the second round

of the NSAA state tournament to

close the season.

Bartek will be hoping the 2017-18

season brings continued success,

as 10 letterwinners are expected

to return to the hardwood.

“The Rockets will have only one

senior on the roster, however;

team depth and experience will be

a strength,” Bartek said.

Bartek added with the loss of

Nigeria Jones, a three-year

starter at point guard, sophomore

McKenna Minter will have to step

into a big role once the season

gets underway.

In addition, senior forward Javi

Shadegg, as well as juniors

Azaiya Trainor, Kambree Rhodes,

and Jenna Wendelin will be

impact players for the Rockets.

“A weakness in recent years has

been rebounding and we will need

to improve in that department

if we hope to achieve our team

goals,” Bartek added. “This group

made it to the state semi-finals last

year and thus team expectations

will be high.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Rockets

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 24-3

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Steve Bartek

Career Record: 135-43

2016-17 was a tale of two seasons

for the Lincoln High girl’s

basketball team, as the group

put together some impressive

showings before dropping seven

of its last eight games.

The Links finished 10-14 under

head coach Marcus Perry, who will

have five returning letterwinners

on the court this season.

Natayah Wilson will lead the

charge as Lincoln High looks to

do damage in Class A. Wilson

averaged an impressive 15 points

per game last season.

Joining Wilson on the court will

be Sirila Herrera, who knocked

down a total of 34 three-point

field goals last year.

Nyagoa Gony, Briley Phillip, and

Nyayongah Gony will be impact

players for the Links, as well.

“Athletic success is an ongoing

process,” Perry said. “A few

areas that stand out to me in

terms of our team having a

successful season would be

taking care of the ball and

execution.”

The Links open the season

on Nov. 30 at a tournament in

Kearney.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Links

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 10-14

Playoff Appearances: 12

Head Coach: Marcus Perry

Career Record: 10-14

18 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 19


LINCOLN NORTH STARBOYS

The 2016-17 season was a

difficult one for the Lincoln North

Star boy’s basketball squad.

The Navigators finished the

campaign with a 3-17 record

under head coach Tony

Quattrocchi, but with eight

letterwinners returning, there is

reason for optimism in 2017-18.

“It was a challenging season but

we have learned a lot from it and

are ready to completely change

how successful we will be,”

Quattrocchi said.

With five seniors returning,

Quattrocchi will have a lot of talent

and experience to work with.

Senior Brock Johnson will lead

the squad from the post position,

after averaging 8 points and 6

rebounds a game as a junior.

Fellow seniors Dillon Brandt,

who posted 9 points a contest last

year, and guards Derek Ruhl and

Sam Juracek will also be impact

players for the Navigators.

And keep an eye on sophomore

guard Donovan Williams, whom

Quattrocchi said is “loaded with

talent”.

“We have a number of returning

players with great experience,”

Quattrocchi added. “The team

has a lot of the puzzle pieces to

be very competitive. The return

of Donovan Williams off an

injury will have a tremendous

difference. Consistency with

shooting and great team

chemistry are the tickets to a

really good team.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Navigators

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 3-17

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Tony Quattrocchi

OUR TEAM COVERING

YOUR TEAM ALL SEASON LONG

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20 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 21


LINCOLN PIUS XBOYS

Fresh off an impressive

2016-17 season, in which the

Thunderbolts went 20-4 before

losing in the NSAA state

tournament, the Lincoln Pius X

boy’s basketball squad is poised

for big things this year.

Under head coach Brian Spicka,

five seniors are expected back

on the roster, in addition to a

talented junior guard.

That junior is Charlie Easley,

who will return to the court after

posting 13.2 points a game as a

sophomore.

Helping Easley shoulder the load

will be senior guard Joe Burt,

who averaged 11.1 points a game

last season.

Fellow seniors Thomas

Robertson, AJ Aplleget, Jackson

Owens, and Tyler Taubenheim

will also need to produce for the

Thunderbolts to be competitive

in Class A.

Also, keep an eye on juniors

Holton Harman and Joe

Dworak, who could be breakout

candidates in 2017-18.

When asked what the keys to a

successful season are, Spicka

laid out his recipe for success.

“Consistent rebounding and

defense will be important for the

Thunderbolts,” he said.

The season gets underway on

Nov. 30 at home against Millard

West.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Thunderbolts

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 20-4

Playoff Appearances: 32

Head Coach: Brian Spicka

Career Record: 20-4

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LINCOLN PIUS XGIRLS

Not only is the Lincoln Pius X

girl’s basketball team coming

off a 16-8 season, but the

Thunderbolts also return 10

letterwinners under experienced

head coach Bill Rice.

That bodes well for the

upcoming campaign, as the

group will look to improve on a

season that ended with a second

round playoff loss to Millard

South.

Set to return to the court for

the Thunderbolts this season is

junior forward Kloee Sander,

who averaged an impressive 10

points a game last season.

Joining Sander will be Lindsay

Nottlemann, a senior guard

who contributed 5.2 points per

contest, and sophomore Lauren

Taubenheim, who averaged 4.7

points in 2016-17.

Even though a number of

players with experience will

return, Rice said the loss of two

key contributors will be difficult

to overcome, and new leaders

must emerge in order for his

team to be competitive.

“Replacing two starting guards

and building confidence,”

Rice said regarding the keys

to success for his team. “We

will need players to become

leaders on the court and get the

five on the floor organized. We

need to play to our strengths, in

particular a strong inside game.”

The Thunderbolts will open the

season on Nov. 30 when they

host Millard West.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Thunderbolts

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 16-8

Playoff Appearances: 20

Head Coach: Bill Rice

Career Record: 268-119

22 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 23


LINCOLN SOUTHEASTBOYS

If the Lincoln Southeast boy’s

basketball squad hopes to take

steps in the right direction

coming off an 11-14 campaign

in 2016-17, it will have to do so

with a new cast of characters.

The Knights return three

letterwinners under head coach

Jonah Bradley, with only one of

them belonging to the senior class.

That lone senior is Jack Strong,

who will look to step into a

leadership role after averaging

2.2 points and 2.4 assists per

game last year.

Another player to watch is junior

guard Michael Anderson, who

averaged 8 points, 3.5 rebounds,

and 1.2 assists during his

sophomore campaign.

Sophomore Isaac Gifford will

also look to be an impact player

for the Knights come late

November.

“Defensively, we must be able

to defend the basketball one-onone

and keep teams out of the

paint,” Bradley said. “Defensive

rebounding and eliminating

second chance scoring

opportunities are another big

defensive key. Offensively, we

must play three-sided basketball,

and put pressure on teams with

our transition game.”

The season gets underway on

Nov. 27 against Norris in a

jamboree.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Knights

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 11-14

Playoff Appearances: 21

Head Coach: Jonah Bradley

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LINCOLN SOUTHEASTGIRLS

The Lincoln Southeast girl’s

basketball squad had a solid

season in 2016-17, finishing the

year 16-9 under head coach Kara

Graham.

But for the Knights to have a

similar campaign in 2017-18, a

youthful roster is going to have

to step up, and learn to hold their

own with Class A competition.

Lincoln Southeast returns only

two letterwinners off last year’s

roster, and a lone senior in guard

Maddie Renn.

Renn, as well as junior point

guard Cassie Nash, will have

to lead the up-and-coming

athletes for the Knights, as the

underclassmen learn to gel at the

varsity level.

“The play of our inexperienced

players will be key,” Graham

said. “We have very little

experience on varsity. We will

need to develop chemistry.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Knights

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 16-9

Playoff Appearances: 27

Head Coach: Kara Graham

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LINCOLN SOUTHWESTBOYS

While the 2016-17 season didn’t

produce the amount of success

head coach Alex Bahe had hoped

for, the Lincoln Southwest boy’s

basketball squad is poised for a

bounce back campaign.

Bahe will enter his second year at

the helm of the program, and will

have eight returning letterwinners,

as the Silver Hawks look to do

some damage in Class A.

Returning to the court will be

senior guard JaQuaylon Mays,

who earned second team all-city

honors as a junior.

Joining him will be junior guard

Cam Frederick, who also turned

heads during his sophomore

campaign.

“Both are combo guards that are

capable of filling a stat sheet and

operate best in open space in

transition,” Bahe said.

Complimenting Mays and

Frederick will be senior guard

Collin Kohl, who Bahe said, “will

move into a starting role this

season after (he) provided scoring

off the bench a season ago.”

“After one season in a new

system, this group looks to take

another step forward and become

even more competitive,” Bahe

added. “This group will play hard

and function best in transition and

when sharing the ball. Without

a traditional post player on the

roster, this group will need to

commit to defensive improvement

and focus on collective defensive

rebounding every night out.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Silver Hawks

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 8-16

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Alex Bahe

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LINCOLN SOUTHWESTGIRLS

The offseason for the Lincoln

Southwest girl’s basketball squad

has been an enjoyable one, as the

Silver Hawks spent the summer

as Class A state champions.

However, the impressive 2016-17

season is in the past, and a brand

new campaign is about to begin.

Under head coach Jeff Rump,

the Silver Hawks return eight

letterwinners from the state

championship squad, as Lincoln

Southwest will look to repeat

their dominance starting in late

November.

“A big key will be how we

handle being the defending

state champions,” Rump said.

“Replacing our senior leadership

from last season and how we

handle a tougher schedule (will

also be important).”

Rump will rely heavily on junior

post player Jaden Ferguson, who

averaged an impressive 13.7

points and 2.5 rebounds a game

during her sophomore year.

Junior Hannah Kelle, who posted

10 points a contest last season,

and Raegan Wells will also be key

contributors for the Silver Hawks.

“We return seven of our top nine

from last year and add superstar

transfer Jayten Coleman,”

Rump added. “Developing team

chemistry will be key.”

Lincoln Southwest will open

the season on Nov. 30 against

Millard North.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Sliver Hawks

Class: A

2016-17 Record: 23-5

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Jeff Rump

Career Record: 46-31

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AURORABOYS

Tom Leininger has created a

winning culture during his tenure

as head coach for the Aurora boy’s

basketball squad, and the 2016-17

campaign was no different.

The Huskies finished the season 25-

2, winning their conference before

falling to Scottsbluff in the state

semi-finals.

As a new season approaches,

Aurora will look for more of the

same, but will focus on pushing all

the way to the state championship

this time around.

“We will have a nice mix of players

from sophomores to seniors,”

Leininger said. “After having a

great off season, we are looking to

improve on last years’ season.”

The Huskies, who return seven

letterwinners and two starters, will

be lead this season by senior guard

Henry Penner, who in addition to

receiving a number of accolades,

averaged 14.1 points and 7.3

rebounds a game last season.

He will be joined on the court by

senior guard Baylor Scheierman,

who posted 8.9 points and 3

rebounds a contest in 2016-17.

Cade Reichardt, Jordan Stevenson,

Ian Boerkircher, and Jayden

Herzberg are also expected to see

significant time on the court come

the start the of the season.

Aurora will open the 2017-18

campaign on Nov. 30 when they

host Adams Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 25-2

Playoff Appearances: 29

Head Coach: Tom Leininger

Career Record: 368-231

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AURORAGIRLS

Although the Aurora girl’s

basketball squad posted a 15-9

record in 2016-17, the group fell

short of the state tournament for the

second straight season.

Under head coach Phil Thramer, the

Huskies will look to breakthrough

this year, and push past the district

final.

“We are coming off of back-to-back

seasons of reaching the district

championship, but came up short

of reaching the state tournament

in both of those contests,”

Thramer said. “Last year we

were able to compete with some

of the state’s best in Class B on

a consistent basis. We graduated

three experienced starters who

contributed a lot on the offensive

end. This opens up opportunities

for girls to step up and compete for

starting spots and additional playing

time.”

Seniors Corrie Schneider and

Brooke Williams will be the only

returning starters for the Huskies

this season. Schneider posted 8.1

rebounds and 5.7 points a game in

2016-17, and Williams averaged 7.1

points and 1.9 rebounds a contest.

“We have a solid foundation of

returning players to build off of as

we continue to develop our culture

for girls basketball here at Aurora,”

Thramer added. “Keys to our

success this year will be developing

an identity on the defensive side

of the ball early in the season and

maintaining that identity throughout

the year. Offensively, we need to

develop girls to fill different roles

that they may have not experienced

in past seasons.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 15-9

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Phil Thramer

28 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 29


WAVERLYBOYS

McCOOKBOYS

On the heels of an 8-13 season, the

Waverly boy’s basketball squad will

look to bounce back in 2017-18,

but a new cast will be tasked with

accomplishing the goal.

“We return five letterwinners from

last year’s senior loaded team as we

graduated seven seniors,” Waverly

Head Coach Ryan Reeder said. “But

(we) return some key pieces that got

valuable experience playing in some

tough environments on the road.”

The Vikings will look for

production from a number of

different sources, including senior

forward Tanner Wubbels, who

averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds

a contest last season.

In addition, Alex Murray and Ben

Carter will play vital roles as guards

for Waverly, and Reeder noted

sophomore Noah Stoddard could

see extended runs on the court.

“Tanner Wubbels, a Concordia

commit, who was our leading

scorer and rebounder last year,

returns for his senior season,”

Reeder said. “Alex Murray, a junior,

started the second half of the season

and became a great defender. Ben

Carter, Jacob Hruska, and Noah

Stoddard all came off the bench and

played relevant minutes.”

But like any experienced coach,

Reeder believes his team’s

mentality will be the deciding factor

during the upcoming campaign.

“If we have the attitude (that)

success is earned, not given and

the confidence of believing in one

another, we have the potential to be

a tough team down the stretch,” he

said.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Vikings

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 8-13

Playoff Appearances: 21

Head Coach: Ryan Reeder

Career Record: 42-28

Even though the McCook boys

basketball squad is coming off

an 11-13 campaign, the 2017-18

version of the Bison could be

positioned for big things.

McCook returns seven

letterwinners, all juniors and

seniors, under head coach Jeremy

Yilk, setting the team up for a run

this season.

“We have a strong nucleus of

seniors and juniors returning that

are motivated to do great things

this year,” Yilk said. “We will

be looking for our experienced

players to expand their roles from

last season.”

The Bison will be led by senior

guard Hunter Potthoff, who

averaged an impressive 16 points

a contest last year.

In addition, seniors Zach

Schlager, Clayton Stevens,

and Hunter Hays all return for

McCook.

While the senior class is deep

this season, there will be plenty

of younger athletes pushing for

playing time come December.

“The competition for playing

time will help us build our

depth throughout the year,” Yilk

added. “Our athleticism and

aggressiveness on both ends of

the floor will help make up for our

overall lack of size. The continued

development of our up-tempo

style of play will also be key.”

The Bison open the season on

Dec. 2 when they host Valentine.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bison

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 11-13

Playoff Appearances: 27

Head Coach: Jeremy Yilk

Career Record: 58-66

WAVERLYGIRLS

Wecome to the

Coming off a 2016-17 campaign in

which the Waverly girl’s basketball

squad went 13-8, the group will

look to keep improving and make

some noise in Class B this season.

Under the leadership of second

year head coach John Cockerill, the

Vikings return seven letterwinners,

including a pair of talented seniors.

But even with some experience

coming back, Cockerill said the

success of the team could hinder on

one side of the ball.

“Our big key will be our team

defense,” he said. “We are not a big

team, but we have a lot of athletic

girls on this team. The girls will

have to give their all on defense for

this team. So we need to be fast,

communicate well, and rebound as

a group.”

The Vikings will rely heavily on

senior guard/forward hybrid Clair

Jones, as well as senior guard

Melissa Warner.

The two seniors will need assistance

from some younger athletes,

however, so look for juniors Sydni

Schernikau, Abigail Clark, and Alex

Danson to step into big roles for

Waverly this season.

“We also play a very tough

schedule and our depth will be

important. We have a number of

girls that can and hopefully will

step up and play at a high level,”

Cockerill added. “After one more

year of growth, weights, and fulltime

sports, well I expect much

more consistency from them. It

should be a very challenging and

exciting year.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Vikes

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 13-8

Playoff Appearances: 6

Head Coach: John Cockerill

Career Record: 172-85

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CRETEBOYS

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As the 2017-18 season

approaches, the Crete boy’s

basketball squad is preparing

in hopes of having yet another

impressive year, after going

16-9 in 2016-17.

The Cardinals were able to make

it to the NSAA state tournament,

but lost to Scottsbluff 53-42 to

close out the campaign.

However, come late November,

a new face will be seen on the

sidelines for Crete, as first-year

head coach Garrett Borcher

takes the reins.

And with seven letterwinners

returning, the Cardinals will

look to make some noise in

Class B.

When asked what the keys are to

a successful campaign, the new

head coach kept his recipe for

success simple. “Tremendous

effort and a winning attitude

every day,” Borcher said.

The Cardinals will begin the

season on Nov. 30 when they

battle Lakeview at home.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 16-9

Playoff Appearances: 43

Head Coach: Garrett Borcher

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CRETEGIRLS

The Crete girl’s basketball

team showed signs of growth

and development last season,

finishing the year 14-11 under

head coach Isaiah Dell.

As the 2017-18 campaign

approaches, Dell will be looking

to build off last year’s success,

and push the Cardinals into the

NSAA state tournament.

The mission will have to be

accomplished with a fairly young

group, as only one senior, guard

Camry Moore, returns for Crete.

But despite the team’s youth,

Dell believes the talent is

there for the Cardinals to be

competitive.

“We have some good experience

coming back with our top two

scorers being back. We are a

young group overall and will

need some freshmen to step in

and play,” he said.

Also returning to the court will

be junior Kayla Fitzgerald, and

sophomores Morgan Maly, Ellie

Allen, and Jayda Weyand.

“We always play a solid schedule

that prepares us well for the

postseason. It also helps our

young players grow as the season

goes on as well,” Dell added.

“Their growth and ability to play

at a high level will be a major

factor in our success at the end of

the season.”

The season gets underway on

Nov. 30 against Lakeview.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 14-11

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Isaiah Dell

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HASTINGSBOYS

NORRISBOYS

The Hastings boy’s basketball

squad is coming off a 9-13 season

in 2016-17 that ended with a

district loss to Aurora 55-44.

Looking ahead to the upcoming

campaign, the Tigers will have

plenty of experience to draw

from, as 10 letterwinners and five

seniors are expected to be back on

the hardwood.

The group will be led by 6-foot

9-inch senior Christian Creech,

who averaged 6.5 points, 3.5

rebounds, and 2 assists a game

last year.

Head coach Lance Creech, who

is entering his fifth season at

the helm, will also rely heavily

on seniors Duang Tang, Seth

Simonson, Lukaas Simonson, and

Blake Aspen.

In addition, a number of younger

athletes could make an impact,

including sophomores Jake

Schroeder and Mike Boeve.

“We will look to replace our

leading scorer, Vinny Schmidt,

and leading rebounder, Zane

Bender, from the 2016-17

season,” Creech said. “Our

success will be determined on

how well we can defend in the

paint and rebound the ball on both

ends. We continued to develop

depth with a very productive

summer for Alex Swoboda,

Keeshawn Hunt, and Jake

Schroeder.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Tigers

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 9-13

Playoff Appearances: 58

Head Coach: Lance Creech

Career Record: 224-264

2016-17 was an up-and-down

season for the Norris boy’s

basketball team, as the group

finished the year 12-12 after

starting 6-2.

As a new campaign approaches,

the Titans will look to find

consistency in a difficult

conference under second-year

head coach Adam Brill.

Brill will have six returning

letterwinners and three seniors

back on the roster, led by guard/

forward hybrid Mike Wardy.

Fellow seniors Hayden Huenink

and Marcus Kennedy will also

play large roles for the Titans, as

will junior guard Jay Knudsen.

Brill will look to juniors

Harrison Boe and Kixten Kisko

to contribute as well.

“Playing together on the

offensive and defensive

ends of the floor (will be the

keys to success),” Brill said.

“Leadership from our veterans

who have been through a year

or two of varsity basketball.

Accepting the challenge

everyday.”

Norris tips off the season on

Dec. 1 against Plattsmouth.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Titans

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 12-12

Playoff Appearances: 9

Head Coach: Adam Brill

Career Record: 12-12

HASTINGSGIRLS

NORRISGIRLS

The Hastings girl’s basketball

squad will have two advantages

working for them as they enter

the 2017-18 campaign.

The first is familiarity with their

head coach, as Greg Mays enters

his second season at the helm of

the Tigers.

Second, is experience. Hastings

has 11 letterwinners set to return

to the court this season.

Among those expected to make

an impact are senior guards Julia

Reimer and Tatiem Bender, as

well as senior forward Emma

Mays.

The roster is rounded out by

seven juniors, including Megan

Steiner, Sydni Sullivan, Kyla

Rickert, and Kamri Adler, all

of whom are expected to see

extended run this year.

“We need to play fast

offensively to produce more

points while keeping our

defensive pressure solid,”

Mays said. “We will try to use

our depth to push pace and

free us up to pressure more

defensively.”

The Tigers will open the season

on Nov. 30 when they travel to

Seward.

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TEAM FACTS

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Team Name: Tigers

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 9-15

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Greg Mays

The 2016-17 campaign was an

impressive one for the Norris girl’s

basketball squad, as the Titans fell

by four points in the NSAA state

championship to South Sioux City.

The group finished the year with

a 19-7 record, and under head

coach Mark Hagerman, they will

be more motivated than ever to

claim the state title in 2017-18.

The Titans return nine

letterwinners from last year’s

squad, including a trio of seniors:

Rylie Bryant, Brittany Florer, and

Val Gabel.

Bryant was a key contributor last

season, averaging 7 points and

2.5 rebounds a game.

Norris will also lean heavily on

junior guard Maddy Ramsey,

who averaged 5.5 points a game

last year, and sophomore guard

Taryn Tracy.

“We will be relying on our

senior leadership from Rylie,

Val, and Brittany,” Hagerman

said. “We will want to utilize

our athleticism to play a fullcourt

game on offense as well as

defense. The team’s goal is to get

back to the state championship

game and compete for a Class B

state championship.”

The Titans will open the season

on Nov. 27 at the Lincoln

Southeast Jamboree.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Titans

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 19-7

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Mark Hagerman

Career Record: 229-126

34 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 35


HOLDREGEBOYS

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The 2016-17 season was full of

highs and lows for the Holdrege

boys basketball squad, as the

group finished the year 12-11

and lost the last three contests of

their season.

However, an almost entirely

new roster will take the court for

head coach Jon Karn in 2017-

18, making it difficult to predict

what the new season holds for

the Dusters.

Only three letterwinners return

for Holdrege this year, all of

whom are seniors.

That group is led by Trent Hoeft,

who averaged 5.8 points and 2.5

assists per game last year.

Trevor Matousek, who posted

4.1 points a contest as a junior,

and Charles Weed will also be

called upon to lead.

“We will need to improve

defensively and be able to

mix it up on the defensive end

due to our limited size,” Karn

said. “Offensively, we will

need to have great chemistry

and balanced scoring to be

competitive on a consistent

basis. Our varsity experience

is limited, so how we mature

as a team will be a key to our

season.”

The season tips off for Holdrege

on Dec. 1 against Adams

Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Dusters

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 12-11

Playoff Appearances: 38

Head Coach: Jon Karn

Career Record: 115-74

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There are a number of reasons to

be optimistic about the Holdrege

girl’s basketball squad heading

into the 2017-18 campaign.

The Dusters return 10

letterwinners from a team that

went 10-12 in 2016-17, and even

though a new coach will be on

the sidelines, experience is still

abundant.

Kip Stephens, who has coached

nearly 500 games in his career,

will take over the coaching

responsibilities for Holdrege.

In addition, Stephens will have

a senior-heavy roster to rely on,

led by guard Caitlin Piening,

who averaged 3.9 points and 2.4

rebounds a game last year.

Senior center Cassidy Connell,

who posted 7.6 points and

6.3 rebounds a contest her

junior year, and senior guard

Paola Alvarado will also play

significant roles for the Dusters.

“With this depth, we are looking

to play a very fast-paced style

of basketball as we look to

put pressure on our opponents

with our offense and defense,”

Stephens said. “With this season,

we are looking for a strong senior

class, including three returning

starters, to be our leaders.”

The season gets underway for the

Dusters on Dec. 1 against Adams

Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Dusters

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 10-12

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Kip Stephens

Career Record: 239-258

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36 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 37


LEXINGTONBOYS

Fresh off an 8-16 season, the

Lexington boy’s basketball

program is looking for a fresh

start, and will get one with a new

face on the sidelines.

Zach Jones will take over head

coaching responsibilities for

the Minutemen in the 2017-18

season, replacing former coach

Jonah Bradley.

In his first year at the helm of the

program, Jones will try to find a way

to succeed in Class B with a fairly

experienced group, as four seniors

are slated to return to the court.

Leading the charge for Lexington

this season will be junior guard

Kobe Block. Block will be joined

in the backcourt by senior guard

Andrew Saiz.

Fellow seniors Easton Young,

Alan Zamarripa, and Juan

Espinoza will also look to make

an impact, as will sophomore

Dylan Richman.

Juniors Jake Leger and Logen

Callahan, and sophomore Nick

Saiz will help round out the

roster for the Minutemen.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Minutemen

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 8-16

Playoff Appearances: 25

Head Coach: Zach Jones

LEXINGTONGIRLS

BEATRICEGIRLS

Although the 2016-17 season

didn’t produce much in the way

of wins for the Lexington girl’s

basketball squad, that doesn’t

mean it wasn’t successful.

The Minutemaids finished last

year with a 3-21 record under

head coach Hailey Madelko.

But in the middle of a rebuild,

the second year head coach is

optimistic about the direction of

the program.

