Though the team has struggled at times, South Sioux City appears to be on the upswing.
Coach Molly Hornbeck’s squad, the preseason No. 1 in Class B, captured the River Cities Conference tournament title Saturday. The Cardinals avenged an earlier loss, defeating host Omaha Skutt 69-59 for the championship.
“I liked this game a lot better than the first time we played them,’’ Hornbeck said. “The bus ride home was much more pleasant.’’
It was the fifth straight RCC tourney title for South Sioux, and the team’s resurgence is reflected in the ratings. The Cardinals were barely holding on at No. 10 the past few weeks but climb to No. 4, just ahead of Skutt.
Much was expected of South Sioux, which returned all but one reserve player from last year’s state runner-up team. But a discipline issue sidelined a few players and another player — Taryn Christensen (10 points per game) — suffered a season-ending knee injury.
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The Cardinals lost three straight after the Christmas break, including a pair to Class C competition. But South Sioux has rattled off five wins in a row, capped by its payback win over Skutt.
“We’re like a different team,’’ Hornbeck said. “We’re playing more confidently, that’s for sure.’’
That confidence was reflected in the 12 3-pointers the team sank against the SkyHawks. That kind of long-range accuracy has been a big part of the Cardinals’ arsenal over the years that has helped produce 12 state championships — more than any other school.
South Sioux also did a better job inside against Skutt senior forward Sydney McDermott. She scored a school-record 35 the first time around but was held to a more modest 21 on Saturday.
“We were better prepared for them the second time,’’ Hornbeck said. “We played their bigs a lot tougher.’’
All-Nebraska guard McKenna Sims leads the attack, averaging almost 19 points per game. Marybeth Rasmussen, who scored a team-high 19 against the SkyHawks, averages almost 13.
The Cardinals hope to ride that RCC tourney momentum into one of their most anticipated games of the season. Weather permitting, South Sioux will host Top 10 No. 2 Millard South on Tuesday night.
The home-and-home series was set to begin last season but the game at Millard South was canceled due to snow. The same thing might happen this year.
“The girls are looking forward to it,’’ Hornbeck said. “We really hope we get a chance to play.’’
Last week’s icy weather led to an abbreviated schedule, but nothing has changed at the top of the Nebraska Top 10.
Papillion-La Vista stays at No. 1 after playing just one game, a 26-point road win over Omaha North. The Monarchs have won 13 in a row since a 75-72 home loss against Omaha Northwest on Dec. 7.
Millard South remains at No. 2 and Omaha Westside stays No. 3. Millard North moves up one slot to fourth and Fremont is now fifth.
Cracking the overall top 10 for the first time are a pair of non-Class A teams that have yet to taste defeat. Class C-1 No. 1 Wahoo moves into the No. 9 position and Class B No. 1 Waverly is No. 10.
The Warriors get a slight edge over the Vikings by virtue of their comparative scores against common opponents.
North Platte St. Pat’s (Class D-1) and Sterling (D-2) hold their No. 1 ratings. The new No. 1 in C-2 is Hastings St. Cecilia, which slips past Oakland-Craig — a 52-49 loser at North Bend on Thursday night — into the top spot.
The Knights bounced back from that first loss to defeat Class A Gretna 71-69 at the Nebraska Prep Classic on Saturday at Creighton’s Sokol Arena. Senior guard Dacey Nelson scored 33 in the overtime victory, including 19 in the fourth quarter.
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Coaches of Class A, Class B and Omaha-Area teams who don’t update their statistics on MaxPreps are asked to submit updated stats by Wednesday.
Top games this week
Class A — Tuesday: Millard South at South Sioux City; Omaha Skutt at Lincoln Pius X; Fremont at Lincoln Southwest. Thursday: Lincoln Southwest at Omaha Westside. Friday: Lincoln East at Papillion-La Vista; Elkhorn South at Millard West. Saturday: Millard West at Fremont; Millard South at Lincoln East.
Class B — Tuesday-Friday: Eastern Midlands Conference tournament. Tuesday-Saturday: Central Conference tournament. Saturday: Omaha Skutt at Louisville.
