*We take a jump ahead to 2014 here for the simple reason my historical source skipped the years 2010-2013. I will go back and pick them up when they become available. Apologies for the jump to 2014, but it was a good year, you know.
Boys Basketball had six classes in 2013/2014. The Boys State Basketball Championships were held in Lincoln on Thursday March 13th, Friday, March 14th and Saturday, March 15th in 2014.
Class A was divided into seven districts with the district champions and one wild card team, selected on the basis of a point system, qualifying for the state tournament. Norfolk was the wild card team.
Class B was divided into six districts with the district champions and two wild card teams, selected on the basis of a point system, qualifying for the state tournament. Omaha Skutt and York were the two wild card teams.
For the ninth time in NSAA history, Classes C-1, C-2, D-1 and D-2 also had two wild card teams. Classes C-1, C-2, D-1 and D-2 were divided into 12 sub-districts and six districts. The winners in each district final advanced to the state tournament. The two non-district champions with the highest wild card point average also received invitations to the state tournament. The Class C-1 wild card qualifiers were Boone Central/NG and Wahoo. Doniphan-Trumbull and Southern Valley were the C-2 wild cards. In D-1, Howells-Dodge and Elm Creek received the wild cards. Falls City Sacred Heart and Bancroft-Rosalie were the wild card recipients in D-2.
For the seventh consecutive season, the NSAA played 3rd Place games in all classes, paring the two semifinal losers. The Paid Attendance for the entire 2014 State Tournament was 85,114.
*The 2014 Boys State Basketball Tournament*
Bancroft-Rosalie (Mike Sjuts), Elwood (Kurt Banzhaf), Exeter-Milligan (Dean Filipi), Falls City Sacred Heart (Doug Goltz), High Plains (Cameron Hudson), Hitchcock County (Mike Tines), Leyton (Gary Oltmann), Spalding/Spalding Academy (Joey Imus)
(23-4) Bancroft-Rosalie 64, Hitchcock County 29 (21-3)
(23-4) Falls City Sacred Heart 58, Leyton 50 (18-5)
(25-1) High Plains 49, Exeter-Milligan 45 (22-3)
(22-5) Spalding/Spalding Academy 76, Elwood 48 (14-10)
(24-4) Bancroft-Rosalie 54, Falls City Sacred Heart 44 (24-4)
(26-1) High Plains 81, Spalding/Spalding Academy 54 (23-5)
(25-4) Bancroft-Rosalie 62, High Plains 47 (27-1)
D-2 Champion: Bancroft-Rosalie (26-4) - Head Coach: Mike Sjuts
3rd Place Game - (24-5) Falls City Sacred Heart 68, Spalding/Spalding Academy 55 (23-6)
*The 2014 D-2 All-Tournament team: Tanner Hudson-Spalding/Spalding Academy (6-4, Soph), Nick Zitek-Bancroft-Rosalie (6-1, Sr), Chaz Dunn-Falls City Sacred Heart (6-0, Sr.), Cole Klingsporn-High Plains (5-10, Jr.), Nick Sjuts-Bancroft-Rosalie (6-3, Sr)
*The 2014 Class D-2 tournament scoring crown went to Logan Fleming of High Plains, who was defensively hounded closer as the 3-day tournament progressed. The six foot shooting guard, who shot an incredible 70% from the field in 29 games (219 of 313) and scored 585 points, had games of 25, 22 and 16 points in the tournament (63 pts) to outdistance burly Spalding/Spalding Academy sophomore Tanner Hudson by 16 points.
*The 2014 Class D-2 final: After losing to High Plains 67-53 in the District finals just one week before, Bancroft-Rosalie went to work in the film room, corrected some mistakes (points given up in the paint) and pulled off a 29 point reversal in the Class D-2 title game. The Panthers connected for eleven three pointers in the 62-47 win over a very skilled shooting High Plains squad, who shot an stunning 57% from the field as a team in its previous 28 games.
Things did not start the way Bancroft-Rosalie had hoped in this championship matchup. After seeing High Plains “storm” to a 17-8 lead six minutes into the contest, the flow of things appeared like it may be deja vu for all over again for the Panthers. But head coach Mike Sjuts team quickly changed that tune.