“We are in the process of

building a better program and

that takes time and dedication

from each and every one of us,”

Madelko said.

Lexington will have five

letterwinners returning this

season, led by junior point guard

Courtney Hanson.

Joining Hanson on the court will

be senior shooting guard Brylee

Lauby, as well as sophomore

center Maddi Sutton.

“The keys to a successful season

are to come into each day ready

to get better,” Madelko said.

“We have to be able to push each

other from the freshman class

to the senior class. We have lots

of opportunities for girls to step

up and have a major role on this

team and be a leader.”

The season will get underway

for the Minutemaids on Nov. 30

against Gothenburg.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Minutemaids

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 3-21

Playoff Appearances: 13

Head Coach: Hailey Mandelko

The Beatrice girl’s basketball team

has a lot to be optimistic about

entering the 2017-18 campaign.

Not only are the Lady Orange

coming off a 14-9 season in 2016-

17, but a top-tier athlete is Class

B is slated to return for her senior

season.

Under head coach Dennis

Coudeyras, Beatrice returns a

total of four letterwinners, but

none more important than senior

guard Michaela Jones, who earned

all state honors in the 20-16-17

season.

Complimenting Jones on the

court will be senior center

Haley Seton, who has starting

experience, as well as sophomore

Addie Barnard.

Keep an eye on sophomore

forward Carley Leners, who

could be poised for a breakout

season.

“Because of sagging defenses,

teams play us to hold down

returning all-stater Michaela

Jones, so our perimeter shooters

must shoot a good percentage

of three-pointers,” Coudeyras

said. “We should be a really

strong rebounding team but need

to improve our toughness on

defense.”

The Lady Orange open the

season on Dec. 1 against

Columbus.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Orange

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 14-9

Playoff Appearances: 10

Head Coach: Dennis Coudeyras

Career Record: 27-18

38 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 39


SEWARDBOYS

Last season, the Seward boy’s

basketball squad showed signs

of making noise in Class B, but

ultimately ended the campaign

with a 12-11 record.

The season ended with a tight

loss to Norris in the district

tournament.

11 team,” Cidlik said. “We need

to utilize our athleticism and

length to our advantage.”

Among those returning for

Seward is junior guard Brett

Meyer, who averaged an

impressive 14.1 points per game

last year.

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And while only two seniors

return for the Bluejays and head

coach Mark Cidlik, expectations

are high with a solid group of

contributors ready to hit the

hardwood come late November.

“We have a good core of young

talent back from last season’s 12-

Also set to return is junior Nate

Lliteras, who averaged 10 points

per game, and junior Joseph

Krause, who posted 8.7 points a

contest.

The Bluejays will open the

season on Nov. 30 at home

against Hastings.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bluejays

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 12-11

Playoff Appearances: 36

Head Coach: Mark Cidlik

Career Record: 147-102

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SEWARDGIRLS

NORTHWESTGIRLS

Coming off an impressive

season which featured 19 wins

and an NSAA state tournament

appearance, the Seward girl’s

basketball squad will look to stay

on the winning path in 2017-18.

The Jays are once again under

the leadership of tenured head

coach Tom Tvrdy, who owns a

stellar 271-83 career record at

Seward.

And with seven letterwinners

returning along with four seniors,

another strong campaign is

possible.

“If we stay healthy, we have the

experience to have a great year,”

Tvrdy said. “We finished 19-7

last year and made it to the state

semis. Six returnees have started

multiple games.”

Seward will look for leadership

from senior point guard Kate

Mullally, who averaged 6 points

and 3 assists last season.

Fellow seniors Kelsie Zadina,

Kendra Placke, and Rylee Opfer

will step into big roles, as will

juniors Camryn Opfer, Kayla

Luebbe, and Anna Covalt.

The season will get underway on

Nov. 30 against Hastings.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Jays

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 19-7

Playoff Appearances: 13

Head Coach: Tom Tvrdy

Career Record: 424-165

The Grand Island Northwest

girl’s basketball squad is coming

off a solid 15-7 season under

head coach Rico Burkett.

The 2016-17 season saw vast

improvement over the previous

year, where the Vikings finished

11-13.

As a new campaign approaches,

Northwest will look to keep

taking steps in the right direction.

After losing eight seniors,

however, a young squad will

have to step up in hurry.

Only four letterwinners, and no

seniors, are expected to return to

the court for the Vikings. Burkett

will rely heavily on sophomore

point guard Whitney Brown, who

posted 7 points a game and 35

steals as a freshman.

Also looking to contribute will be

junior forward Whitney Jensen

and sophomore Emily Stein.

Juniors Megan Cooper, Megan

Anderson, and Brook Buhrman

will also see plenty of playing

time.

When asked what the keys to a

successful season are, Burkett

pointed to growth, saying his

team will need to develop

chemistry, develop confidence,

and develop a high basketball IQ

in order to compete.

The season gets underway on

Nov. 25 when the Vikings face

Kearney in the Hall of Fame

Game.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Vikings

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 15-7

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Rico Burkett

Career Record: 26-20

40 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 41


YORKBOYS

On the heels of a 15-9 season, the

York boy’s basketball squad will

look to stay on the winning path

in 2017-18, and make some noise

in Class B.

The Dukes will once again be

under the leadership of head

coach Scott Lamberty, who owns

an 87-38 record at the head of the

program.

Depth will likely not be an issue

for York this season, as nine

letterwinners and four seniors

will return to the hardcourt for

Lamberty.

Leading the charge will be junior

point guard Brady Danielson,

who averaged 13.5 points, 3.4

rebounds, and 3.7 assists per

game as a sophomore.

He will be complimented by

junior big man Garrett Snodgrass,

who posted 8.8 points and 4.8

rebounds a contest last year.

Seniors Tyler Cast, Simon Otte,

and Nick Weskamp will all make

significant impacts, as well.

“We need to improve on our

three-point shooting and our

zone offensive execution to be

successful,” Lamberty said. “We

need to continue to get better

in our half-court defense and

rebound the ball better as well.

I feel we have go-to offensive

players and good spot up shooters,

but attacking better off the

dribble will be a focus for us.

If players continue to get better

fundamentally, we can be a pretty

good team.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Dukes

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 15-9

Playoff Appearances: 40

Head Coach: Scott Lamberty

Career Record: 87-38

YORKGIRLS

It was a heartbreaking ending

to an impressive season for the

York girl’s basketball squad in

2016-17, as a 23-4 campaign

came to a close with a threepoint

loss to South Sioux City

in the second round of the state

tournament.

The Dukes will be looking to

push even further this season

under tenured head coach Matt

Kern, as seven letterwinners are

expected to return.

Senior guard Lauren Riley will

lead the way after averaging

14.4 points and 3.1 rebounds a

game last year.

Senior Tenly Hansen, coming

off a season in which she

averaged 8.7 points and 2.6

rebounds a contest, will join

Riley in the backcourt.

Senior Carsyn Zumpfe, senior

Karlee Seevers, and junior

Hailee Pohl will also see

significant run this year.

“We are a veteran team with

seven senior contributors,” Kern

said. “These girls understand

their roles on this team and truly

play for each other. We will

need to replace the leadership

of the three seniors we lost

to graduation. We have a few

younger players that will need

to step up and find their roles on

our team. The girls on this team

expect to compete at a high level

in everything they do.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Dukes

Class: B

2016-17 Record: 23-4

Playoff Appearances: 10

Head Coach: Matt Kern

Career Record: 38-65

42 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 43


ADAMS CENTRALBOYS

GRAND ISLAND CENTRAL CATHOLICBOYS

The Adams Central boy’s

basketball squad is coming off an

impressive 16-9 campaign and a

Class C-1 state runner-up finish.

But to say it will be a new look

Patriots team in 2017-18 would be

an understatement.

Adams Central lost 10 seniors to

graduation, including the school’s

all-time leading scorer David

Bohlen.

What this means for the Patriots

and tenured head coach Zac

Foster, is a group of younger

athletes will have to step into big

roles this season.

“We have a nice collection of

talent that is anxious for their

opportunity to make a name for

themselves,” Foster said. “We

will once again play as up-tempo

as possible and be multiple in our

defensive approach.”

Leading the charge for the Patriots

will be senior Jack Keller, who

averaged 6.6 points and 3.4

rebounds a game last season.

Also carrying some of the load will

be junior Thomas Hunt, who posted

6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.5

assists per contest in 2016-17.

“With the amount of new faces

expected to play for us, we

will have much to learn early

on,” Foster added. “But we

hope to field a team that is very

competitive and continue to

represent AC in a positive way.”

Adams Central opens the season

on Nov. 30 against Aurora.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Patriots

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 16-9

Playoff Appearances: 8

Head Coach: Zac Foster

Career Record: 177-124

The Grand Island Central

Catholic boy’s basketball team

didn’t find a large amount of

success during the 2016-17

season, finishing the year 13-

11.

But under head coach Tino

Martinez, who owns an

impressive 66-39 record at

the helm of the program, the

Crusaders will look to bounce

back in a big way in 2017-18.

Martinez will put a fairly

inexperienced group out on the

court to start the year, as only

five returning letterwinners and

two seniors are expected back

on the hardwood.

Leading that group will be

junior guard Jack Goering, who

is coming off a solid sophomore

campaign.

Fellow junior Jacob Herbek,

as well as seniors Jonah Bales

and Mayra Almayra, will also

be key contributors for the

Crusaders this year.

“We will need to start and stay

healthy throughout the season

in order to be successful,”

Martinez said. “If we are able

to do that, we have a chance to

be competitive.”

The season gets underway

on Nov. 30 for Grand Island

Central Catholic.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Crusaders

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 13-11

Playoff Appearances: 16

Head Coach: Tino Martinez

Career Record: 66-39

ADAMS CENTRALGIRLS

GRAND ISLAND CENTRAL CATHOLICGIRLS

Even though the Adams Central

girl’s basketball squad finished

the 2016-17 season with a 9-15

record, there are many reasons to

be excited about the Patriots this

year.

Head coach Evan Smith, who

owns a career 21-25 record

leading the program, will return to

the sidelines for Adams Central in

2017-18.

Adams Central returns one senior,

guard Emilea Rogers, in addition

to a nine-member junior class.

That class features guards Hannah

Krabel, Madi Marker, and Beth

Gill, as well as forwards Emma

Ellerbee and Morgan Samuelson.

Fellow juniors Morgan Carver

and Sydney Shestak will also look

to make an impact for the Patriots

once the season gets rolling.

Smith said that having a number

of athletes with competitive

experience will provide his

squad with an advantage as the

campaign progresses.

“We have four or five girls that

have seen some significant

minutes at the varsity level, and

we will need that experience to

help lead us this year,” Smith said.

“We will have to be much better

scorers from the perimeter and

find a way to limit our turnovers. I

think we have a solid defense that

will keep us in games, and help

us when it comes to tourney time

down the stretch.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Patriots

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 9-15

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Evan Smith

Career Record: 21-25

Coming off an 11-10 campaign,

the Grand Island Central Catholic

girl’s basketball team will be

looking to turn some heads this

season under third year head

coach Stacia Rice.

Eight letterwinners and three

starters return in 2017-18 for

GICC, but none more important

than forward Megan Woods and

senior guard Courtney Wilson.

Woods earned all-conference

honors, in addition to all-state

honorable mention recognition

last season, while Wilson

also earned an all-conference

selection.

The Crusaders will also need

contributions from junior

guard Jenna Lowry, as well

as senior Lexi Kohmetcher to

be successful in a challenging

conference.

“We had a great summer of

basketball that I hope to continue

into our season. We are really

going to rely on our leaders with

Megan Woods and Courtney

Wilson,” Rice said. “With Megan

inside and her strength as well as

her developing her outside game

and Courtney Wilson’s speed and

ability to get to the hoop. We are

going to rely on their leadership

for our team. When they play

well we do well. However with

that being said, our seniors have

really stepped up this summer.

Lexi Kohmetcher has played the

best basketball that I have seen

her play this summer. She is just

a smart player, she knows the

game.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Crusaders

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 11-10

Playoff Appearances: 6

Head Coach: Stacia Rice

Career Record: 21-21

44 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 45


AQUINAS CATHOLICBOYS

The 2016-17 season didn’t go as

planned for the Aquinas Catholic

boy’s basketball squad, as the

group finished 7-15.

But under experienced head coach

Kyle Eller, who owns a 32-38

record as a Monarch, 2017-18

could be a different story.

Nine letterwinners and a large

group of seniors are slated to

return to the court, led by forward

Tyler Vavrina, who averaged

an impressive 16 points and 5

rebounds a contest last year.

Vavrina also earned first-team all

conference and all state honorable

mention awards for his play.

He will be complimented by

fellow seniors Matt Nadrchal,

Kyle Ruth, Daniel Reiter, Gavin

Rech, and Trevor Siroky.

Juniors Zachary Zvodny, Nolan

Hartman, and Daniel Stara will

also see significant run come the

start of the season.

The 2017-18 campaign will get

underway for Aquinas Catholic

on Dec. 1 on the road against

Raymond Central.

TEAM FACTS

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Team Name: Monarchs

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 7-15

Playoff Appearances: 9

Head Coach: Kyler Eller

Career Record: 32-38

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AQUINAS CATHOLICGIRLS

The Aquinas Catholic girl’s

basketball team will have one

very important asset entering the

2017-18 season – experience.

The Monarchs are coming off a

10-13 season under head coach

Vanessa Munter. But the group

is trending in the right direction,

and with six letterwinners and

four starters returning, Aquinas

Catholic could be poised for a

breakout campaign.

“We are a team who is beginning

to gain more and more

experience,” Munter said. “We

potentially have four returning

starters and three of those starters

it’s their third year of being a

starter.”

Leading the Monarchs this

season will be senior guard

Veronica Kobza, as well as

juniors Breanna Stouffer,

Vanessa Bohuslavsky, and

Valerie Bohuslavsky.

Micaiah Vrbka and Kloe Ruth

will be players to watch for

Aquinas Catholic, as well.

“Our year will come down to

how well we can put together a

post-guard game,” Munter added.

“We have the talent and ability so

we just need to stay focused and

work together for our year to be

successful.”

The season will get underway on

Dec. 1 against Raymond Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Monarchs

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 10-13

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Vanessa Munter

Career Record: 34-56

46 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 47


ST. PAULBOYS

The St. Paul boy’s basketball squad

finished the 2016-17 campaign with

a 10-11 record, but expectations are

much higher entering this season.

Junior center Carson Morgan

will be a force inside for St. Paul.

Morgan averaged 9.3 points and 5.2

rebounds a game last year.

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The Wildcats return nine

letterwinners under head coach

Derek Reinsch, and will look to

make some noise in Class C-1.

“We are going to be a deep,

experienced team this season. For

us to take the next step forward we

need to see us be more efficient on

offense and a better rebounding

team,” Reinsch said.

The Wildcats will rely heavily

on senior point guard Tanner

Wroblewski, who posted 11.8 points

and 2.8 steals a contest as a junior.

Reinsch will also look to seniors

Parker Klinginsmith, Thomas

Mrkvicka, and Mike Allen, as well

as junior Wyatt Placke, to play

significant roles this season.

“We have the ability to be a really

good defensive team by playing

our roles and it will come down to

finishing each possession with a

rebound or steal,” Reinsch said.

The season will get underway for

the Wildcats on Nov. 30 on the road

against Gibbon.

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TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wildcats

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 10-11

Playoff Appearances: 13

Head Coach: Derek Reinsch

Career Record: 22-63

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ST. PAULGIRLS

MINDENBOYS

The St. Paul girl’s basketball squad

exploded out of the gates in 2016-

17, winning eight straight games en

route to a 16-10 overall record.

And although the season

came to a close with a loss to

Kearney Catholic in the district

championship, valuable experience

was gained under head coach Derek

Runcie, who enters his second full

season at the helm of the program.

The Wildcats welcome back only

five returning letterwinners this

season, meaning some younger

athletes will have to adapt quickly if

St. Paul wants to make some noise

in Class C-1.

“The key to a successful season for

us this year will be leadership and

team chemistry. We lost over 65

percent of our scoring production

from last year and return only two

players with extensive varsity

experience,” Runcie said.

Senior guard Bailey Lukasiewicz

will be relied heavily upon this

season, after averaging 7.6 points,

3.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per

game last year.

Runcie will also look for big things

out of sophomore Brooke Poppert,

who averaged 6.9 points and 7.2

rebounds a game as a freshman.

“With so many new pieces to the

team this year, it is somewhat of a

mystery to how your team is going

to respond in tough situations,”

Runcie added. “The other exciting

part is most of these girls, who will

have new roles and responsibilities,

played on the scout team against our

varsity last year. We have a lot of

new pieces to fit into our puzzle, but

I am excited for the potential this

team has. We just have to fulfill it.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wildcats

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 16-10

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Derek Runcie

Career Record: 16-10

Even though the Minden boys

basketball team is coming off a

difficult 2016-17 season in which

the Whippets finished 5-17, a

bounce back campaign is very

possible under second year head

coach Jordan Reinertson.

Minded struggled down the

stretch last season, losing its

final ten games, but with some

experience back on the roster,

things could be different in 2017-

18.

The Whippets return three seniors

in Grant Edgecombe, Colton

Taylor, and Bradyn Petersen.

Juniors Elijah Lovin, Josh

Denney, and Aidan Wheelock will

also be impact players for Minden

this season.

“I believe our players are

excited and ready to start this

season,” Reinertson said. “We

still have considerable room

for growth in many areas of

the game but our boys showed

more commitment throughout

the summer in improving their

skills and basketball IQ. We

need to continue to focus on the

improvement process each week.”

Minden opens the year on Nov. 30

at home against Southern Valley.

48 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 49

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Whippets

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 5-17

Playoff Appearances: 31

Head Coach: Jordan Reinertson


BROKEN BOWBOYS

According to the group’s head

coach, the success of the Broken

Bow boy’s basketball squad will

hinder on two aspects of the

game – defense and passing.

The Indians went an impressive

17-7 in 2016-17 under head

coach Nate Olson, and with six

letterwinners and five seniors

slated to return to the hardwood,

expectations are high.

However, Olson said his squad

must do the little things right in

order to make a run this season.

“Our keys to success will be our

defense and our ability to share

the ball,” Olson said.

Leading the charge for the

Indians will be senior point guard

Padyn Borders, who posted

10 points, 5 assists, and 3.2

rebounds a game as a junior.

Complimenting Borders in the

back court will be junior Grayson

Garey, who averaged 5 points

a contest during his sophomore

campaign.

Seniors Kevin Linn, Tanner Linn,

and Mason McMeen, as well as

junior Josh Harvey will all play

big roles for Broken Bow, as

well.

“We have a selfless team where

all of our members enjoy team

success over individual success,”

Olson added. “Determining and

figuring out roles throughout the

season will also be essential to

our success.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Indians

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 17-7

Playoff Appearances: 21

Head Coach: Nate Olson

Career Record: 17-7

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BROKEN BOWGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was a

difficult one for the Broken Bow

girl’s basketball squad, as the

Indians finished the campaign

5-16, losing their final seven

games.

But a new year brings a new

opportunity for success, as first

year head coach Kelly Cooksley

takes the reins of the program.

Unfortunately for Cooksley,

the Indians will be fairly

inexperienced this year, as only

four letterwinners and a pair of

seniors return.

“We will be extremely young,”

Cooksley said. “We will have to

put in the work to get better and

be competitive. If we go through

the motions we will get go

through the motions results.”

A combo of senior guards will

carry the load for Broken Bow,

as Jory Lowe, who averaged 7.3

points per contest last season, is

slated to return.

In addition, Kate Fox, who posted

5 points a game as a junior, will

be back on the hardwood.

Players to keep an eye on include

sophomores Madison Neely,

Majesta Valasek, and Sydney

Carrizales, as well as junior

Alyssa Cyboron.

“This team has some talent, it

is just changing the mentality

and working to be successful at

basketball,” Cooksley said. “If we

have that approach, I think we can

be successful this season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Indians

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 5-16

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Kelly Cooksley

Career Record: 95-49

50 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 51


CENTRAL CITYBOYS

Fresh off a 9-14 campaign, a

lot of uncertainty will surround

the 2017-18 season for the

Central City boy’s basketball

team.

Not only will the Bison be

competing in a brand new

conference, they will also be

under the leadership of first year

head coach BJ Blase.

Central City will join the Lou-

Platte Conference in Class C-1

this year, and will rely on a core

of senior talent to help establish

themselves as a team to beat.

Senior post player Trent Wilson

will be a leader for Central City

come the start of the season, as

will fellow seniors Ethan Debor

and Dale Jones.

Seniors Zach Rinkol and Mike

Murray, as well as sophomores

Josiah Olhman and Mike

Rutherford, will also play

important minutes for the Bison

come early December.

“We have good senior

leadership, and we had a great

summer as a team,” Blase said.

“We played a lot of high-level

Class B and Class C-1 teams.

We will look to be competitive

in our new conference.”

The season will get underway on

Dec. 1 when the Bison travel to

take on Gibbon.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bison

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 9-14

Playoff Appearances: 20

Head Coach: BJ Blase

Career Record: 110-70

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CENTRAL CITYGIRLS

BOONE CENTRAL-NEWMAN GROVEBOYS

Coming off a 15-9 season, the

Central City girl’s basketball

team will have a new look to it

this year.

The Bison return only four

letterwinners under head coach

Daniel Negus, although three

seniors are expected back on the

roster.

However, it will likely be a

sophomore that carries the load

for Central City, as Gabrielle

Moser averaged 10 points, 4

rebounds, and 2 steals a game as

a freshman.

Senior Erica Stuart, who

averaged 2.3 points a contest

last year, and senior Taylor

Wagner will also see significant

run once the season gets

underway.

Negus will also look to senior

McKenzie Makowski and junior

Gabriella Homolka to play large

roles for the Bison.

“In order to be successful this

season, we will need to continue

to improve defensively, both

in the full and half-court,”

Negus said. “We will need to be

more efficient on offense and

replace the scoring we lost to

graduation.”

Central City will tip off the

season on Dec. 1 against

Gibbon.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bison

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 15-9

Head Coach: Daniel Negus

Career Record: 111-135

The Boone Central/Newman Grove

boy’s basketball team will be

hungry for success in 2017-18 after

falling in the district final last year.

The Cardinals finished the season

15-9 under head coach Justin

Harris, and with experience back

on the roster, there are plenty of

reasons for optimism.

Senior post player Jessie Sullivan

will be back on the hardwood for

Boone Central/Newman Grove,

after posting 13.8 points and 2.5

assists a contest as a junior.

“Jessie does a great job of sealing

and touch around the rim,” Harris

said. “He is a smart kid and a hard

worker which makes him an even

better player. Jessie is one of the

best posts in C-1 and probably

the top one in the Mid-State

Conference.”

Joining Sullivan on the court will

be senior guard Dylan Gentrup,

who averaged 13 points a game

last year.

“Dylan is a player that can take

over a game with his ability to get

to the rim and is strong to finish

with contact,” Harris added. “He

also can shoot the three as well.

Dylan had a great summer and put

himself on the coach’s radar as one

of the top players in our class.”

“Stay healthy,” Harris said when

asked what the keys to a successful

season are. “Players need to find

their roles to best contribute to our

team. Playing with confidence,

heart, and close to potential every

opportunity we get.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 15-9

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Justin Harris

52 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 53


COZADBOYS

RAYMOND CENTRALBOYS

Even though the Cozad boy’s

basketball team is coming off

a 13-12 season, a plethora of

experience is due back on the

roster, making the Haymakers a

team to watch in Class C-1.

Entering the 2017-18 campaign,

head coach Drew Danielson has

eight letterwinners returning,

including a pair of talented

seniors. In addition, eight

different players have starting

experience.

Leading the charge will be senior

guard Trestian Siemering, who

posted 12.9 points a game and

made 49 three-pointers as a

junior.

Another sharp-shooter will be

back on the court, as well, as

junior Nate Neil returns after

knocking down 45 three-pointers

last year.

Junior Killion Geiser and senior

Kyle German will also be impact

players for the Haymakers.

“We have eight players returning

that started a game for us last

season so we return a lot of

experience,” Danielson said.

“Our key will be taking that

next step as a program from

being competitive in games to

expecting to win every time we

step foot on the floor. We did

some good things last season,

but I think everyone in our

program would tell you that a

13-12 record is not acceptable for

Cozad boys basketball. Our boys

are hungry to take the program to

new heights.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Haymakers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 13-12

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Drew Danielson

Career Record: 13-12

The 2016-17 season was a

difficult one for the Raymond

Central boy’s basketball squad,

as the group finished 2-20 under

head coach Pat Harrington.

But a new season brings a new

opportunity for growth, and that

is exactly what the Mustangs will

be looking do with a young roster

in 2017-18.

Only four letterwinners and

a pair of seniors are expected

back on the hardwood for

Harrington.

Leading the charge for the

Mustangs will be junior shooting

guard Dylan Thornburg, who

will be joined in the backcourt by

fellow junior point guard Aiden

Urbom.

Seniors Nate Boyd and Josh

Palensky will look to produce

from the forward positions, while

sophomore guard Jaxon Eddie

will try to make a name for

himself in Class C-1.

“We will need to learn from our

mistakes as a young roster and

continue to grow as the season

progresses,” Harrington said.

The season will get underway

for Raymond Central on Dec. 1

against Aquinas Catholic.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 2-20

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Pat Harrington

COZADGIRLS

RAYMOND CENTRALGIRLS

Under head coach Brent Frauen,

the Cozad girl’s basketball squad

showed steady improvement

last year, finishing the 2016-17

season with a 12-13 record.

