Wells Drug February

TIME OUT with Joe Flanagan

Tourney Time Avenue To Cement Season Legacy

Wow! What a basketball season for the Boone Central girls!
Fans of the Lady Cardinals are familiar with the stunning success to date in 2011-12.
A 20-2 record. The Class C1 #1 ranking in the Lincoln Journal-Star (currently #2 in the Omaha World-Herald). Losses only to a pair of C1 Top 10 squads, Hastings St. Cecelia and Columbus Scotus, by a grand total of four points. A resounding early-season victory over pre-season #1 – and current OWH #1 – Minden. Mid-State Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
Whew! What a list! What a season!
After the Minden conquest, I posited in this space that we may have witnessed the finest single-game performance in program history. More than a few people have agreed with me.
At the time, I also noted the current Lady Cards still had work to do to assume accolades for the top season in school annals – or title of best team ever.
As they have continued to stack up win after win after win, the Cardinals have certainly approached those thresholds.
However, there is still one all-important item on the agenda. Yes, it’s tourney time, and that means a coveted state tournament berth is squarely on the line.
Without a trip to Lincoln, the 2011-12 campaign will still be regarded as an impressive success. Extend the season into March and it transcends into a crowning achievement that legitimately positions this team in “best ever” conversations.
Remember, Boone Central would be shooting for a fourth straight state tournament berth save for the upset loss by last year’s superb squad to Norfolk Catholic in the sub-district final. You recall the heartbreak – two previous victories over the Lady Knights, third time far from a charm.
BC seems to have caught a break with this week’s C1-8 sub-district field, no other team having so much as a break-even record in 2011-12. But, looming in the district final will be the survivor of the C1-7 donnybrook – Norfolk Catholic, Wayne or Pierce. One way or another, a Mid-State match-up for the district crown. Catholic and Pierce would be rematches. If its the Blue Devils, it would be a repeat scenario – a third meeting of the season with the Cardinals having won the first two.
Boone Central is also positioned quite well in the NSAA wild card standings – third behind Chadron (21-0) and Sandy Creek (17-2) entering post-season action. But wild cards are not the sure thing on-court victories provide.
Sandy Creek may be in the most-difficult sub-district in C1, with Milford (18-2) and Fillmore Central (18-5). Auburn (18-3) could await the winner in the district final.
Chadron appears to have an easier road to a district title, but Kimball (15-7) could be a sub-district test and Hershey (15-6) might pose a district final threat.
Odds of both losing, along with the Cardinals, muddying the wild card picture for BC? Probably a long shot, but you never want to gamble.
The best bet is Boone Central putting the finishing touches on a season to remember. Take care of sub-district business. Then, what better way to crown a campaign and cement a legacy than by beating a conference rival for a district championship?
It’s been a thrilling winter on the hardcourt. A great season by most any measure. But the grail hasn’t yet been grasped. A district title? A state tournament victory? A C1 championship?
It’s there for the taking.

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