Bancroft-Rosalie went on to score the next 11 points, then continued to score with surprising ease, embarking on a 22-6 run to take a 30-23 halftime lead. High Plains cut the Panther lead to 41-38 with a couple of minutes left in the third quarter, but Bancroft-Rosalie scored the next six, then opened the final stanza scoring the first three points.
That run elevated the Bancoft-Rosalie lead to 50-38 and High Plains never came closer than 10 points the rest of the way. The Panthers featured a balanced scoring attack that saw four players reach double figures. Preston Peters led the way with 14 points, 11 coming in the second half. Kenneth Appleton added 12 points, Nick Sjuts had 11 and Drew Zitek finished with 10. Peters led the long distance scoring parade with a quartet of treys.
Game scoring honors though, went to senior all-state guard Logan Fleming, who netted 16 points. Cole Klingsporn added 14 for the Storm. I considered that guard duo of Fleming, who scored 585 points during the 2013/2014 campaign, and Klingsporn, one the finest SG combinations in the state. Those boys could flat out play the game.
Clearwater/Orchard (Shelly Mlinarik), Elm Creek (Tanner Cavanee), Fullerton (Pat Larson), Howells-Dodge (Cole Fischer), Nebraska City Lourdes (Joe Tynon), North Platte St. Pats (William O’Malley), Overton (Jay Staher), Randolph (Mark Anderson)
(21-4) Clearwater/Orchard 46, North Platte St. Pats 42 (24-1)
(20-4) Randolph 41, Elm Creek 39 (20-3)
(25-2) Howells-Dodge 48, Fullerton 35 (11-7)
(22-4) Overton 65, Nebraska City Lourdes 58 (20-6)
(21-4) Randolph 54, Clearwater/Orchard 42 (22-4)
(23-4) Overton 41, Howells-Dodge 39 (26-2)
(22-4) Randolph 54, Overton 42 (24-4)
D-1: (23-4) Randolph; Head Coach: Mark Anderson
3rd Place Game - (26-2) Howells-Dodge 70, Clearwater/Orchard 48 (22-5)
*The 2009 D-1 All-Tournament team; Hayden Cahoy-Overton (6-0, Sr), Tanner Ryan-Overton (6-3, Sr.), Garrett Watters-Randolph (6-4, Sr..), Nolan Nordhues-Randolph (6-1, Sr.), Luke Hagemann-Howells-Dodge (6-5, Sr.).
*The 2014 D-1 Tournament scoring title was a tight race but went to State Champion Randolph’s Nolan Nordhues, who tallied 51 points (13, 18, 20 pts) to better Luke Hegemann of Howells-Dodge (8, 18, 22 pts) by mere two points. Incidentally, Hegemann scored a lofty 653 points in 29 games in the 2013/14 season, the exact same total as the great Mike Daum of Kimball, although the Howells-Dodge had three more games.
Still, anyone in the same class as Mike Daum is a pretty salty basketball player.
*The 2014 D-1 championship game: You’ve heard the saying “defense wins games”. Well Randolph did just that, holding Overton to just two baskets in the second half to post a 54-42 Class D-1 championship game win. Making it even sweeter for Matt Anderson’s Cardinals was the fact Overton held a 27-26 halftime advantage.
The stifling Randolph defense literally froze an Overton offense solid after the Eagles shot 53% from the floor in the opening half of play. In the third quarter alone, Randolph limited Overton to zero of nine shooting while forcing four turnovers. The result? A 35-29 lead entering the 4th and money quarter.
Randolph went on to outscore the Eagles 19-13 in that final stanza to take the win and the D-1 Title. Senior Nolan Nordhues was a shining star for the Cardinals, scoring a game high 20 points. The 6-1 senior also had five rebounds, four assists and four steals in the final game of his career.
Joel Shafer led Overton with 14 points, while Eagles co-stars Tanner Ryan and Hayden Cahoy were held to a combined 17 points after averaging 17 ppg and 10.8 ppg respectively during the season.