Now in his third year at the helm,

Frauen will be looking to take the

Haymakers to new heights, and

will have a solid core of returners to

help accomplish that goal.

Although Cozad lost two key

players from last season’s team in

Sarah Yocom and Alyssa Schneider,

having a number of returning

starters could help balance it out.

Senior post player Kennedy

Berreckman, who was named

third team all conference last

season, will return to the court

for the Haymakers, as will senior

guard Hanna Wright.

Senior Ellie Stallbaumer and

junior Brenna Dugan round

out the returners with starting

experience for Frauen.

Senior guard Sadie Rush, who

missed all of last season with

an injury, as well as Sydney

Lindstedt and Gail Cornelius

will also be players to watch for

Cozad this season.

“We have an opportunity to

continue to build on what we

began last year, however we will

have to fulfill a gigantic hole left

by the graduation of Yocom and

Schneider,” Frauen said. “Good

news for us is that we have Sadie

Rush returning this year after

she was out all of last year for an

injury.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Haymakers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 12-13

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Brent Frauen

Following an up and down 2016-

17 campaign, the Raymond

Central girl’s basketball squad

will look to take a step forward

this season, and improve on an

11-12 record in the process.

Under the direction of head

coach Shawn Ekwall, who owns

a 26-22 record at Raymond

Central, the Mustangs will look

to build off the positives of last

season, which featured multiple

winning streaks, but five losses to

close the regular season.

However, Raymond Central

brings back experience in

the backcourt as they look to

compete in Class C-1.

Senior Ashley Heyen and junior

Morgan Potter will return

as guards for the Mustangs.

Heyen averaged 10.2 pointsper-game

last year, while Potter

accumulated 7.1 points-pergame.

Senior forward Amber Heyen,

who stands 5-feet 10-inches tall,

will also be a key contributor in

2017-18.

According to Ekwall, getting

consistent play from the guard

position, keeping turnovers to

a minimum, and cutting down

on unnecessary fouls will be

the recipe to success for the

Mustangs in the upcoming

campaign.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 11-12

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Shawn Ekwall

54 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 55


DAVID CITYBOYS

Finishing the year 6-16,

the 2016-17 season was a

challenging one for the David

City boy’s basketball team.

However, a below average

campaign didn’t shake the

confidence head coach Cole

Carraher has in the Scouts.

“I look for us to be much improved

from last season,” Carraher said.

David City will welcome their

leading scorer and rebounder

back to the court in the form of

junior Will Danielson.

Danielson averaged 8 points

and 6.5 rebounds a contest as

sophomore.

Also returning to the hardwood

are seniors Colin Vandenberg and

Riley Kirby, and look for juniors

Luis Salazar and Nick Ruth to

turn some heads for the Scouts

this season.

“Our biggest key to a successful

season is staying healthy and

developing enough players to

create a deeper bench,” Carraher

added. “We don’t have a great

deal of size, so being able to run

the floor and putting pressure on

teams that way will give us the

best chance at being competitive.

I feel this team is really ready to

embrace that mentality and that

style of play.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Scouts

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 6-16

Playoff Appearances: 18

Head Coach: Cole Carraher

Career Record: 13-50

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ORDBOYS

The 2016-17 campaign didn’t

go as planned for the David City

girl’s basketball squad and head

coach Nathan Wall, as the group

finished 2-19.

But with eight returning

letterwinners back on the court for

the Scouts this season, a seniorheavy

group will look to get back

on the winning path come late

November.

“After a strong season together,

our keys to the season are going

to be to shoot the basketball

better than we did last year, and

improve our depth as well as our

conditioning,” Wall said.

The Scouts will be led by a pair

of guards who bring a plethora of

experience.

Junior point guard Macy Svoboda

is coming off a season in which

she averaged 4.7 points, 2.2

rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game.

In addition, senior guard Olivia

Couch, who notched 4.5 rebounds

and 2.7 steals a contest, will be

back to help carry the load.

Freshman Payton Andel and Lauren

Vandenberg are also expected to see

significant run this season.

“We made huge strides during the

summer in the area of shooting,

and our depth will improve with

two freshmen, who proved they

are ready to play,” Wall said.

David City will open the season

on Nov. 30 when it hosts

Centennial.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Scouts

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 2-19

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Nathan Wall

Career Record: 97-116

The 2016-17 season was a roller

coaster ride for the Ord boy’s

basketball squad, as the group

finished 9-12, losing six out of its

final seven games.

But looking ahead to the 2017-18

campaign, the Chanticleers return

six letterwinners and five seniors

under the leadership of tenured

head coach Nick Gates.

Ord will be led by senior guard

Nate Wells, who averaged 8.7

points and 3.1 assists last year.

Joining Wells on the hardwood

will be fellow seniors Reggie

McKenney, Garrett Bundy,

Austin Knapp, and Harrison

Benton.

Junior Hayden Grint will also

look to carve out a significant

role starting in early December.

Gates said “Learning how to

finish games and being consistent

for four quarters” are the keys

to success for his team. “Then

game in and game out we have

to keep improving,” Gates said.

“We have some experience

coming back and that should be

beneficial for us. We did lose

some offensive production and

rebounding, but we have guys

that have the ability to step up

into some bigger roles.”

Ord will open the season on Dec.

1 against Ainsworth.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Chanticleers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 9-12

Playoff Appearances: 27

Head Coach: Nick Gates

Career Record: 59-58

56 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 57


FAIRBURYBOYS

Although the Fairbury boy’s

basketball squad finished the 2016-

17 season with a 9-14 record, the

leader of the Jeffs saw plenty of

improvement.

And if Fairbury continues to

trend in the right direction,

it could be set up for a nice

campaign in 2017-18 under head

coach Travis Steinhoff.

Steinhoff enters his second year

at the helm of the program, and

is hoping familiarity paired with

experience will be a recipe for

success.

progress we made at the end of

last year,” Steinhoff said. “We

were much improved from game

one to the last, last season. We

need to continue to grow and

work and we should be improved

this year.”

Fairbury will be carried this

season by a pair of senior guards,

as both Cayman Deboer and

Adam Wasserman return to the

hardwood.

The season will get underway

for the Jeffs on Dec. 1 against

Lincoln Christian.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Jeffs

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 9-14

Playoff Appearances: 20

Head Coach: Travis Steinhoff

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“(We have to) improve on the

FAIRBURYGIRLS

Even though the Fairbury girl’s

basketball team is coming off a

challenging 6-17 season, hopes

are high the Jeffs can have a

bounce back campaign in 2017-

18.

Under tenured head coach Amy

Engle-Evans, Fairbury will return

eight letterwinners, in addition to

some up-and-coming talent.

Sophomore post player Sara Huss

will be back on the hardcourt for

Fairbury, after averaging 7 points

and 11 rebounds a game during

her freshman year.

“We should have a very good

inside presence,” Engle-Evans

said. “It will be key that we can

knock down some outside shots in

order to loosen up the inside for

our posts as I think we will see a

lot of zone versus our posts.”

Also returning for the Jeffs is

junior Jessa Eden, who posted 8

points and 5 rebounds a contest

last year.

Seniors Macy Ohlde and Emily

Burkley, as well as sophomore

Cora DeBoer, will also be major

contributors once the season gets

underway.

“We need to improve our defense

intensity and with a lot of girls

gaining valuable experience last

year we should understand our

principles more which will allow

us to gamble a little more,” Engle-

Evans added.

The season will get underway on

Dec. 1 against Lincoln Christian.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Jeffs

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 6-17

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Amy Engle-Evans

58 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 59


FILLMORE CENTRALBOYS

Fresh off an impressive 16-9

campaign, the Fillmore Central

boy’s basketball team will look

to keep building momentum.

The Panthers return only five

letterwinners and two starters

under second-year head coach

Jordan High.

Senior guard Kole Karcher, who

High called the team’s “most solid

player,” will be back on the court

after averaging 10.5 points and 3.1

assists last season.

“Kole has been a major

contributor at FC since his

sophomore season. He has shown

great leadership abilities on and

off the court, and has always been

an amazing example to other

players,” High added. “He can be

a threat both as a scorer, opening

the defense up to get other guys

opportunities. He also has really

good vision on the court, enabling

him to be a great distributor.”

Also returning will be senior

forward Chandler Schelkopf, who

posted 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds

a contest his junior season.

“We lost a lot of our scoring from

last year in Garrett Whitley and

Adam Hoarty, but we should be

able to find guys who can take

over those roles,” High said. “We

won’t have the height advantage

in most of our games this season,

but we should make up for that in

toughness. We’re hoping to build

off of the successes we have

had here at FC the last couple of

seasons and continue to focus on

the process.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Panthers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 16-9

Head Coach: Jordan High

Career Record: 16-9

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The 2016-17 campaign had plenty

of ups and downs for the Fillmore

Central girl’s basketball squad, as

the group ended up 10-12.

However, valuable experience was

gained under head coach Shad

Eberhardt, and the Panthers will be

prepped to make a run in 2017-18.

Fillmore Central returns seven

letterwinners and a core of

four starters, including senior

guard Jamey Broman. Broman

averaged 5.3 points, 2.7

rebounds, and 1.6 steals a game

as a junior.

Fellow seniors Alexis Schmidt,

Grace Jacobson, and Lydia Birky

will also look to play key roles

for the Panthers.

However, the effectiveness of the

Panthers could rely on a pair of

sophomores.

Guard Macy Scott returns to the

hardwood, after averaging 9.6

points and 2.6 steals a game as

a freshman. She will be joined

by sophomore Halle Theis,

who posted 7.6 points and 5.3

rebounds a contest last year.

“We’ll lean on these returners

and their familiarity with each

other to hopefully be able to

pick up where we left off last

year without a ton of mix ups

and hopefully that will lead to

us being successful,” Eberhardt

said. “We’ll continue to rely on

playing good pressure defense

and looking to transition quickly

and often and using our team

athleticism to our advantage.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Panthers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 10-12

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Shad Eberhardt

60 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 61


GIBBONBOYS

Despite coming off an 8-15

campaign, the Gibbon boy’s

basketball squad is set up for a

bounce back season in 2017-18.

The Buffaloes return a plethora

of experience under head coach

David Benge, as 10 letterwinners

and four starters will be back on

the hardwood.

Leading Gibbon will be senior

guard Collin Niemack, who

averaged 9 points per game as a

junior.

Also looking to turn some heads

will be senior guard Collin

Dorzynski, who posted 4 points a

contest last year, as well as junior

Izaiah Gomez.

Senior Chase Middleswart

and sophomores Chi Onate

and Nathan Holcomb will also

see significant minutes for the

Buffaloes this season.

In addition, newcomers Alex

Lopez, Logan Middleswart,

and Ben Wiley could be impact

players, as well.

“We are going to return some

experience but have major holes

to fill in all aspects of the team,”

Benge said. “It will be fun seeing

who steps up into these roles

this year. Young players will

have much more of a chance to

contribute.”

The season will tip off for

Gibbon on Nov. 30 against St.

Paul.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Buffaloes

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 8-15

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: David Benge

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Coming off a difficult season in

which the Buffaloes went 6-16,

there is plenty to be optimistic

about for the Gibbon girl’s

basketball squad in 2017-18.

Under head coach Jim

Martenson, Gibbon will return its

entire roster, as 12 letterwinners

and seven seniors are expected

back on the court.

Leading that group will be

senior guard Ellie Snell, who

was named second team allconference

during the 2016-17

season.

She will be complimented on the

court by senior forward Parker

Kenton, as well as senior guard

Miranda Smith, who earned allconference

honorable mention

honors last season.

Senior Sydni Kroll and

sophomore Baylee Rockefeller

also bring starting experience to

the Gibbon roster.

“We are looking for the

opportunity to have an improved

season with a nucleus returning

from last year,” Martenson said.

“We play in a tough conference

(LouPlatte) and also have a very

solid non-conference schedule

that will force us to work and

play the game to the best of our

ability each and every day. We

will strive to be better at the

end of the season by working to

improve every day.”

The season will get underway for

the Buffaloes on Nov. 30 against

St. Paul.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Buffaloes

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 6-16

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Jim Martenson

Career Record: 6-16

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GOTHENBURGBOYS

The 2016-17 season featured

plenty of success for the

Gothenburg boy’s basketball

squad, as the Swedes went 25-3

before falling to Wahoo in the state

playoffs.

Tenured head coach Roger Koehler

will look for a repeat performance

this season, but will have to do so

with a new-look Gothenburg team.

Only one starter returns in 2017-

18, Bennet Folkers.

Folkers, a senior, posted 7.5 points,

4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists a

game last season.

He will be joined by fellow seniors

AJ Whiting, Grant Sell, and Logan

Carlson, who will all be looking

to make a name for themselves in

Class C-1.

“We hope to feed off the

excitement of back-to-back state

tournament appearances. We lost

four starters from a year ago, but

return a lot of game experience

with one returning starter and our

sixth, seventh, and eighth men

from last year,” Koehler said. “We

should have a good group of core

players to work around and a lot of

hungry underclassmen working for

playing time.”

A negative for the Swedes is an

injury to Sell, who tore his ACL

this summer and will likely be off

the court until mid-January.

Gothenburg will open the season

on Nov. 27 against North Platte.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Swedes

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 25-3

Playoff Appearances: 23

Head Coach: Roger Koehler

Career Record: 106-67

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GOTHENBURGGIRLS

The Gothenburg girl’s basketball

squad will look to improve off an

8-16 season, as head coach Nick

Miller enters his second year

leading the program.

Last season, the Swedes

struggled to put it all together,

and even though a core group

of contributors graduated,

Gothenburg will look to take

strides in the right direction in

2017-18.

Seven letterwinners and three

seniors will be back on the roster,

and none more important than

power forward Gracie Stienike,

who averaged 13 points and 6.1

rebounds last year.

Senior center Arleigh Costello,

who posted 3.7 points and 4

rebounds a game her junior

campaign, and senior guard

Natalie Kennicutt will also be

key contributors for Miller this

season.

“We graduated a lot of minutes,

but had a great summer and

saw a lot of girls push to fill

those roles and add depth and

athleticism,” Miller said. “We

want to be a team that can hang

its hat on the defensive end,

make other teams uncomfortable,

and allow our offense to work off

of that. We will rely on seniors

and returners to set the tone, get

into that defensive mindset, and

compete to get better each day.”

The season gets underway on

Nov. 27 against North Platte in a

jamboree.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Swedes

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 8-16

Playoff Appearances: 8

Head Coach: Nick Miller

Career Record: 8-16

64 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 65


WILBER-CLATONIABOYS

The Wilber-Clatonia boy’s

basketball team will be looking

to bounce back after a 6-16

campaign in 2016-17.

However, that goal will have

to be accomplished with some

young talent, as the Wolverines

return only five letterwinners and

two seniors under head coach

Lucas Albrecht.

“We have to gain some

confidence in the early portion of

our schedule before Christmas,”

Albrecht said. “Our inexperience

will be tested as some of our

younger kids will be forced into

greater roles.”

Two starters do return for the

Wolverines, as Hunter Cerveny,

who averaged 5.6 points a game

last season, and Josh Kalkwarf,

who posted 3.2 points a contest,

will both be back in uniform.

“Both will need to take a jump

in production and leadership,”

Albrecht said.

Coltin Rezabek, Preston Lee, and

Colten Johnson will also look to

carve out significant roles once

the season gets underway.

“We do have some size inside but

not much varsity experience,”

Albrecht added. “We hope to get

some confidence in December

and go from there.”

The season will get underway

for Wilber-Clatonia on Nov. 30

against Tri County.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wolverines

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 6-16

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Lucas Albrecht

Career Record: 43-45

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WILBER-CLATONIAGIRLS

The Wilber-Clatonia girl’s

basketball squad will have a lot

to prove in Class C-1 this season,

as the Wolverines return only one

letterwinner to the court.

The Wolverines are coming off

an 8-14 campaign which ended

with an overtime loss to Fairbury

in sub-districts.

Jenny Wagner will be back again

to lead the Wolverines from the

sidelines, but the experienced

head coach will have to find a

way to win with a very youthful

squad.

Wilber-Clatonia returns only one

senior, guard Kory Moldenhauer,

who will look to be a leader for

the Wolverines this season.

Junior Rylee Hayek will also play

a big role, as will sophomores

Tia Kreshel, Megan Tinsley, and

Aislim Martinez.

“We are a very young team with

little varsity experience after

losing six seniors last season,”

Wagner said. “Our young players

will have to step up and grow as

the season progresses in order to

continue to see success. We have

a great future ahead of us.”

Wilber-Clatonia will open the

season on Nov. 30 against Tri

County.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wolverines

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 8-14

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Jenny Wagner

Career Record: 34-54

66 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 67


KEARNEY CATHOLICBOYS

The Kearney Catholic boy’s

basketball squad is not only

coming off an impressive 21-6

season last year, but is also

looking forward to its first full

season under head coach Bob

Langan.

Langan took over for the Stars

after two games in 2016-17.

However, matching last year’s

success will be a challenge for

Langan, who will look to reload

his roster after a number of

seniors graduated.

“We graduated eight seniors who

all contributed at some point

last year,” Langan said. “Matt

Masker is the only player that

returns who played a significant

amount of minutes.”

Masker, a senior guard, will lead

the charge for the Stars after

averaging 4.1 points and 2.8

rebounds a game last year.

Six other letterwinners will

return, as well, including seniors

Marcus Benesch, Josh Long, and

Cole Staab.

“To be successful, we will have

to find a mixture of guys who are

willing to unselfishly play for

each other and focus on getting

better throughout the year,”

Langan said. “We will have more

size than past years, so we will

have to find a way to utilize our

size.”

Kearney Catholic will open the

season on Dec. 1 at home against

North Platte.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Stars

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 21-6

Playoff Appearances: 8

Head Coach: Bob Langan

Career Record: 21-6

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KEARNEY CATHOLICGIRLS

Although the ending wasn’t

what the Kearney Catholic

girl’s basketball team had

hoped for, the 2016-17 season

was still one to remember for

the Stars.

Under long tenured head coach

Rick Petri, Kearney Catholic

finished 29-1, going undefeated

during the regular season before

falling in the NSAA state

tournament.

Petri, who is entering his 21 st

year at Kearney Catholic, will be

looking for a similar showing,

but will have to find success

without any starters returning.

However, the Stars do return

a core group of letterwinners,

including junior guard Olivia

Micek, who averaged 3.5 points

a game last year and will be

relied on heavily this season.

Also expected back on

the hardwood are seniors

Madison Shoemaker, Ashlynn

Schmaderer, and Annie Trettel.

Sophomores Ainsley Aden and

Liza Trettel will also look to

turn some heads come early

December.

“With no returning starters and

only three others that played

significant minutes, our team

will have to learn on the run,”

Petri said. “We hope that several

of our young players make

significant strides as the season

progresses, and can be a factor

by the end of the season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Stars

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 29-1

Playoff Appearances: 15

Head Coach: Rick Petri

Career Record: 100-20

68 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 69


LINCOLN CHRISTIANBOYS

MALCOLMBOYS

The Lincoln Christian boy’s

basketball squad is coming off an

up-and-down 2016-17 campaign,

in which the Crusaders finished

11-11.

But a new season brings a new

opportunity for Lincoln Christian

to make some noise in Class C-1,

as head coach Gary Nunally is

back at the helm of the program.

Nunally has plenty of experience

slated to return to the hardwood,

as nine letterwinners and five

seniors will be back on the court.

Much of the Crusaders’ success

will depend on the play of a

sophomore, however, as guard

Justin Bubak is coming off an

impressive season.

Bubak was named all-conference

a year ago after averaging 14.1

points a contest as a freshman.

Another impact player will be

junior Caleb Canfield, who was

also named to the all-conference

team after averaging 11.8 points

a contest last season.

Seniors Treyson Bigler, Max

McEwen, Josh McEwen, and

Garrett Conrad will also see

significant playing time for

Lincoln Christian.

“We had a really good summer

with many of our guys putting in

a lot of work,” Nunally said. “It

will be important for all of us to

live out our faith everyday, giving

great effort, putting others before

ourselves, and responding in a

positive way to the adversity that

every basketball season brings.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Crusaders

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 11-11

Playoff Appearances: 14

Head Coach: Gary Nunnally

Career Record: 104-106

If the Malcolm boy’s basketball

squad has plans of making

some noise in Class C-1 this

year, some unfamiliar athletes

will have to make a name for

themselves.

Under the direction of head

coach Chris Lewandowski,

the Clippers will be fairly

inexperienced in 2017-18, after

finishing 11-13 last year.

The group lost five athletes to

graduation, but do return five

letterwinners, including a trio of

seniors.

However, much of Malcolm’s

success will hinder on a junior,

as forward Dylan Johnson,

who averaged 6.5 points and 6

rebounds last season, is set to

take on a bigger role.

Senior guards Beau Sackett

and Ty Shaw, as well as junior

forward Nate Kuhn, will also be

impact players for the Clippers

come early December.

“We will have many new faces

on the court this year after

graduating five seniors. We

need to have guys step up and

be playmakers. We may be

inexperienced but these guys are

hard workers and fun to coach,”

Lewandowski said. “This year’s

team is a very competitive

group, from the freshmen to the

seniors, and there will be great

competition for the spots on the

floor. (I’m) excited to see how

this team comes together.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Clippers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 11-13

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Chris Lewandowski

Career Record: 36-58

LINCOLN CHRISTIANGIRLS

MALCOLMGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was as

good as it gets for the Lincoln

Christian girl’s basketball team.

The Crusaders dominated the

regular season, finishing 28-2,

and continued their success in

the NSAA state tournament,

snagging a first-place finish.

However, success is nothing

new to tenured head coach Nick

Orduna, who owns a 244-156

career record at the head of the

program.

In 2017-18, the defending state

champions will look for a repeat

performance, but will have to do

so with only four letterwinners

and three starters returning.

Orduna will look to senior guard

Chloe Dworak and senior post

player Emily Hollenbeck as

leaders come the start of the

campaign.

In addition, he will rely heavily

on sophomore post player

Olivia Hollenbeck, who started

as a freshman last year, as well

as junior small forward Tessa

Chicoine.

When asked what the keys to

yet another successful season

are, Orduna kept it simple: Stay

hungry and stay healthy.

The season will get underway

for Lincoln Christian on Dec. 1

against Fairbury.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Crusaders

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 28-2

Playoff Appearances: 20

Head Coach: Nick Orduna

Career Record: 244-156

The Malcolm girl’s basketball

squad is coming off an

impressive 2016-17 campaign,

in which the Clippers finished

22-4 and made an NSAA state

tournament appearance.

Under head coach Trudy

Samuelson, much of the same is

expected in 2017-18, as seven

letterwinners and a core of

seniors will be back on the court

for Malcolm.

Leading the charge for the

Clippers will be senior center

Jaela Zimmerman, who averaged

an impressive 9.4 points, 7.7

rebounds, 4 assists, and 4.4 steals

a contest last season.

She will be joined on the court by

fellow senior Chloe Schumacher,

who averaged 10.2 points and 3.5

rebounds a game as a junior.

Junior guard Brooklyn Minzel,

who averaged 7.1 points a game

last year, as well as juniors

McKenzie Teten and Kelsey

Brady will also be impact players

for Malcolm.

“Strong, confident, and

commanding guard play (will be

our keys to success),” Samuelson

said. “(We need to) develop a

bench and dominate in the post.”

The season opens up on Dec. 1

against Weeping Water.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Clippers

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 22-4

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Trudy Samuelson

70 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 71


MILFORDBOYS

For the Milford boy’s basketball

team, a number of positives were

seen during the 2016-17 season,

where the Eagles finished 18-6

under tenured head coach Tony

Muller.

Milford pushed for a state

tournament appearance, but fell

to eventual state champions

Bishop Neumann in the district

finals 67-61.

While plenty of success was seen

last year, there is a downside.

11 seniors graduated off that

team, leaving Muller with an

inexperienced squad for the

2017-18 campaign.

Only two letterwinners and a

pair of seniors will return for the

Eagles.

“Gaining varsity experience

will be important for the

underclassmen,” Muller said.

Taking on a leadership role this

season will be senior guard Jacob

Bitterman, who posted 8.8 points,

4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a

game during his junior year.

Joining Bitterman in the back court

will be junior guards Nate Mensik

and Bragan Meyer, while senior

forward Jesse Beel will look to do

some damage in the paint.

“We have smart basketball

players that play hard,” Muller

added. “Guard play will be our

strength early, with Jacob and

Nate as our leaders.”

The season tips off on Nov. 30

against Fillmore Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 18-6

Playoff Appearances: 16

Head Coach: Tony Muller

402-761-2110

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MILFORDGIRLS

Although the Milford girl’s

basketball team is coming off

a 10-11 season, the program is

likely to bounce back under head

coach Phil Stauffer.

Stauffer, who owns a career

81-68 record at the helm of

the program, returns nine

letterwinners this season, putting

the Eagles in a position to do

some damage during the 2017-18

campaign.

Another reason for optimism

for Milford is the return of Jayla

Policky, who averaged 8 points

and 7.7 rebounds a contest last

year before injuring her knee in

the eighth game of the season.

Policky will be joined on the

court by Sydney Bontrager,

who averaged 7.5 points and 7.5

rebounds a contest last season.

Tyra Asehoff, Ryleigh Ackerman,

Erika Rolene, and Nevaeh

Stauffer will all be players to

keep an eye on for the Eagles, as

well.

“Improvement on defense, along

with cutting down on turnovers

(will be the keys to success),”

Stuaffer said. “With the top

eight scorers all returning from

last year we hope to be more

consistent on offense and avoid

scoring droughts.”

