The Metro Conference's holiday basketball tournament is returning to a familiar court for its golden anniversary semifinals and finals — the Civic Auditorium.
The downtown facility is where the tournament began 50 years ago, during the 1962-63 season. The league moved the event in the 1990s to UNO's Sapp Fieldhouse, which was unavailable this year.
First-round, quarterfinal and consolation games will be played on Dec. 28, 29 and 31 at Millard South for boys games and Omaha Benson for girls games before the tournament shifts to the auditorium for girls semifinals at 2:45 and 4:30 p.m. and boys semifinals at 6:15 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 2, followed by the girls final at 6:15 p.m. and the boys final at 8 p.m. on Jan. 3.
OPS Jamboree changes format
Home sites again will be used for this week's season-opening OPS Jamboree basketball tournament, which has been changed from an eight-team field to two four-team fields. Teams were assigned by their position in the state's wild-card standings last season.
In one boys grouping are Omaha Bryan, Omaha Benson, Omaha North and Omaha South. Omaha Burke, Omaha Northwest, Millard South and Bellevue East are in the other. Bellevue East replaces Omaha Central, which was let out of the tournament so it could go to the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., in mid-December.
Defending girls state champion Central, Benson, North and Burke are in one tournament, while Millard South, Northwest, Omaha South and Bryan are in the other. Games are Thursday night, with winners and losers meeting on Saturday afternoon at Omaha South and Northwest for boys and Benson and Bryan for girls.
Most other Class A schools, except for Lincoln High, North Platte and new member Lincoln Pius X, also open their seasons this week with four-team tournaments.
Pius X has moved its Saturday home game with Lincoln High to the Links' gym because of a home wrestling tournament, with game time moved up to 4:45 p.m. Most game times Saturday reflect schools not wanting to play at the same time as the Big Ten championship game between Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Hospital stay kept ex-Gross coach away
Retired Omaha Gross football coach and athletic director Stan Maciatis was unable to attend the Cougars' 14-7 win over Norris at Memorial Stadium for their first state football title.
Gross A.D. Mike Dempsey said a family member told him Maciatis is feeling better after spending Tuesday and Wednesday in the hospital for treatment of dehydration from a flu-like illness.
Maciatis coached the Cougars to their only other title-game appearance, a 25-21 loss to Omaha Creighton Prep in the 1983 Class A final.
Wendy's honors to Cogswell, Frauendorfer
» Coleman Cogswell of McCool Junction and Alyssa Frauendorfer of Humphrey are the state's winners in the Wendy's High School Heisman program.
» Additional honorable mentions for all-state softball are Natalie Wooden, Barbara Calvert and Zoey Rada of Scottsbluff, Ali Maxwell of Gretna and Ellen Prochaska of Blair.
» Metro Conference diving champion Anna Filipcic of Omaha Burke recently signed with Nebraska.
» All-Metro and All-Omaha Area (small school) teams in football and volleyball are scheduled for publication on Dec. 8, followed by the All-Nebraska and all-state teams on Dec. 9.
— Stu Pospisil