Class C-1 — Tuesday: Louisville at Auburn. Tuesday-Saturday: Centennial Conference tournament; Nebraska Capitol Conference tournament. Thursday: Auburn at Southern.
Class C-2 — Tuesday: Blue Hill at Lawrence-Nelson; Fillmore Central at Centennial; Sterling at Nebraska City Lourdes; Southern at Falls City Sacred Heart. Thursday: Nebraska City Lourdes at Sidney, Iowa; Yutan at Weeping Water.
Class D-1 — Tuesday: Oakland-Craig at Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family. Thursday: Elgin/Pope John at Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family; Falls City Sacred Heart at Johnson-Brock. Friday: Silver Lake at Lawrence-Nelson.
Class D-2 — Tuesday: North Central at Ewing. Tuesday-Friday: Crossroads Conference tournament. Friday: Bayard at South Platte. Saturday: Wynot at Ponca.
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Class A: Omaha South 58, Omaha Central 56
Class B: Lincoln Pius X 71, Omaha Roncalli 59 (2OT)
Class C-1: Auburn 30, North Bend Central 29
Class C-2: BRLD 53, Yutan 42
Class D-1: Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 61, Fremont Bergan 46
Class D-2: Johnson-Brock 67, Osmond 54
Class A: Millard North 62, Lincoln Southwest 52
Class B: Grand Island Northwest 49, Crete 43
Class C-1: Wahoo Neumann 45, Lincoln Christian 29
Class C-2: Hastings St. Cecilia 63, Crofton 45
Class D-1: Fremont Bergan 36, Dundy County-Stratton 27
Class D-2: Wynot 39, Falls City Sacred Heart 38
Class A: Omaha Creighton Prep 56, Bellevue West 46
Class B: York 61, Omaha Skutt 56, 2OT
Class C-1: Wahoo 70, Winnebago 66, OT
Class C-2: Ponca 50, Hastings St. Cecilia 40
Class D-1: Nebraska City Lourdes 32, Kenesaw 25
Class D-2: Falls City Sacred Heart 59, Riverside 42
Class A: Omaha Westside 55, Millard South 44
Class B: Elkhorn 67, South Sioux City 60
Class C-1: Columbus Scotus 40, Wahoo Neumann 37, OT
Class C-2: Superior 42, Ravenna 39
Class D-1: North Central 54, BDS 35
Class D-2: Falls City Sacred Heart 57, Humphrey St. Francis 51
Class A: Norfolk 68, Papillion-La Vista 49
Class B: Gretna 55, Scottsbluff 53
Class C-1: Wahoo Neumann 80, Wahoo 57
Class C-2: Ponca 52, Neligh-Oakdale 45
Class D-1: Nebraska City Lourdes 47, West Point GACC 44
Class D-2: Mullen 29, Mead 29
Class A: Lincoln Southwest 56, Millard South 51
Class B: South Sioux City 48, Norris 44
Class C-1: Lincoln Christian 45, Kearney Catholic 41
Class C-2: Howells-Dodge 39, Diller-Odell 30
Class D-1: West Point GACC 53, Dundy County-Stratton 50
Class D-2: Falls City Sacred Heart 48, Wynot 36
Class A: Omaha South 59, Fremont 50
Class B: Gretna 52, Scottsbluff 33
Class C-1: Wahoo Neumann 63, Adams Central 54
Class C-2: Hastings St. Cecilia 57, Elmwood-Murdock 38
Class D-1: Nebraska City Lourdes 61, Walthill 50
Class D-2: Humphrey St. Francis 33, Mead 31
Class A: Lincoln East 48, Millard West 46
Class B: Elkhorn South 43, Waverly 33
Class C-1: Kearney Catholic 39, Lincoln Christian 37