The season gets underway for

Milford on Nov. 30 against

Fillmore Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 10-11

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Phil Stauffer

Career Record: 81-68

72 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 73


O’NeillBOYS

ON THE GO

The good news for the O’Neill

boy’s basketball squad is they are

coming off an impressive 2016-

17 campaign, in which the Eagles

went 23-3 before falling in the

NSAA state tournament to Bishop

Neumann.

The Eagles will be under the

direction of head coach Seth

Kallhoff, who is entering his

seventh season at the helm with a

103-50 record.

“Our goals are always the same,”

Kallhoff said. “We want to get

better every practice, compete each

and every game, and win all of our

tournaments.”

Leading the charge for O’Neill this

season will be a trio of seniors,

including point guard Justin

Appleby, who posted 12 points and

4 rebounds a game as a junior.

In addition, Kallhoff said he expects

fellow seniors Shayne Campbell and

Trevor Dempster, as well as juniors

Dennis Herrera and Francisco Perez

to see significant court time as well.

“This year we will rely on our

senior leadership. Justin, Alex, and

Wyatt have all been big pieces to

our recent success and they will be

looked upon to keep that level of

play going,” Kallhoff added. “We

will be looking for some newcomers

to step up and fill some very

important roles but we like the effort

they have put into their game in the

offseason. Shayne Campbell will

look to become a jack of all trades

because of his willingness to dive

for loose balls and get after all the

dirty work. That type of effort gets

everyone’s energy up in a positive

way and we will play better with

him on our team.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 23-3

Playoff Appearances: 18

Head Coach: Seth Kallhoff

Career Record: 103-50

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O’NeillGIRLS

The O’Neill girl’s basketball team

finished 14-11 last season, gaining

a lot of momentum throughout the

2016-17 campaign. The success

is a trend head coach Brock

Eichelberger is hoping to see

continue.

The Eagles bring back plenty of

experience in 2017-18, as nine

letterwinners and seven seniors will

return to the hardwood.

“This year we will have a lot of

veteran players coming back with

varsity experience from last season,”

Eichelberger said. “We also think

that the maturity of this team with

seven seniors will be a big key in

competing every night, especially

our big games.”

Leading the charge for the Eagles

will be senior point guard Samantha

Eichelberger, along with senior

guard Julia Bauer and junior Claire

Morrow.

Seniors Gabbie Scott, Aurora

Gutshall, and Morgan Fowler

will also play significant roles for

O’Neill come the start of the season.

“We really like this year’s team

because of what they bring to the

floor both mentally and physically.

In our conference you have to bring

that every single night in order

to compete against the best in the

state,” Eichelberger added. “We are

really excited about this year’s team,

not only because of our veteran

players that are coming back, but as

for our freshman and sophomores as

well who will be ready to perform at

a high level right from the start.”

The season will get underway on

Nov. 30 against Valentine.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 14-11

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Brock Eichelberger

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LINCOLN LUTHERANBOYS

FREEMANBOYS

The 2016-17 season featured

a series of highs and lows for

the Lincoln Lutheran boy’s

basketball squad, as the group

struggled to consistently add

marks to the win column.

The Warriors ended the campaign

12-11, but the 2017-18 campaign

brings plenty of optimism for head

coach Jason Glines, who will have

a core group of seniors returning.

Although only five letterwinners

are expected back on the roster,

six seniors will likely see action

come the start of the season.

Leading the charge will be senior

forward Logan Kreizel, who

posted 9 points, 4.3 rebounds,

and shot 39 percent from threepoint

land as a junior.

Senior guard Jacob Glines, who

averaged 6 points a game last

year, and senior Chase DeBusk

will also see significant run for

the Warriors.

“We have a good nucleus of

returning players and a group

of seniors who have worked

really hard,” Glines said. “We

should have pretty good depth

and athleticism. Keys to success

will be to play at a fast pace with

good defensive pressure. Most

importantly, love to play with

and for our teammates. If we

do that, we have a chance to be

really good.”

The season will get underway

for Lincoln Lutheran on Nov.

30 against Grand Island Central

Catholic.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Warriors

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 12-11

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Jason Glines

Career Record: 65-59

On the heels of a 15-10 campaign

in 2016-17, expectations are high

for the Freeman boy’s basketball

team.

As the Falcons enter the 2017-18

campaign led by head coach Jim

McLaughlin, plenty of experience

is expected back on the roster.

Nine letterwinners and five

seniors will return for Freeman,

led by Blake Kastanek, who

averaged 11 points during his

junior season.

Tyler Adams will also play a

crucial role for the Falcons, as

the junior is coming off a season

in which he averaged 11.6 points

and 4.4 rebounds a contest.

Seniors Lane Cacek, Jacob

Gramann, and Korey Beu will

all see significant run on the

hardwood, as well.

When asked what the keys

to a successful season are,

McLaughlin laid out his

blueprints for success. He said

building chemistry, developing

a work-hard mindset, and

developing pride in defense and

rebounding will determine how

far his team can go.

“We didn’t graduate any

seniors last year and inherited

a transfer in Logan Anderson,”

McLaughlin said. “Experience

won’t be an issue. This team

will need to experience learning

what it takes to win big games.

The tools are there to do so. I am

excited for the season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Falcons

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 15-10

Playoff Appearances: 9

Head Coach: Jim McLaughlin

LINCOLN LUTHERANGIRLS

FREEMANGIRLS

The Lincoln Lutheran girl’s

basketball squad struggled to find

consistency last season, finishing

the 2016-17 campaign with an

11-12 record under head coach

Rich Olson.

But a new season brings

optimism for the Warriors, as 10

letterwinners and four seniors are

expected back on the court for

Lincoln Lutheran in 2017-18.

The experienced group will be

led by senior forward Paige

Ravenscroft, who posted 14.7

points a contest her junior year.

Senior forward Mackenzie

Koepke will also be a key player,

after averaging 14.2 points a

game last season.

And keep an eye on fellow

senior Kayla Ernstmeyer, as well

as guard Gabby Mason, who

contributed 9.5 points a game in

2016-17.

Juniors Josie Puelz, Gretchen

Moll, and Ella Moll will also be

players to watch come the start of

the season.

When asked what aspects of

the game will lead to success

this season, Olson noted that

offensive consistency and

defensive intensity will be

mandatory for the Warriors to

compete in Class C-1.

The season tips off for Lincoln

Lutheran on Nov. 30 against

Grand Island Central Catholic.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Warriors

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 11-12

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Rich Olson

Even though the Freeman girl’s

basketball squad is coming off

an 11-14 season, the Falcons are

positioned to make an impact in

Class C-2.

Freeman will not only be

familiar with second year head

coach Kristin Kroeker, but eight

letterwinners are expected to

return to the hardwood.

Leading the charge for the

Falcons will be senior forward

Abby Mason, who after missing

most of her junior campaign

due to injury, will be looking

to make a name for herself in

2017-18.

Mason averaged 5.8 points and

5.8 rebounds a contest before

her injury.

Also expected to contribute is

senior guard Addison Dorn,

who posted 5.7 points a game

last year, and senior point guard

Brylie Hadwig.

“Our team needs to be willing to

get better everyday at practice,”

Kroeker said. “We need to

learn from our wins and losses.

We will need all members to

contribute to our team in order

to be successful.”

The Falcons will open the

season on Nov. 30 at home

against Palmyra.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Falcons

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 11-14

Playoff Appearances: 6

Head Coach: Kristin Kroeker

Career Record: 11-14

76 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 77


AINSWORTHGIRLS

TWIN RIVERGIRLS

The Ainsworth girl’s basketball

squad is coming off a difficult

season, finishing 3-17 during the

2016-17 campaign.

But a new season will bring a

fresh start for the Bulldogs, and

first year head coach Stephen

Crile will look to put the program

on the winning track.

“Coming in and taking over the

girl’s program the coaches and

I have stressed that we need to

log hours in the gym and in the

weight room,” Crile said. “The

girls have done a fantastic job

putting in work this summer,

and we look to see that help us

transition into conditioning and

practice once the season starts.”

The Bulldogs have some

experience returning, as six

letterwinners will be back on the

court come early December.

“We have also been stressing

togetherness, family, leadership,

and accountability. All successful

teams have this in some way,

shape, or form,” Crile added.

“This summer during our camps

we talked about shooting and

how our percentage of made

shots was not very good last year.

We only had five games where

we scored 40 or more points. We

want to change that this season.”

The season will get underway on

Dec. 1 against Ord.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 3-17

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Stephen Crile

The Twin River girl’s basketball

team was impressive in 2016-17,

going 18-7 before falling in the

C2-4 District Final to Howells-

Dodge.

But success for the Titans is

nothing new under tenured head

coach Jeff Morris, who boasts

a 160-56 record at the helm of

Twin River.

Experience will be lacking, as

only four letterwinners are slated

to return. However, the junior

varsity team went undefeated last

season for Twin River, prompting

Morris to believe the younger

players “will adjust quickly to

the speed of the varsity game.”

The Titans will rely heavily

on shooting guard Calista

Shanle, who returns for her

senior season, as well as juniors

Gabriella Wieck and Halle Konz.

Twin River will start the season

without post player Nina Parry,

as the senior tore her ACL and

isn’t expected back until January.

“We have a strong nucleus to

build around with Cali, Nina,

Gabi, and Halle,” Morris

said. “They have played a lot

of basketball for us, they are

talented, and they understand

our system of play. We can score

inside, and from the perimeter.

These kids are quick and are a

threat on the drive.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Titans

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 18-7

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Jeff Morris

Career Record: 160-56

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AMHERSTBOYS

SUPERIORBOYS

Fresh off an NSAA state tournament

appearance and a 23-4 campaign, the

Amherst boy’s basketball team will be

an exciting team to watch this season.

Under the leadership of head coach

Bill Giffin, who owns a 91-19 career

record with the program, the Broncos

return three senior starters and a

plethora of letterwinners.

However, all eyes will once again be

on talented senior forward Holden

Eckhout, who posted an impressive

16.2 points and 9.7 rebounds a contest

during his junior year.

“Holden Eckhout has been a key

player for us his entire career and we

know he will attract a lot of attention

from opponents,” Giffin said.

Also returning will be senior starters

Dakota Abbott and Grant Bergstrom,

both of which will play critical roles

alongside Eckhout.

“Dakota Abbott gives us size and

shot altering ability that changed

the landscape of games last year,”

Giffin added. “Grant Bergstrom gives

us some great leadership and looks

to build off his first year of being a

starter.”

Trevor Lockhorn, Riley Thomsen,

and Collen Jaixen will also be impact

players for the Broncos this season, as

the talented group looks to navigate its

way through Class C-2.

“Our schedule will be challenging,

as it appears to be more difficult than

past years with additional Class C

opponents,” Giffin said. “We look to

have a strong post presence and will

need to have additional perimeter

players step up to be competitive.

Overall, I believe we will be

competitive within our conference

and district and have great potential to

play into March.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Broncos

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 23-4

Playoff Appearances: 9

Head Coach: Bill Griffin

Career Record: 137-43

Coming off a 7-14 season, the

Superior boy’s basketball team

will look to get back on the

winning track and make some

noise in Class C-2.

However, the Wildcats will have to

find their bearings quickly under

head coach Luke Chadwell, as

only four returning letterwinners

and one senior are expected back

on the court.

“We will be a fairly inexperienced

team this season,” Chadwell said.

“Effort, execution, and gaining

experience are keys to this

season.”

Leading the charge for the

Wildcats will be junior McKinney

Edwards, who averaged 4 points,

3.6 rebounds, and 1 assist a game

last year.

Also looking to contribute will be

sophomore guard Hunter Healey,

who averaged 3.2 points per game

in 2016-17, and junior guard

Trenton Theis.

Adam Baker, Jaden Hanson, and

Adin Leibel will all be looking to

carve out significant roles for the

Wildcats as well.

Superior will open the season at

home on Dec. 2 against Republic

County.

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Team Name: Wildcats

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 7-14

Playoff Appearances: 15

Head Coach: Luke Chadwell

Career Record: 29-79

AMHERSTGIRLS

Coming off a 9-14 campaign that

saw plenty of ups and downs, the

Amherst girl’s basketball team will

look to make some waves in Class

C-2 during the 2017-18 campaign.

Under the leadership of second

year head coach Nathan Dietz, the

Broncos will return six letterwinners

to the court come late November.

That group will be led by senior

guard Emily Arnold, who posted 8.7

points and 2.1 assists per contest last

year.

Joining Arnold in the backcourt

will be junior Emily Palmer, who

averaged 6.7 points and 2.6 assists

per game her sophomore season.

Junior Taryn Hadwiger, who will

hold down the center position, will

also look to make a significant

impact after averaging 7.7 points

and 4.5 rebounds in 2016-17.

“We need to limit our turnovers

and have more confidence on the

offensive end of the court,” Dietz

said.

The Broncos will open the season

on Nov. 1 when they battle Ravenna.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Broncos

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 9-14

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Nathan Dietz

Career Record: 9-14

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ARCADIA-LOUP CITYBOYS

The good news for the Arcadia-

Loup City boys basketball

squad is they are coming off an

impressive 16-8 campaign.

The better news, however, is

experience will be abundant in

2017-18, as 11 letterwinners

are expected to return to the

hardwood this season.

The Rebels are led by head coach

Aaron Habe, and will look to

build off a successful season that

ended with a tight sub-district

loss to Amherst.

Forward Nolan Baker will look

to lead the senior-heavy roster,

after posting 14 points and six

rebounds a game last season.

Senior guard Tige Calleroz, who

averaged 8 rebounds and 5 steals

last year, and senior Macrae

Maschka will also be impact

players for the Rebels.

“Rebounding and consistent

shooting will be two of the

biggest factors,” Habe said. “We

believe as a team if we take care

of those two things then we can

definitely attain our goals for this

upcoming season.”

TEAM FACTS

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Team Name: Rebels

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 16-8

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Aaron Habe

Career Record: 37-35

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ARCADIA-LOUP CITYGIRLS

PERKINS COUNTYBOYS

The Arcadia-Loup City girl’s

basketball squad is coming off a

decent 2016-17 season, finishing

the campaign 11-10.

Trevor Wright will take over as

head coach for the Rebels during

the 2017-18 season.

While only five letterwinners are

expected to return for Arcadia-

Loup City, three starters will be

back on the roster, providing much

needed experience for the Rebels.

One of those returning starters

will be senior point guard

Kennedy Lewandowski, who

Wright calls “one of the biggest

strengths of the team”.

Joining Lewandowski on the

court will be senior forward

Kaylea Rasmussen, who posted

8.1 points per game as a junior.

Senior Kinley Krzycki will

also be a player to watch at the

guard position, as will forward

Mackenzie Dahlberg.

“I think we have a lot to offer

with our size and our perimeter

players. Our post players have

great size and ability to play

with other good posts,” Wright

said. “Our perimeter players are

learning how to play faster and

under control. I think we have

a lot to work on as individual

players, mostly just the repetition

of basic fundamentals. We have

some good experience coming

back but there are some young

girls that will have to step up

and play key varsity minutes this

year.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Rebels

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 11-10

Head Coach: Trevor Wright

The biggest advantage the

Perkins County boy’s basketball

squad possesses heading into the

2017-18 season is experience,

both on the court and on the

sidelines.

The Plainsmen return nine

letterwinners to the hardwood

following a 14-11 campaign, and

long-tenured head coach Shawn

Cole will once again be at the

helm.

Cole has coached over 200

games for Perkins County.

The group will be led by four

seniors, including guard Josh

Johnston, who posted 12 points

and 4 rebounds a game last year.

Big man Charles Johnson will

also return after averaging 11

points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals a

contest in 2016-17.

Fellow seniors Michael Beck

and Tyson Patrick, in addition to

junior guard Spencer Ross, will

also carve out a significant role

for the Plainsmen.

When asked what the keys to

success for the upcoming season

are, Cole was straightforward.

“Getting through football without

major injury, competing in

practice to prepare for games,

(and the) kids’ drive to win

games,” he said.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Plainsmen

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 14-11

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Shawn Cole

Career Record: 97-111

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CAMBRIDGEGIRLS

SOUTHWESTBOYS

The Cambridge girl’s basketball

team was impressive during the

2016-17 season, cruising to a

20-4 record before falling in the

first round of the NSAA state

tournament.

Under the direction of head coach

Jarod Albers, who owns a 39-10

record at the helm of the program,

the Trojans are hoping for another

successful run as the 2017-18

campaign approaches.

Albers will have seven

letterwinners and three seniors

back on the court this season.

Although, it will likely be a pair

of sophomores leading the charge

for Cambridge.

Guard Korynn Clason will return

for her sophomore season after

averaging 15 points a contest as a

freshman, in addition to earning

second team all-conference honors.

Fellow sophomore guard Shaye

Porter will also be an impact

player for the Trojans, as will

senior Kati Moore.

Katelynn Benson and Baylee

Miller, both of whom are seniors,

will also see significant run come

the start of the season.

“We have a lot of people returning

that have played, but some are

going to be asked to pick up

some pretty important roles this

season,” Albers said. “I think we

have the capability to be good, we

just need to settle into a plan and

people need to buy into what they

are being asked to do.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Trojans

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 20-4

Playoff Appearances: 14

Head Coach: Jarod Albers

Career Record: 39-10

On the heels of a 14-11

campaign which featured

a NSAA state tournament

appearance and a five-game

winning streak, the Southwest

boy’s basketball squad will look

to keep building momentum in

2017-18.

Under first-year head coach

Christian Arterburn, the

Roughriders return only four

letterwinners and two seniors.

“We have some big shoes to

fill after graduating three big

starters,” Arterburn said.

There will be talent on the

roster, however, as senior

Logan Greenlee, who posted

6.2 points and 1.3 steals a game

last year will return at the guard

position.

Joining him will be fellow

senior guard Derek Greenlee,

who averaged 8.2 points a

contest last year.

Juniors Blake Williams and

Dylan Hofman will also be

impact players for Southwest

come the start of the season.

“We need to establish a game

inside the paint,” Arterburn

said of the keys to success

this season. “We should be

pretty quick and athletic. (But)

defense will be the key to

success this season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Roughriders

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 14-11

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Christian Arterburn

SOUTHWESTGIRLS

The bad news for the Southwest

girl’s basketball team is the 2016-

17 season didn’t go as planned,

as the Roughriders finished the

campaign with a 6-15 record.

The good news, however, is

that invaluable experienced was

gained, as seven letterwinners are

expected to return for head coach

Tersen Arnold.

“After only losing one senior to

graduation, we have almost our

entire team returning,” Arnold

said. “We will need to rely on

that experience this season as we

face a difficult schedule featuring

a number of quality teams.”

The Roughriders will be led by

junior guard Nicole Dewey, who

posted an impressive 10 points,

10.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per

game last year.

Senior forwards Bailee Springer,

who averaged 4.4 points a

game last season, and Ashley

Kragelund will also be key

contributors.

Senior Destiney Ebert, and

juniors Cara Oltmer and Caitlyn

Smith will also look to carve out

significant roles for Southwest.

“Offensively, shot selection and

limiting turnovers will be key,”

Arnold said. “Defensively, we

need to keep our opponents first

shot shooting percentage low

while finishing possessions with

rebounds.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Roughriders

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 6-15

Head Coach: Tersen Arnold

Career Record: 19-66

84 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 85


DONIPHAN-TRUMBULLBOYS

Coming off a season in which

the Doniphan-Trumbull boy’s

basketball squad posted the

second best record in school

history, expectations are high

heading into the new campaign.

Led by third-year head coach

Kelan Buhr, the Cardinals will

return nine letterwinners from

last year’s team, including three

starters. Senior Logan Schuldt

will look to carry the bulk of the

load after averaging 12.2 points,

5.7 assists, and 2.4 steals a game

as a junior.

Senior Bret Jonson, a three-year

starter who posted 10.7 points

a game last year, and junior

Triston Stephens will also be key

contributors for the Cardinals this

season.

“We return a great deal of

experience and depth at the guard

position. We will feature some

new faces in the post and once

again look to play an exciting, uptempo

style of basketball,” Buhr

said. “However, our defensive

mentality and ability to rebound

the basketball will dictate how

truly good this team can be.”

The Cardinals open the season on

Dec. 1 on the road against Blue

Hill.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 17-8

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Kelan Buhr

Career Record: 28-22

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DONIPHAN-TRUMBULLGIRLS

The Doniphan-Trumbull girl’s

basketball squad is coming off

an 8-14 season, and although

the record doesn’t stand out,

valuable experience was gained

both on the sidelines and on the

court.

The Cardinals now enter year

two under head coach Jeff

Keasling, who spent the 2016-

17 season getting his bearings at

the head of the program.

With six returning letterwinners

due back this year, Doniphan-

Trumbull will look to keep

progressing and make some

noise in Class C-2.

A player to watch for the

Cardinals is sophomore guard

Katie Roach, who posted

9 points and 4 assists as a

freshman.

Senior Zoe Ballard, as well

as junior Bailey Williams will

need to play significant roles for

Keasling this season.

Logan Poppe, Kalee Wiltfong,

and Tristan Larsen will also see

a lot of minutes in 2017-18.

“We are a smaller team both in

size and numbers. It is important

for us to be extremely sound

and disciplined defensively,”

Keasling said. “Last season

eight of our 14 losses were by

single digits, with three of them

coming at the buzzer. We have

to figure out how to close those

50/50 games out.”

The season will get underway

for the Cardinals on Dec. 1

against Blue Hill.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 8-14

Head Coach: Jeff Keasling

Career Record: 8-14

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CENTENNIALBOYS

SOUTHERN VALLEYBOYS

For most teams, repeating the

success of a 22-4 campaign can

be difficult. However, that is

exactly what head coach Cam

Scholl and the Centennial boy’s

basketball squad will attempt to

do during the 2017-18 season.

The Broncos impressed last

year, dominating the regular

season in Class C-2 before

falling to Ponca in the NSAA

state playoffs.

But with seven letterwinners

returning, Centennial has a

unique opportunity to put

together another impressive

campaign.

“We will need to develop

some depth at the start of the

season,” Scholl said. “Our goal

is to win our next game and be

playing our best at the end of the

season.”

The Broncos will be led by

junior guard Jack Hirschfeld,

who is coming off an all-state

selection after averaging 18

points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists

last season.

Senior forward Heath

Haberman, junior guard Wyatt

Ehlers, and sophomore forward

Joel Bargen will also return to

the court for the Broncos as

impact players.

Centennial will open the season

on Nov. 30 when they battle

David City.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Broncos

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 22-4

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Cam Scholl

Career Record: 51-41

The Southern Valley boy’s

basketball squad is coming off

a solid 2016-17 season, which

featured the Eagles finishing

14-11 under head coach Tylor

Fincher, who owns a 75-42

career coaching record.

However, with a new campaign

ready to begin, Southern Valley

is preparing to do some damage

in Class C-2, and push into the

NSAA state tournament.

To reach that goal, the Eagles

will have to rely heavily on

senior guard Chaston Burgeson.

Complimenting Burgeson on the

court will be senior post player

Kade Bose, who was able to turn

some heads as a junior last year.

Billie Paine, Ryder Lewis, Gabe

Haase, and Jaden Quinn will

also look to contribute once the

season gets underway for the

Eagles.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 14-11

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Tylor Fincher

Career Record: 75-42

CENTENNIALGIRLS

SOUTHERN VALLEYGIRLS

For the Centennial girl’s basketball

squad, growing pains are expected

during the 2017-18 season.

The Broncos are coming off a

7-17 campaign, which featured a

mid-season coaching change as

head coach Jake Polk took over

with 13 games remaining.

Now, Polk will enter his first

full year at the helm, but will

do so with a very inexperienced

roster that contains six returning

letterwinners and only one senior.

“I believe that in order for us

to have a successful season, we

need to expedite the development

of our youthful team,” Polk said.

“With only one senior on the

roster, we will need to have some

young players kick in a lot of

minutes this year.”

One of those players will be

sophomore Kaitlyn Fehlhafer,

who averaged 4.7 points, 5.4

rebounds, and recorded 37 blocks

as a freshman.

Junior guard Brooklyn Gierhan,

who averaged 9.4 points and 5.1

rebounds last year, as well as

sophomore Hunter Hartshorn, will

also see significant playing time.

“I’m excited about the group

we have coming back and I’m

grateful that I’m being given

the opportunity to lead the girls

basketball program,” Polk said.

“At the end of the year, we want

to be playing our best basketball

so that we can give our best shot

to whomever we play in subdistricts

and take it one game at a

time from there.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Broncos

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 7-17

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Jake Polk

Career Record: 4-9

The 2016-17 season brought a

lot of success for the Southern

Valley girl’s basketball team,

as the group went 14-10 before

a 52-40 loss in the district

tournament.

And although head coach Jeff

Ellis has five letterwinners

returning on the heels of a

successful campaign, he said that

leadership will define the Eagles

this season.

“With this group, we need to

develop leadership both on and

off the court,” Ellis said. “That

leadership needs to help build

positive relationships between

our upper and lower classmen.”

Ellis will likely look to a trio of

seniors to lead, as forwards Cassi

Bose, Becca Lennemann, and

Halle Linner will all return to the

court.

Bose is the leading returning

scorer after averaging 13 points a

game last year.

“Offensively, we need girls to

step up in new roles and be able

to contribute on a consistent

level,” Ellis added. “Defensively,

we need to be able to apply

pressure both in the front court

and the half court, depending on

the situation.”

Southern Valley will open the

season on Nov. 30 when they

travel to Minden.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 14-10

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Jeff Ellis

Career Record: 75-109

88 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 89


CENTURABOYS

The Centura boy’s basketball

squad finished the 2016-17

campaign with a 13-11 record,

marking a special occurrence

for the Centurions — it was the

first time in 14 years the program

finished with a winning record in

back-to-back seasons.

