If it’s the week of state swimming and district basketball, snow is bound to show up. Five times this decade, including the past three years.
In the eye of the storm(s) again is Jon Dolliver, the NSAA assistant director in charge of basketball. While the decisions on when and where to play games are left to the schools, the NSAA provides guidance and options.
Tuesday saw Class A postpone its first round of girls districts to Thursday, pushing the finals back a day to Friday while some boys subdistricts moved up games to earlier in the day or postponed to Wednesday. All subdistrict finals will be Thursday.
Girls district finals are set for Friday, but Dolliver said the NSAA is giving the option for those to be played Thursday. As of midafternoon Wednesday, at least three games were moved up. Of the games remaining on Friday, some will be played earlier than first announced to get on the road home sooner.
“We want to get everything in girls done on Friday to get their state tournament seeded and then we’ll move on for Saturday,” Dolliver said Wednesday. “And, obviously, we’re also dealing with the state swimming and diving meet.”
As for Saturday, when another winter storm is in the forecast as Class A boys are to play first-round games and the other five classes have district finals, well …
Dolliver said in Classes A and B, the only classes in which boys pairings are set, schools will have the option of moving games from Saturday to Friday — as they did last year. The NSAA staff reached that decision Wednesday after hearing from the National Weather Service that travel conditions could start deteriorating in parts of the state after noon Saturday.
Games not played Saturday will be moved to Monday, he said.
More long trips than ever are in store with the welcome advent of statewide seeding for district finals. Central Nebraska is a common meeting place in the C and D classes, which have neutral-site games. Class B has the higher seed hosting, so Scottsbluff is bound for Seward, Alliance to Elkhorn Mount Michael and Lexington to Omaha Skutt on Saturday. Or whenever.
In Class A boys, the longest trips are Omaha Benson to Kearney, Lincoln Southeast to Norfolk and Grand Island to Omaha Bryan.
“It’s been hectic,” Dolliver said. “But it’s amazing this time of the year how you find you’re working with some great people. They want to provide opportunities for kids while being safe.
“With the format changes with statewide district finals, it’s unique for schools on opposite ends of the state to work with each other to find sites and facilities. Moving up games in girls can conflict with boys and they have to make some tough decisions. I don’t envy athletic administrators.”
When talking about making changes at short notice, don’t forget the men and women with whistles.
“When a game gets moved up to a 3 p.m. start on Friday, we have to have three of them. They’re not sitting around the house, either. They’re at work,” Dolliver said. “Our officials have been good getting to games and when they can’t be there letting schools know. They’re taking off work in a lot of cases.”
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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.