D.J. Sokol Arena on the campus of Creighton University played host to the annual Nebraska Prep Classic on Saturday, bringing teams from Nebraska and Iowa together to face off — with a 35-second shot clock according to Iowa state rules.
I posted up court-side for most of the day, ducking out for the Husker game before heading back, and saw some fantastic performances.
BBB: Freeman (NE) 75, Riverside (IA) 54
Freeman hit Riverside with a 14-2 run out of the gates and never looked back, building a 15-point lead after one quarter and a 19-point lead at halftime before crushing through the second half.
Freeman picked apart Riverside’s zone early for 3s (shooting 4-for-7 in the first period) then went to work in the paint after Bulldogs switched to man-to-man.
Taylan Vetrovsky led the way for Freeman with 20 points on 6-of-8 from the field (1-of-1 from 3) and 5-of-7 from the foul line with eight rebounds (four offensive). Carter Niles matched him with 20 points on 7-of-9 from the field (1-of-2 from 3) and 5-of-9 from the line while chipping in four rebounds and four assists. Carter Ruse added 18 points win rebounds and three assists as the senior trio combined to outscore Riverside by themselves.
The game would have gotten ugly if not for a spectacular performance from Riverside junior Grady Jeppesen who went off for 32 points, four rebounds and three assists. Jeppesen scored in a variety of ways — cuts, drives, runners, pull-ups and catch-and-shoot opportunities — to shoot 12-of-17 from the field (3-of-6 from 3) and 5-of-5 from the foul line.
Riverside: 9-11-17-17 — 54
Freeman: 24-13-16-22 — 75
R: Grady Jeppesen 32, Ayden Salais 10, Mason McCready 4, Jon Alff 4, Aiden Bell 2, Garrett Hough 2
F: Carter Niles 20, Taylan Vetrovksy 20, Carter Ruse 18, Hayden Jennings 8, Easton Buss3, Eli Delhay 2, Kellen Andersen 2, Kolby Mahler 2
GBB: Oakland-Craig (NE) 48, Harlan (IA) 42
Game two wasn’t the prettiest basketball I’ve ever seen as the two teams combined for 38 turnovers and 33.3% shooting, but the Knights used an 11-0 run spanning the second and third quarters to build a nine-point lead and held on from there.
Oakland-Craig missed its first seven shots as Harlan jumped out to a 6-0 lead. The Tigers scored the next eight points to take the lead, but the Cyclones responded with an 11-0 run before an Adi Rennerfeldt 3 to stop the bleeding. Oakland-Craig got the ball last as it went out off Harlan with 0.4 on the clock, and Sadie Nelson took advantage to bank in a 3 at the buzzer, making it 17-14 Cyclones after one.
Rennerfeldt tied the game up with another 3 to open the second quarter. Harlan pulled ahead again 20-17 and 21-19, but the Knights again closed the period on a 6-0 run to take a 25-21 lead at the break.
Oakland-Craig scored the first five points of the second half as well. Harlan cut it to six but but the Knights responded with back-to-back 3s from Bailey Pelan and Nelson to stretch the lead to 10. The Cyclones scored the last five points of the period to make it a seven-point game heading into the fourth, but Oakland-Craig maintained a multi-possession advantage the rest of the way.
Sadie Nelson led everyone with 16 points, four steals and three assists while her twin sister, Chaney Nelson, added 15 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. Rennerfeldt chipped in 12 points.
Aubrey Schweiso led Harlan with 14 points, six steals, five rebounds and five assists while Eric Rust chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.
Harlan: 17- 4-10-11 — 42
Oakland-Craig: 14-11-13-10 — 48
H: Aubrey Schweiso 14, Erica Rust 10, Hannah Sondermann 7, Ava Monson 6, Ella Plagman 4, Ava Miller 1
OC: Sadie Nelson 16, Chaney Nelson 15, Adi Rennerfeldt 12, Bailey Pelan 5
BBB: Harlan (IA) 70, North Bend Central (NE) 47
Harlan’s size and athleticism proved to be too much for a small, young North Bend Central team as the Cyclones took a seven-point lead into halftime and blew the game wide open with a 22-5 third quarter to get Iowa its first win of the day.