Now, with a new season

approaching, head coach Dave

Oman will look to keep building

momentum and do some damage

in Class C-2.

Eight letterwinners return for

Centura, including three seniors.

Forward Dawson Caspersen will

lead the charge, after posting

11.3 points and 7 rebounds a

game last year, while earning an

all-conference selection.

Oman will also look for big

things out of junior guard

Ben Oman, who posted 10.3

points and 4.9 rebounds as a

sophomore.

Junior Joe Carey, and seniors

Willy Packer and Payton Dowse

will also play major roles as the

season progresses.

“We have four starters that are

returning, and if we can stay

healthy and out of foul trouble,

we could have a really nice

year,” Oman said. “For us to

be really successful we need to

improve defensively, become

better rebounders, play hard, and

of course, play together.”

Centura will open the season on

Dec.1 against Sandy Creek.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Centurions

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 13-11

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Dave Oman

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HIGHLIGHTS • INTERVIEWS • ANALYSIS

CENTURAGIRLS

Although the Centura girl’s

basketball team finished 7-17

last year, the Centurions have

a good chance of having a

bounce-back season in 2017-18.

Under head coach Jeff Thober,

Centura will return four starters

to the hardwood, including

senior post player Emily

Krolikowski.

Krolikowski averaged an

impressive 15.3 points and 7.3

rebounds a game last year.

Also contributing on the court

alongside Krolikowski will be a

trio of guards – Sam Simdorn,

Kaliegh Johnson, and Brooklyn

Hostetler.

Freshman Morgan Semm is also

expected to make an impact

in her first year on the varsity

roster.

“We will be a much improved

team from last season,” Thober

said. “Our team has a nice mix

of upperclassmen as well as

young players that will all help

contribute to our success.”

Centura will tip off the season

on Dec. 1 against Sandy Creek.

TEAM FACTS

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Team Name: Centurions

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 7-17

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Jeff Thober

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DILLER-ODELLBOYS

ON THE GO

The 2016-17 season didn’t go

as planned for the Diller-Odell

boy’s basketball team, as the

group finished 10-15 under

head coach Eric McMurray.

But a new campaign brings a

clean slate, and the Griffins

will look to make some noise in

Class C-2 come late November.

However, Diller-Odell will

have to achieve its goals with a

relatively inexperienced roster,

with only five letterwinners

expected back on the court.

Peyton Mohr will look to play a

significant role for the Griffins

this season, as will Shane

Sutton. Both Sutton and Mohr

will be seniors this year.

In addition, juniors William

McLaughlin, Bryston Warren,

and Ryan Arnold will see plenty

of action once the 2017-18

campaign gets underway.

“We need to develop consistent

scoring,” McMurray said. “I

feel we have four or five guys

that can score in double figures

on any given night. We cannot

depend on one or two people to

do our scoring.”

Diller-Odell will open the

season on Nov. 30 against

Pawnee City.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Griffins

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 10-15

Head Coach: Eric McMurray

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DILLER-ODELLGIRLS

The Diller-Odell girl’s basketball

team will have some added

motivation in 2017-18, as the

Class C-2 runners-up came

within nine points of winning a

state championship last season.

However, the upcoming campaign

will feature a new-look Griffins

team, as five senior starters

graduated. Although the group will

be youthful, head coach John Mohr

has still set expectations high.

“I do not consider this to be a total

rebuilding year,” Mohr said. “Three

letterwinners return, along with

a good nucleus of young players,

which will mostly make-up the

sophomore and freshman classes.”

Mohr added he expects big things

out of junior Kirsten Bures, as

well as senior Hayley Denner.

Mackenzie Vitosh, Camaryn

Gydesen, Emily Swanson, and

Haley Jones will also look to

carve out significant roles come

the start of the season.

“I feel that we may be strongest

inside the paint to begin the

season, with veterans such as

Denner and Vitosh the potential

starters,” Mohr said. “I believe

that if we can find some

consistent guard play that we

may be formidable by the second

half of the upcoming season.”

“As usual, our schedule has

many tough challenges,” Mohr

added. “Like last year we hope

to be playing sound, fundamental

basketball by the time mid-

February rolls around.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Griffins

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 22-5

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: John Mohr

Career Record: 166-152

92 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 93


CROSS COUNTYBOYS

An impressive 19-7 campaign

ended in heartbreak for the Cross

County boy’s basketball squad

last season, as the group fell by

two points in the first round of

the playoffs.

The Cougars, led by head coach

Dan Conway, will look to push

even further this year, but will

have to do it with a new-look

roster.

“With seven seniors graduating

last year, we will have a lot of

inexperienced players,” Conway

said. “We worked extremely hard

in the off season and showed a

lot of progress throughout the

summer.”

With only three letterwinners

expected on the roster, one

familiar face will be returning

point guard Colton Beebe, who

posted an impressive 12 points,

4.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds a

game last year.

He will be joined by fellow

seniors Kalin Gabriel and Lane

Kelley, rounding out the senior

class for the Cougars.

“We need guys to continue to

step into new roles as leaders,

scorers, and defenders,”

Conway added. “Our size is also

somewhat limited, so we will

have to play bigger than we are.”

The season will get underway

on Nov. 30 when Cross County

hosts McCool Junction.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cougars

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 19-7

Head Coach: Dan Conway

Career Record: 78-67

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CROSS COUNTYGIRLS

The Cross County girl’s

basketball squad will have a

new look to it during the 2017-

18 campaign, as only four

letterwinners return for the

Cougars this season.

Under head coach Mitch Boshart,

the group will look to gain

familiarity with one another

quickly, and make some noise in

Class C-2.

“To be successful this season we

will have to fill roles and adjust

to a new group on the court

playing with each other,” Boshart

said. “We lost a majority of our

points, rebounds, and minutes

played due to graduation, so we

will find out early who wants to

step up and fill spots.”

The Cougars will likely rely

heavily on senior guard Lexi

Eller, who averaged 6 points and

3.7 rebounds a game last year.

In addition, Mackinzie Cole,

Sam Theis, and Emily Noyd will

play significant roles for Cross

County.

“Even though we aren’t returning

very much in the form of

minutes, we have some girls that

have been in the system for the

last two years, and we also had

some freshmen and sophomores

step up this summer and showed

us that they can play,” Boshart

added. “Our schedule, both in

and out of conference, is loaded

with great competition, so we

will have to be prepared for

tough ballgames night in and

night out.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cougars

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 11-11

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Mitch Boshart

Career Record: 15-27

FEBRUARY 9-25, 2018

94 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 95


HUMBOLDT-TABLE ROCK-STEINAUERBOYS

SOUTHERNBOYS

Coming off a 9-14 campaign,

the key word for the Humboldt-

Table Rock-Steinauer boy’s

basketball squad this season will

be leadership.

It all starts with head coach Taylor

Dunekacke, who will be entering

his first year at the helm of the

program.

In addition, with only four

letterwinners returning, leadership

roles will have to be filled by

athletes on the Titans squad if

the group plans on making some

noise come early December.

“We will need someone to step

up and take a leadership role,”

Dunekacke said. “We will have a

lot of guys playing varsity for the

first time.”

HTRS will rely heavily on junior

guard Hunter Hain Jr, who posted

7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds a

game last season.

In addition, senior forward Hunter

Sherman, who averaged 6.2 points

and 6.4 rebounds as a junior, and

Connor Bredemeier Jr. will look

to play keys roles.

“If these guys can adjust quickly,

we can be successful,” Dunekacke

added. “We will need to improve

our defense and limit our

turnovers.”

The season tips off for the Titans

on Dec. 1 against Diller-Odell.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Titans

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 9-14

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Taylor Dunekacke

The Southern boy’s basketball

team showed growth during the

2016-17 campaign, finishing

the year with a 13-12 record

after starting 3-6.

Under head coach Zack

Emerson, the Raiders will look

to continue building momentum

within the program in 2017-18,

but will have to do so with a

fairly young squad.

Only two seniors, guard Dalton

Traunericht and forward Trevin

Saathoff, will return to the

hardcourt this season.

This means Southern will have

to rely on a pair of juniors,

Drake Adams and Nick Lyons,

to shoulder some of the load.

In addition, sophomores Nic

Zito and Braden Klover will

have to step into bigger roles

once the season gets underway.

When asked what the keys to a

successful season are, Emerson

laid out his recipe for success.

“Building off of last year’s

success, younger players taking

the next step, and leadership,”

Emerson said.

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Team Name: Raiders

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 13-12

Head Coach: Zack Emerson

Career Record: 27-42

HUMBOLDT-TABLE ROCK-STEINAUERGIRLS

SOUTHERNGIRLS

The 2016-17 season didn’t

produce much in the way of

wins for the Humboldt-Table

Rock-Steinauer girl’s basketball

squad, as the Titans finished the

campaign 4-18.

However, last year did provide

a young team some valuable

experience, which is a benefit for

first-year head coach Trent Platt.

If HTRS hopes to make some

noise in Class C-2 this season,

a group of seniors will have to

contribute.

Platt will be looking toward

Amber Blank, Rebecca Watson,

Camille Svoboda, and Bre

Reyes to provide some veteran

leadership for the Titans this

season.

Juniors Bella Vasco and Matilyn

Stalder, as well as sophomore

Carissa Allen, will play key roles

as well.

“The key to our success is

going to be how good the girls

want to be,” Platt said. “We

had a great summer, playing

almost 30 games. We have our

top scorers back that can shoot

from everywhere. Defense and

rebounding is always important

for success, and we have the girls

to do that.”

The Titans open the season on

Dec. 1 against Diller-Odell.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Titans

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 4-18

Head Coach: Trent Platt

Career Record: 4-18

Fresh off an 11-13 season, the

Southern girl’s basketball team

will look to continue taking steps

in the right direction in Class C-2

this year.

The Raiders will be led by head

coach Jeff Murphy, and will

have eight letterwinners and one

senior returning to the court in

2017-18.

Leading that group will be junior

forward Maria Murphy, who

averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds

a contest as a sophomore.

Junior guard Jayme Ullman will

also be a player to watch after

posting 4 points and 3 rebounds a

game, while racking up a total of

31 steals last season.

Fellow junior Shelbe Rainey, and

sophomores Claire Hookstra,

Allee Jo Wieden, and Kambree

Singleton will also look to play

significant roles for the Raiders

this year.

“We will need to score in

transition and push the tempo

as we are not great scorers from

the outside,” Murphy said.

“Utilizing post play will be a

key factor. Pressure defense to

keep the score down will also be

something we must do. We have

depth and we hope to use that to

our advantage.”

The season will get underway on

Dec. 1 against Palmyra.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Raiders

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 11-13

Head Coach: Jeff Murphy

96 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 97


NELIGH-OAKDALEBOYS

The good news for the Neligh-

Oakdale boys basketball squad

is it is coming off an outstanding

2016-17 season, in which the

Warriors finished 26-4 and

runner up at the NSAA state

tournament.

The bad news, however, is

only three letterwinners return

for head coach Frank Gade,

meaning Neligh-Oakdale will

have to regroup for the 2017-18

campaign.

The Warriors will look to two

youngsters to carry the load, as

power forward Austin Rice and

point guard Cole Belitz will be

relied on heavily by Gade.

“(The keys to a successful

season) are carrying success

forward and stepping into new

roles,” Gade said. “Building

throughout the year will be

crucial.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Warriors

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 26-4

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Frank Gade

Career Record: 81-89

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WEST HOLTBOYS

The 2016-17 season was an

impressive one for the West

Holt boy’s basketball squad, as

the group went 16-10 before

falling in the second round of

subdistricts.

The Huskies are back this

season under the leadership

of tenured head coach Todd

Hale, and will have plenty of

depth to draw from with 10

letterwinners returning to the

court.

The veteran group will be led

by senior point guard Bryce

Kerkman, who posted 16.8 points

per game last season.

Shooting guard Mason Hale, who

averaged 13.3 points a game, and

small forward Shayden Neptune

will also be major contributors.

Kooper Jelinek, Dylan Wieneke,

and Blake Hilkemeier will also

look to carve out significant

roles.

“We hope to be healthy at the

start of the season and have a

good start,” Hale said. “The

majority of our C-1 and C-2

games are early in the year. I

think balance will be a key with

this year’s team.”

West Holt will open the season

on Dec. 1 on the road against

Creighton.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 16-10

Playoff Appearances: 16

Head Coach: Todd Hale

Career Record: 151-193

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WEST HOLTGIRLS

The West Holt girl’s basketball

squad is coming off an impressive

2016-17 season, finishing with

a 16-8 record and losing in the

district final to Crofton.

Entering a new campaign,

expectations are high under head

coach Mike Pardun, as plenty of

experience is set to return to the

court.

Nine letterwinners will be back

on the roster for the Huskies,

including senior guard Bailey

Kraus and senior forward Jenae

Osborne.

Junior forward Carlie Wetzel will

also play a significant role for

West Holt come early December.

“We return a lot of experience

and chemistry,” Pardun said. “We

will need to develop consistency

on the offensive end. We play

in a very tough Niobrara Valley

Conference where we will need

to compete at a high level every

night.”

The season gets underway for the

Huskies on Dec. 1 on the road

against Creighton.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 16-8

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Mike Pardun

100 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 101


NEBRASKA CHRISTIANBOYS

The Nebraska Christian boy’s

basketball squad has one major

advantage working in its favor as

the 2017-18 season approaches –

familiarity.

Last season, the Eagles managed to

go 11-12 with only one senior on

the roster and a new head coach.

Now, the group returns eight

letterwinners, and head coach

Paul McHargue has a year of

experience under his belt at the

helm of the program.

The success of Nebraska

Christian and the team’s ability

to make some noise in Class C-2

will largely depend on the play of

a pair of seniors.

Guard Ben Griess, as well as

Brennan Nokelby, will be key

players for the Eagles and Coach

McHargue.

“Last year we were a young team

with only one senior and me as

a first year coach, so now this

year we have a very solid group

of seniors with experience so I

am looking forward to this year

as I think we can do well in our

conference,” McHargue said.

“Also this is an incredible group

of young men to coach and I get

the joy of working with them.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 11-12

Playoff Appearances: 0

Head Coach: Paul McHargue

Career Record: 11-12

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NEBRASKA CHRISTIANGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was a

successful one for the Nebraska

Christian girl’s basketball team, as

the Eagles finished 15-7 under first

year head coach Erin Mankin.

Now, in her second year at the helm

of the program, Mankin expects big

things out of her squad this year,

with a core group of experienced

players returning to the court.

Leading the charge will be senior

guard Claire Ostrand, who has

started for the Eagles for the

past three years, and averaged

13.4 points a contest last season.

She also received first team allconference

honors.

Another athlete to watch this

season is senior guard Corryn

Falk, who has two years of starting

experience and averaged 8.6 points

and 6 rebounds a game as a junior.

Juniors Adrienne Falk and Carsyn

Ostrand will also be impact players

for the Eagles once the season tips

off.

“I am excited for this season. We

have the opportunity to coach

a bunch of great girls. They are

very competitive and athletic

and will be coming off a very

successful volleyball season,”

Mankin said. “They are a group

of girls that work hard and

enjoy playing with each other.

We will look to get better every

game this year. We will look to

play hard and smart every game

and practice. Most importantly

we will look to grow in Jesus

Christ as coaches and players

and honor Him in our efforts and

performances.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 15-7

Head Coach: Erin Mankin

FEBRUARY 4, 2018

102 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 103


RAVENNABOYS

While a 7-15 season may not

seem overly impressive, the

Ravenna boy’s basketball squad

made huge strides during the

2016-17 season after winning

only one game the year before.

With seven letterwinners and

two seniors back on the roster

for head coach James Habe, the

Bluejays will look to continue

their momentum in 2017-18 and

make their presence felt in Class

C-2.

The group will be led by

impressive senior center Josh

Bauer, who posted 15.9 points

and 12.1 rebounds a contest last

season.

Joining Bauer on the hardwood

will be sophomore guard Jake

Jarzynka, who averaged 9.1

points a contest, and junior

guard Caleb Mundorf.

Senior Kade Lockhorn, Kooper

Schirmer, Jaden Lewandowski,

and Markel Miigerl will all

look to play big roles for the

Bluejays.

“We will need to become more

consistent shooters,” Habe said.

“We will also need to play at a

fast tempo and allow our defense

to help create offense for us.”

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Team Name: Bluejays

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 7-15

Playoff Appearances: 26

Head Coach: James Habe

Career Record: 42-89

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RAVENNAGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was an

impressive one for the Ravenna

girl’s basketball squad, as the

Bluejays finished the year

with a 23-5 record and a third

place finish at the NSAA state

tournament. A solid year is again

expected under head coach Noah

Maulsby.

Leading that group will be junior

point guard Jordyn Fiddelke, who

posted 16.1 points and 3.4 steals

a game last year on her way to a

second team all-state selection.

Senior Brooklyn Fiddelke will

also be a key piece to the Bluejay

roster, after averaging 9.6 points

a contest as a junior.

Junior Mckenna Schmidt

and senior Megan Miigerl,

who earned second team allconference

honors last year, will

also play significant roles for

Maulsby.

But even with a strong core

returning, Maulsby said it is

likely the younger, up-andcoming

athletes will determine

how far Ravenna can go.

“Bringing back four starters

should make us competitive, but

it will be key for some of our

underclassmen and newcomers to

provide depth,” he said. “It will

be important for us to bring some

of our young post players along

because we are undersized, but I

see a lot of potential. We have a

good core group of players that

have worked hard. The season

should be a fun one as long as

we can stay healthy and learn to

settle into our roles.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bluejays

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 23-5

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Noah Maulsby

Career Record: 85-42

104 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 105


SHELBY-RISING CITYBOYS

If the Shelby-Rising City boy’s

basketball squad has hopes to

improve on a 7-16 season, their

head coach knows exactly what

areas his team will need to excel.

“We aren’t a very big team,

so we will have to rely on our

speed and quickness,” Shelby-

Rising City Head Coach Grant

Gabel said. “We will try multiple

things defensively to create easy

transition buckets.”

The Huskies will also need a

number of young athletes to fill

big roles, as only five returning

letterwinners and one senior are

expected back on the roster.

Leading the charge will be

junior guard Austin Coffin, who

posted 10.6 points a contest his

sophomore season.

Complimenting Coffin on the

court will be senior Brendon

Johnston, who averaged 5.7

points a game last year, as well

as junior Max Hoatson.

And keep an eye on sophomore

Jett Pinneo, who could be poised

for a breakout season after a solid

freshman campaign.

“We could have a very successful

year if we get off to a good

start and keep getting better

defensively,” Gabel said. “Our

younger kids will need to become

consistent shooters and improve

as a team each game.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 7-16

Head Coach: Grant Gabel

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SHELBY-RISING CITYGIRLS

After a 2-6 start to the 2016-17

campaign, the Shelby-Rising

City girl’s basketball team

rallied to finish 11-12, falling to

Centennial in the C2-8 district

tournament to close the season.

Entering a new year, head

coach Turner Trofholz is hoping

that momentum can continue,

and will rely on five returning

letterwinners and four seniors to

make it happen.

The Huskies will be led by

senior center Sydney Adams,

who averaged an impressive 14.1

points and 6.5 rebounds a game

last year.

Point guard Emily Neujahr will

also be an impact player, after

averaging 6.5 points a contest her

junior season.

Clare Kohl, Kamryn Pokorney,

and transfer Cassie Carraway

will have significant roles, as

well.

“We are going to have to shoot

the ball well this season to try

and open the floor up to prevent

teams from setting up zone

defense,” Trofholz said. “We will

need some young players to step

up to help on all levels. We need

seniors to be leaders and accept

their roles.”

The Huskies open the season on

Dec. 1 against Cross County.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 11-12

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Turner Trofholz

Career Record: 75-68

106 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 107


HASTINGS ST. CECILIABOYS

Success is nothing new for

the Hastings St. Cecilia boy’s

basketball squad, and the 2016-

17 campaign was no different.

The Bluehawks finished the

season with a 22-6 record and a

third place finish at the NSAA

state tournament under tenured

head coach Kevin Asher.

As a new season approaches, the

Bluehawks will look to stay on

the winning track, and are in a

position to do just that with eight

letterwinners and six seniors set

to return.

Asher will rely heavily on senior

center Blane Boyd, who averaged

13.2 points and 5.4 rebounds his

junior season.

Senior point guard Trey Asher,

who posted 7.2 points a contest

last year, and guard Grant Farmer

will also be key contributors for

the Bluehawks this season.

Seniors Myles Furman, Joe

Carey, and Chris Weidt will play

large roles, as well, come late

November.

When asked what the keys to

another impressive season are,

Asher laid out his recipe for

success.

“How we defend, can we get

multiple stops,” Asher said.

“Being able to finish and win

close games, and developing post

depth.”

The Bluehawks will open the

season on Nov. 30 against

Scotus.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bluehawks

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 22-6

Playoff Appearances: 22

Head Coach: Kevin Asher

Career Record: 398-168

FEBRUARY 4, 2018

FEBRUARY 9-25, 2018

HASTINGS ST. CECILIAGIRLS

The Hastings St. Cecilia

girl’s basketball squad had an

impressive showing during the

2016-17 season, finishing 17-7

under first-year head coach Greg

Berndt.

Now in his second year, Berndt

and the Hawkettes will look to

push all the way to the NSAA

state championship, and keep

building momentum with three

starters expected back on the

court.

Hastings St. Cecilia will welcome

back senior guard Kameron

Kissinger, as well as juniors Lexi

Vertin and Gracie Daly, all of

whom have starting experience.

In addition, juniors Kate Landgren

and Lauren Parr, and sophomores

Makenna Asher, Tori Thomas, and

Chloe McCauley are all expected

to do big things this season.

However, even with some

experience back on the roster,

Berndt said some young athletes

will have to fill big roles if the

Hawkettes plan to navigate a

challenging schedule.

“We still have a young roster, but

one that is talented and has state

tournament experience,” Berndt

said. “A good core is back to

take on leadership roles, which

is key with a tough schedule

and conference. A challenging

schedule will help prepare us for

district play, and as our young

team adapts to varsity action, the

sky is the limit for this group in

C-2.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Hawkettes

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 17-7

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Greg Berndt

Career Record: 17-7

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SUTTONBOYS

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The Sutton boy’s basketball

squad is coming off a solid 2016-

17 season, which featured a 15-8

record and the Mustangs winning

10 of their final 13 games.

Under head coach Jon Ladenhoff,

Sutton will look to keep building

momentum in the 2017-18

campaign.

The group will be led by three

returning starters, including

senior guard Nathan Hohensee,

who posted 7.8 points and 2.4

assists a game last year.

Junior forward Seth George,

who averaged 7.8 points and 5.1

rebounds his sophomore season,

will be a player to watch, as well.

Senior forward Casey Van Kirk

also brings starting experience

to the roster, and Samuel Nuss,

Jordan Davis, and Garrett Nuss

will be asked to play substantial

minutes.

“We have a good mix of seniors

and juniors who have worked

well together over the past two

years,” Ladenhoff said. “They

work extremely hard and have

put in a lot of time to get better.

We have a tough schedule, and

we hope to be competitive as we

go throughout the season.”

The season will get underway for

Sutton on Dec. 1 against Friend.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 15-8

Playoff Appearances: 29

Head Coach: Jon Ladehoff

Career Record: 15-8

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SUTTONGIRLS

Fresh off a 12-12 season, the

Sutton girl’s basketball squad

will have to gain familiarity with

each other quickly if they plan on

being competitive in Class C-2.

The Mustangs will not only be

young in 2017-18, featuring just

one senior on the roster, but there

will also be a new face on the

sideline.

Kyle Bottom takes over the

head coaching responsibilities

for Sutton, and will have to rely

heavily on a large junior class to

be successful.

Players from that junior class to

keep an eye on include Maddie

Nuss, Natalie Dunn, Lacey

Freking, Logan Majors, and

Abby Osterhaus.

Lone senior Alyssa Schurman

will also be an impact player for

the Mustangs come the start of

the season.

“The key to a successful season

will be blending personalities

and skill sets in a short amount

of time,” Bottom said. “With

only one senior and an all

new coaching staff, it will be

important for us to adapt quickly

to playing together as a cohesive

group. This summer served as

a step in the right direction, but

the first few weeks of the season

will be vital in continuing that

transition.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 12-12

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Kyle Bottom

110 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 111


WOOD RIVERBOYS

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308.583.2875

The Wood River boy’s basketball

team is coming off a difficult

2016-17 season, which saw the

Eagles go 2-18.

But a new campaign brings a

fresh start for Wood River and

second year head coach Joel

Stryker.

Seven returning letterwinners

will be back on the court this

season, including junior Tanner

Hermann, who posted 9.8 points

and 4.5 rebounds per game from

the guard position last year.

Senior Cade Ludwig, who

averaged 6.8 points and 4.6

rebounds per contest, and

sophomore Ty Swanson will also

play vital roles for the Eagles.

Senior Jimmy Rojas, junior Jose

Trejo, and junior Grant Gannon

will also see plenty of court time

for Wood River.

“The keys to this season for us is

our commitment to the defensive

end. Our defensive numbers

have to improve,” Stryker said.

“As the kids enter their second

year in a new system, I expect

our guys to push tempo knowing

what they can and can’t do in our

offense. The biggest key for us

is playing at a high intensity and

attack everything.”

