Adams Central looks to get rid of a big “0-for” during this year’s Class C-1 state tournament.
The Patriots are making their eighth state appearance but are still in search for their first victory.
No. 2-rated Adams Central (22-4) hopes to finally break through when it takes on No. 9 North Bend Central (22-2) Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
“(Winning at state) is a big goal for our kids, and it’ll remain a big goal until a group gets it done,” Patriots coach Zac Foster said. “Everybody asks about it, and I understand that.
“The way we’ve been playing, we’ve been doing the things to be successful recently. Offensively we’ve been more disciplined and defensively we’ve been disciplined. We’re eager to take the next step.”
Despite its impressive record, Adams Central went through a stretch a month ago that could have been the team’s turning point.
The Patriots were upset by Kearney Catholic in overtime in the Lou-Platte Conference tournament championship game on Feb. 8, then the next night got nothing going offensively in the second half in a 56-33 loss to C-2 No. 1 Hastings St. Cecilia.
“We played six games in nine days,” Foster said. “We were disappointed in how we lost in the conference championship, and then we ran out of gas against St. Cecilia. We were at a crossroads going into one of our toughest games of the season.
“Things could have gone a couple different ways. The kids looked in the mirror and turned things around.”
That turnaround began with an impressive 61-52 win over current No. 3 Columbus Scotus in the Heartland Hoops Classic. The Patriots and Shamrocks could meet again in Friday’s semifinals.
Adams Central has won six in a row heading into state, including a pair of double-digit victories over Kearney Catholic.
David Bohlen, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, leads the Patriots with 14.3 points per game. Garrett Sittner (6-2 senior guard) adds 11.5 while Cale Pleak (6-4 senior forward) chips in 9.8.
Foster said getting that elusive first state tournament win won’t be easy against North Bend Central.
“North Bend is really, really physical,” he said. “They have good athleticism and it shows in their defense and rebounding. When you see their athleticism, it looks like a football school.”
Jake Wietfeld is the main offensive weapon for the Tigers. The 6-foot-2 junior guard puts up 19.9 points and 7.8 rebounds while also being among the team’s leaders in assists and steals.
“We’ll have to do our job on the boards,” Foster said. “We have to limit them to one chance and do a good job on closeouts.”
Adams Central isn’t going to settle for just one win. The Patriots look to make a run and try to earn the opportunity to play for a state title.
That will mean stringing together three of the team’s best games together.
“C-1 is always one of the best fields down there,” Foster said. “(No. 1 Bishop) Neumann is as good as anybody from (Class) B on down. Obviously we’ve seen Scotus.
“The whole field is good. I think Gothenburg is a big giant. Since they are out west, people don’t understand what they’re all about. They’ve a very good team. O’Neill-Pierce will be crazy since it is round four for them. There are four or five teams that could walk away with it.”