GICC Asst. Coach, Rob Micek with former GICC players Spencer Fahey and Tommy Howard. Micek and the two players were involved in a 2009 Post season All-Star contest.
The magic day is less than 48 hours away, and as usual Class C-1 shapes up to be one of the premier classes in this 2010 State High School Basketball Carnival. What else is new? Year in and year out, this class seems provide the most thrilling moments and arguably the best pool of teams and talent there is in the state. The combined records of all 8 participants is 168-21, with no team sporting more than 4 losses.
I thought to get a better insight into this deeply talented field, I would seek the expert advice of Grand Island Central Catholic assistant basketball coach, Rob Micek.
Micek took over the reins of Head JV coach at Central Catholic at the age of 23 and has, in that short period of time, guided the young Crusaders to 4 wins short of the coveted 100 mark. With Coach Micekfs knowledge, wefll give you some guides to the 2010 Class C-1 State Tourney field.
Hasting St. Cecilia is seeking a three-peat in 2010. The Bluehawks have won the last two C-1 titles and have cruised through the current campaign with only one blemish in 23 games. Chadron, the team they bested in last yearfs championship game returns almost their entire team intact and boast Division 1 Minnesota recruit, Elliot Elison, but 6 other basketball teams from around the state may have something to say about all this. So without further delay, how about a inside view of this yearfs field.
All first round games will be played at Pershing Auditorium in beautiful downtown Lincoln with itfs ample parking venuec..could you hear the cough?
#7 Wilber-Clatonia (20-3) vs. #2 Chadron (21-1) 9:00AM Thursday
Chadron Cardinals: Scoring Averages: 59-41.cOpponentfs average recordc13-10
Schools played: A (1), B (13), C-1 (6), C-2 (1), D-2 (1)
Marquee Wins: Ralston (B) (17-6), Sidney (15-6) twice, Minden (18-4)
Single Loss: Omaha Skutt (19-5) (B)
Wins Over State Tournament Qualifiers - 5 - Omaha Skutt (B), Sidney (B)-twice, Ralston (B), Minden (C-1), and Hay Springs (D-2)
Elliott Eliason 6-11, Sr., 18.4 points, 10.3 rebounds
Zach Bargen 6-5, Sr., 15.0 - 6.3
Alec Holmquist 6-0, Sr., 6.9 - 2.8
Jon Lordino 6-4, Sr., 5.6 - 3.2
Braden Roes 6-0, Sr., 5.3 - 3.0
Wilber-Clatonia Wolverines: 49.7 - 38.3...opponentfs average recordc12-10
Schools Played: C-1 (10), C-2 (13)
Marquee Wins: Milford (15-6)c3 times.
Losses: Lincoln Christian (13-7), Johnson Co. Central (22-3) (C-2), St Cecilia (22-1)
Wins over State Tournament Qualifiers - 1 (Sutton in C-2)
Masen Needles 6-2, Sr. 12.2 - 3.7
Sam Newmeyer 6-2, Sr. 11.4 - 4.5
Andrew Prior 6-3, Sr. 10.1 - 3.2
Andrew Jeffries 6-7, Sr. 5.7 - 4.7
Hayden Schuerman 5-9, Jr. 4.0 - 1.3
#Well, the thing that stands out here is the splendid inside play of Elliott Eliason. The Wolverines have not faced a team like this all season, and the 6-11 Eliason will alter so many plays inside and out on defense. Bargen can drain the trey and so can Holmquist, although they have not been doing so as of late. If they all get hot at once, it could be bad news for Wilber-Clatonia, however the reliance of Elliott Elisason for the bulk of the scoring as of late is a growing concern in this writeres eyes. WC does have a very nice nucleus of Needles, Pryor and Newmeyer, all of whom started on last yearf state tournament squad who lost to Axtell in the C-2 first round, 50-39. Man-to-man will probably not be the way to go against the Cardinals, but Ifm relatively certain that coach Tim Barada has been in contact with Minden head man, Shannon Lovin to see what the Whippets employed against Chadron in the District Final.
Looks like the Cardinals head into this baby a double digit favorite to advance to the Semis. May sound strange, but I have another concern about the Cardinalfs ability to have glegsh for a three day run.
