An All-Metro Conference state tournament probably won’t happen. In fact, it looks like six might be the most the league can land in Lincoln.
Official pairings for Class A’s district tournaments, which start Saturday, come out Monday. Barring an unforeseen change, these should be the district fields (home team listed in bold type):
Omaha Central-Grand Island, Omaha Westside-Omaha Burke
Omaha South-Bellevue East, Fremont-Millard North
Papillion-La Vista-Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln Pius X-Kearney
Omaha Benson-Lincoln High, Bellevue West-Lincoln North Star
Millard West-Omaha Northwest, Omaha Creighton Prep-Lincoln East
North Platte-Papillion-La Vista South, Omaha North-Omaha Bryan
Lincoln Southwest-Millard South, Lincoln Southeast-Norfolk
Class A districts are seeded by the state point system, with the top seven teams getting homecourt advantage.
Going into Saturday night, the top six teams were locked in. But Millard West dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 in the seedings, with Omaha Benson moving up, as the Wildcats fell 58-40 at Omaha Creighton Prep.
Omaha North would have been the seventh home team by beating Omaha South. The Vikings had a 17-point lead in the third quarter, led by four with 11 seconds left in regulation and had two free throws to win the game in the first overtime, only for South to escape for a 75-71 win in double overtime.
So the Vikings dropped from seventh to ninth and into the North Platte district for a Saturday game against Omaha Bryan. Taking North’s place as a host team is Lincoln Southwest, which moved up by beating North Platte 69-56.
The drive to districts obviously is much longer for the Vikings, but is their path to state easier? North Platte has 16 wins and is a district host, both for the second time in three years, but half of this season’s wins are against Class B teams. The Bulldogs lost by 11 at Omaha Northwest, which North beat by 13 three weeks later.
Even the team that plays North Platte first, Papillion-La Vista South (7-15), should feel beating the Bulldogs isn’t impossible.
Chances are good, however, that North Platte can make state for the first time since 2004 even if it loses in districts. It would be the one wild card team if the top five teams are district champions — and they are this season’s Big Five in the Nebraska Top 10 — No. 1 Omaha Central, No. 2 South, No. 3 Papillion-La Vista, No. 4 Benson and No. 5 Millard West.
If North Platte wins its district, five teams at state might be the maximum for the Metro.
Projected state field: Central, South, Papillion-La Vista, Benson, Millard West, Omaha North, Lincoln Southwest, North Platte (wild card).
Class B: Half of the rated teams are in District B-2 at Omaha Northwest — new No. 1 Elkhorn South, No. 3 Ralston, No. 6 Omaha Gross, No. 7 Gretna and No. 8 Omaha Skutt. At least two of the five will not make state.
Next in strength would be District B-1 with No. 4 Norris and No. 5 Waverly. Chances are good that a wild card team won’t come from this district.
District B-3 and B-4 each has only one team with a winning record — Omaha Roncalli in B-3 and new No. 10 York in B-4. District B-6, which could produce a wild card team, includes No. 3 Scottsbluff, former No. 1 McCook, Sidney and Gering.
Projected state field: Norris, Elkhorn South, South Sioux City, York, Grand Island Northwest, Scottsbluff, Ralston (wild card), Waverly (wild card)
Class C-1: Three rated teams are in the C1-4 subdistrict at Columbus High School. No. 6 Columbus Lakeview plays No. 8 Wahoo Neumann in one semifinal, with No. 1 Wahoo on the other side of the bracket. Get this: the play-in game is between David City (16-7) and Columbus Scotus (13-9).
Almost as strong is C1-8 at Norfolk High School, in which the final could be between No. 5 Boone Central/Newman Grove and No. 10 Norfolk Catholic. The winner could face No. 2 Wayne, the favorite in C1-7, for the district title.
Predicted state field: Falls City, Wahoo, Adams Central, Wayne, Kearney Catholic, Cozad, Kimball (wild card), Columbus Lakeview (wild card).
Class C-2: A 1-vs.-2 matchup is possible in the C2-2 subdistrict final Thursday at Norris with No. 1 Sutton and No. 2 Freeman. The winner could be playing No. 4 Johnson County, from C2-1, in the district final.
Predicted state field: Sutton, Fremont Bergan, Norfolk Lutheran, Hartington Cedar Catholic, Doniphan-Trumbull, North Platte St. Patrick’s, Freeman (wild card), Southern Valley (wild card).
Class D-1: No. 2 Howells-Dodge, one of three undefeated teams in this class, has a wild card berth clinched for state.
Top-ranked Paxton, in a district combination with only two other teams with a winning record, seems a safe bet to get to Lincoln with its perfect record intact.
Predicted state field: BDS, Kenesaw, Howells-Dodge, O’Neill St. Mary’s, Arapahoe, Paxton, Burwell (wild card), High Plains (wild card).
Class D-2: Three state qualifiers could come from the same district, which pairs up the D2-5 and D2-6 subdistricts. No. 6 Wynot and No. 3 Bancroft-Rosalie are in D2-5 at Hartington, with No. 5 Wausa in D2-6 at Randolph.
Should new No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart make it out of its subdistrict by beating the winner of No. 9 Sterling (16-7) vs. Lincoln Parkview (15-5), the Irish would draw a district-final opponent with a record no better than 9-13.
Predicted state field: Sacred Heart, Spalding/Spalding Academy, Bancroft-Rosalie, Giltner, Bertrand, Leyton, Wausa (wild card), Wynot (wild card).
New No. 1s: Elkhorn South was only out of the lead in the Class B ratings for one week. The Storm, though losing to Class A Norfolk, return to the top after Norris defeated last week’s leader, Ralston, 51-43 on Saturday.
Elkhorn South has only one Class B loss. New No. 2 Scottsbluff has two and so does Ralston, which slips to third.
In Class D-2, Sacred Heart returns to No. 1 after two-time defending champion Giltner lost to unranked D-1’s McCool Junction.
The next set of ratings will come out the week of the boys state tournaments.
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