Wood River will open the season

on Nov. 30 against Sandy Creek.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-2

2016-17 Record: 2-18

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Joel Stryker

Career Record: 2-18

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WOOD RIVERGIRLS

Coming off an 11-11 season that

featured positive growth for the

Wood River girl’s basketball

squad, the Eagles will look

to keep moving in the right

direction in 2017-18.

Under the direction of Phillip

Smith, who owns a 28-41 record

at the helm of the program,

Wood River will return eight

letterwinners to the court, as

well as a core of seniors.

Three seniors are due back

on the roster, as Elle Luehr,

MaKenzie Peters, and Kiley

Codner will all take leadership

roles come the start of the

season.

A few younger athletes will

also look to make an impact,

including juniors Ainsley

Stewart, Cydnee Huxtable, and

Joci Rauert.

“Ball control, limiting

turnovers while playing fast

and having our speed turn into

turnovers on defense (are the

keys to success),” Smith said.

“Teamwork, blending of all

ages, pushing for a common

goal, and not an individual goal.

Keep improving on knowledge

of the game, and development of

young guards will also be key.”

The season will start for Wood

River on Nov. 21 against

Lexington.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: C-1

2016-17 Record: 11-11

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Phillip Smith

Career Record: 28-41

112 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 113


ALMABOYS

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As the 2017-18 campaign

approaches, the Alma boy’s

basketball team will be looking

to carry its momentum over from

last season.

The Cardinals finished the

regular season at an 18-6 mark

under veteran head coach Mike

Brummer, and saw their season

end with a tough loss to Burwell

in the district final.

But a new season brings new

opportunities, as four returning

letterwinners are set to take

the court for Alma come late

November.

Among those returning is senior

forward David Ehrke, a twotime

district honorable mention

selectee who is coming off a

season in which he averaged 11

points and 7 rebounds a game.

Joining Ehrke will be senior

forward Cooper Wright, who

averaged 6 points, 6 rebounds,

and 1.2 blocks a game last year.

Senior Ty Heft and junior

Jackson McKenzie are expected

to see significant run in the

backcourt for the Cardinals, as

well.

When asked what the keys

to a successful season were,

Brummer mentioned attitude,

effort, execution, and having fun.

Adding: “We are here to become

better skilled athletes on the

court, and better people off of it.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 18- 6

Playoff Appearances: 15

Head Coach: Mike Brummer

Career Record: 116-106

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PAWNEE CITYBOYS

The Cardinals finished last season

10-14 under long tenured head

coach Amanda Siebels, but with four

starters returning in 2017-18, there is

plenty of reason for optimism.

“We lost one starter off of last

year’s team. She was a three

year starter, which will be a huge

position to fill,” Siebels said.

“We had a disappointing year last

year, and came up short in quite a

few games. However, our team

worked very well together and

gained a lot of experience at the

varsity level, which will be very

beneficial for this upcoming year.”

Leading the charge for the

Cardinals will be Maddie Brugh,

who is the only returning senior

starter. However, juniors Dakota

Hughes, Tiffany Wells, and Kayla

Kindler all return to the hardwood

after gaining starting experience

last year.

In addition, senior guards Maddie

Cervera and Emma Smolik will

also look to be key contributors for

Siebels.

“I feel that we will have a solid

foundation to build on. These girls

always give their all everyday

no matter what. We had quite a

few girls put in a lot of time and

effort over the summer, that I think

will pay-off big for us during this

upcoming season,” Siebels added.

“This is a very smart team, but

I also feel we will be very quick

offensively and defensively. We

will also be trying a lot of new

girls in some new positions, to

compensate for our small numbers.

This will be a great year for Alma

Lady Cardinal basketball.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-14

Head Coach: Amanda Siebels

Career Record: 35-51

The 2016-17 season didn’t

feature a high volume of wins for

the Pawnee City boy’s basketball

squad, as the group finished with

a 7-17 mark.

However, tenured head coach

Tyler Colvin, who owns a 145-

103 mark at the helm of the

program, will look to flip the

script in 2017-18, and get the

Indians back on the winning

track.

Colvin will be working with a

relatively young squad, as seven

letterwinners return, but only two

seniors are expected back.

Senior forward Andrew Davis

will be a leader on the court for

Pawnee City, after posting 12

points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2 steals

a contest last year.

Fellow senior Kaisonn Koester

and junior Sabian Adams will

also be asked to play significant

roles for the Indians.

An athlete to keep an eye on is

sophomore TJ Mawhiney, who

averaged 4.3 points and 2.2

rebounds a game as a freshman.

“We need to work as hard as we

can everyday to improve. Taking

care of the ball and limiting

empty possessions offensively

will be key,” Colvin said. ‘Our

shooting and floor vision has to

be better than it was last year.

Our defensive discipline and

awareness needs to be more

consistent. Staying healthy will

be important as depth is a bit of a

concern.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Indians

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 7-17

Playoff Appearances: 18

Head Coach: Tyler Colvin

Career Record: 145-103

114 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 115


ANSLEY-LITCHFIELDBOYS

SOUTH LOUPBOYS

The success of the Ansley-

Litchfield boy’s basketball squad

will come down to one aspect

of the game according to the

group’s head coach – defense.

The Spartans went 8-11 in 2016-

17, but struggled to consistently

get stops on the defensive end.

Something that will have to

change if Ansley-Litchfield

hopes to be competitive in Class

D-1 this year.

“The biggest key to the season

is to improve our defense,” head

coach Troy Schirmer said. “We

must learn to play aggressive

and physical defense quickly.”

The Spartans have eight

returning letterwinners expected

back on the roster, led by junior

Christ Paitz, who averaged

12.4 points, 3.8 assists and

3.5 rebounds a game as a

sophomore.

Junior Justin Bailey will

also look to make an impact

after posting 7 points and 5.6

rebounds a contest last year, as

will sophomores Jaden Jones

and Parker LeFever.

According to Schirmer, the

development of young talent on

the roster could determine the

success of his group in 2017-18.

“We really need our younger

players to mature quickly to help

reach our goals,” Schirmer said.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Spartans

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 8-11

Head Coach: Troy Schirmer

Career Record: 165-66

For the second consecutive

season, the South Loup boy’s

basketball squad built quite a

bit of momentum, finishing the

2016-17 campaign 16-6.

Under the direction of head

coach Jeff Cole, the Bobcats

will look to stay on the

winning path in 2017-18, and

will have the advantage of 11

returning letterwinners on the

roster.

South Loup will lean heavily

on a core of five seniors,

led by Cade Connell, who

averaged an outstanding 21.3

points and 6.3 rebounds a

game as a junior.

Another rising star for the

Bobcats is Jack Rush. Rush, a

senior, posted 16.1 points and 7.8

rebounds a contest last year.

Senior Landon Furue, who

averaged 5.5 points a game in

2016-17, and Spencer Johnson

will also play vital roles for the

Bobcats.

“If we can stay healthy, I think

we can have a special season,”

Cole said. “We have had two

really good seasons the past

two years with key contributors

missing multiple games or the

season. We will have multiple

three or four-year starters

returning this season.”

South Loup will tip off the 2017-

18 campaign on Dec. 1 against

Twin Loup.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bobcats

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 16-6

Head Coach: Jeff Cole

MERIDIANGIRLS

SOUTH LOUPGIRLS

The Meridian girls basketball

team is coming off an impressive

2016-17 campaign, which saw

the Mustangs finish 20-7 and

earn an NSAA state tournament

appearance.

This season, Meridian will look

to find similar success under

head coach Robert Schropfer.

Schropfer has seven letterwinners

back on the roster including a

core group of seniors.

Guards Erin Johnson, Jaicee

Sobotka, and Breanna Miller will

be relied upon to produce, as will

forward Hailey Schafer.

“We need to stay healthy,”

Schropfer said. “Younger players

need to continue to develop and

improve. We also have some

sophomores that have a lot of

potential that will help us this

year.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 20-7

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Robert Schropfer

Career Record: 59-50

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Coming off a 10-9 campaign

that featured plenty of positives

and negatives, the South Loup

girl’s basketball team will rely on

experience as they look to make

a run in Class D-1.

The Bobcats will be lead by head

coach Abe Hinman in 2017-18,

and 10 letterwinners are slated to

return to the court.

In addition, a core group of four

seniors will be back, as well.

Senior forward Shaylee Jones,

who posted 6.2 points and 7.8

rebounds a game her junior year,

will look to lead the Bobcats, as

will senior guard Vayle Berger.

However, South Loup’s success

may depend on how the

Bobcats compliment the play of

sophomore Jessie Sallach, who

averaged an impressive 13.2

points and 9.4 rebounds a contest

as a freshman.

“Our guard play has to improve.

With a strong inside presence,

outside shooting will be key

to keeping defenses honest,”

Hinman said. “The leadership

on this team has to step up

and solidify the character of

our group in order for us to be

successful.”

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Team Name: Bobcats

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-9

Head Coach: Abe Hinman

116 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 117


ARAPAHOEBOYS

PALMERGIRLS

The Arapahoe boy’s basketball

squad continued to take steps

in the right direction during

the 2016-17 season, finishing

9-14 and winning a game in the

subdistrict tournament.

This season, the Warriors will once

again be led by head coach Josh

Strand, who holds a 24-44 record

at the helm of the program.

In addition, six letterwinners

and four seniors are returning,

setting the Warriors up to do some

damage in Class D-1 this year.

Leading the charge will be senior

guard Noah Koller, who averaged

9 points and 4 rebounds a game

last year.

Seniors Spencer Watson, who

posted 8 points and 7 rebounds as

a junior, and guard Parker Ehrke

will also see plenty of court time

for the Warriors.

“We have a lot of experience

back,” Strand said. “We don’t

have a ton of size, so we are

going to have to be physical and

aggressive and play bigger than

we are on defense. Of offense,

we have to limit turnovers and

play fast. We should have good

depth, so we need to look to

push the ball and wear teams

down.”

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Team Name: Warriors

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 9-14

Playoff Appearances: 15

Head Coach: Josh Strand

Career Record: 24-44

While the 2016-17 campaign

didn’t produce a large amount

of victories for the Palmer

girl’s basketball team, plenty of

experience was gained under

head coach Brandon Rolf.

Now, as a new season

approaches, a senior-heavy roster

with nine returning letterwinners

will look to improve on last

year’s 5-17 mark, and Rolf

knows just the recipe to find that

success.

“We are going to focus on the

vowels, and victories should

follow,” he said.

The vowels Rolf is referring to

are as follows: A – Attitude, E-

Execution, I- Intensity, O – Out

Work, U – Unselfishness.

With that in mind, a number of

players will look to contribute

for the Tigers this year, including

senior guard Marley Roepker,

who averaged 6.9 points per

game last season.

In addition, Rolf will look to

seniors Stacey Bohlken and Cara

Menke to help shoulder the load

for Palmer this season.

Lana Menke, Allie Kunze, and

Brooke Bruland will also see

significant run for the Tigers.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Tigers

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 5-17

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Brandon Rolf

Career Record: 7-35

ARAPAHOEGIRLS

The bad news for the Arapahoe

girl’s basketball squad is they

are coming off a difficult 1-21

campaign.

However, there is more than

enough good news to inspire

optimism for the upcoming 2017-

18 season. The Warriors return

plenty of experience, as first-year

head coach Preston Blackmore

will look to get his group on

the winning track following a

difficult year.

“We return a lot of experience

from last year. We have a good

mix of older and younger kids

that gained some valuable

experience,” Blackmore said. “We

have four of our top five scorers

back. Our upper classmen really

stepped up this summer providing

great leadership in the weight

room and at camps.”

Alayna Whipple is one of those

upper classmen the new head coach

referred to, as the senior guard will

be back on the court after averaging

8.5 points per game last season.

Also seeing significant minutes

will be fellow seniors Madison

Hanke and Nevada Gardner, as

well as junior Mariah Watson.

“I think the biggest key to having

success this year will start on the

defensive end. We need to play

tough team defense,” Blackmore

said regarding the keys to success

for his team. “Also we will need to

be able to handle pressure better this

year. I think if we can improve in

those two areas, we will see success

throughout the season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Warriors

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 1-21

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Preston Blackmore

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BERTRANDBOYS

OVERTONBOYS

The Bertrand boys basketball

squad has a major advantage

heading into the 2017-18 season

– experience at the head coaching

position.

Craig Newcomb returns to the

sidelines for the Vikings for his

21st year, and owns a career 224-

181 record after finishing last

season at 11-11.

He will have three starters

returning to the court, as senior

guard Riley Johnson, senior

forward Wyatt Wilken, and junior

guard Tyler Callahan all bring

experience to the hardwood.

Newcomb will also look to

juniors Miles Peterson and

Austin Long to take on expanded

roles once the season gets

underway.

“We return quite a bit of

experience, but size cold still

be a problem,” Newcomb said.

“How healthy we come through

football will be a big determining

factor as to how the basketball

season will go.”

The season gets underway for

Bertrand on Nov. 30 against

Alma.

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Team Name: Vikings

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 11-11

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Craig Newcomb

Career Record: 224-181

The Overton boy’s basketball

team will return five

letterwinners to the hardwood

in 2017-18 after a solid 14-8

campaign last year.

The Eagles will look to make

some noise in Class D-1, and

will rely heavily on a powerful

offensive attack under head

coach Clint Little.

“We will need to improve

on rebounding and defense

from last year but we should

be exciting to watch on the

offensive side of the ball,” Little

said.

Junior forward Braden Kizer

will lead the Eagles, after

posting 13.2 points and 4.4

rebounds a game last season.

Kizer also shot over 40 percent

from beyond the 3-point line.

Senior guard Brenden Meier,

and junior guard Morgan

Wallace will also play

significant roles after impressive

moments in 2016-17.

“Scoring will be led by three

returning starters in Kizer,

Meier, and Wallace,” Little

added. “Dane Watson and Chevy

Davenport will look to provide

rebounding and physical play

underneath.”

Overton will open the season

on Nov. 30 at home against

Arapahoe.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 14-8

Playoff Appearances: 14

Head Coach: Clint Little

Career Record: 32-36

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There are many reasons to be

optimistic about the Overton

girl’s basketball squad heading

into the 2017-18 campaign.

First, the Eagles have eight

letterwinners returning,

including a handful of seniors.

Secondly, the program will reap

the benefits of familiarity, as

head coach Nicole Arp enters

her second full season at the

helm.

Last year, Overton went 10-14,

but with experience returning on

the court and on the sidelines,

the Eagles will look to make

some noise in Class D-1.

The group will be lead by senior

forward Sidney Enochs and

point guard Gracie Grote.

Seniors Tori Anderson, Jayden

Eby, and Jaycee Wallace will

also look to make a significant

impact once the season gets

underway.

“This year, we are really going

to work on pushing the ball

and having more of an inside/

outside game,” Arp said. “With

more depth, I want to step up

our defense and have a more

aggressive defense to create

turnovers and have a more fastpaced

tempo game.”

The Eagles will open the season

on Nov. 30 against Arapahoe.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-14

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Nicole Arp

Career Record: 10-14

120 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 121


BLUE HILLGIRLS

MEDICINE VALLEYBOYS

A successful season came to

an early close for the Blue Hill

girl’s basketball squad during

the 2016-17 campaign.

The group posted an impressive

19-5 record during the season,

but lost a tight game in subdistricts

to Heartland 32-28.

But a new season brings a new

opportunity to push further

for Blue Hill, as 10 returning

letterwinners are expected back

for head coach Tim Streff.

Leading that charge will be

junior Jamie Bonifas, who

averaged 7.6 points and 5

rebounds from the guard

position last year.

Also playing a major role

will be junior forward Rylee

Kohmetscher, who posted

6 points and 5.2 rebounds a

contest in 2016-17.

Streff will also lean heavily

on Halee Kohmetscher, Emily

Meyer, senior Taylor Bonifas,

and sophomore Kyra Meyer

when the season tips off.

“If we are able to stop the ball

well in the half court we will

be a tough team to beat,” Streff

said.

The season gets underway on

Dec. 1 against Kenesaw.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bobcats

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 19-5

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Tim Streff

Career Record: 340-166

Coming off a season that saw

positive growth for the program,

the Medicine Valley boy’s

basketball team will look to

take another step in the right

direction under head coach

Jason Maier.

The Raiders posted a 10-10

record during the 2016-17

campaign, winning five straight

down the stretch before falling

in the sub-district final to DCS.

This season, Medicine Valley

returns five letterwinners from

that squad, as the senior-heavy

group will look to make noise in

Class D-1.

The Raiders will be led

by senior big man Joseph

Chancellor, who posted 12

points and 8 rebounds last

season to go along with 41

blocked shots.

In addition, three senior guards,

Landon Lenz, Sheldon Johnsen,

and Ryan Klintworth will all

return to anchor the backcourt.

“We have an experienced, well

balanced, and senior laden team

that could have a great year,”

Maier said. “If we play strong

defense all year and shoot the

ball with consistency, we could

be hard to beat.”

The Raiders will open the

season on Nov. 30 when they

travel to Southwest.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Raiders

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-10

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Jason Maier

Career Record: 75-92

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HITCHCOCK COUNTYBOYS

Fresh off a 10-14 season, a

number of newcomers will have

to step up for the Hitchcock

County boy’s basketball squad in

2017-18 if the group hopes to be

competitive.

The Falcons lost five senior

starters from last year’s team, and

returns only three letterwinners

under head coach Mike Tines.

‘We will have to be very

disciplined with the ball

offensively this year as well as

being very scrappy on defense,”

Tines said. “We lost five senior

starters from last year’s team so

we will be pretty young on the

varsity level.”

Ironically, all three returning

letterwinners will be sophomores

for the Falcons, as point guard

Pierce Utterback, Darian Hutto,

and Chris O’Byrne will look to

fill big roles.

Juniors Shayne Mintling and

Mason Bright, as well as lone

senior Derrek Mintling, will also

play significant minutes.

“Our upperclassmen will have to

be leaders in practice and on the

court and our underclassmen will

have to learn how to play at the

varsity level very quickly,” Tines

said. “Our goal this year will be

to improve game-by-game and

get the most out of each practice

session.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Falcons

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-14

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Mike Tines

122 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 123


BOYD COUNTYBOYS

The Boyd County boy’s

basketball squad will be hungry

for success after finishing 21-3 but

missing out on the NSAA state

tournament last season.

The chances of the Spartans

putting together another strong

season are high, as head coach

Jim Carlson returns to the

sidelines sporting an outstanding

495-156 career record.

The group will be led by guard

Justin Drueke, who posted 11.3

points a game as a junior while

knocking down 67 three-pointers.

He will be complimented on the

court by guard/forward hybrid

Clay Hansen, who dished out 140

assists and snagged 53 steals last

year.

Senior Blake Ahlers will also

be a player to watch, as will

sophomore Colby Hansen, who

racked up 20 steals during his

freshman season.

But even with some experience

returning, Carlson knows some

younger players are going to have

to step into bigger roles in 2017-

18, after the Spartans lost a few

key contributors to graduation.

“We have to replace three seniors

including starters Matthew

Hansen and three-time all-stater

Caleb Rihanek, who scored 1,828

points in his career,” Carlson said.

“We need to be healthy coming

out of football, increase our

scoring, and develop depth. We

should be able to compete with

most teams on our schedule.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Spartans

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 21-3

Head Coach: Jim Carlson

Career Record: 495-156

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BOYD COUNTYGIRLS

FRANKLINGIRLS

The Boyd County girl’s basketball

squad has a number of reasons

to be optimistic heading into the

2017-18 campaign.

Not only are the Spartans coming

off a 13-9 campaign that featured

a third place finish in the tough

Niobrara Valley Conference, but

they are returning a core group of

contributors under experienced

head coach Jeff Hart.

Hart, who is entering his sixth year

at Boyd County, has a talented trio

of returners on his roster, including

senior Rhiannan Smalley, who

posted 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds

a game last year.

Junior Emma Stahlecker, who

averaged 6.4 points and 2.4

rebounds as a sophomore, and

senior Kelsey Reiman will also

play major roles for the Spartans

this season.

“Once again, we have an

experienced nucleus of juniors

and seniors, but will need a group

of freshmen and sophomores to

really step up and provide playing

time, scoring and defense,” Hart

said. “We need to replace 15 points

and 15 rebounds from last year’s

seniors. Size will be an issue for

us, but we hope to counter with

aggressive defense and the ability

to run the floor. Our conference is

always tough and non-conference

games with Crofton and Wausa

early will test us.”

The season will get underway for

Boyd County on Nov. 30 against

North Central.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Spartans

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 13-9

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Jeff Hart

Coming off a 10-10 season

under second-year head coach

Adam Boettcher, the Franklin

girl’s basketball squad will

have one major advantage in

2017-18 — experience.

The Flyers return nine

letterwinners from last season,

including four of the team’s five

starters, and the entire bench.

“This experience, as well as

going 1-18 in 2015-16 to 10-10

in 2016-17, will be a big key to

our success,” Boettcher said.

The Flyers will be extremely

senior heavy this season, and

will be led by guard Jordan

Wilbur, who averaged 8.4

points per game last year.

In addition, seniors Lilia

Aberle, Sierra Bruce, Haley

Shannon and Mariah Biesecker

will all be back on the

hardwood come December.

Four juniors with game

experience are also set to return

for Franklin, including guards

Emma Goosic, Courtney Meade

and Cassie Saathoff.

The Flyers will open the season

when they host Harvard on

Dec. 1.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Flyers

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-10

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Adam Boettcher

Career Record: 94-89

124 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 125


BRUNING-DAVENPORT-SHICKLEYBOYS

Fresh off a 20-4 season that

ended with a 10-point loss in the

NSAA State Tournament, the

Bruning-Davenport-Schickley

boy’s basketball squad will look

to find similar success in 2017-

18.

The Eagles will be led by Greg

Schroeder, and will return five

letterwinners to the court.

“We have a nice core group of

guys returning from last year,

but we will be looking for some

kids who have waited their turn

the past few years to step up

and be ready to provide depth,”

Schroeder said. “We will also

be looking for our returners to

provide leadership both on and

off the court.”

The Eagles will be led by a group

of four seniors, including Caden

Norder, Holden Stengel, Garrett

Schardt, and Anthony Beavers.

Junior guard John Christensen

will also look to carve out

a significant role once the

campaign gets underway.

Even with plenty of experience

returning, Schroeder said there

is one role in particular that must

be filled if his group wants to be

successful.

“We will have a new point guard

so getting them accustomed to

keeping the team on the same

page will be one of our early

season goals that we hope should

translate to success,” he said.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 20-4

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Greg Schroeder

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BRUNING-DAVENPORT-SHICKLEYGIRLS

Head coach Shana Gerberding

is no stranger to success at the

helm of the Bruning-Davenport-

Shickley girl’s basketball squad,

and the 2016-17 season was no

different.

This year, with eight

letterwinners and five seniors

returning, expectations are high,

but the tenured head coach

knows her team must stay

focused.

“Stay mentally tough throughout

the entire season,” Gerberding

said of her team’s keys to

success. “We have a tough

schedule and tough conference so

we have to be able to be mentally

into it every night.”

Five starters will be back on the

court for the Eagles this season,

including senior Lexi Kadel,

who returns after a solid junior

campaign.

Fellow seniors Carley Elznic and

Megan Grote, as well as juniors

TaraLee Hudson and Jadyn

Kleinischmidt, will also be key

contributors once the season gets

underway.

“We have a very capable squad

and if we can sub and not lose a

step we will be in good shape and

I’m confident that it can happen,”

Gerberding added. “We need

involvement from the first player

to the last player. We worked

hard on this over the summer

and I’m excited to see what the

season brings.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Eagles

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 16-7

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Shana Gerberding

126 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 127


CENTRAL VALLEYBOYS

HIGH PLAINSBOYS

If the Central Valley boy’s

basketball squad plans on making

some noise during the 2017-18

campaign, some new faces are

going to have to shine for the

Cougars.

Only one starter returns for Central

Valley from last year’s 7-16 team,

and a new face will be on the

sidelines, as well.

Riley Bonifas takes the reins

as head coach, and will look to

rely heavily on his only player

with starting experience, Noah

Nekoliczak.

Bonfias said development will be

key for his group as they look to

compete in Class D-1.

“In order to be successful, our

younger kids will have to develop

quickly and be able to make

contributions, especially late in

the season,” Bonifas said. “Our

upperclassmen will also have to be

able to make adjustments and learn

our new coaching philosophy. Our

goal is to play our best basketball

by conference time and try to build

some momentum heading into

district play.”

The season will get underway for

the Cougars on Nov. 20 against

Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Cougars

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 7-16

Playoff Appearances: 20

Head Coach: Riley Bonifas

Career Record: 7-16

The 2016-17 campaign for the

High Plains boy’s basketball

squad didn’t go according to

plan, as the group finished the

season with a 3-16 record.

However, the Storm will now

have some familiarity with their

head coach, as Tom Hofmann

enters his second season at the

helm of the program.

Another reason for optimism

are the three returning starters

who will be back on the court

for High Plains come early

December.

Sophomore point guard Keaton

Van Housen, who averaged 9.8

points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1 steal

a game last year, will look to

lead the charge for the Storm.

Senior guard Tanner Parsons,

who averaged 3.6 points a

contest last season, as well as

senior center Bo Dittmar will

also be key players for High

Plains.

When asked what the keys to a

winning season are, Hofmann

laid out his recipe for success,

saying his squad needs to

limit turnovers, slow the game

down, make free throws,

rebound, and stay out of foul

trouble.

The season will tip off for

High Plains on Dec. 1 against

Giltner.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Storm

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 3-16

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Tom Hofmann

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HIGH PLAINSGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was a

difficult one for the High Plains

girl’s basketball team. The group

finished 2-17 on the season, and

struggled to find consistency on

either side of the ball.