#6 Minden (18-4) vs. #3 Falls City (23-2) 11:30AM Thursday
Minden Whippets: 56.5 - 45.4...opponentfs average record - 12-9
Marquee Wins: Axtell (22-1) (C-2)
Losses: GICC (21-4), Adams Central (20-3) (B), Ravenna (22-3) (C-2), Chadron (21-1)
Wins over State Tournament Qualifiers: 1 (Axtell in C-2)
Derek Kissinger 6-1, Soph. 10.8 - 3.7
Carson Blum 5-10, Soph. 10.5 - 3.9
Max Anderson 6-3, Sr. 9.3 - 3.6
Peter Trausch 6-4, Sr. 8.7 - 7.2
Ryan Bergstrom 6-2, Sr. 8.0 - 2.6
Falls City Tigers: 54.4 - 40.0...opponents average record - 12-9
Schools played: B (3), C-1 (14), C-2 (8)
Marquee Wins: Syracuse (19-3)-twice, Mid-Buchanan, Mo (24-1), Hiawatha, Kan. (16-4) twice.
Losses: Plattsmouth (10-9), Maryville, Mo. (17-4).
Wins over Nebraska State Tournament Qualifiers: None
Trent Scheitel 6-5, Sr. 20.3 - 10.2
Dillon Lotter 5-7, Jr. 11.3 - 1.9
Jared Dishong 6-3, Sr. 5.0 - 1.7
Michael Huettner 5-11, Sr. 4.9 - 2.9
Logan Faller 6-3, Jr. 4.4 - 2.7
# Falls City is a team that comes along every once in a blue moon that is shrouded by a cloud of mystery because of all the out-state competition they play. One thing we do know about that town is a guy named Kenny Sailors was born there. Sailors is credited with inventing the one-handed jump shot, believe it or not. Now, the state of Wyoming claims Kenny, but he was born in Falls City just like Nebraska Governor, Dave Heinemann. Hold on, I just saw the Gov at the Girlfs State Tournament with a Wahoo Warriors T-Shirtcwhatfs up with that? Anyway, Sailors went on to lead Wyoming to a National title in 1943 and was named player of the year in college hoops. He also played for the fledgling NBA for 4 different teams and scored a career 3,480 points in 243 games and was selected as one of the 100 greatest players of the century by the Basketball Alumni Foundation in 1991.
Now, one thing we can assure you of is that Kenny is not playing for Falls City this season, but the Tigers do have some competent shooters. Matter of fact, 6-5 Trent Schietel is the leading scorers in the C-1 field with his 20/per, and is only a Sophomore to boot. Falls City played ELEVEN out-of-state teams, so it is difficult to get a real grasp on how good this team is. The 2 wins over Syracuse sparkle like diamonds, and the Mid-Buchanan squad from Missouri is obviously a stellar outfit with only one loss. Coach Micek and GICCfs staff do know about this Minden team, though. Although they didnft seem to match-up with the Crusaders real well in an early season contest, the Whippets are a solid unit across the board with two Sophomores contributing heavily to their success.
Carson Blum (great bloodlines) is the cog that makes this machine run. He loves to power his way to the hoop and can dish off in a heartbeat to the 6-4, 300 pound nimble-footed Peter Trausch. The red-headed big guy has a soft touch inside and can bang with opposing gbigsh very well. The dead-eye form the outside is Derek Kissinger, another Sophomore that will make you pay if he is left alone for an instant. Trausch and Blum will have to avoid foul trouble in sagging back on Scheitel if the Whippets are to win this ball game. Has anyone considered the possibility of Minden and GICC ending up in the Finals? Donft call the men in white jackets just yet, but letfs say both pass their first round tests and have to opportunity to avenge earlier losses to Chadron and St. Cecilia respectively in the Semi Finals? And they said it couldnft be done. A myriad of scenarios always dance through onefs mind this time of yearccisnft it great!
#1 Hastings St. Cecilia (22--1) vs. #8 Tekamah-Herman (20-4) 2:00 PM
Tekamah-Herman Tigers - 56.8 - 46.7...opponents average recordc11-12
Schools played: B (1), C-1 (14), C-2 (6), D-1 (3)
Marquee Wins: Wisner-Pilger (19-6) twice.
