Pinnacle Bank Arena played host to the boys state basketball championships in all six classes on Saturday. Doors were closed to the general public, but Jacob Padilla was there to recap what could be the last day of live sports in a while.
No. 4 Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 76, No. 6 Southern Valley 31
The Bears and Eagles traded scores on the first four possessions. It was all Laurel-Concord-Coleridge after that as Southern Valley made three more shots the rest of the half and the Bears scored 43 of the last 50 points to take a 37-point lead at halftime.
The Eagles got going a bit in the third quarter but it was far too little, way too late to make it a competitive game as the Bears won their first state title as a consolidated school.
“It’s just crazy,” senior Ty Erwin said. “Our community supports us like crazy, all three of them do and it’s just really great to bring this home for them. Hopefully they can bring home a couple more.”
Laurel-Concord Coleridge went on runs of 8-0, 15-2 and 20-1 to take a 48-11 lead at halftime. Southern Valley scored 15 in the third quarter but Laurel-Concord-Coleridge pushed the lead to 40 at the six-minute mark of the fourth, triggering the running clock for the rest of the game.
Noah Schutte, one of the most prolific players in state history, notched his 71st career double-double in his final high school game with 25 points on 9-of-16 from the field and 7-of-11 from the line, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. He finished his career with 2,086 point, 1,140 rebounds, 234 assists, 195 steals and 185 blocks in 103 games.
“He’s done great for us,” coach Todd Erwin said about Schutte. “He works hard. Since second grade this bunch has really played together in many tournaments and they do a lot for each other. Noah makes a lot of things easier for Evan [Haisch], for Ty, for Cael Hartung, for those other kids. If they’re really doubling or trying to triple Noah, then those other kids make them pay and it makes it easier for Noah in turn. It’s just a great hand-in-and deal that they provide.
“Obviously we want to start with Noah to go through that, and the nice thing is the kids will all welcome that and know that it’s deserved and know that it’s for the better of the community, for the team and for all of us.”
Haisch, a sophomore sharp-shooter, had 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting including 4-of-6 from 3. Erwin chipped in 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting (3-of-3 from deep), eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Carter Bose scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the third quarter for Southern Valley. The Eagles shot 25.5% from the field for the game while the Bears hit 56.3% of their shots including 8-of-11 from 3.
LCC: Noah Schutte 25, Evan Hiasch 18, Ty Erwin 15, Austin Hall 7, Cael Hartung 6, Wilton Roberts 3, Landen Boysen 2
SV: Carter Bose 13, Clayton Berry 9, Brody Yant 5, Jaden Quinn 3, Beau Bailey 1
>> No. 1 Hastings Adams Central 59, No. 3 Lincoln Christian 47: Gavin Lipovsky led Adams Central wth 16 points, tying Lincoln Christian’s Jared Bubak for game-high honors.
No. 2 Auburn 58, No. 4 Ogallala 34
Cam Binder didn’t make a single 3-pointer on Friday, but the Bulldogs didn’t need him to as a dominant defensive effort catapulted them to their 36th straight win and second straight Class C1 state tile as Auburn rolled past Ogallala 54-38.
“We won last year and we had most of our guys coming back, so there was pressure there,” said Auburn coach Jim Weeks, who won his fifth state title. “If we wouldn’t have won, it would have been a disappointment; it would have been a good year, but it would have been a disappointment. Those kids were nervous They were nervous in the district final and then every game it was almost like a relief every time we won. Very gratifying.”
Both teams struggled mightily on offense in the first quarter with four points apiece through the first six minutes and change. Ryan Binder got loose and knocked down a 3-pointer for Auburn and the Bulldogs led the rest of the way.
A bucket by Adam Kroeger made it 7-6 after one, but Ryan Binder hit another 3 to start the second quarter, sparking an 8-0 run. Auburn built the lead up to 10 by halftime with a layup by Ryan Binder to make it 21-11.
“When they were locking on Cam and when Ryan Binder made his two 3s and a layup — Ryan Binder was really kind of our fifth option guy and making those shots really made a big difference to get that lead,” Weeks said.
Carter Brown opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but seven was as close as the Indians got the rest of the way. Auburn held Ogallala scoreless over the final three minutes and scored the last five points to make it 33-30 heading into the fourth.
Auburn opened the final period with three straight layups to build the lead up to 19 and the Bulldogs cruised to the finish. Cam Binder went 12-for-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the game.
“I work out every day and before I leave the gym I have to make 15 free throws in a row,” Cam Binder said. “In the beginning of the season I was only hitting five in a row and I was having free-throw problems, so I had to up it to 15 in a row and it’s times like now that really pays off. Before I shoot it I just really try to calm myself down, say a little prayer and just let it fly; I never really think too much about it.”
Binder finished with a game-high 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. Ryan Binder and Dan Frary scored 11 points apiece with the 5-foot-11 Binder grabbing six boards. CJ Hughes did a bit of everything with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Ogallala shot 27.1%from the field including 3-of-23 (13%) from 3. Brown had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists while Adam Kroeger mashed him with 10 points and pulled down six boards.