However, the 2017-18 campaign

brings a new opportunity to find

success under head coach Greg

Wood.

High Plains has a core group of

athletes returning, including five

seniors.

Among that group are Cara

Demers, Aylse Carlson, Doreli

Marino, Emily McNaught, and

Madie Young, who averaged

13.7 points a contest as a junior.

There is also a group of upand-coming

players to keep an

eye on, including sophomores

Justice Majerous, Cassidy

Rieken, and Hannah Tonniges.

When asked about the keys

to success for High Plains,

Wood laid out his recipe for an

improved season.

“We have to play more

consistent, younger girls are

going to have to contribute

more, and we need our seniors

to step up and lead this season,”

he said.

High Plains will tip off the

season on Dec. 1 against Giltner.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Storm

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 2-17

Head Coach: Greg Wood

128 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 129


EAST BUTLERBOYS

ELGIN-POPE JOHNBOYS

The East Butler boy’s basketball

team put together a solid

2016-17 season under tenured

head coach Greg Jahde, as the

Tigers went 16-9 before falling

to Guardian Angels Central

Catholic to close the campaign.

Now, East Butler will look to

keep the momentum rolling

into a new season and push

its way through the Class D-1

competition.

Five letterwinners are set to

return to the court for the Tigers,

led by senior Trevor Havlovic,

who posted 11.5 points and 7

rebounds a contest last year.

Joining Havlovic will be

talented sophomore Jaden

Rhynalds, who tallied 2.3 steals

and 9.4 points a game in 2016-

17, and senior guard Carter

Stara.

Senior forwards Jakub Janak

and Camden Robley, as well as

senior guard Taylor Jirovsky,

will all battle for significant

playing time as well.

“We will need to work on

developing some depth,” Jahde

said. “We will also need to find

ways to get the ball to our main

two scoring threats, that being

Jaden and Trevor.”

The Tigers will open the season

on Nov. 30 against Cedar Bluffs.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Tigers

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 16-9

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Greg Jahde

Career Record: 122-203

Although the Elgin/Pope John

boy’s basketball squad is coming

off a dissappointing 6-16 season,

there is a lot to be excited about

entering the 2017-18 campaign.

The Wolfpack return seven

starters to the court this season,

and will look to take a step in the

right direction under second year

head coach Michael Becker.

Elgin/Pope John’s biggest

strength will be in the backcourt,

as three game-tested guards are

set to return this season.

That group is led by 6-foot junior

Kyle Schumacher, who averaged

6.6 points per game last season.

Hunter Reestman, who is also

a junior, will see significant run

after contributing 8.5 points and

4 rebounds a contest last year,

and senior Ashton Evans will

round out a deep and talented

guard position for the Wolfpack.

“We will need to have strong

team rebounding and efficient,

consistent guard play this year,”

Becker said.

The Wolfpack will open the

season on Dec. 1 when they

battle Niobrara-Verdigre.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wolfpack

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 6-16

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Michael Becker

Career Record: 6-16

EAST BUTLERGIRLS

ELGIN-POPE JOHNGIRLS

Coming off a season in which

the East Butler girl’s basketball

squad went 5-16, the 2017-18

campaign will feature a new look

Tiger squad. Plenty of playing

time is up for grabs under head

coach Kevin Behne.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,”

Behne said. “I expect the team to

be competitive every night. We

graduated three starters and those

spots are up for grabs. There will

be competition for the starting

positions and I can see myself

experimenting with two or three

possible starting lineups.”

There is some experience

returning for East Butler, as

seniors Anna Rigatuso and Abby

Pierce will be back on the roster.

In addition, juniors Madison

Helman and Kaitlyn Hain both

have varsity experience.

But the fate of the Tigers’

season will depend on new

faces, such as juniors Erin Barta

and Brooklyn Jones, as well

as sophomores Amanda Aerts,

Olivia Bohac, and Lexis Haney.

“My major concern is that we

develop consistent shooting. We

shot 33 percent from the field last

year and averaged only 34 points

per game. If shooting doesn’t

improve, it could be a long

season,” Behne said. “We’ve

got a young team and those

youngsters will have to step up

and help out on the varsity level.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Tigers

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 5-16

Playoff Appearances: 8

Head Coach: Kevin Behne

The 2016-17 campaign was an

impressive one for the Elgin/

Pope John girl’s basketball

squad, as the Wolfpack

dominated the regular season,

finishing with a 19-5 record.

Unfortunately, the season came

to a close for the squad and

head coach Randy Eisenhauer

following a 10-point loss to

Heartland in the NSAA state

tournament.

But a new season brings a new

team, and the Wolfpack return

four letterwinners to the court in

2017-18, including junior guard

Allyson Wemhoff.

Wemhoff averaged an impressive

11.9 points and 3.3 rebounds a

game last season.

In addition, senior forwards

Paige Meis and Lydia Behnk

will also be back on the floor.

Meis contributed 12.4 rebounds

a game last year, while Behnk

averaged 8.2 points and 6.6

rebounds.

But with a number of

underclassmen on the roster,

Eisenhauer said his team must

mature quickly if they want to

repeat the success of last year.

“We will have to have our

younger players step up this

year,” he said. “We will need to

find consistency in our scoring

column as we lost many great

scorers from last year’s team.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wolfpack

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 19-5

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Randy Eisenhauer

Career Record: 151-159

130 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 131


FRIENDBOYS

The 2016-17 season for the

Friend boy’s basketball squad

not only featured a 13-12

overall record, but also dramatic

improvement over a 6-16

campaign the year before.

The Bulldogs will look to keep

building momentum under head

coach Brian Arp.

However, that goal will have to

be accomplished with only four

returning letterwinners and low

turnout numbers.

“We need to stay healthy,” Arp

said. “We have low numbers, but

what we have is good enough to

keep us competitive.”

The Bulldogs will have an

experienced athlete leading the

squad, as point guard Kolby

Houlden returns for his senior

season. Houlden posted 10.1

points and 4.7 assists a game as a

junior.

Complimenting Houlden in the

backcourt will be senior shooting

guard Darren Segner, who

averaged 9.7 points a game last

year and shot 36 percent from

three-point land.

Senior forward Ray Sharkey and

sophomores Jacob Bottom and

Mason Kelley will also look to

make an impact for Friend.

“Kolby is going to be our leader

and we will go as far as he takes

us,” Arp said. “If we do not turn

the ball over that will be key.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 13-12

Playoff Appearances: 19

Head Coach: Brian Arp

Career Record: 37-57

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FULLERTONBOYS

Coming off a 2016-17 season

in which the Fullerton boys

basketball team finished 11-12,

some younger athletes will have

to fill big roles for the Warriors

this season.

Fullerton returns only one senior

in the form of guard Riggs

Patton.

That means juniors TJ Dubas and

Brent Wetovick will have to be

leaders for the Warriors, as will

sophomore Brandon Rassmussen.

Juniors James Lesiak and

Ryan Hellbusch will also see

significant playing time come the

start of the season.

“We must take care of the ball

and must force turnovers from

the opponents,” Fullerton Head

Coach Richard Plumbtree said.

“We also need to find some

leaders who can take over and

lead this team since we only have

one senior. We play some very

tough opponents that dominated

us last year, and we need to play

as a team so we can compete

with those teams this year.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Warriors

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 11-12

Playoff Appearances: 18

Head Coach: Richard Plumbtree

Career Record: 29-73

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FULLERTONGIRLS

The 2016-17 season did not

produce the amount of success

the Fullerton girls basketball

team is used to, but the 2017-18

campaign is a chance to get back

on track.

The Warriors will once again be

led by head coach Stacy Kramer,

who boasts an impressive 88-

51 record at the head of the

program.

Kramer will have eight

letterwinners back on the roster

this year, but the loss of post

player Halle Plumbtree to

graduation could pose a problem.

“We lost our experienced size in

the paint with the graduation of

Halle Plumbtree,” Kramer said.

“She was injured last year for

part of the season and the other

post players gained valuable

experience that will be required

this year.”

The Warriors will expect big

things out of returning seniors

Kenna Swertzic and Shaylee

Horacek, while Caitlyn Beed and

Katelyn Warner will also look to

make an impact.

Newcomers Stormy Herman and

Hanna Plumblee will see court

time for Fullerton, as well.

“Our guard play will need to

continue to improve to take the

pressure off of post players,”

Kramer said. “We will be

playing younger ball handlers

and post players that will need to

step up as the season progresses

for us to extend into the post

season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Warriors

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 11-13

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Stacy Kramer

Career Record: 88-51

134 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 135


HEARTLANDBOYS

The Heartland boy’s basketball

team is coming off an

impressive 2016-17 campaign

which saw the Huskies finish

with a 14-9 record and a district

championship.

The squad, led by Head Coach

Clark Ribble, will be hungry for

more in 2017-18, as 10 returning

letterwinners will be back on the

court when the season begins.

The Huskies will rely heavily

on senior Lane Huebert, as the

6-foot 2-inch guard is coming

off a campaign in which he

averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds,

and 4 assists per contest.

Senior Aaron Buller, who stands

6-foot 3-inches tall, will look to be

a force inside at the post position,

after contributing 10 points and 5

rebounds a game last year.

With the starting lineup being

stacked full of experience, the

Huskies’ head coach said depth is

what will determine how far his

team can go this season.

“The keys to having a successful

season for us will be the

development of our bench,”

Ribble said. “Being able to play

7-10 players will be key to our

season. We must also create a more

balanced scoring attack.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 14-9

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Clark Ribble

Career Record: 111-90

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HEARTLANDGIRLS

The Heartland girl’s basketball

team found quite a bit of

success during the 2016-17

season, finishing the year 22-6

and earning a fourth place finish

in the NSAA state tournament.

The Huskies are hoping for

more of the same in 2017-

18 under head coach Greg

Veerhusen, but will have to find

a way to compete with some

young athletes playing key

roles.

Only five letterwinners return

for Heartland, after the group

lost three seniors off last year’s

roster to graduation.

“The keys this year will be

how well we play defense and

how well we control the tempo

of the game,” Veerhusen said.

“We lost three seniors from last

year’s team that played their

roles very well. With only one

junior out for basketball, we

will need some younger players

to step into those roles.”

The Huskies will rely heavily

on senior forward Krynn

Arbuck, as well as lone junior

Kate Bergen.

Seniors Bailey Peters, Taylor

Quiring, and Alexa Siebert will

step into leadership roles for

Heartland, while sophomore

Odessa Ohrt will look to turn

some heads once the season

starts.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Huskies

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 22-6

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Greg Veerhusen

Career Record: 53-50

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McCOOL JUNCTIONBOYS

Coming off a season in which the

McCool Junction boy’s basketball

squad went 8-15, the Mustangs

will have to rely heavily on youth

in 2017-18.

Only four letterwinners return

for head coach Jarred Weiss, who

enters his third season at the helm

of McCool Junction.

Weiss will lean on senior forward

Kellan Green, who averaged 6.2

points and 7.1 rebounds a game

last year.

In addition, junior guard Dallas

Briney, who posted 1.4 points a

game in 2016-17, will look to step

into a bigger role.

Weiss also identified Owen

McDonald, Giovanni Riga, and

Kaden Kirkpatrick as a group of

newcomers who could carve out

significant roles this season.

“We will rely on several

newcomers this season,” Weiss

said. “How they pick up on

everything will determine our

season. We will not be overly big,

however we should be able to get

up and down the floor fairly well.”

McCool Junction will open the

season on Nov. 30 against Cross

County.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 8-15

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Jarred Weiss

Career Record: 12-32

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McCOOL JUNCTIONGIRLS

For head coach Dade McDonald,

the 2017-18 season for the

McCool Junction girl’s basketball

squad will likely come down to

one aspect of the game.

“We need to establish

consistency on both ends of the

floor,” McDonald said.

The Mustangs are coming off a

10-12 season, which saw McCool

Junction win 10 of its last 18

games following a four-game

losing streak to start the year.

A number of key players will be

back on the court at the start of

the campaign, including junior

forward Hadley Wiemer, who

averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds

a game last season.

Junior forward Jillian Stark

will also be returning after

contributing 8 rebounds and 8

points per contest last year, and

senior guard Ciera Wilkinson

will play a major role in the

backcourt.

The experience those three

players provide could help

McCool Junction find the

consistency that is needed to be

successful.

“We must defend well to create

easy scoring opportunities

and limit our own turnovers,”

McDonald added. “Many of our

juniors and seniors have played

substantial varsity minutes the

last 2-3 years, so we will rely

heavily on that experience.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 10-12

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Dade McDonald

Career Record: 30-75

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NORTH CENTRALBOYS

The North Central boy’s

basketball team continued to

take steps in the right direction

during the 2016-17 campaign.

Last season, the Knights finished

the year 9-11 under head

coach Jed Snyder, and with six

returning letterwinners back on

the roster, more improvement is

expected in 2017-18.

“Keys to a successful season

this year will start with doing

the little things of being

fundamentally sound and being

consistent on offense and

communication on defense,”

Snyder said. “We have the

experience coming into the

season as I return four starters

and 90 percent of our scoring

and rebounding.”

North Central will look for

big things from juniors Colton

Munger and Jakob Heerten, who

Snyder said “played really well

this summer,” and looks for

them to “lead us on the offensive

end.”

Senior Griffin Smith and junior

forward Byron Pfister will also

play large roles, as Snyder called

them “lock down defenders who

can also get above the rim on

offense.”

“I feel this team is a contender

to be in Lincoln in March and

that is the expectation this year,”

Snyder added.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Knights

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 9-11

Head Coach: Jed Snyder

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NORTH CENTRALGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was a

special one for the North Central

girl’s basketball team, as the

Knights dominated the regular

season, finishing 21-4 under

head coach Alex McClaery.

North Central continued to

play well into the postseason,

winning an overtime battle

against Heartland to secure a

third place finish in Class D-1.

The Knights are hoping for

much of the same in 2017-18,

and with eight letterwinners and

a core of seniors back on the

roster, a repeat performance is

possible.

The success of North Central

this season may depend on

the play of its senior guards,

as Jadyn Bussinger, Skylar

Cosgrove, Kylin Munger, and

Lexy Heyden all return to the

position.

Senior forward Caitlin Orton

and sophomore Sydney Linse

will also make an impact for the

Knights come the start of the

season.

‘We are an experienced team

with very good depth again

this year. The keys will be

staying together as a team and

outworking every opponent,”

McClaery said. “Obviously

staying healthy is a big key, but

this will be a fun group with a

ton of potential to make some

noise at the end of the season.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Knights

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 21-4

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Alex McClaery

Career Record: 51-37

FEBRUARY 4, 2018

140 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 141


OSCEOLABOYS

The Osceola boys basketball

team is looking to bounce back

after an 8-15 season in 2016-17,

but will have to do so with a new

look roster.

The Bulldogs return only four

letterwinners under head coach

Brett Webster, who owns a career

58-76 record at the helm of the

program.

However, Osceola should be

optimistic heading into the

season as three seniors return to

make their mark, led by forward

Tristin Johnston.

Johnston posted 6.5 points and

5 rebounds a contest his junior

season.

Guard Caden Theis, who

averaged 8.4 points a game last

year, and senior guard Garrett

Fisher will also be asked to step

into large roles for the Bulldogs.

Up-and-coming players to keep

an eye on this season include

sophomore Carter Boden and

junior guard Hayden Watts.

“Last year we graduated six

players. We need to develop

some depth this year to help

ourselves out,” Webster said.

“We have a good core group of

seniors who will need some of

our younger guys to step up and

help out.”

The season tips off for the

Bulldogs on Nov. 30 against

Humphrey St. Francis.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 8-15

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Brett Webster

Career Record: 58-76

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OSCEOLAGIRLS

The Osceola girl’s basketball

squad had an up-and-down 2016-

17 campaign, finishing the year

12-11 in Class D-1.

But the Bulldogs will have more

familiarity with second year head

coach Don Frenzen in 2017-

18, as they look to keep taking

strides in the right direction.

A trio of seniors will look to lead

Osceola this year, as forward

Samantha Hays, guard Ginni

Johansen, and guard Kylie Merry

all return to the hardwood.

In addition, junior forward

Kamryn Hahn will play

significant minutes come the start

of the season.

When asked what will lead to a

successful season, Frenzen laid

out of a list of factors that will

impact his squad.

“Patience learning a new

system, adjusting to changes

in personnel, and learning to

play together,” he said. “Also,

a positive attitude, staying

healthy as a team, and an

acknowledgment of goals.”

The season tips off for Osceola

on Nov. 30 when it battles St.

Francis.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 12-11

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: Don Frenzen

142 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 143


PLEASANTONBOYS

KENESAWBOYS

Fresh off a 7-15 2016-17

campaign, the Pleasanton boy’s

basketball squad will have a new

face leading the charge on the

sideline.

Jeff Vetter will enter his first

season as the head coach for the

Bulldogs, and will have nine

returning letterwinners to lean

on.

Senior forward Hunter Paitz will

lead the charge for the Bulldogs,

after posting an impressive 16.4

points and 7 rebounds a game

last year.

Senior center Bronson Gibbons

will also be back on the

hardwood, as will senior guard

Travis Tolles.

Junior Jayden Westland and

sophomores Brady Klein,

Jackson Keaschall, and Seth

Eckel will all see significant

playing time this season, too.

With a deep roster containing

plenty of in-game experience,

Vetter said the keys to success for

his team are simple, and come

down to execution.

“Playing fundamental basketball,

reducing turnovers, and playing

solid team defense,” he said.

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Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 7-15

Playoff Appearances: 22

Head Coach: Jeff Vetter

Career Record: 36-24

The 2016-17 campaign was yet

another successful showing for the

Kenesaw boy’s basketball squad

and head coach Jack Einrem.

The Blue Devils posted an 18-6

record and finished second in a

difficult district a year ago, and the

group will be looking to repeat that

success in Einrem’s 10th season at

the helm.

There will be more than enough

returning talent to make a

successful season a reality, as the

Blue Devils welcome back eight

returning letterwinners, and a core

group of seniors.

One of those seniors, Tyson Burr,

will lead Kenesaw. Burr is coming

off a season in which he averaged

13.6 points a game.

Another leader on the court will be

senior Will Gallagher, who posted

14.8 points a contest during his

junior campaign.

Seniors Jacob Weiler, Alex Heier,

and Phillip Quackenbush are also

expected to be impact players this

season.

“We will need to stay healthy and

show improvement on defense,”

Einrem said. “Scoring off the

bench will need to improve from a

year ago also.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Blue Devils

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 18-6

Playoff Appearances: 20

Head Coach: Jack Einrem

Career Record: 108-59

PLEASANTONGIRLS

The Pleasanton girl’s basketball

squad is coming off a 2016-17

campaign that saw the Bulldogs

go 13-8 before falling in the

playoffs to Burwell.

This season, the program will be

under new leadership, as head

coach Randy Bauer takes the

reins.

Bauer, who had 218 wins as head

coach of the Pleasanton boys

team, has seven letterwinners

returning.

Leading that group will be junior

Meghan Fisher, who averaged

12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds a

game from the center position

last year.

Sharing the court will be senior

forwards Keri Bauer, who

averaged 8.7 points and 2 steals

per contest last season, and

Keegan Linder.

McKenna Siegel, Cadee Nichols,

and Paige Welsdorfer will all be

impact players for the Bulldogs,

as well.

“We had a good turn out for open

gyms and summer camps,” Bauer

said. “We have set our goals for

conference and districts and will

have to see if they fall into place.

The girls will have to adapt to

new coaches and their philosophy

and styles. Our success will be

determined by hard work, team

chemistry, paying particular

attention to our fundamental

skills, and developing depth to be

competitive in all phases of the

game.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 13-8

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Randy Bauer

Career Record: 82-30

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144 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 145


SHELTONBOYS

Coming off a 2-18 season, the

Shelton boy’s basketball squad

is in need of a fresh start.

Enter first year head coach Dan

Brown, who will look to get the

Bulldogs on the winning track

in 2017-18, and establish them

as a contenter in Class D-1.

For Brown, a solid mix of

returning talent and up-andcoming

athletes will fill out

the roster, including nine

letterwinners and four seniors.

A player to keep an eye on is

senior forward Nick Arbogast,

who averaged 3.7 points and

4.7 rebounds last year.

In addition, fellow seniors Case

Terry and Daniel Romera, as

well as sophomores Sterling

Wright and Ben Bombeck will

look to carve out significant

roles.

“(The keys to a successful

season are) good shot selection,

improved team chemistry, and

a more competitive attitude,”

Brown said. “We bring in some

new, young talent, but are not

an experienced team. We had a

good off season so we will see.”

The 2017-18 campaign will get

underway on Nov. 30 against

Elm Creek.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 2-18

Playoff Appearances: 14

Head Coach: Dan Brown

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SHELTONGIRLS

The Shelton girl’s basketball

team is coming off a difficult

season, as the Bulldogs finished

the 2016-17 campaign with a

2-19 record.

Also looking to contribute will

be fellow seniors Bri Kennedy,

Halee Blackburn, Chloe

Hellerich, Sandra Sauceda, and

Harley Reilly.

for the Bulldogs on Nov. 30

against Elm Creek on the road.

But a new year brings a new

opportunity to succeed under

second year head coach Will

Reutzel, and with eight seniors

on the roster, a bounce-back

season is possible.

Experience will not be lacking

for the Bulldogs as they attempt

to navigate through Class D-1,

with seniors Jylissa Sinner,

Jeresa Sinner, and Nadia Pinon

all returning to the hardwood.

In addition, juniors Luryn

Hendrickson and Kathleen Juhl

will also battle for significant

playing time.

“Our team will need to continue

to improve fundamentals, learn

the game and how to play it

better, play better together, and

communicate with each other (to

be successful),” Reutzel said.

The season will get underway

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Bulldogs

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 2-19

Head Coach: Will Ruetzel

146 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 147


TRI COUNTYBOYS

On the heels of a 9-14 season, the

Tri County boy’s basketball team

will have a different look to it this

year, as only four letterwinners

return to the court for the 2017-18

campaign.

But for head coach Cory Jensen

and the Trojans, a new season

brings an opportunity to impress

in Class D-1.

Among those returning for Tri

County is senior point guard Riley

Knust, who averaged 12.5 points

and 3.5 assists per game as a

junior.

He will be joined by junior

forward Creighton Niemeyer, who

posted an impressive 13.5 points

and 5 rebounds a contest last year.

Junior forward Evan Larson and

freshman Cole Siems are also

expected to be impact players for

the Trojans this season.

“After a successful summer, a key

for us will be to continue to work

to get better every single day,”

Jensen said. “And like a lot of

D-1 teams, we will need to avoid

injuries.”

Tri County will open the season

on Nov. 30 on the road against

Wilber-Clatonia.

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Team Name: Trojans

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 9-14

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Cory Jensen

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TRI COUNTYGIRLS

After winning six of their final

eight games during the 2016-17

campaign, the Tri County girl’s

basketball squad will look to

keep its momentum going into a

brand new season.

The Trojans finished 11-13

last year under head coach

Bryce Simpson, and with

seven returning letterwinners

expected back, the group will

look to make a dent in Class

D-1.

“For us it always starts with

improving and hopefully

getting to a point where we are

playing our best basketball by

the end of the season,” Simpson

said.

Simpson will look to four

seniors to be leaders this year,

as Celena Chavez, Shayna

Lijewski, Shae Wattjes, and

Kailey Weichel all return for

the Trojans.

Juniors Madison Freese,

Shaylee Niemeyer, and Brianna

Connelly, as well as sophomore

Hannah Strein, will also make

an impact this season.

“We will be looking to fill some

holes left by four seniors, but I

like our athleticism,” Simpson

added. “We need to use this

to become more efficient

offensively, while at the same

time making it difficult for our

opponents offensively.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Trojans

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 11-13

Playoff Appearances: 8

Head Coach: Bryce Simpson

Career Record: 75-110

148 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 149


ELM CREEKBOYS

CLEARWATER-ORCHARDBOYS

The Elm Creek boy’s basketball

squad is in prime position to

make a run during the 2017-18

season.

Not only are the Buffaloes

coming off an impressive 17-7

campaign, but five senior starters

return under tenured head coach

Tanner Cavenee.

In total, eight letterwinners will

return to the court, led by senior

guard Jaydn Ford, who posted

13.2 points and 4.2 assists a

game last year.

Complimenting Ford on the court

will be senior forward Anthony

Quintana, who averaged 5.8

points a contest last year.

Fellow seniors Nate Fields, Jerry

Brumels, and Lathan Jonak will

also be key contributors for the

Buffaloes once the season tips

off.

Some younger athletes could step

into big roles this season, as well,

as Cavenee said he expects big

things from sophomores Gage

Clabaugh, Lane Gutzwiller, and

freshman Trey Miner.

“Staying healthy and having

great leadership from five great

seniors that I enjoy coaching,”

Cavenee said about the keys to

a successful season. “Need to

break in some new rotational

players, but we expect some

great things from some of those

younger kids.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Buffaloes

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 17-7

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Tanner Cavenee

Career Record: 144-127

The Clearwater-Orchard boy’s

basketball team is coming off a

difficult 2016-17 season, where

the group finished 6-16 under

head coach Jim Schutt.

However, the Cyclones are set

up in 2017-18 to have a solid

bounce back campaign, and are

in position to make some noise in

Class D-1.

Clearwater-Orchard will return

five starters back to the hardcourt

this season, and will be led by a

talented and deep junior class.

Forward Liam Odell will be the

lone senior in the starting lineup

come the start of the season.

But he will be joined by junior

guards Blake Hoke and Chris

Kester, as well as junior forwards

Ryan Wilhelm and Jacob Long.

