The teams coming from farthest away have Nebraska Prep Classic director Tom Krehbiel worried the least about travel in possibly snowy conditions.
“Kansas City Central is coming in Friday and Denver East, we hope they can land a plane at Eppley at 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon,’’ he said. “I’m worried more about the morning two games. After that, I think we’re OK.”
The Prep Classic has eight games at Sokol Arena Saturday, starting at 10:30 a.m. and wrapping up with the marquee games of Omaha Westside against K.C. Central at 7:30 p.m. and Omaha Bryan against Denver East at 9.
Krehbiel said Kansas City Central (8-3) is “an up-and-coming program with a new coach.” Denver East has Division I prospect Kwane Marble.
“Bryan will have to deal with him,’’ Krehbiel said. “I’ll be interested to see how Bryan’s athleticism competes against them.”
Elmwood-Murdock girls (5-9 through Wednesday) vs. Syracuse (9-4), 10:30 a.m.: Elmwood-Murdock is six points away from being a .500 team. Syracuse started 8-0 before losing four in a row to teams that are a combined 53-7.
Elmwood-Murdock boys (7-5) vs. Syracuse (8-4), noon: Carter Bornemeier leads Elmwood-Murdock scorers at 14.6 ppg. Wil McCoy has the same average for Syracuse.
Gretna girls (4-8) vs. Oakland-Craig (14-0), 1:30 p.m.: New Class A team Gretna has struggled against mostly Class B competition. It faces one of the top scorers in the state in Oakland-Craig’s Dacey Nelson.
Gretna boys (9-1) vs. Treynor (13-0), 3 p.m.: An intriguing matchup that can help the Dragons in the Class A wild-card race. Tre Mikkelsen and Ely Doble are tied for their team lead in scoring at 15.7 ppg. Jerry Jorgensen and Jack Tiarks are among Treynor’s scoring threats. The Cardinals were state runners-up last season.
Council Bluffs St. Albert boys (4-9) vs. Winnebago (6-6), 4:30: St. Albert’s team is dealing with this week’s firing of coach Ben Holling. Winnebago is rebuilding after last year’s overtime loss to Wahoo for the Class C-1 title. Terrance Frenchman leads the Indians in scoring.
Boys Town boys (8-5) vs. Bellevue East (2-10), 6 p.m.: The last time Class C-1 No. 5 Boys Town took on a Class A foe, it was now-pro Khyri Thomas’ last team at Omaha Benson and the Bunnies won big.
Omaha Westside boys (9-4) vs. Kansas City Central (8-3), 7:30 p.m.: Last of a key three-game week for the hometowners. Class A No. 10 Westside beat No. 2 Omaha Creighton Prep 59-55 on Tuesday and is to play No. 6 Papillion-La Vista South on Friday.
Omaha Bryan (8-5) vs. Denver East (8-6), 9 p.m.: East is coming off a 103-point outing on Monday. The Blue Angels have been regulars at the Heartland Hoops Classic. Class A No. 9 Bryan, led by Javen Udofia’s 20-point average, was upset Tuesday by Millard West.
Bowling and girls wrestling are closer than ever to being state-sanctioned sports. During second-stage NSAA legislative district meetings this month, four of the six districts voted for girls wrestling and three of the six for bowling to be considered for sanctioning at the NSAA’s Representative Assembly in April. It takes 60 percent approval from the assembly for sanctioning — bowling failed to receive last year.
Bowling’s state tournament would lead off the winter championship season, as it does now in club competition, with the finals on the Friday before the state wrestling tournament. Girls wrestling would be incorporated into the state championship schedule at the CHI Health Center.
Since it’s been more than 25 years since softball was added as the last NSAA sport, both sports deserve strong consideration for adoption. The only concern here is whether bowling has considered the impact on junior leagues. The NSAA bans outside competition during a sports season. That could kill the leagues.
North-Benson baseball: Omaha North and Omaha Benson had their request approved at Thursday’s NSAA board meeting to combine their players for baseball. The team will be known as the North Vikings and play at Fontenelle Park. With Benson having difficulty fielding teams recently, this is a wise move by the Omaha Public Schools. OPS needs to consider more cooperative sponsorship teams in sports such as golf and tennis because of participation and experience levels. Let the combining schools have their own junior varsity teams to teach those lifelong sports to beginners.
Native American league: Omaha Nation has been asked to join a new football league centered in South Dakota but also including North Dakota. The NSAA wants the Chiefs (0-8 in 2018) to fulfill their 2019 schedule in Eight Man-1. If they enter the league, they would be ineligible for Nebraska’s playoffs but would have to adhere to NSAA rules.
NSAA helping NCAA: The NSAA will be included in the process of selecting worthy players for the new NCAA men’s and women’s basketball recruiting camps that are to be in late June. Nebraska will go to North Kansas City, Missouri. The NSAA will form a selection committee to choose about 25 boys and about the same number of girls. Said NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar: “The NCAA, at our National Federation winter meeting, said they want to get (college) recruiting back into the high schools.” A philosophy long overdue, it says here.
Classification: Bellar said he will reconvene the NSAA’s classification committee, which he had chaired, to consider other issues now that football made its changes that took effect this past fall. There is a movement to consider nine-man football, which South Dakota’s smaller schools play.
No to wrestler’s appeal: The NSAA denied an eligibility appeal for wrestler Tyler Needham, who was a state qualifier at Papillion-La Vista South last season and had transferred to Millard South for his senior year without his family moving.
Gibson likely absent
Spokesman Larry Bornschlegl said the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame is not expecting major league Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson to accept his induction in person at the group’s Feb. 10 dinner in Beatrice.
Gibson is one of this year’s seven inductees.
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