“[Assistant coaches] Jackson Weeks, Bryce Roth and Cooper Weeks do our defense,” Weeks said. “To hold those guys to 11 points at half was remarkable. That’s not easy what you saw out there, so they did a great job. The guys buy into that and that was the result.”
A: Cam Binder 18, Dan Frary 11, Ryan Binder 11, CJ Hughes 10, Josh Lambert 6, Bret Baltensperger 2
O: Carter Brown 10, Adam Kroeger 10, Kadyn Marhenke 8, Corbin Murphy 3, Clayton Murphy 3
>> No. 2 Humprey/Lindsay Holy Family 50, No. 1 North Platte St. Patrick’s 36: The Sjuts twins, Jason and Jacob, scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, to lead the Bulldogs to the win.
No. 2 Omaha Skutt 59, No. 6 Omaha Roncalli 31
After trading runs early, Omaha Skutt flexed its defensive muscles and pulled away to become the first Class B team ever to sweep both the football and basketball seasons. Skutt took Roncalli down 59-31 on Saturday to complete the three-game season sweep over the Crimson Pride.
The SkyHawks went 13-0 on the gridiron and 26-0 on the basketball court this season, and senior Tyson Gordon was the driving force behind it all. The multi-sport star and North Dakota State football signee put the SkyHawks on his back early and controlled the action throughout. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists and leaves Skutt as the school’s all-time leader in points and assists.
“It’s been fun, it’s been a lot of fun,” Skutt’s Kyle Jugens said about coaching Gordon. “He’s a great player. More than great player, he’s an absolutely fantastic kid. I even kind of got emotional a little bit at shoot-around for a second when I started to think about how this is the last time we were going to do this together. Just a great kid, great worker. I think people think that what he does just happens and they don’t understand all the work that he puts in and his dedication. He’s in the gym at 6 a.m. a lot of mornings getting shots up; not a lot of people probably even know that and he doesn’t want to the recognition for it, but it happens.
“As our season gets closer and closer to March, you can see his focus get better and better. There’s a confidence that you have as a coach and I know that there’s a confidence that he evokes through our team.”
Skutt jumped out to a 10-4 lead, but Roncalli countered with a 9-0 run to pill ahead. From there, Gordon orchestrated a 12-0 run into the second quarter with eight points and two assists. After a pair of Roncalli free throws, Skutt put together a 7-0 run including a 3, a block and an assist by Gordon to pull ahead 29-15.
Roncalli closed the half on a 6-1 run including four points by senior point guard Jack Dotzler to make it 30-21 at the break. The Crimson Pride held the SkyHawks to seven points in the third quarter, but they only managed five points themselves and Skutt ripped off an 11-0 run to open the fourth and build the lead up to 22 with less than four to play, sealing the win.
“At halftime we were only down six points in the paint; I didn’t think we did a bad job on that part up until half,” Roncalli coach JJ Stoffell said. “Then we got into the third and defended well — we held them to seven points. We just could not get the ball to fall. To quote my assistant coach Mike Berens, basketball sometimes can be a fickle game. Shots are going in one day, then the next day they’re not going in at all.”
Roncalli shot 26.1% from the field including 2-of-18 from 3, and the Crimson Pride only attempted seven free throws. Dotzler led Roncalli with eight points. Jurgens credited senior Will Mcmeen for his effort on limiting Roncalli’s second-leading scorer Taiden Red to one bucket while Gordon and senior Andrew Merfeld split the primary duties on Dotzler, Roncalli’s all-time leader in points and assists.
“Our defense is what we pride ourselves on,” Gordon said. “We hang our hats on defense. I think the score was 30-21 going into halftime and then when the starting five came out, Roncalli ended up with 28 points. Definitely defense — we held them to seven points in the second half and you don't see that from a Roncalli team that scores a lot of points. That was definitely the key to the game.”
Offensively, Skutt junior center Luke Skar was a force inside, finishing with a game-high 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from the line. He also grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots.
“TJ Skradksi broke our field goal percentage record the last couple of years at like 72% from the field, and [Skar] is going to break it his year,” Jurgens said. “He was shooting like 77% or something coming into the state tournament. That’s a crazy number, 77%.”
Gordon said Skutt is in good hands next year with Skar, second-leading scorer Charlie Fletcher and a couple of underclassmen that could have played bigger roles elsewhere all coming back.
As for the Crimson Pride, this senior class graduates without a state title, but back-to-back runner-up finishes is a great legacy to leave.
OR: Jack Dotzler 8, Jake Orr 6, Mitch Hines 6, Taiden Red 2, Shane Orr 2, Nolan Gorczyca 2, Darik Rodgers 2, Ben Schott 1
OS: Luke Skar 21, Tyson Gordon 19, Andrew Merfeld 8, Charlie Fletcher 5, Will McMeen 2, Gage Bertucci 1, Ryan Kudron 1
No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart 45, No. 1 Humphrey St. Francis 33
In a game that featured more turnovers than made shots, Falls City Sacred Heart found just enough offense against Humphrey St. Francis’ 1-3-1 zone to pull away for its second state title in the last three years.
