Exactly how much does state tournament experience help a team?
That’s a question that will be answered this week as the girls tourney plays out in Lincoln.
Focusing on Class A, only three teams — Bellevue West, Millard West and Lincoln Southeast — return from last year to compete for the Class A title. Lincoln Southwest, Kearney, Omaha Marian and Omaha Westside came up short while Elkhorn returned to state but is competing in Class B this season.
Lincoln Northeast was the last team to win state (2005) without competing in the tourney the previous year. That’s something Bellevue East, Papillion-La Vista, Columbus, Omaha Central and Papillion-La Vista South are trying to accomplish this season.
In a recent interview with former Omaha North standout Christy Neneman, she said her first trip to state — the Vikings won the title in 1998 — was when the team played its best. She added that pressure mounted on North the next two years and the Vikings finished as the state runner-up both times.
So does tourney experience matter? Stay tuned.