Franz Riesz, a 6-foot-5 junior, had a double-double before halftime and finished with 20 points on 9-of-11 from the field and 2-of-3 from the line and 17 rebounds (eight offensive) against a North Bend team that didn’t have a player over 6-foot-1.
Senior point guard Brad Curren added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting (2-of-5 from 3) while Jacob Birch chipped in 13 points and nine boards.
Junior Kyler Hellbusch did his best to keep the Tigers in it early, scoring all 10 of North Bend’s points in a 14-10 first quarter. The Cyclones locked in on him and made life incredibly difficult, however, and nobody else got going for the Tigers. Hellbusch finished with 22 points and four boards.
Harlan: 14-17-22-17 — 70
North Bend Central: 10-14- 5-18 — 47
H: Franz Reisz 20, Brad Curren 18, Jacob Birch 13, Teagon Kasperbauer 6, Jozef Reisz 4, Will Arkfeld 3, Brehden Eggers 3, Jason Erlemeier 3
NBC: Kyler Hellbusch 22, Zac Pospisil 7, Gavin Kirschemann 6, Cash Hanis 5, Layne Ruzicka 5, Sam Post 2
BBB: Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (IA) 54, Platteview (NE) 52
The 6 p.m. matchup produced the best game of the day as Abraham Lincoln held on at the buzzer despite another monster performance from Platteview senior Connor Millikan.
With 6-foot-5 sophomore Reiman Zebert injured, Platteview spent most of the game without a player taller than 6-foot-1 on the floor. The Lynx, with a starting frontcourt of 6-foot-6 sophomore Creighton Bracker and 6-foot-6 senior Matthew Mathok, made the most of its size advantage in the first quarter. They crashed the offensive glass and went to work in the post, building a 13-5 lead before Millikan closed out the period with a steal and score.
The Trojans adjusted in the second quarter and upped their defensive intensity, surging ahead with and 8-0 run to build a 21-15 lead. Abraham Lincoln narrowed the gap again at halftime as Jaydon Calabro hit a setback 3 at the buzzer to make it a one-point game.
The third quarter included three ties before Platteview closed the period on a 7-0 run total a 39-32 lead heading into the fourth. Milliken opened the fourth with a layup to stretch the lead to nine.
Then the Lynx punched back as the Trojans got loose with the ball. Abraham Lincoln scored 12 straight points to take a 44-41 lead three minutes into the period. After a Millikan free throw, Abraham Lincoln used a three-point possessions (a free throw, an offensive rebound and two more free throws) then a steal and another free throw from Calabro to extend the lead to six with less than three minutes to play.
Platteview didn’t give up, however, chipping away at the lead until a tough layup from trey Moseman made it a one-point game with 33.3 to play. The Trojans sent Calabro to the line and he hit both to push it back to three, but Millikan pushed it up the floor and scored at the rim with just five seconds coming off the clock, earning an and-one opportunity in the process with just 12.6 remaining.
However, Millikan missed the free throw that would have tied it and Platteview fouled Mathok on the rebound. After missing his first five free throws (including four in the fourth quarter), Mathok calmly hit both of them to push it back to three.
Abraham Lincoln chose to foul up three, sending Millikan back to the line with 6.2 on the clock. He made the first, then tried to intentionally miss the second, chucking it off the backboard. The officials called an Abraham Lincoln player for a line violation first, however, giving him another shot, and this time he slammed off the front of the rim and grabbed it himself, calling timeout with 5.3 to go.
On the in-bounds player, two defenders went with Millikan, freeing Ezra Stewart for an open 3 from the left wing. It came up short, however, as did Millikan’s put-back attempt after grabbing the board, sealing the Lynx victory.
