Call it a Showcase Showdown, one you won’t see on “The Price in Right.”
Two of the best power forward/center prospects in the junior class nationally get matched up Saturday in the Heartland Hoops Classic’s feature game in Grand Island.
It’s a reunion of sorts, too, for 6-foot-9 Mady Sissoko from Wasatch Academy in Utah and 6-10 N’Faly Dante from Sunrise Christian in Kansas. Both came to the U.S. from the Republic of Mali and both were on the same team, wowing onlookers, during the Pangos All-American Camp late last spring in California.
Start with Wasatch, a recent addition to elite-level prep hoops. Creighton and Kansas are after 6-7 Tristan Enaruna, from the Netherlands. BYU has landed 6-9 Bernardo Da Silva, from Brazil. Minnesota is the next stop for Wasatch’s leading scorer, 6-5 Marvin “Tre” Williams III, who is from Texas.
Sunrise Christian has 6-8 Jordan Turner (Baylor), Austin Crowley (Vanderbilt), Grant Sherfield (released from his UCLA signing after the school fired Steve Alford) and Bryce Cook (SMU). Cook suffered a stroke in late November and is likely out for the season.
Sunrise is back in Grand Island after beating then-national No. 1 Oak Hill 76-65 last year. Dante had seven points and Crowley two. The Buffaloes’ leading scorer that night, Malik Hall, is now teammates with Omaha Burke graduate/future Bluejay Shereef Mitchell on Sunrise’s older team.
Wasatch will want to run more than Sunrise since it’s averaging 83 points a game and has five averages of 10.6 points or more, topped by Williams at 16.0. Sissoko’s norms are 12 points and nine rebounds. Dante and Sherfield are 15-point scorers for Sunrise, which averages 63 a game. Crowley and Turner are at 12.
USA Today’s national rankings have 17-4 Sunrise at No. 13 and 23-3 Wasatch at No. 14.
Heartland Hoops matchmaker Tino Martinez, the coach at Grand Island Central Catholic, said he always likes it when he can pair teams from different classes.
“Those intrigue me,’’ Martinez said. “Overall the games should be pretty competitive.”
Here’s a look at the in-state matchups, which begin at 9 a.m. at the Heartland Events Center at Fonner Park:
» Class D-2 No. 2 Riverside vs. No. 8 Loomis, 9 a.m.: Riverside is one of the last two unbeatens in the state. Loomis senior Aaron Dow averages 23.5 points.
» Class C-1 No. 10 Auburn vs. Class C-2 No. 1 BRLD, 10:45 a.m.: Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur went to No. 1 after winning the East Husker Conference tournament and is atop the C-2 point standings. Auburn is chasing its first state appearance since 1985.
» Cozad vs. Class B No. 2 Aurora, 12:30 p.m.: The unranked Haymakers, at 16-4, have been just outside the ratings. Aurora’s Baylor Scheierman (South Dakota State) is the event’s only Division I basketball signee from the state.
» Class C-1 No. 3 Adams Central vs. Class B No. 4 Omaha Skutt, 2:15 p.m.: Haggan Hilgendorf of Adams Central, which beat Hastings on Tuesday, is averaging 16.4 points. Tyson Gordon, Jake Kudron and TJ Skradski are Skutt’s top three scorers.
» Class C-1 No. 4 North Bend vs. No. 9 Grand Island Central Catholic, 4 p.m.: Tanner Wietfeld is averaging 16.2 and John Emanuel 15.5 for North Bend, which is fourth in the C-1 point standings. Jack Goering is at 14.7 for the Crusaders.
» Class B No. 5 York vs. No. 9 Bennington, 5:45 p.m.: A key game for the ratings and Class B seedings. York’s Brady Danielson and Garrett Snodgrass go up against the Badgers’ Cooper Prososki (16.8 ppg) and Karson Gansebom (15.2).
» Class C-2 No. 5 Freeman vs. Class B No. 8 Hastings, 9:15 p.m.: Hastings has secured its first winning season in 15 years. After losing to Hilgendorf’s Patriots on Tuesday, it faces another big man in Freeman senior Brady Ideus. His father is former Husker Chad Ideus from Adams.
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Front row, from left: Whitney Brown, Grand Island Northwest; Lauren West, Millard North; Jayme Horan, Millard South; McKenna Sims, South Sioux City; Morgan Maly, Crete. Back row, from left: Chucky Hepburn, Bellevue West; Charlie Easley, Lincoln Pius X; Akol Arop, Omaha Creighton Prep; Baylor Scheierman, Aurora; John Tonje, Omaha Central.
From left: Shereef Mitchell, Omaha Burke; Payton Brotzki, Platteview; Kanon Koster, Kearney; McKenna Sims, South Sioux City; Brady Heiman, Platteview; Dariauna Lewis, Omaha North; Akol Arop, Omaha Creighton Prep; Brooke Carlson, Elkhorn; Sam Griesel, Lincoln East; and Quinn Weidemann, Omaha Westside.
Sitting, from left: Jaden Wrightsell, Omaha Northwest; McKenna Minter, Lincoln Northeast; Teddy Allen, Boys Town. Standing, from left: Chloe Dworak, Lincoln Christian; Quinn Weidemann, Omaha Westside; McKenna Simms, South Sioux City; Aguek Arop, Omaha South; Ed Chang, Papillion-La Vista; Kanon Koster, Kearney; Ayo Akinwole, Papillion-La Vista.