Ainsworth (H Welch/B. Delimont), Battle Creek (Trevor Anderson), Doniphan-Trumbull (Steve Hartman), Freeman (Jim McLaughlin), Fremont Bergan (Chris Paulsen), Kimball (Bruce Tjosvold), Southern Valley (John Miller), Sutton (Jon Ladehoff)
(23-2) Ainsworth 71, Battle Creek 54 (12-12)
(23-4) Freeman 49, Kimball 46 (22-3)
(22-4) Doniphan-Trumbull 40, Sutton 27 (17-9)
(21-3) Fremont Bergan 68, Southern Valley 59 (21-3)
(24-2) Ainsworth 69, Freeman 56 (24-4)
(22-3) Fremont Bergan 58, Doniphan-Trumbull 55 (23-4) (Overtime)
(23-3) Fremont Bergan 71, Ainsworth 69 (25-2) (Overtime)
C-2 Champion: Fremont Bergan (24-3); Head Coach: Chris Paulson.
3rd Place Game - (23-5) Doniphan-Trumbull 59, Freeman 44 (24-5)
*The 2014 C-2 All-Tournament Team was: Creighton Buhr-Doniphan-Trumbull (6-5, Sr), Isaac Frerichs-Freeman (6-1, Jr.), Adam Dykman-Fremont Bergan (6-7, Jr), Michael Daum-Kimball (6-9, Sr.), Matt McLeod-Ainsworth (6-4, Sr.).
*Class 2014 C-2 Tournament scoring title was a two horse race between Ainsworth teammates Matt McLeod and Brady Delimont. McCloud, the 6-4 senior prevailed with games of 24, 16 and 31 points. His 71 point total beat Delimont by a baker’s dozen (16, 26, 16 = 58) as Ainsworth fell a basket short in the C-2 Title game, losing 71-69 to Adam Dykman and Fremont Bergan.
*The 2014 C-2 championship game: How do you beat a team that ends up being the all time, all class best three point shooting team in Nebraska prep basketball history (389)?
You beat ‘em at their own game. Fremont Bergan not only made one more three pointers than Ainsworth (9 to 8), but also connected on a sizzling 47% of their long range shots (9-19) compared to Ainswsorth’s 31% (8-26 attempts).
Yes, we all know there were more factors that entered into top rated Bergan’s 71-69 overtime win over the 8th rated Bulldogs, but the three point difference was certainly a surprise. The true irony of the entire three point shot thing is the fact a player that rarely attempted to shoot from beyond the arc won the game at the end of overtime for the Knights.
Six foot, one inch PG Nate Griffin, a senior Captain who averaged just 4 points a game before this baby, poured in a career high 16 points, but was nearly the goat on two separate occasions in crunch time. Griffin himself felt like he may have blown things when he converted on only half of his 8 free throw opportunities down the stretch.
Not only that, but the senior felt like he blew a second game winning opportunity when he had a buzzer beater shot rejected by Ainsworth’s 6-4 Matt McLeod with the game deadlocked at 48-48 in regulation. In reality, both were forgivable sins, but what transpired at the buzzer in overtime was certainly anything but a sin or blunder by Griffin.
Here is a short recap of the game; Ainsworth had a 22-17 opening quarter advantage, but Bergan’s Jonah Madsen heated up from beyond the arc, hitting six treys by the 4:36 mark of the 3rd quarter. Bergan’s other long distance specialist Colton Brdicko, also had a trio of treys.
By that time, the Knights had built a 50-38 lead before Ainsworth slapped a triangle and two defense on the Knights to shut down the sizzling duo of Madsen and Brdicko.
The new defense did the trick and the Bulldog offense then clawed their way back into the game, aided by the long range accuracy of deadeye sophomore Brady Delimont.
Delimont, who had drained seven treys in the Bulldogs 58-55 overtime semifinal win over Doniphan-Trumbull, finally got going after misfiring on his first six outside shots of the game. Delimont eventually tied the game at 65-65 with a three point basket from the top of the key with :13.3 seconds left. Then came Nate Griffin’s potential game winning blocked shot being rejected by Matt McLeod, sending the game into overtime.
With Ainsworth’s triangle and two defense still shutting down Madsen and Brdicko, who had accounted for 113 of Bergan’s total 134 three pointers for the year, it was time for Griffin’s heroics. And it wasn’t going to be Griffin making a shot from long distance, considering the fact the senior Captain had attempted only 22 treys all season long, making only six.