Class C-2: Crofton 46, West Point GACC 43
Class D-1: Emerson-Hubbard 41, Howells-Dodge 38
Class D-2: Wynot 41, St. Mary's 40
Class A: Omaha Creighton Prep 46, Omaha South 41
Class B: Elkhorn South 60, Sidney 51
Class C-1: Winnebago 66, Columbus Scotus 51
Class C-2: Hastings St. Cecilia 60, Freeman 36
Class D-1: High Plains 64, Humphrey St. Francis 61
Class D-2: Exeter-Milligan 67, Bancroft-Rosalie 62 (2OT)
Class A: Omaha Westside 53, Norfolk 40
Class B: Lincoln Pius X 41, Norris 33
Class C-1: Pierce 38, Kearney Catholic 35
Class C-2: Crofton 48, Hastings St. Cecilia 39
Class D-1: St. Mary's 52, Dundy County-Stratton 33
Class D-2: Falls City Sacred Heart 44, Wynot 39
Class A: Bellevue West 56, Omaha Westside 50 (OT)
Class B: Omaha Skutt 59, Beatrice 45
Class C-1: Wahoo Neumann 68, Wahoo 47
Class C-2: Fremont Bergan 71, Ainsworth 69 (OT)
Class D-1: Randolph 54, Overton 42
Class D-2: Bancroft-Rosalie 62, High Plains 47
Class A: Omaha Benson 47, Bellevue West 43
Class B: Grand Island Northwest 66, Lincoln Pius X 58
Class C-1: Pierce 69, Minden 60
Class C-2: Crofton 62, Hastings St. Cecilia 40
Class D-1: Friend 44, Humphrey St. Francis 43
Class D-2: Wynot 53, Sterling 38
Class A: Omaha Central 69, Papillion-La Vista 44
Class B: South Sioux City 55, Scottsbluff 53
Class C-1: Wahoo 45, Boone Central/Newman Grove 42
Class C-2: Southern Valley 38, Sutton 34 (OT)
Class D-1: Howells-Dodge 49, Paxton 34
Class D-2: Wynot 57, Spalding/Spalding Academy 56 (2OT)
Class A: Lincoln Southeast 65, Bellevue West 57
Class B: Grand Island Northwest 62, Norris 51 (2OT)
Class C-1: Pierce 51, Kearney Catholic 34
Class C-2: Crofton 43, Hastings St. Cecilia 31
Class D-1: Pender 42, St. Mary's 36
Class D-2: Wynot 60, Osmond 52
Class A: Omaha Central 55, Omaha South 38
Class B: Scottsbluff 64, South Sioux City 61
Class C-1: Boys Town 58, Wahoo 55
Class C-2: Ravenna 61, Norfolk Lutheran 51
Class D-1: St. Mary's 56, Pawnee City 54
Class D-2: Giltner 52, Howells 41 (2OT)
Class A: Omaha Central 36, Lincoln Southeast 35
Class B: Seward 46, Beatrice 35
Class C-1: Sandy Creek 51, Minden 45
Class C-2: Crofton 41, Norfolk Lutheran 28
Class D-1: West Point GACC 49, Humphrey 43
Class D-2: Wynot 50, Howells 47 (OT)
Class A: Omaha Central 52, Omaha Bryan 48
Class B: South Sioux City 69, Gretna 56
Class C-1: Norfolk Catholic 56, Minden 45
Class C-2: Lincoln Christian 46, Fremont Bergman 43
Class D-1: West Point GACC 73, Howells 63
Class D-2: Giltner 57, Wauneta-Palisade 54
Class A: Bellevue East 52, Bellevue West 49
Class B: Seward 70, Elkhorn 54
Class C-1: Hastings St. Cecilia 65, Wahoo 61
Class C-2: Homer 49, Crofton 45
Class D-1: Howells 46, Pender 36
Class D-2: Wynot 45, Hay Springs 33
Class A: Omaha Central 71, Norfolk 58
Class B: South Sioux City 60, Omaha Skutt 56 (OT)
Class C-1: Hastings St. Cecilia 46, Chadron 40
Class C-2: Ravenna 57, Fremont Bergan 51
Class D-1: Freeman 52, Overton 38