Millikan finished with 32 points on 11-of-19 from the field (1-of-2 from 3) but only 6-of-11 from the foul line. He also grabbed 16 rebounds (five offensive) and three steals, blocked two shots and dished out two assists.
As a team, however, Platteview went 4-for-19 from 3 and nobody else scored more than six points.
Calabro led Abraham Lincoln with 21 points, all in the last three quarters including nine in the fourth. Cole Arnold finished with 11 points and two key assists during the Lynx’s fourth quarter run while Bracker added 10 points and seven rebounds. Mathok grabbed 13 rebounds and three steals to go with his six points.
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln: 13-10- 9-22 — 54
Platteview: 7-17-15-13 — 52
CBAL: Jayden Calabro 21, Cole Arnold 11, Creighton Bracker 10, Matthew Mathok 6, Etienne Higgins 3, Dillon Jones 3
P: Connor Millikan 32, Alex Draper 6, Trey Moseman 5, Ezra Stewart 3, Cael Wichman 2, Elijah Steele 2, Keegan Stobbe 2
GBB: Millard North (NE) 67, Waukee Northwest (IA) 39
Waukee Northwest scored first, but Millard North answered with a 10-0 run and never looked back en route to a near 30-point win.
The Mustangs held the Wolves to 13 points and five total field goals in the first half as they built a 22-point lead at halftime, then continued to widen the gap in the third quarter before the Wolves scored 24 points in the last quarter-and-a-half to prevent a running clock.
Millard North forced Wake Northwest into 20 turnovers and held the Wolves to 15 total field girls including just three 3s. On the other end, Millard North shot 10-for-20 from deep as 12 of the 17 Mustangs who saw the court scored. They notched 16 assists on their 22 field goals.
Kayla Preston and Ellie McCarville scored 11 points and dished out three assists piece to lead the way. Preston shot 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the foul line while McCarville went 3-for-6 from deep and hit both her free throws. Izzie Galligan shot 3-of-6 from 3 for nine points while Lynn Davis hit both of her 3s plus a layup for eight points.
Sadie Maas led Northwest with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting and seven rebounds despite picking up three fouls in the first quarter and spending much of the second quarter on the bench.
Millard North: 16-19-17-15 — 67
Waukee Northwest: 7- 6-12-14 —39
MN: Ellie McCarville 11, Kayla Preston 11, Izzie Galligan 9, Lynn Davis 8, Avril Smith 6, Mya Sohl 6, Addalyn Rooney 5, Sara Harley 3, Kate Stevens 3, Baylee Nelson 2, Armanii Brazile 2, Emma Vander Plaats 1
WNW: Sadie Maas 10, Ka’Ayla Madison 7, Chloee Hayes 7, Megan Lanz 6, Vana Bilic 4, Adalyn Wiig 3, Josie Vander Krol 2
>> GBB — North Bend Central (NE) 56, Glenwood (IA) 48: South Dakota State signee Jenna Hope exploded for 34 points and broke Glenwood’s career scoring record in the process, but it wasn’t enough to knock off the Tigers. Sophomore Kaitlyn Emanuel led North Bend Central with 21 points while her senior sister, Kaitlyn Emanuel, also broke the Tigers’ career scoring record, finishing with 12 points on the day.
>> BBB — Boys Town (NE) 67, Glenwood (IA) 50: Sophomore Nyree Poteet scored a game-high 21 points while Zack Taylor add 18 and Malachi Washington chipped in 11 for the Cowboys.
>> GBB — Tri-Center (IA) 60, Griswold (IA) 25
>> GBB — Council Bluff Lewis Central (IA) 36, Omaha Westside (NE) 23: Westside lead throughout the first half, but Lewis Central shut the Warriors out in the third quarter and held them to five points in the fourth. Brooke Larsen had 18 for the Titans while Kimora Jenkins led Westside with 11.
>> BBB — Sioux City Heelan (IA) 66, Council Bluffs Lewis Central (IA) 38: Matt Nolle (22 points) and Carter Kuehl (19) combined to outscore the Titans by themselves in the all-Iowa night cap.
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.