Losses: Douglas Co. West (13-9), Wisner-Pilger (twice), Elkhorn MM (B) (12-11).
Wins over State Tournament teams: 1-Humphrey St. Francis (D-1)
Trevor Bryant 6-4, Soph. 18.2 - 6.5
Anders Olson 6-7, Sr. 15.8 - 11.0
Jacob Bryant 6-5, Sr. 5.8 - 2.1
Tyler Panko 6-5, Sr. 5.6 - 2.6
Christian Andrew 6-4, Sr. 5.5 - 3.2
Hastings St. Cecilia Bluehawks - 58.6 - 36.9...opponents average recordc14-8
Schools played: A (1), B (2), C-1 (16), C-2 (4).
Wins over State Tournament Teams: 6 - GICC (twice), Adams Central (B), Omaha Skutt (B), Sutton (C-2), Fremont Bergan (C-2).
# The two time defending C-1 champs are seeking to three-peatc..about all that needs to be said, but wefll elaborate. Tough to find a weakness with this crew except the Achilles heal could develop by pressuring their guards with a full court defense and/or applying hard pressure between the circles after they cross the time line to prevent them from dumping the ball inside to the physical Sterup. The 6-10 Husker football recruit is improving game by game and like Eliason, can alter every play if hefs within armfs reachc..and those arms are extremely long, friends. Sealey is an All-State player (football AND Basketball) who can, and has taken games into his own hands and either buried outside shots or driven to the bucketc. either scoring or drawing the foul. Everybody on this team can shoot, period.
The Tigers boast one of the tallest teams in the tournament, averaging 6-5 per man. Coach Stan Menke is no stranger to the State Tournament atmosphere, taking the Prague gals to the Big Show twice in the late 70fs and guiding the Elgin boys to an appearance in 1991. A concern for Tekamah-Herman is they have not been to State since 1988 and the Seniors on this team have enjoyed a winning season only one time in high school, this current year. A huge task for the newbie Tigers will be to avoid a sluggish start which could result in a runaway gWh for St. Cecilia. A combination of nerves and the St. Cecilia backcourt duo of Sealey and Schwenka applying hard pressure to their guards as they try to advance across the 10 second line could spell big problems for TH. If there is one glaring weakness Tekamah-Herman has this season, itfs been the turnovers suffered by their back court ball handlers. You can almost bet Kevin Asher will have St. Cecilia slapping full court pressure from the get-go.
Could be a long afternoon for Tekamah-Herman if the back-to-back State Champs get off to a running start. Bluehawks could win by over 20 and be able to rest the starters in this one, but thatfs why they play the gamesc..never know.
#4 Grand Island Central Catholic (21-4) vs. #5 Norfolk Catholic (22-2) 3:45PM
Grand Island Central Catholic Crusaders - 55.3 - 42.8...opponents average record 13-8
Marquee wins: Ravenna (22-3) (C-2), Minden (18-4), Blue Hill (18-4) (C-2), Adams Central (20-3) (B).
Losses: St Cecilia (22-1)-twice, Gretna (17-5) (B), Kearney Catholic (16-6)
Wins over State Tournament Qualifiers: 3 - Adams Central (B), Minden, and Ravenna (C-2).
Turner Fahey 6-0, Jr. 18.7 - 3.9
Casey Weins 5-11, Sr. 11.6 - 2.3
Brandon Meyer 6-1, Sr. 8.2 - 4.6
Tyler OfConnor 6-2, Sr. 5.0 - 2.7 or Michael Houdek 6-4, Sr.
Seth Wardyn 6-0, Jr. 4.6 - 2.1
Norfolk Catholic Knights: - 62.8 - 42.6...opponents average record - 11-11.
Marquee wins: Crofton (16-5), Hartington CC (18-4) (C-2)-twice.
Losses: Beatrice (17-5) (B), Wahoo Neumann (14-8).