Senior forward Tyler Witt was a starter when the Irish won back in 2018 as well and on Saturday he led his team with 13 points and 16 rebounds, both game-highs.
Sacred Heart grounded the Flyers for a long time as they didn’t convert their first field goal until the 5:16 mark of the second quarter. Sacred Heart wasn’t much better, though and a three-point play by Trevor Pfeiffer pulled the Flyers to within one. The Irish figured some things out and put together a 10-2 run to double up the Flyers at 18-9.
Five straight by Tanner Pfeifer cut it to four but Jarrett Simon scored to make it 20-14 at halftime. After trading mini-runs through the first three minutes, Sacred Heart held St. Francis scoreless for the final 4:49 and took a 28-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
St. Francis opened the fourth with a 14-3 run and cruised to their 10th state championship, handing St. Francis its first loss of the season.
Jamie Stice shot 3-of-7 from 3 and scored 10 points. Sacred Heart shot 36.6% from the field and 12-of-35 from the line with 21 turnovers and still won by 12.
Trevor Pfeifer led the Flyers with 12 points and six rebounds while Tanner Pfeifer added nine points and 10 rebounds. St. Francis shot 23.9% from the field with 16 turnovers.
|Humphrey St. Francis||4||10||6||13||33|
|Falls City Sacred Heart||7||13||8||17||45|
HSF: Trevor Pfeifer 12, Tanner Pfeifer 9, Evan Foltz 4, Dylan Wemhoff 4, Taylor Wemhoff 2, Justin Leifeld 1, Connor Olmer 1
FCSH: Tyler Witt 13, Jamie Stice 10, Jack Fiegner 8, Jarrett Simon 6, Jake Hoy 6, Jakob Jordan 2
>> No. 6 Lincoln Parkview 62, No. 4 Mullen 43: Jamie Juncal led four Patriots in doubel figures with 21 points.
No. 1 Bellevue West 64, No. 2 Millard North 62
Millard North used a 7-0 run in the first quarter to take the lead and held onto it until the least four minutes when Bellevue West closed the game on a 16-0 run to win its fifth state championship.
For a full recap of the best game of the day, go here.
BW: Frankie Fidler 16, Louis Fidler 16, John Shanklin 14, Josiah Dotzler 8, Chucky Hepburn 7, Nate Glantz 3
MN: Saint Thomas 16, Hunter Sallis 15, Max Murrell 11, Jasen Green 10, Noah Ericsson 8, Jadin Johnson 2
No. 2 BRLD 61, No. 1 Grand Island Central Catholic 47
BRLD used runs of 7-0, 10-0 and 10-0 to build up a 31-13 lead at halftime and the Wolverines controlled the action in the second half as well as they rolled to their 52nd straight win and second straight state title.
Junior point guard Lucas Vogt played distributor in the first half with seven assists as Will Gatzemeyer and Jaxon Johnson each made four of their five shots, scoring 10 and eight points, respectively. Vogt took over himself in the third quarter, hitting all four of his shots for nine of BRLD’s 12 points. He hit a contested 3 at the buzzer after the Crusaders had cut it to 14 with a 3 from Russ Martinez.
Vogt finished with 16 points on 6-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line, nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.
“He’s one heck of a player,” BRLD coach Cory Meyer said. “I’m lucky to have him. e’s a floor general and a coach out there on the floor. He knows wha to do. He’s so smart, so slick. Great ball player. It’s really cool that he played so well and then he gets his 1,000th point here [at the start tournament]. He’s just going to add to it.”
Junior forward Dylan Beutler matched Vogt with 16 points on 5-of-8 from the field, 1-of-2 from 3 and 5-of-6 from the line. Gatzemeyer tacked on a pair of free throws to finish with 12 points. The Wolverines shot nearly 60% from the field, 40% from 3 and 80% from the free-throw line.
Sophomore Isaac Herbek, the brother of current Nebraska football walk-on Jacob Herbek, led the Crusaders with 14 points and three assists. Russ Martinez shot 4-of-9 from 3 from 12 points and Marcus Lowry chipped in 10 points.
Fifty-two straight wins for BRLD is the sixth-longest streak all time in Nebraska. The Wolverines are losing seven seniors including three starters, but the team’s top two scorers, Vogt and Beutler, will return and look to keep the streak alive next season.
“I think we have to work harder than we ever have because losing seven seniors is hard,” Beutler said. “We’re going to have to work even harder over the summer and next season.”
|Grand Island Central Catholic||7||6||13||21||47|
GICC: Isaac Herbek 14, Russ Martinez 12, Marcus Lowry 10, Dei Jengmer 8, Koby Bales 3
BRLD: Lucas Vogt 16, Dylan Beutler 16, Will Gatzemeyer 12, Darwin Snyder 9, Jaxon Johnson 8
>> No. 4 Yutan 39, No. 3 Sutton 30: Senior Trey Knudsen led all scorers with 16 points and was the pnly player in double figures..
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.