Record High

The weather has been, well, awesome. As the post-season heats up, maybe you want to read this one with the windows open.

CROSS CLASS BATTLE: Ogallala’s Caleb Castilla (2) goes up for a shot over Crete’s Kenner Svitak (13) in Saturday’s Heartland Hoops Classic. Did we use this photo last week? Yes. We like it that much. (Harvest Sports / Dante Boelhower)

Warming Up

Wrestling is done, swimming is upon us and the postseason mode is around everything in Nebraska right now. We have tried to be up front about not knowing much about those sports, there is so much great coverage around our state, and we’ll try to share some of our favorite content in this letter.

What we do love is basketball. And we’ll have a new girls basketball Power 20, some district basketball coverage and a few milestones. Thank you (!!) for reading and sharing. As always, if you enjoy the Newsletter we’d love it if you would share with your friends by forwarding this e-mail or sharing a link on social media.

Eggs for protein with your breakfast!! We got work to do.

EYES ON STATE: Kennedy Ailes and Lincoln Christian move up to No. 11 in this week’s Power 20. They face Douglas County West in Friday’s district final. (Harvest Sports / Andrew Placke)

The Girls Hoops Power 20

The postseason arrives on Tuesday for the smaller classes and we begin to tighten up our Power 20 girls rankings. Sub-district finals on Thursday. Class A and B postseason play begins on Monday. Only one more rating after this until the state tournament begins. It goes by quick.

In last night’s Class A district games, we only had one 3-seed — the Benson Bunnies — come out with a win so Friday’s district finals should be fantastic. We make these rankings based on conversations with coaches throughout the state, by watching games, and with our gut if we are being honest.

1 - Millard West (23-1): The Cats have advanced to Friday’s district final with Papillion-LaVista, but they have already locked up a berth to the state tournament via a wild card. Last week: 1.

2 - Elkhorn North (21-1): Battling some injuries — track start and standout defender Sydney Stodden is out with a foot — but the Wolves held of Elkhorn and then rolled past Gretna East in the sub-district final. A matchup with conference mate Blair on Saturday to go to state. Last week: 2.

3 - Lincoln Southwest (20-3): Got by Omaha South to set up a district final against Omaha Westside on Friday. Last week: 3.

4 - Omaha Skutt Catholic (24-1): The Skyhawks are the top-seed by points i Class B and have a date with 10-12 McCook to get to Lincoln. Last week: 4. 

5 - Bellevue West (17-6): Giving the Birds a big jump here as we now look at overall profile and the early win over Millard North coupled with an 11-game win streak do the trick. Last week: 9. 

6 - Millard North (17-6): Mustangs stay put after topping Gretna in the first round of districts and now an intriguing district final match up with Omaha Central to get to Lincoln. Last week: 6.

7 - Lincoln Pius X (18-6): Moved their win streak to eight in a district win over Norfolk. Last week: 10.

8 - Lincoln North Star (18-5): Gators drop off a 68-49 loss to Millard North, but the important game is left — a clash with Omaha Marian on Friday for a district title. Last week: 5.

9 - Lincoln Northeast (18-6): All six losses are to teams in front of them. To get to state? They’ll need to win at Papio South. Last week: 8.

10 - Papillion-LaVista South (16-7): Lost to Bellevue West and Millard West to end the regular season, but will play host to Lincoln Northeast for a trip to Lincoln. Last week: 7.

11 - Lincoln Christian (21-2): The top-seed in the Class C-1 district final round, they’ll face Douglas County West on Friday for a trip to state. Last week: 12.

12 - Norris (18-5): Five in a row for the Titans who are the third-seed — behind Skutt and Elkhorn North — in the Class B district final round. Last week: 16.

13 - Omaha Central (18-6): Nice win over Westside to end the regular season and Lincoln East to open the postseason. Last week: 13.

14 - Bellevue East (16-7): A very intriguing district final with Bellevue West. You just never know about a rivalry game. Last week: 14.

15 - Lincoln Southeast (17-6): A great season for the Knights comes to the tipping point with a district final against Pius — one of two Power 20 teams they beat this season. Last week: 17.

16 - Omaha Marian (16-7): The Crusaders are 6-5 over their last 11 games and a chance to go to state with a win at Lincoln North Star. Last week: 18.

17 - Waverly (17-4): Had to re-evaluate the Vikings and this keeps coming back — they were undefeated in the regular season in the Eastern Midlands Conference, beating both Norris and Elkhorn North. That has to mean something. Last week: NR.

18 - Gretna East (17-7): Wonderful opening season for Weekday Wade and the Griffins. A chance to head to state with a win over Crete on Saturday afternoon. Last week: 15.

19 - Bridgeport (24-0): Here are the Bulldogs off a 40-33 win over previous No. 11 Sidney in their sub-district last Friday. Gordon-Rushville for a trip to Lincoln, but likely going to need the C-1 finals to stay here. Maybe? We’ll see how state goes. Last week: NR. 

20 - Crofton (24-0): As dominant a small-school season as we can remember. Maggie Moon’s Warriors have Ord (11-12) to go to state. Last week: 20

Fell out: Sidney, Omaha Westside.

Up Next (listed alphabetically by class): Omaha Westside (14-12), Beatrice (18-5), Grand Island Central Catholic (22-2), Sidney (23-1), Guardian Angels CC (20-2), Pender (24-1).

Coaches Polls + More

Each week our Tony Chapman will compile the girls basketball coaches poll and Mike Sautter the boys poll for nebpreps with help from coaches around the state. All season long, you can also catch game reports from Jacob Padilla for some of the best basketball content in the state. (The Newsletter is also a big fan of Jacob’s “Top Performance” tweets.)

UP TO DATE: Girls Class A District Finals // Class B - D2 Finals // Boys Sub-Districts: B, C-1, C-2, D-1, D-2

SPECIAL SEASON: Gibbon’s 3-18 boys basketball season won’t jump out at you at all. But, we should spend some time here to recognize the efforts of Tyler Weismann. The Buffs scored 861 points and Weismann had 120 3s, that’s 360 of the 861. His season makes is second all-time in state history and his 25-point average was nearly 60% of his teams scoring on the season.

The Season: Rare Company

Osceola senior Kale Gustafson entered rare company in the Bulldogs first round of sub-districts against Palmer. He became just the fourth player in Nebraska prep history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in his career. Is that good? That seems good?

CELEBRATION: Sandy Creek’s Rowan Jarosik celebrates a semifinal victory at the state wrestling tournament. Jarosik finished second at Class D, 152. (Harvest Sports / Dante Boelhower)

The Show In Omaha

There was so much awesome content around the State Wrestling Tournament that we don’t really know where to start. The best place is likely with all the coverage over at NEBwrestle on Twitter. But there is nothing quite like this state finals recap. Worthy of three minutes to start your day!!

Basketball State??

Two No. 1 teams have come to Nebraska this season in men’s basketball and lost after Creighton topped UConn on Tuesday night. Earlier this season, Nebraska outlasted then-No. 1 Purdue. Do we dare mention the take down of Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes by the Husker women? Or, the Creighton women’s teams long win streak. Both Creighton teams are playing for seed in the NCAA Tournament; it appears both Huskers teams are on the right side of the bracket as well.

All super cool to us. We are ready for a big run in March. And, the Newsletter does have a favorite team. (Unsubscribe if you wish)