Front from left: Quinn Weidemann, Omaha Westide; Aguek Arop, Omaha South; Grace Berry, Lincoln East; Caleal Walker, Omaha South; and Skyler Snider, Kearney. Back from left: Ed Chang, Papillion-La Vista; Rylie Cascio Jensen, Fremont; Nate Schimonitz, Omaha Creighton Prep; Ryan Williams, Fremont; and Chloe Akin-Otiko, Bellevue West.
Front from left: Jay Bridgeman, Omaha Westside; Kianna Ibis, Omaha Benson; Jessica Shepard, Fremont; Maddie Simon, Lincoln Pius X; Jaycee Bradley, Norfolk. Back from left: Tyler Hagedorn, Norfolk; Adam Dykman, Fremont Bergan; Justin Patton, Omaha North; Drew Homa, Omaha Creighton Prep; Malik Hluchoweckyj, Bellevue West.
Top from left: Chatrice White, Shelby-Rising City; Khyri Thomas, Omaha Benson; Jessica Shepard, Fremont. Front from left: Mitchell Hahn, Fremont; Malik Hluchoweckyj, Bellevue West; McKenzie Brown, Grand Island Northwest; Tre'Shawn Thurman, Omaha Central; Maddie Simon, Lincoln Pius X; Kevin Metoyer, Omaha Westside; Kianna Ibis, Omaha Benson.
Front from left: Alexa Kastanek, Lincoln Southeast (wearing rainbow hat); Tra-Deon Hollins, Omaha Central (holding book); Lauren Works, Lincoln Southwest (wearing fedora); McKenzie Brown, Grand Island Northwest (holding basketball and balloon). Middle from left: Brett Dougherty, Papillion-La Vista (wearing marching band hat); Jessica Shepard, Lincoln Southeast (holding bear); Akoy Agau, Omaha Central (holding trophy); Kianna Ibis, Omaha Benson (waving towel). Back from left: Cam Williams, Omaha South (holding pom poms); Connor Lusso, Millard West (wearing birthday cake hat).
Front from left: Akoy Agau, Omaha Central; Jessica Shepard, Lincoln Southeast; Josiah Gustafson, Millard North; Brianna Rollerson, Omaha Central; Beth Bohuslavsky, Seward; Mike Gesell, South Sioux City. Back from left: Chelsea Mason, Bellevue West; Dylan Travis, Omaha Gross; Jalen Bradley, Norfolk; Brianna Craig, Lincoln Northeast.
Front from left: Hailey Mandelko, Lexington; Galen Gullie, Omaha Bryan; Emily Cady, Seward; Mike Gesell, South Sioux City. Middle from left: Akoy Agau, Omaha Central; Chelsea Mason, Bellevue West; Jalen Bradley, Norfolk; Alexis Akin-Otiko, Bellevue West. Back from left: Jayla Hobza, Bellevue East; CJ Carter, Omaha Benson.
Clockwise from top left: Alexis Akin-Otiko, Bellevue West; Jordan Hooper, Alliance; Deverell Biggs, Omaha Central; Dwight Smith, Ralston; Elliott Eliason, Chadron; Austin Kaczor, Ewing; Mike Gesell, South Sioux City; Nicole Arp; Kearney; Sarah Nelson, Omaha Westside; Emily Cady, Seward.
Bottom from left: Austin Kaczor, Ewing; Isiah Gandy, Boys Town; Elliott Eliason, Chadron; Jarrell Crayton, Bellevue East; Greg Smith, Ralston. Top from left of page: Marissa Kastanek, Lincoln Southeast; Emily Hauder, Bellevue West; Jordan Hooper, Alliance; KK Houser, Lincoln Southeast; Sarah Nelson, Omaha Westside.
From left: Antoine Young, Bellevue West; Jordan Hooper, Alliance; Josh Jones, Omaha Central; Marissa Kastanek, Lincoln Southeast; Wes Eikmeier, Fremont Bergan; KK Houser, Lincoln Southeast; Jarell Crayton, Bellevue East; McKayla Knudson, South Sioux City; Jesse Carr, Ainsworth; Nicole Brungardt, Norfolk Catholic.
Clockwise from top left: Kellie Nelson, Omaha Westside; Dominique Kelley, Lincoln Northeast; Kelsey Woodard, Bellevue West; Amber Hegge, Crofton; Jesse Carr, Ainsworth; Josh Jones, Omaha Central; Wes Eikmeier, Fremont Bergan; Antoine Young, Bellevue West; Mitch Albers, Papillion-La Vista; Jasmine Johnson, Omaha Central.
From left: Antoine Young, Bellevue West; Brooke Delano, Bellevue West; Matt Hill, Lincoln Southeast; Dominique Kelly, Lincoln Northeast; Yvonne Turner, Bellevue East; Andrew Bridger, Lincoln Northeast; Tyler Bullock, Lincoln North Star; Katie Frank, South Sioux City; Samantha Schuett, Millard West; Avery Tyler, Omaha Bryan.
From left: Samantha Schuett, Millard West; Katie Frank, South Sioux City; Matt Culliver, Omaha Bryan; Andrew Bridger, Lincoln Northeast; Matt Hill, Lincoln Southeast; Katie Smith, Omaha Skutt; Zach Potter, Omaha Creighton Prep; Yvonne Turner, Bellevue East; Megan Neuvirth, West Point GACC, Josh Dotzler, Bellevue West.