The Nebraska high school boys state basketball tournament begins Tuesday. Here's a preview of all six games:
Note: Rankings are according to The World-Herald's class ratings
No. 2-ranked Norris (18-2) vs. No. 9 Blair (11-11), 9 a.m.: Blair went west to defeat Alliance 51-43 for the Bears’ first district title since 2006. They lost to Norris 64-50 in an Eastern Midlands Conference game on Dec. 12. A mostly-junior top seven is paced by Luke Ladwig at 10.5 ppg. Norris, with losses only to Waverly and Omaha Skutt, goes 6-foot-6, 6-5, 6-5 across the front with Trey Deveaux (17.4 ppg., 8.5 rpg.), Brayson Mueller (12.6 ppg.) and C.J. Hood (10.4). Scoring averages: Norris 62.5 for, 46.1 against; Blair 46.3-48.5. Stu’s pick: Norris. Radio: 97.3, Blair; 101.5, 1480, Lincoln; 99.5, Fairbury.
No. 4 Platteview (20-4) vs. No. 5 Elkhorn (17-7), 11:15 a.m.: These teams complete the day’s Class B doubleheader. Platteview lost to Elkhorn 57-55 in December and beat the Antlers 59-54 at the Beatrice holiday tournament. Platteview’s Connor Millikan leads Class B at 26.7 ppg. and his 641 points have gotten him past the 1,000-point threshold — only the fourth all-time to do so as a sophomore. Senior wing Tyler Riley averages 16.5 ppg. Elkhorn enjoys a height advantage with Colton Uhing, a 6-6 guard who leads the team at 12.8 ppg. Scoring averages: Platteview 64.6-53.5; Elkhorn 51.2-42.3. Stu’s pick: Elkhorn, for having the experience of playing at state in Class A last year. Radio: none.
No. 3 Millard North (24-2) vs. No. 10 Millard South (11-11), 1:30 p.m.: The national No. 24 Mustangs beat Millard South 62-51 in January. Hunter Sallis is now No. 3 in Class A career scoring at 1,759 points. Saint Thomas gives Millard North a second 20-point scorer. Millard South is on a four-game winning streak with a team that scores by committee. Scoring averages: MN 81.5-59.9, MS 54.3-52.3. Stu’s pick: Millard North, unless it takes the game for granted. Radio: 94.5, 1420, Omaha.
No. 5 Lincoln Pius X (18-3) vs. No. 4 Millard West (17-5), 4 p.m.: West made it a sweep of state tournament berths for Millard schools with its 55-54 district final win at Omaha Westside. Evan Meyersick, 3-point shooter Ryan Larsen, James Conway and Dominic DeAngelo-Humm are double-digits scorers for the Wildcats. Pius X took the one Class A wild card berth after losing 56-51 in overtime to Lincoln East. NU coach Fred Hoiberg’s twins, seniors Sam (15.0 ppg.) and Charlie (10.7), are the Thunderbolts’ scoring leaders. Sam Hastreiter is a 6-6 junior with an Idaho offer. Scoring averages: LPX 66.4-48.1, MW 61.8-48.2. Stu’s pick: Pius X, on the expectation its shooting slump ends. Radio: 94.5, 1420, Omaha; 101.5, 1480, Lincoln.
No. 1 Bellevue West (23-2) vs. unranked Lincoln East (10-12), 6:15 p.m.: The defending champion beat East 84-54 on Feb. 6. That started a four-game losing streak for the Spartans, but they’re at state after beating Lincoln Southeast and Pius X in districts. Carter Glenn averages nearly 20 points and leads in assists. As he goes, so does East. West’s Frankie Fidler (UNO signee) is averaging 21.2 points and 6.4 rebounds and two-time All-Nebraska guard Chucky Hepburn (Wisconsin) has 208 assists (8.3 a game) and 95 steals to go with 15.7 points a game. Good passing team all around. Scoring averages: BW 79.0-57.7, LE 56.6-55.2. Stu’s pick: West. Radio: 94.5, 1420, Omaha; 103.3, 1240, Lincoln.
No. 2 Omaha Creighton Prep (22-2) vs. No. 6 Papillion-La Vista South (15-9), 8:30 p.m.: Prep defeated the Titans 68-54 on Jan. 26. Both teams are riding long win streaks, eight games for Prep and seven for South. The Titans secured their third consecutive state appearance with a 64-59 win at Omaha Central. Daniel Brocaille, a 6-5 junior guard, leads them in scoring and rebounding (17.7, 5.2). Prep scores by committee, with 6-8 junior forward Luke Jungers the top scorer at 12 a game. Point guard Justin Sitti has signed with Morningside. Scoring averages: CP 64.4-48.8, PS 63.9-55.9. Stu’s pick: Prep moves on to Round 3 against Bellevue West. Radio: 94.5, 1420, 102.7, Omaha.