“We have five starters back. We

need to stay healthy and focused

to have a successful season,”

Schutt said. “Players put in a

good effort this summer.”

The season will tip off for the

Cyclones on Nov. 30 against St.

Mary’s.

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Team Name: Cyclones

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 6-16

Playoff Appearances: 19

Head Coach: James Schutt

ELM CREEKGIRLS

The Elm Creek girl’s basketball

squad is coming off an impressive

2016-17 campaign, which saw the

Buffaloes go 23-3.

The Buffaloes are reloaded under

tenured head coach Mike Ford, as

four starters will be back on the

roster.

However, Elm Creek lost Kenzie

Deyo, who earned all-conference

honors last season, to graduation.

“She was an excellent distributor

of the ball averaging 10 points per

game and nearly four assists,” Ford

said “Kenzie rewrote many of the

records in the assist column.”

The Buffaloes will rely heavily this

season on senior guard/forward

Claire Cornell, who averaged an

impressive 19 points and 11.5

rebounds per game in 2016-17.

Juniors Allie Bauer, who averaged

17.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, and

Madison Halliwell, who totaled 42

steals last year, will also play major

roles for Elm Creek.

“The young and inexperienced

kids will have the opportunity to

play, and playing time will depend

on their ability to acclimate to the

varsity pace of basketball,” Ford

added. “Offensively there will be

a learning curve for these younger

kids, but defensively I think that we

could be mobile and very disruptive

when we start communicating

and moving together as a team

and that will aid in our efforts to

find easy baskets. But our main

key to success will be to eliminate

mistakes by the kids that will be

picking up the slack of the exiting

seniors.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Buffaloes

Class: D-1

2016-17 Record: 23-3

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Mike Ford

Career Record: 122-101

150 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 151


ANSELMO-MERNAGIRLS

STUARTBOYS

The Anselmo-Merna girl’s

basketball squad took steps in

the right direction last season,

finishing the 2016-17 campaign

with a 15-7 record.

Under the tutelage of head

coach J.D. Furrow, the Coyotes

will look to keep building

momentum this season, and will

rely on a core of eight returning

letterwinners to do so.

Leading the charge for

Anselmo-Merna will be senior

point guard Megan Christen,

who posted 7.1 points, 7.8

rebounds, and 3.1 steals a

contest as a junior.

Complimenting Christen on the

court will be junior shooting

guard Kourtney Safranek,

who averaged 6.2 points and 2

rebounds a game last year.

Seniors Jalea Chandler and Tara

Geiser, as well as sophomore

Alexis Zimmer, will also

look to make significant

contributions for the Coyotes.

“We will rely heavily on our

defense to give us scoring

opportunities,” Furrow said.

“I think we will be a decent

shooting team, but our lack of

size will make rebounding and

defending the post a challenge.

We compete in a really tough

conference, so the girls will

be battle tested by the time

districts roll around.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Coyotes

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 15-7

Playoff Appearances: 5

Head Coach: J.D. Furrow

A 5-18 record wasn’t exactly

what head coach Travis Ludwig

was hoping for out of the Stuart

boy’s basketball squad last

season, but that doesn’t mean the

campaign was a waste.

Even though the Broncos

scuffled through much of the

2016-17 campaign, a number of

young players earned valuable

experience, setting the group up

to make a run this season.

Eight letterwinners will be back

on the roster for the tenured

head coach, led by junior Issac

Steinhaser, who posted 12.6

points and 8.7 rebounds a game

last year.

Junior guard Ethan Sattler will

also be a key contributor for the

Broncos after averaging 6 points

and 4.2 assists in his sophomore

campaign.

Juniors Coltin Schroder, Wyatt

Paxton, and Zach Michka will

also see significant run this

season.

“We have a lot of kids back who

played a lot last year,” Ludwig

said. “They gained valuable

experience and were forced to

grow up quick. We will look to

make an impact this year.”

Stuart will open the season

on Nov. 30 at home against

Niobrara-Verdigre.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Broncos

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 5-18

Playoff Appearances: 10

Head Coach: Travis Ludwig

Career Record: 93-84

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152 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 153


AXTELLBOYS

CHAMBERS-WHEELER CENTRAL-EWINGGIRLS

The 2016-17 campaign was a

difficult one for the Axtell boy’s

basketball squad, as the group

went 3-20 under head coach Chris

Callan.

However, the Wildcats were at a

disadvantage from the start, as no

player had starting experience at

the start of last season.

The opposite is true for Axtell

in 2017-18, as a plethora of

returning experience and talent

have raised expectations, and

created optimism as the season

approaches.

“Last year we started the year

with zero starters returning and

three letterwinners. This year

we we have 11 letterwinners

and eight different players who

started at one point in the season

last year,” Callan said. “That

experience will provide a lot for

us to draw upon this season, as we

return 99 percent of our scoring

and rebounding from last year.”

Leading the charge for Axtell will

be senior guard Ryan Hubbard,

who averaged 9.7 points and 7.3

rebounds a contest last year.

Also looking to contribute will

be senior guard Jake Marsh,

who posted 6.8 points a contest

his junior year, and forward

Creighton Kring.

Junior Lane Bertrand, and

sophomores Jake Wehrer, Zach

Hinrichs, and Tyler Danburg will

be key players for the Wildcats, as

well.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wildcats

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 3-20

Playoff Appearances: 11

Head Coach: Chris Callan

Career Record: 25-25

Fresh off a 13-9 campaign, the

Chambers-Wheeler Central

girl’s basketball squad will

have to mature quickly if they

plan on competing in Class D-2

this season.

“We are very young this year,

so it will be important for us to

work together as a team early in

the season,” head coach Laurel

O’Malley said.

The Renegades only return

five letterwinners and a pair of

seniors this season.

CWC will be led by sophomore

guard Taylor Peter, who

averaged 9.8 points and 9.5

rebounds a contest as freshman.

Also seeing significant run will

be the duo of seniors Jamie

Koenig and Neleigh Gehl, as

well as junior Kyra Farewell.

“We also need to rely on

defense and rebounding and

work very hard to keep our

turnovers down,” O’Malley

added. “Our upperclassmen will

need to be good leaders to help

our younger players as they

develop experience. It will be

exciting to see this team grow

and improve throughout the

year.”

The season will tip off for CWC

on Nov. 28 against Creighton.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Renegades

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 13-9

Head Coach: Laurel O’Malley

Career Record: 118-53

AXTELLGIRLS

SUMNER-EDDYVILLE-MILLERGIRLS

Coming off a 19-5 campaign

which ended in the second round

of the state tournament, the

Axtell girl’s basketball squad

will have a new leader on the

sidelines.

Alyssa Willicott will take the

reigns as the head coach for the

Wildcats in 2017-18, and will

be looking to bring her team

together from the first day of

practice.

“This year we are going to focus

on teamwork. To win basketball

games you need five players

on the court, as well as all the

players you have on the bench

to mesh well together,” Willicott

said. “Basketball isn’t won by

just one or two players. It takes

the entire team to be successful.”

Willicott will have plenty of

experience returning, as 11

letterwinners will be back on the

court this season.

Senior Paige Kirby will lead

the charge for Axtell after an

impressive junior campaign,

and Camille Fishell and Caitlin

Callan will also be impact

players.

“If we can accomplish team unity

plus hard work and dedication,

our team will be successful once

again. I have a good group of

girls to work with and I have set

my expectations high for them,

but nothing they can’t achieve”

Willicott added. “I am excited for

this new year and to see where

the season takes us.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Cats

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 19-5

Playoff Appearances: 8

Head Coach: Alyssa Willicott

The Sumner-Eddyville-Miller

girl’s basketball squad had a

difficult season in 2016-17

under first year head coach

Kathy Petersen-Cline.

The Mustangs went 3-16 and

1-9 in district play, but the group

will look to get back on the

winning track as a new season

approaches.

SEM will rely heavily on senior

Sidney Ripp, who averaged 5.7

points and 6.5 rebounds a game

last year.

Joscelyn Soncksen will also play

a significant role, coming off a

season in which she averaged

4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds a

game.

Mekenzie Beattie, Jenaya

Pierce, and Mikayla Dittmar

will also look to earn extended

playing time for the Mustangs.

SEM will open the season on

Nov. 30 on the road against

Loomis.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 3-16

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Kathy Petersen-Cline

Career Record: 3-16

154 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 155


DORCHESTERBOYS

The Dorchester boy’s basketball

squad is coming off a difficult

2016-17 season, in which

the Longhorns claimed only

one victory en route to a 1-20

campaign.

Expectations are higher for the

group in 2017-18 under head

coach Miles Ray, although a

majority of Dorchester’s scoring

from last year’s team was lost to

graduation.

However, the Longhorns do

return a trio of players that could

do some damage in Class D-2.

Junior guard Nathan Cochnar,

senior forward Ryan Weber, and

junior guard Carson Zahourek

will all play significant roles for

Ray this season.

“We will be a young team that

needs to replace a majority

of our scoring from last year.

The goal is to get better every

practice and every game,” Ray

said. “As players get more

experience at the varsity level

we hope to be a competitive

team come subdistrict time.”

The season will get underway

for Dorchester on Dec. 1 when it

battles Meridian on the road.

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Team Name: Longhorns

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 1-20

Playoff Appearances: 14

Head Coach: Miles Ray

Career Record: 3-39

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YOUR DAILY HUSKER COVERAGE ALL SEASON LONG

HIGHLIGHTS • INTERVIEWS • ANALYSIS

DORCHESTERGIRLS

PARKVIEW CHRISTIANBOYS

Coming off a season in which the

Dorchester girl’s basketball squad

finished with an 11-13 record,

head coach Brandon Burha will

be looking to a core of young

players to produce in 2017-18.

The Longhorns return only 4

letterwinners to the court this

season.

Among those returners is forward

Abby Plouzek, who averaged 2.2

points and 3.5 rebounds a game

last year.

Point guard Makenna Bird,

who posted 8.4 points and

3.6 rebounds last season, and

forward Kaylee Eberhardt will

also look to make a significant

impact come December.

“We have a very young team

this year,” Burha said. “We are

going to rely on a lot of freshman

to play. How quickly they learn

how to play at the high school

level is what is key for our

season.”

The Longhorns will open up

the season on Dec. 1 when they

travel to Meridian.

The group won’t play their first

home game until Dec. 8 when

they host BDS.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Longhorns

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 11-13

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Brandon Bruha

Career Record: 26-42

The Parkview Christian boy’s

basketball squad is coming

off an impressive 2016-17

season, finishing the year 21-5

and making an NSAA state

tournament appearance.

The Patriots’ season came to an end

in the first round of the tournament

with a 39-34 loss to Wynot.

Head coach Jordan Hitchcock

will return to the sidelines for

Parkview Christian in his second

season at the helm, but will only

have three returning letterwinners

on the roster.

The Patriots will be led by a pair

of seniors, as Tucker Pinyan and

Elijah Page are set to return to

the court.

Also looking to play a significant

role will be sophomore Logan

Page, who turned some heads

during his freshman campaign.

“Our season will be a success

if we surrender personal goals

for the good of the whole. This

is exemplified in the pursuit of

two basic goals,” Hitchcock

said. “The first is to help light

a fire in the hearts of the young

men in our program to know

and chase after Jesus Christ.

The second is to win a state

championship. Winning a state

championship has nothing to do

with the glory of winning state or

putting Parkview Christian on the

map, but everything to do with

learning how to be 100 percent

for each other and learning how

to grow as an individual and as a

team.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Patriots

Class: D2

2016-17 Record: 21-5

Playoff Appearances: 2

Head Coach: Jordan Hitchcock

Career Record: 21-5

156 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 157


EXETER-MILLIGANBOYS

The Exeter-Milligan boy’s

basketball squad struggled to

find consistency during the

2016-17 campaign, finishing the

season 12-11.

But with 10 letterwinners and

a trio of seniors returning, the

Timberwolves are prepped to do

some damage in Class D-2 this

year.

Under head coach Dean Filipi, a

lack of experience will not be an

issue for Exeter-Milligan.

Senior guard Eric Olsen will

return to the court after a solid

junior campaign, and will be

joined by fellow seniors Seth

Maxson and Patrick Murphy.

All three will be players to

watch come the start of the

season.

Juniors Spencer Pribyl, Colton

Bossaller, and Johnny Babula

will also play significant

minutes for the Timberwolves

this year.

When asked what the keys to a

successful season are, Filipi was

concise.

“Building depth and consistent

play on both ends of the floor,”

he said.

The season gets underway on

Nov. 30 against Deshler.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Timberwolves

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 12-11

Playoff Appearances: 3

Head Coach: Dean Filipi

Career Record: 76-58

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EXETER-MILLIGANGIRLS

The 2016-17 season was an

impressive one for the Exeter-

Milligan girl’s basketball team, as

the group went an impressive 19-8

on its way to a fourth place finish

at the NSAA state tournament.

However, success is nothing new

for head coach Jackson Krejci,

who owns a career 156-59 record

at the helm of the Timberwolves.

The success the program has had

in recent years places expectations

high for the upcoming campaign,

as five letterwinners and two

seniors are set to return.

The Timberwolves will be led

by senior Hannah Beethe, who

posted 9 points and 6 rebounds a

game last year.

In addition, senior Tara Mueller,

who averaged 6 points and 6

rebounds, will be back on the

hardwood for Exeter-Milligan.

Juniors Katherine White and Kate

Jansky, as well as sophomore

Anna Sluka, will also be key in

the success of the Timberwolves

this season.

“We have a good core of our

team back from last year,” Krejci

said. “Having some younger girls

play towards the end of last year

will help their confidence going

into the season. We will need to

develop depth as the year goes

on. I believe this team has great

potential.”

The Timberwolves tip off their

season on Nov. 30 at home

against Deshler.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Timberwolves

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 19-8

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Jackson Krejci

Career Record: 156-59

158 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 159


GILTNERBOYS

The Giltner boy’s basketball

squad has a lot working for it as

it heads into the 2017-18 season

under first year head coach Jordan

Ortmeier.

The Hornets are coming off an

18-7 campaign, and have 10

returning letterwinners on a

senior-heavy roster.

The group will be led by senior

guard Josh Hinrichs, who

averaged an impressive 15.3

points and 4.5 rebounds a contest

last year.

Alex Goracke, a senior forward

who averaged 9.5 points and 4.4

rebounds a game last season, will

also carry some of the load for the

Hornets.

Forward Brodi Hansen will look

to build on a successful 2016-

17 season, as well. The senior

averaged 7.3 points and 4.7

rebounds.

“With a roster full of seniors,

leadership will be huge for us,”

Ortmeier said. “We have plenty of

experience with everyone coming

back from last year. Learning to

be road warriors with a difficult

road schedule (will also be key).”

Giltner will open the season on

Nov. 30 against Harvard.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Hornets

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 18-7

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Jordan Ortmeier

402.849.2400 • 216 Tonya Drive • Giltner, NE

FEBRUARY 9-25, 2018

FEBRUARY 4, 2018

GILTNERGIRLS

Coming off an 8-13 season,

the Giltner girl’s basketball

squad will look to bounce

back in a big way, and are in

a position to do so with nine

letterwinners expected back on

the roster.

Under tenured head coach

Nancy Lockmon, who owns a

167-105 record at the helm of

the program, the Hornets will

welcome back four seniors.

Senior guards Reagan Janzen and

Jordan Hansen are two athletes

to watch once the season gets

underway, as is senior forward

Alexa Preissler.

Forward Reagan Smith rounds

out a talented senior class for

Giltner.

Some younger athletes will

have to fill some big roles for

the Hornets to be successful,

as juniors Chloe Craig, Brooke

Good, and Aubrey Leichty will

look to take their game to the

next level.

Sophomores Sydney Janzen and

Cassidy Tompkin will also be

battling for playing time come

late November.

When asked what the keys are

to a successful season, Lockmon

didn’t mince words.

“Being able to put the ball in

the basket and playing solid

defense,” she said.

The season opens up for Giltner

on Nov. 30 against Harvard.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Hornets

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 8-13

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Nancy Lockmon

Career Record: 321-272

160 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 161


LAWRENCE-NELSONBOYS

The Lawrence-Nelson boy’s

basketball team will carry a lot

of momentum into the 2017-18

season, as the Raiders finished

16-8 last year, setting a school

record for wins.

Under third-year head coach

Decker Brown, the group will

look to keep taking steps in the

right direction, with a core group

of athletes slated to return.

“We will have three starters

from last year’s team back in the

lineup,” Brown said. “We are

very hopeful and excited about

the group stepping into bigger

roles. “

Four letterwinners will return for

the Raiders this season, led by

senior center Micah Dolnicek,

who averaged 8 points and 6

rebounds a contest last year.

Dolnicek will be complimented

by senior point guard Peyton

Drudik, who posted 5 points and

3 rebounds as a junior.

Senior forward Kevin Schroer

and junior Lane Heikkinen will

also play large roles for the

Raiders.

“Throughout the last couple

seasons we have really improved

in not only the wins and losses

category, but with our style of

play,” Brown said. “As is the

case every year, people outside

of Lawrence-Nelson don’t expect

much from our boys. And as we

have done every year, we have

made that our motivator to prove

them wrong.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Raiders

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 16-8

Head Coach: Decker Brown

Career Record: 37-34

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YOUR DAILY HUSKER COVERAGE ALL SEASON LONG

HIGHLIGHTS • INTERVIEWS • ANALYSIS

LAWRENCE-NELSONGIRLS

Even though the Lawrence/

Nelson girl’s basketball team

had a difficult 2016-17 season,

finishing 10-15, the Raiders are

no stranger to success.

The program is led by head

coach Cathy Biltoft, who owns

an impressive 218-130 record at

Lawrence/Nelson.

As 2017-18 approaches, Biltoft

will have eight returning

letterwinners back on the roster,

led by senior guard Mattee

Kucera.

Kucera averaged 8.2 points per

game as a junior in 2016-17.

In addition, fellow senior Morgan

Menke, as well as sophomores

Taylor Harrington, Karigan

Drudik, and Hallie Epley will

all be vital in getting the Raiders

back on track this season.

When asked what the keys to a

successful season are, Biltoft laid

out her winning recipe.

“For one key, stay healthy,”

Biltoft said. “Work together for

those common goals, and be

prepared for each team we play.”

The season will get underway

on Nov. 21 against Heartland

Lutheran.

TEAM FACTS

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Team Name: Raiders

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 10-15

Playoff Appearances: 6

Head Coach: Cathy Biltoft

Career Record: 218-130

162 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 163


LOOMISBOYS

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www.PhelpsMemorial.com

The Loomis boys basketball team

struggled to find consistency

during the 2016-17 campaign,

finishing the year 12-11 under head

coach Drew Billeter.

But as a new season approaches,

the Wolves will have a chance to

take steps in the right direction,

and make some noise in Class D-2.

will fellow juniors Josh Marcy,

Andrew Dennis, and Issac Wahls.

“Improving our offense and

shooting (will be key),” Billeter

said. “We need to improve on

defense and rebounding.”

The season will get underway for

Loomis on Nov. 30 against SEM.

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For that to happen, Loomis will

have to get contributions from

seniors Drew Lauby and Hunter

Banzhaf, who make up the core of

the seven returning letterwinners.

Junior guard Aaron Dow will also

have to play a significant role, as

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Wolves

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 12-11

Playoff Appearances: 17

Head Coach: Drew Billeter

Career Record: 82-72

YOUR DAILY HUSKER COVERAGE ALL SEASON LONG

HIGHLIGHTS • INTERVIEWS • ANALYSIS

LOOMISGIRLS

During the 2017-18 season, the

Loomis girl’s basketball squad

will look to improve on a 12-10

campaign.

Under the leadership of head

coach Staci Fertig, the Wolves

will look to do some damage

in Class D2, in a district that

includes Axtell, Elwood, Eustis-

Farnam, and Wilcox-Hildreth.

In order for the group to have

success, sophomore forward

Darla Thorell will have to step

into a big role, after performing

well as a freshman.

McKayla Meyer will also have

to be a leader for Loomis.

“We need to be in shape and be

able to push the ball,” Fertig

said. “We can’t have any injuries

as numbers are low and we will

need everyone to be successful.”

The season will get underway

for the Wolves on Nov. 11 when

they battle Sumner-Eddyville-

Miller.

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Lady Wolves

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 12-10

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Staci Fertig

In addition, junior guard

164 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 165


ST. MARY’S CATHOLICBOYS

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The St. Mary’s boy’s basketball

squad made huge strides during

the 2016-17 campaign, finishing

11-12 on the heels of a 4-17

campaign the year before.

This season, the Cardinals will

look to continue moving forward

under third-year head coach Phil

Baumgart, but will have to do

it with a fairly inexperienced

roster.

“To be successful, we will have

to play solid defense and limit

turnovers,” Baumgart said. “We

will need our younger guys to

mature quickly.”

A core group of juniors will look

to help carry the load for the

Cardinals, as Jack Krotter, Cole

Gaughebaugh, Zach Crumly,

and Jacob Wiese will all look to

make a name for themselves.

it will be important to handle

any presses we see.”

The Cardinals will open the

season on Nov. 30 against

Orchard/Clearwater.

TEAM FACTS

STARTS MARCH 13TH ON

St. Mary’s returns only one

letterwinner in 2017-18, junior

forward Grady Semin.

Semin posted 6.3 points and 3

rebounds a game last year.

“My starters will need to stay

out of foul trouble because of

limited depth,” Baumgart added.

“Staying healthy will be critical

with only 11 players out this

year. With no returning starters

Team Name: Cardinals

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 11-12

Playoff Appearances: 12

Head Coach: Phil Baumgart

Career Record: 15-29

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ST. MARY’S CATHOLICGIRLS

The St. Mary’s girl’s basketball

team had a season to remember

in 2016-17, finishing the year

22-5 and claiming third place at

the NSAA state tournament.

The talented squad was

dominant throughout the

season, going undefeated at

home and finishing the year

with a double-digit win over

Exeter-Milligan to claim the

third-place trophy.

The Cardinals will look to have

another successful year under

head coach Traci Berg in 2017-

18, but the group will have to

find a way to be competitive

with a new look roster.

Six seniors from last year’s

team graduated, leaving St.

Mary’s without any returning

starters.

“We graduated six seniors and

had a starter transfer so we

have zero returning starters and

will be very young this year

with only one returning player

having any varsity playing

time,” Berg said. “We will

struggle this year but hope to

get better every day. It will be a

rebuilding year for us.”

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Team Name: Cardinals

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 22-5

Playoff Appearances: 7

Head Coach: Traci Berg

166 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 167


SILVER LAKEBOYS

The Silver Lake boy’s

basketball squad is coming

off a challenging 6-15 season,

and after losing four seniors to

graduation, the Mustangs will

have to rely on some young

players to get the program on

the winning track.

Head Coach Taylor Maulsby

will return to the sidelines

for Silver Lake in 2017-18,

and will need juniors Alex

Ehrman, Johnny Borgman,

and Casey Cassell to step into

larger roles.

Seniors Mark Thurston, who

averaged 5 points a game last

season, and Reid Parr will

also need to help carry the

Mustangs once the campaign

gets underway.

“We have a lot of young,

talented kids who I believe are

willing to work and get better

as the season progresses,”

Maulsby said. “We will need

to be solid on the defense

end and knock down a few

more shots than we have the

last couple years. It will be

important for us to create

some turnovers to get extra

possessions while limiting the

mistakes on our end of the

court.”

TEAM FACTS

Team Name: Mustangs

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 6-15

Playoff Appearances: 1

Head Coach: Taylor Maulsby

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LEADER

SILVER LAKEGIRLS

Silver Lake looks to bounce

back from a 2-19 record when

the Lady Mustangs take the

floor for the 2017-2018 season.

Joshua Drake returns as the

program’s head coach after a

year away from the sidelines.

Drake was the head coach for

Silver Lake during the 2014-

2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.

“We are going to have a young

team,” said Drake. “Coming

back from a year away from

coaching, I am inheriting an

almost completely new roster.”

The Lady Mustangs had success

with Drake as the head coach.

Silver Lake posted a 26-21

combined record in his two

prior seasons.

With Silver Lake coming off a

two-win campaign, Drake looks

to turn the program around this

winter.

“It will take some time for us

to understand what it takes for

this group to be successful,”

said Drake. “We are going to

build a foundation based upon

defense and solid fundamental

play.”

Silver Lake opens the season

Friday, Dec. 1 against Deshler.

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Team Name: Lady Mustangs

Class: D-2

2016-17 Record: 2-19

Playoff Appearances: 4

Head Coach: Joshua Drake

Career Record: 26-21

168 2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview www.1011now.com/prepzonehardcourtpreview 169


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PUBLISHER - 1011 News

DESIGN - Bronson Gierhan

CONTENT - Shelby Hamilton

EDITORIAL - Jay Omar

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2017 Prepzone Hardcourt Preview

The Nebraska State Colleges are equal opportunity institutions and do not discriminate against any student, employee

or applicant on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion,

or age in employment and education opportunities, including but not limited to admission decisions. Each

College has designated an individual to coordinate the College’s nondiscrimination efforts to comply with

regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Titles VI and VII of the Civil

Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


*Men: 3.4

southeast.edu/VisitSCC

*Women: 3.9

Percentage of high

school basketball

players who play

college basketball.

*Men: 1.1

*Women: 0.9

Percentage of NCAA

basketball players drafted

by an NBA team.

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•95% of recent SCC grads found

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*Sources: High school figures from the 2015-16 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the

National Federation of State High School Associations; data from club teams not included. College numbers

from the NCAA 2015-16 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.