Class D-2: Ewing 41, Hampton 33
Class A: Bellevue West 51, Millard West 38
Class B: Seward 68, Gretna 45
Class C-1: Wahoo Neumann 58, Wahoo 55 (OT)
Class C-2: Sandy Creek 49, Hartington Cedar Catholic 44
Class D-1: Elkhorn Valley 57, East Butler 52
Class D-2: Lindsay Holy Family 40, Wynot 37
Class A: Omaha Creighton Prep 34, Lincoln Southwest 31
Class B: Ralston 61, Beatrice 49
Class C-1: Hastings St. Cecilia 61, Chadron 58
Class C-2: Ravenna 57, Freeman 51
Class D-1: Mead 55, Humphrey St. Francis 43
Class D-2: Sterling 49, Ewing 48
Class A: Bellevue West 71, Lincoln Southeast 60
Class B: Seward 39, Lincoln Pius X 35
Class C-1: Wahoo Neumann 49, Bennington 38
Class C-2: Ravenna 45, David City Aquinas 40
Class D-1: Bancroft-Rosalie 56, Silver Lake 43
Class D-2: Ewing 51, Chambers 48 (OT)
Class A: Omaha Central 59, Bellevue East 58
Class B: Beatrice 39, Elkhorn 36
Class C-1: Hastings St. Cecilia 50, Bennington 43
Class C-2: Elmwood-Murdock 59, Grand Island Central Catholic 48
Class D-1: Fremont Bergan 56, Humphrey St. Francis 43
Class D-2: Falls City Sacred Heart 66, Pleasanton 54
Class A: Lincoln Southeast 60, Millard West 44
Class B: South Sioux City 53, Alliance 48
Class C-1: Norfolk Catholic 52, Wahoo Neumann 50
Class C-2: Perkins County 62, Sutton 49
Class D-1: Bancroft-Rosalie 68, Pope John 35
Class D-2: Ewing 45, Pleasanton 44
Class A: Omaha Central 93, Bellevue West 85 (OT)
Class B: Omaha Skutt 59, Beatrice 52
Class C-1: Ainsworth 63, Chadron 59
Class C-2: Ponca 56, Oakland-Craig 48
Class D-1: Wauneta-Palisade 71, Leigh 60
Class D-2: St. Edward 48, Spencer-Naper 42
Class A: Bellevue West 54, Omaha Westside 51
Class B: Alliance 55, Crete 40
Class C-1: Crofton 47, Norfolk Catholic 46
Class C-2: Kearney Catholic 60, Perkins County 56 (OT)
Class D-1: Humphrey St. Francis 77, Freeman 27
Class D-2: Ewing 56, Falls City Sacred Heart 46
Class A: Omaha Central 84, Bellevue West 79 (OT)
Class B: Omaha Skutt 66, Holdrege 62 (OT)
Class C-1: Boys Town 68, Louisville 62
Class C-2: David City Aquinas 60, Ravenna 55
Class D-1: Humphrey St. Francis 70, Axtell 34
Class D-2: Ewing 48, Spencer-Naper 44
Class A: Bellevue East 55, Lincoln Northeast 45
Class B: Gretna 52, Beatrice 46
Class C-1: Crofton 48, Ashland-Greenwood 39
Class C-2: Ravenna 55, West Point GACC 44
Class D-1: Humphrey St. Francis 56, Cross County 50
Class D-2: Newcastle 46, Shickley 26
Class A: Bellevue West 67, Omaha Creighton Prep 49
Class B: Beatrice 54, Elkhorn Mt. Michael 49
Class C-1: Syracuse 55, Wahoo Neumann 46
Class C-2: Ravenna 66, Wakefield 28
Class D-1: Pleasanton 70, Humphrey St. Francis 48
Class D-2: Lindsay Holy Family 56, Loomis 53
Class A: Lincoln Northeast 52, Bellevue East 45
Class B: South Sioux City 57, Beatrice 45
Class C-1: Crofton 54, Fort Calhoun 42
Class C-2: West Point GACC 72, Exeter-Milligan 44
Class D-1: Humphrey St. Francis 62, Freeman 48
Class D-2: Wynot 53, Clearwater 49