The chase is on for homecourt advantage in Saturday’s Class B district finals. Likewise for getting into the 16-team, winner-take-all games.
Nebraska City had the first upset in Monday’s subdistricts. The Pioneers (11-11) left sixth-ranked Beatrice with a 47-45 win. With 4.9 seconds left, Italian exchange student and Class B state tennis runner-up Federico Maccari scored — those were the only points in the final four minutes.
It’s very possible that this ended a Nebraska City losing streak to the Orangemen that dates at least to the 1990s. For sure, the Pioneers hadn’t won in the 21st century.
Then came the night’s second upset. Scottsbluff had pounded Sidney 64-29 on Feb. 6, but the Red Raiders (12-10) gained revenge with a 48-44 win over the No. 10 Bearcats at Alliance. Sawyer Dickman had 16 points and Zack Burke scored 13 for Sidney.
Here’s what that game did. Scottsbluff is now locked in as the No. 9 seed and must go east on Saturday. Beatrice, Elkhorn and Waverly now have home games for Saturday clinched in advance of their games Tuesday.
Three more nailbiters Monday were Hastings’ 43-41 win over McCook on Husker quarterback walk-on Jarrett Synek’s tip-in at the buzzer, Aurora’s 45-43 escape of York and Seward’s 72-70 overtime win over Crete.
With its 66-40 win over first-year Elkhorn North, No. 3 Elkhorn Mount Michael (18-3) clinched a district final in its Palace gym for the third consecutive year in advance of Tuesday’s subdistrict final at No. 4 Elkhorn. But it will be its only home game of the postseason. When subdistricts were seeded and assigned last week, it was behind Elkhorn in the state point standings.
Elkhorn North (8-13) played the Knights tough before Christmas, losing 61-55. But the rematch was over quickly. The Wolves had eight turnovers in the first quarter in falling behind 14-7, and the Knights drilled three treys in 50 seconds for a 25-9 lead. Jack Lusk had four 3s and 14 points for the Wolves.
Kaleb Brink and Brad Bennett each had 13 points for the Knights.
Elkhorn North may still need the uniforms. Projections indicate that barring upset wins by Seward over Aurora and Blair over Bennington, the Wolves will be among the top 16 unless Hastings (at Grand Island Northwest) and Nebraska City (at Norris) both win.
In Class B, the eight subdistrict winners and the next eight in the point standings are reseeded for the district finals, which determine the field for the state tournament, which begins March 9 in Lincoln.
The Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur co-op teams in volleyball and basketball could be reaching their end. The Bancroft-Rosalie school board voted two weeks ago to end the co-op in those sports, in part because the Wolverines would move up from C-2 to C-1 for what the board sees as the next six seasons, while keeping the co-op in four-class sports such as track and wrestling. Football would stay together to complete the two-year scheduling cycle. The Lyons-Decatur board meets Wednesday to react.