It’s time for the 2013 Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament.
It seems like the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals were building for this moment all season long, one step at a time.
Seven straight wins to buffer a pair of season-opening losses. A third-place finish in the Great Northeast Nebraska Shootout holiday tournament. Avenging victories over Wayne and O’Neill. Runner-up in the annual Mid-State Conference Tournament donnybrook.
All leading up to a district championship victory and the first Cardinal state tourney berth since 2007.
During a season of highs and lows, Boone Central/Newman Grove has been ranked up and down the Class C1 Top 10s published by Nebraska’s largest daily newspapers. With the C1-4 District win over Wayne, the Cardinals will take a season-high #2 Omaha World-Herald ranking to Lincoln Thursday.
That’s when BC/NG will open its state tourney experience as the #7 seed, facing #2 seed Kearney Catholic at the Pershing Center (7 p.m.). The winner will play a semi-final contest Friday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center (3:45). The C1 championship game is Saturday at the Devaney Center (4:30). The consolation game will be played at Lincoln North Star High School (10 a.m.).
C1 teams (seed, record, NSAA point avg.): Wahoo (1, 26-0, 46.1923), Kearney Catholic (2, 22-3, 45.6000), Kimball (3, 20-1, 44.5714), Wayne (4, 22-5, 44.4815), Adams Central (5, 21-5, 44.0000), Gibbon (6, 20-5, 43.9600), Boone Central/Newman Grove (7, 21-6, 43.6667), Lincoln Christian (8, 17-9, 43.1154).
Thursday at Pershing Center
Wahoo (26-0) vs. Linc. Christian (17-9), 2 pm
Adams Central (21-5) vs. Wayne (22-5), 3:45
B. Central/N. Grove (21-6) vs. K. Cath. (22-3), 7
Gibbon (20-5) vs. Kimball (20-1), 8:45
Friday at Devaney Center
Wahoo-LC winner vs. AC-Wayne winner, 2
BC/NG-KC winner vs. Gib.-Kimb. winner, 3:45
Championship at Devaney Center, 4:30
Consolation at Lincoln North Sat, 10 am
The Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals and Kearney Catholic Stars will face off in a Class C1 1st round game in the 2013 Nebraska Boys State Basketball Tournament Thursday at the Pershing Center in Lincoln (7 p.m.).
B. Central/N. Grove (21-6)
Coach: Dan Zoucha
Game averages: 53.7-45.0
Leaders Gr., Ht., Pts., Reb.,
Tyler Hedlund Jr, 6-1, 14.4, 3.1,
Derek Gentrup Jr, 5-10, 11.0, 5.6,
Beau Bremer Sr, 6-7, 10.4, 6.7,
Carter Johnson Jr, 5-11, 4.2, 3.0,
Hunter Henry Sr, 6-3, 2.4, 4.8,
Pierce Koch Jr 5-10, 5.1, 1.8,
K. Catholic (22-3)
Coach: Don Liess
Game averages: 59.2-42.3
Leaders Gr., Ht., Pts., Reb.,
Brian Husmann Sr, 6-0, 13.2, 6.1,
Alex Liess Sr, 6-1, 11.4, 4.1,
Matt Moore Jr, 5-9, 7.6, 2.8,
David Squiers Sr, 6-2, 6.7, 4.5,
Blake Holtmeier Jr, 6-2, 6.1, 4.1,
Connor Streit Sr, 5-9, 5.8, 2.2,
Boone Central/Newman Grove: Victories over Plus .500 teams – 16. High Caliber Victories – Wayne (22-5), 46-43, 51-38; Lutheran High NE (21-5), 64-47; O’Neill (20-6), 44-34; Hartington C.C. (20-7), 54-51. Sub-District Results – BC/NG 65, B. Creek 48; BC/NG 52, Nor. Catholic 46. District Final – BC/NG 51, Wayne 38.
Kearney Catholic: Victories over Plus .500 teams – 17. High Caliber Victories – N. Platte St. Pat’s (22-3), 52-38; Gibbon (20-5), 56-41, 61-52; Adams Central (21-5), 46-44; McCook (18-7), 53-48. Sub-District Results – K. Cath. 66, St. Paul 58 (OT); Gibbon 45, K. Cath. 34.
Albion News Scouting Report/Keys for Boone Central/Newman Grove: BC/NG once again competed in one of the state’s toughest conferences, the Mid-State (4 state tournament qualifiers), which prepares the Cardinals well for post-season play. BC/NG will have a definite height advantage against Kearney Catholic and, although the Cardinal line-up is junior-dominated, it is very experienced. Keys Thursday: When BC/NG can establish 6-7 center Beau Bremer early offensively, it puts pressure on opponents and opens up the Cards’ perimeter attack. BC/NG must make good decisions and limit turnovers against Kearney Catholic’s pressure defense.
Albion News Scouting Report/Keys for Kearney Catholic: Although the LouPlatte is not the conference the Mid-State is, the Stars still faced a challenging schedule, with games against strong Class B opponents McCook and GINW, along with Adams Central, Gibbon and North Platte St. Patrick’s. K. Catholic generates a good portion of its offense with steals and turnovers forced by pressing, trapping defense. Keys Thursday: While the Stars need to create havoc and steals with their press, K. Catholic will also need to find a way to rebound effectively against a much-taller B. Central/N. Grove team.
Which team best adjusts to the wide-open shooting background is always a key for games at Pershing.