Three of the league’s most improved players join Chucky Hepburn and Hunter Sallis on the All-Metro Conference team.
Saint Thomas of Millard North, Frankie Fidler of Bellevue West and Denim Johnson of Omaha Central emerged in their senior seasons.
Thomas raised his scoring average by 5.4 points from last season, Fidler by 8.9 points. Johnson, who came to Central after three seasons at Omaha Benson, led the Eagles in scoring.
On last year’s All-Metro teams, Thomas was a second-teamer and Fidler a third-teamer. Johnson was on the honorable mention list.
Hepburn and Sallis, who are named as the team’s honorary co-captains, are multiple-year honorees. Hepburn was on the All-Metro third team as a freshman before three years on the first team. Sallis was on the second team as a sophomore before two years on the top team.
It’s the first time since 2016 (Omaha South and Papillion-La Vista) that two teams have placed two players on the first team.
Four of the five players were 1,000-point scorers in their careers. Sallis led with 1,819, followed by Hepburn at 1,706, Johnson at 1,168 and Thomas at 1,095. Fidler had 933 after a 594-point senior season.
While the first team was all seniors, the second and third teams have more sophomores and juniors than seniors.
On the second team are junior Jasen Green and senior Jadin Johnson of Millard North, senior Justin Sitti of Omaha Creighton Prep, junior Daniel Brocaille of Papillion-La Vista South and junior Reggie Thomas of Omaha Westside.
Third-teamers are senior Brendan Buckley and junior Luke Jungers of Prep, senior Evan Meyersick of Millard West, junior Chandler Meeks of Westside and sophomore Josiah Dotzler of Bellevue West.
Division I destinations are Gonzaga for Sallis, Wisconsin for Hepburn, UNO for Fidler and Old Dominion for Jadin Johnson. Saint Thomas said he’ll announce his future plans on April 10. Green has multiple high-Division I offers.
Observations of The World-Herald sports staff and nominations of league coaches determine the All-Metro teams.
No school has ever put more on the top two teams than Millard North. The four selections reflect the talent that carried the Mustangs to their first state championship and the first for coach Tim Cannon.
“We just had all the right pieces. We went so well together,” Sallis said. “Last year what we really lacked were shooters. That’s why a lot of teams were able to get away playing zone against us. This year, Jadin and I were able to stretch the floor and knock down open shots. It was really hard on teams and then with Jasen and Tyler (Sandoval) being so dominant inside, it was really just hard for teams to guard us straight up.”
Sallis said the chemistry that developed through the season between he and Thomas, a pair of 20-point scorers, was a reason the Mustangs won the state title.
“A lot of teams don’t play that good with two players, but I feel like we complemented each other perfectly,” Sallis said.
Hunter Sallis, Millard North, 6-5, Sr., 22.2
Chucky Hepburn, Bellevue West, 6-2, Sr., 15.9
Saint Thomas, Millard North, 6-7, Sr., 21.2
Frankie Fidler, Bellevue West, 6-7, Sr., 21.2
Denim Johnson, Om. Central, 6-1, Sr., 15.2
Honorary captains: Sallis, Hepburn
Jasen Green, Millard North, 6-7, Jr., 12.3
Justin Sitti, Om. Creighton Prep, 6-2, Sr., 9.5
Daniel Brocaille, Papio South, 6-5, Jr., 17.6
Jadin Johnson, Millard North, 6-4, Sr., 15.2
Reggie Thomas, Om. Westside, 6-1, Jr., 14.9
Brendan Buckley, Creighton Prep, 6-3, Sr., 10.2
Evan Meyersick, Millard West, 6-5, Sr., 13.3
Luke Jungers, Creighton Prep, 6-8, Jr., 12.0
Chandler Meeks, Om. Westside, 6-1, Jr., 12.5
Josiah Dotzler, Bellevue West, 6-2, So., 11.9
Bellevue East: Ater Louis, TK Barnett, Dige Dige. Bellevue West: Greg Brown, William Kyle. Elkhorn South: Derek Merwick, Nathan Hoesing, Reid Nelson. Gretna: Quinn Frost, Landon Pokorski. Millard North: Tyler Sandoval, Colin Monie. Millard South: Gage Stenger, Jack Cooper, Michael Harding, Blake Stenger, Lance Rucker, Will Cooper. Millard West: James Conway, Dom Humm, Ryan Larsen, Dustin Hatch. Omaha Bryan: Jai’lyn Spears. Omaha Burke: Lukas Kocher, Sam Sorensen, Donovan Moody. Omaha Central: Jay Dawson, Fai Germany, PJ Davis, Jaren Marshall. Omaha Creighton Prep: AJ Rollins, Mai’jhe Wiley, Conor Buckley, Casey O’Malley. Omaha North: Curtis Ogba, Keshaun Williams, Mason Strong, Darryl Bennett. Omaha Northwest: Jayden Curtis Sayers, Marrieon Marks, Landon Broer. Omaha South: Ricky Loftin. Omaha Westside: Payson Gillespie, Tate Odvody. Papillion-La Vista: Luke Lindenmeyer, Kyle Ingwerson, Joey Hylok, Aidan Graham, Chase Lett. Papillion-La Vista South: Graham Cassoutt, Josiah Beckenhauer, Tyler Culp, Jackson Trout.
2021 Nebraska boy state basketball championship games
Photos: 2021 Nebraska boys state basketball championship games