Now we set the final scene; Ainsworth had just taken its first lead of the game at 69-67 at the 1:42 mark when Cole Conrad, who had come in after Knights star Adam Dykman fouled out, swished a deuce to tie things up at 69 apiece with 1:13 remaining in OT.
With around 12 seconds left, if I recall, it was Nate Griffin who saw an opening in the lane, drove in for the score, givingFremont Bergan the 71-69 win.
Ainsworth did have one last chance, but Matt McLeod, who drove the length of the floor, missed a contested 15 foot shot with 5 seconds left.
Jonah Madsen led Fremont Bergan with 18 points, all on threes, while Ainsworth’s Matt McLeod led all scorers with 31 points.
Boone Central/NG (Dan Zoucha), Columbus Scotus (Jeff Ohnoutka), Cozad (Brian Davis), Falls City (Don Hogue), Kearney Catholic (Scott Carlin), Wahoo (Kevin Sheef), Wahoo Neumann (Mike Weiss), Wayne (Rob Sweetland).
(23-4) Wayne 60, Cozad 44 (17-8)
(20-5) Wahoo 64, Falls City 58 (24-2) (Overtime)
(21-4) Columbus Scotus 72, Kearney Catholic 57 (15-11)
(19-6) Wahoo Neumann 90, Boone Central/Newman Grove 72 (19-6)
(21-5) Wahoo 56, Wayne 42 (24-4)
(20-6) Wahoo Neumann 67, Columbus Scotus 65 (22-4)
(21-6) Wahoo Neumann 68, Wahoo 47 (22-5)
C-1 Champion: Wahoo Neumann (22-6). Head Coach: Mike Weiss
3rd Place - (22-5) Columbus Scotus 68, Wayne 62 (24-5) (Overtime)
*The 2014 C-1 All-Tournament Team: Grant Lahm-Columbus Scotus (6-0, Jr.), Austin Woita-Wahoo Neumann (6-3, Sr.), Ben Simons-Wahoo Neuman (6-0, Soph.), Ben Scheef-Wahoo (6-2, Sr.), Jake Sheef-Wahoo (6-2, Jr.).
*The 2009 C-1 tournament scoring race was easily captured by Scotus junior gunslinger Grant Lamb, who tickled the twine to the tune of 73 points during the C-1 carnival (26, 33, 14 pts). Lamb was 19 better than Bishop Neuman’s Ben Simons (15, 18, 21 pts), but it was Simons and friends who defeated Scotus 67-65 in the semifinals, despite the 33 point outburst by the Shamrock rocket launcher.
*The 2014 C-1 championship game: I distinctly recall the “Southside!” chant following Wahoo Neuman’s 68-47 C-1 Championship victory over city rival Wahoo. It was a first ever All-Wahoo state title game that saw Bishop Neumann’s smothering defense immediately set the tone out of the gate.
So menacing was the Cavalier “D”, that a normally steady Wahoo floor game was forced into 23 turnovers, a flurry of them coming in the first quarter when Neumann jetted to a commanding 16-2 lead. Wahoo did cut that lead to 28-20 at the half, but Cavalier players like senior Austin Woita and sophomore Ben Simons were just too much for the Warriors, who gained entry to the 2014 state tourney via the wild card after losing to Neumann in the District final.
Kevin Scheef’s Wahoo forces did cut the Cavalier lead to 45-39 with 6:17 left to play in the contest, but a deep corner three by Ben Simons ignited a brutal 17-2 run that put the Warriors away for good.
Sophomore Ben Simons led the Neumann charge with 21 points (8-12 shooting), followed by Austin Woita’s 13. The Cavaliers were an efficient 19 of 22 from the line in the game. Game scoring honors went to Wahoo junior Ben Scheef, who scored 22 points and seemed mostly unphased by the relentless Neumann defense.
Another thing that hurt the Warriors was missed charity tosses. When Wahoo players did get to the foul line they were ice cold, converting only 5 of 16 in the game.
Beatrice (Tyler Struck), Elkhorn South (Alex Bahe), Grand Island Northwest (Ryan Rathke), Lincoln Pius X (Ray Forcki), Omaha Roncalli (Jim Meister), Omaha Skutt (Kyle Jurgens), Scottsbluff (Tony Siske), York (Scott Lamberty).