Wins over state Tournament Qualifiers: 4 - Beatrice (B), Hartington CC (C-2)-twice, and Humphrey St. Francis (D-1)
Jared Heng 6-1, Sr. 17.5 - 3.9
Ethan Brozek 6-6, Jr. 10.8 - 5.3
Ben Uhing 6-6, Jr. 10.3 - 5.3
Kelby Seyl 6-0, Sr. 8.3 - 3.8
Austin Ketter 6-0, Sr. 7.9 - 3.5
# Norfolk Catholic is the team NOBODY wanted to draw in the first round of this tournament. The Knights have won 17 straight since they fell to Beatrice in the Northwest Holiday Tournament, 63-45. If there is a silver lining in this match-up for GICC, itfs the fact that the Crusaders and Jimmy Weeksf Beatrice teams are mirror images of each other. I witnessed the game that afternoon afternoon at GINW, and Norfolk Catholic did not seem to particularly like the slower, disciplined pace of the Orangeman and were frustrated most of the game. Thatfs the good news for GICC, now herefs the not-so-good stuffcc..
This Norfolk Catholic is REALLY athletic. This is the same team that gave St. Cecilia all they could handle in the State C-1 Football Final before falling 26-18. It took a late interception to seal the deal for St. C that frigid day. Austin Ketter passed for over 1,400 yards. Kelby was rushed for 1,000 yards and Ethan Brozek was the Knights leading receiver for the season, also snaring 74 yards passing in that title game at Memorial Stadium. What about Jarren Heng? Nope, didnft play football, but all he has done is win the last TWO Class C Cross Country State Championships and finish second his Freshman year. So if you had entertained any ideas of this bunch getting tired, forget it. Heng could probably run up and down a basketball court for three days and nights straight and keep going
Grand Island Central Catholic is no slouch themselves. No, they certainly do not resemble the appearance of a football squad, donft possess great height, but the Crusaders play that patented Bill Gavers defense that drives teams crazy and can melt down an offense that is normally disciplinedc..ask Hastings St. Cecilia. The Crusaders took the Bluehawks to the wire both games this season and did so by hounding their guards and preventing them for getting the ball to Sterup down under. The Crusaders just do not make very many mistakes and usually dictate their style of play on their opponents. Turner Fahey and the boys know how to limit the transition game and often times force turnovers that frustrate opponents into errors they are not accustomed to committing.
Fahey, a sure-fire All-State selection, can light it up inside and out and plays outstanding defense. Casey Weins can nail the trey and Brandon Meyer has developed into a very complete player on both ends of the floor.
The key to this game for GICC is force Norfolk Catholic to play the Crusaderfs brand of basketball. The Knights love to run, but when they do have to slow things down and set up their offense, they spread you out and thrive on the drive to the hoop. Heng came drain the three, and the inside play of the two 6-6 players could be a factor in the form of offensive rebounding and put backs for Norfolk Catholic. GICC must box out and limit the Knights to one shot trips. The Knights, much like a Kearney Catholic team I saw earlier, loves to spread your defense out, opening up the lane for that drive-to-the-hoop lay-up. The Crusaders are usually petty effective at preventing that type of game from opening upcc..wefll see. Should easily be the best game of the day in C-1.
One more day of preparations and all the work that went into an entire season will come down to one weekend for eight hard working, dedicated Class C-1 basketball squads. As Coach Rob Micek has always said, there is nothing better on the face of the Earth than standing on the hardwood at center court of the Bob Devaney Sports Center on a Saturday night in March and watching the big screen come to life, displaying the basketball with wings ablaze, flying through the sky into that very arena where you and your basketball team are preparing for the most coveted prize in the State with 10,000+ fans in looking on. Not one team is going to Lincoln this week with the thought of playing for less than three days. There will be dreams that are crushed. Many will don the colors of their beloved schools for the very last time, but the fact remainsc..out of all the teams in the State of Nebraska, you are one of the final 48 units that made it to the Big Dance, man. Drink it all in and let the sweet experience of competing in the Nebraska High School State Basketball Tournament remain in your memory for all timec..this moment may only occur once in your lifetime.
*Sincere thanks to Grand Island Central Catholic Assistant Coach, Rob Micek for the expertise and insight that went into these words. I am blessed to have a son so decicated to the game of basketball.