Class C belonged Friday to a pair of sophomores. Taya Skelton of Fort Calhoun repeated as the girls winner — she’s now halfway to a four-year class sweep — while Minden’s Aiden Wheelock claimed the boys title in the state cross country meet at Kearney Country Club.

Not again. While last season had its share of highlights, injuries to some of the top girls basketball players in the state were a negative. The first game hasn’t been played this season and once again, a star player has been hurt. 

Shelby-Rising City graduate Chatrice White, who now plays for Illinois, has been invited to try out for the under-19 USA women’s basketball team. Minden standout Taylor Kissinger was one of 35 asked to try out for the under-16 team.

A year after defeating the Whippets in the state-championship game, the two-time defending Class C1 state champion ended Minden's season in the first round for the second time in three years with a 56-48 win at the Devaney Center here Thursday morning.

Kearney Catholic girls coach Rick Petri couldn’t help but smile as he walked down the end of his bench, high-fiving each player. He had good reason to celebrate as the final seconds ticked down on Thursday’s highly-anticipated C1-10 Sudistrict final against rival Minden. His team accomplished the tall task it faced — shut one of the state’s most prolific offenses and get back to a district final.

Suddenly Minden needed to find a scorer. The Whippets finally settled on Josie Madsen. The 5-7 senior scored 18 points, 15 in the second half, as Minden defeated Ainsworth 60-50 Saturday night for its ninth Southwest Conference Tournament championship in the past 10 years.

This time, it was Hastings St. Cecilia’s turn to play heartbreaker. Last year, that honor was Minden’s, specifically Taylor Kissinger, who nailed a buzzer-beating jumper that forced overtime and ultimately allowed the Whippets to remain undefeated. This year, that honor was St. Cecilia’s, specifically Shandra Farmer, who put in the go-ahead free throw with three seconds to play and ultimately ended Minden’s perfect start.

With her big sisters off to college, this is Taylor Kissinger’s time at Minden. The 6-foot sophomore guard has responded for the Whippets, who are 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class C-1. Kissinger trails only injured Fremont star Jessica Shepard in scoring statewide, averaging 25.1 points per game.

Grand Island Central Catholic’s defense focused on holding Minden’s Nic Werner below his 22 point per game average Thursday. Since the Class C-1 No. 4-rated Crusaders ended up holding all of the Whippets below that amount, consider it a strong performance from the defense.

Life on the playoff bubble is not a good time, but Central City made the most of its final regular season opportunities as the Bison manhandled Minden 48-14.

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