(22-2) York 41, Lincoln Pius X 37 (15-7)
(20-2) Beatrice 43, Omaha Roncalli 41 (14-11)
(24-0) Elkhorn South 64, Grand Island Northwest 31 (11-16)
(19-6) Omaha Skutt 58, Scottsbluff 49 (16-9)
(21-2) Beatrice 50, York 41 (23-2)
(20-6) Omaha Skutt 66, Elkhorn South 59, (25-0)
(21-6) Omaha Skutt 59, Beatrice 45 (20-2)
Class 2014 B Champion: Omaha Skutt (22-6). Head Coach: Kyle Jurgens
3rd Place - (25-1) Elkhorn South 59, York 51 (23-3)
*The Class B All-Tournament Team: Matt Thomas-Elkhorn South (6-0, Sr), Ty Danielson-York (6-3, Sr), Nick Bouda-Omaha Skutt (6-5, Soph), Wills Wallrapp-Omaha Skutt (6-3, Jr), Alec Cromer-Beatrice (6-6, Soph).
*The 2014 Class B State Tournament scoring title went to Matt Thomas of Elkhorn South, who scored 73 points during the Tournament. Thomas had 16 against in the Storms 64-31 trouncing of GINW, followed up with a 21 point showing in the Storms 66-59 semifinal loss to Skutt, then absolutely exploded when he scored 34 big ones in Elkhorn South’s 59-51 win over York in the now discontinued 3rd Place Class B game.
Matt’s 73 points were seven more than York sharpshooter Ty Danielson, who canned 67 during the three day event (14, 26, 24 pts).
It was quite the battle between Thomas and Danielson in that 3rd place game. Thomas hit six three pointers and was a perfect 6 for 6 from the line, while Danielson had a pair of treys, four two pointers, and a 10 of 12 performance from the charity stripe.
*The 2014 Class B final: Omaha Skutt’s Chris Harrison came through when it counted in the SkyHawks 59-45 win over Beatrice in the Class B championship game. After scoring only five points in Skutt’s first two state tournament games, the 5-9 guard heated up for 17 points, including a perfect 8 for 8 performance from the charity stripe in in the 4th quarter.
It was also Harrison’s pair of long range threes in the opening stanza that softened up the Beatrice defense and also staked the SkyHawks to an early 10-4 advantage, a lead they never relinquished. Omaha Skutt’s 6-5 sophomore Nick Bouda established his presence from the outset, scoring 8 of his 17 points, lifting the Skyhawks to a 22-18 intermission advantage. The burly Bouda also pulled down 9 rebounds in the contest.
It was Skutt Catholic’s patented 3rd quarter “pull away” offense that swelled the lead to 40-27 entering the final stanza. At the center of it all was All-Stater Wills Wallrapp, who canned 7 of his 13 points in the period. Bouda also added six points in the paint, Chris Harrison nailed another trey, and a 9-0 run sealed fate of Tyler Strucks fine Beatrice squad.
By the way, Nick Bouda wasn’t the only sophomore that sparkled in this contest. Beatrice featured a splendid 6-6 sophomore named Alec Cromer, who ended the game with 14 points (6-7 from the field) and 8 boards. It was Skutt’s third Class B championship, adding a 2014 trophy to the years 2006, 2007.
It was especially sweet for first year head coach Kyle Jurgens, who had been an assistant at Millard North the previous 8 seasons.
Bellevue West (Doug Woodard), Lincoln Northeast (David Mercer), Lincoln Southeast (Jeff Smith), Norfolk (Ben Ries), Omaha Benson (Donnie Johnson), Omaha Central (Eric Behrens), Omaha South (Bruce Chubick), Omaha Westside (Brian Nemecek).
(23-3) Omaha Benson 73, Lincoln Northeast 58 (12-13)
(19-5) Omaha Westside 63, Lincoln Southeast 56 (20-5)
(20-5) Norfolk 70, Omaha South 66 (20-5) (3 Overtimes)
(18-6) Bellevue West 68, Omaha Central 50 (22-4)