It’s been awhile since the last ratings column, so let’s get caught up on some of the highlights this season ...
>> Bellevue West No. 1: The Thunderbirds have been impressive and are the only undefeated team in Class A. In his first season as coach, Marc Kruger has guided his team to an 11-0 record and the school’s fourth Metro holiday tournament championship.
>> Wildcats roaring: Millard West got off to perhaps the best start of all, defeating defending state champion Omaha Central and runner-up Lincoln Southeast in the first two weeks. The Wildcats were the runners-up in the Metro tournament before stumbling Saturday at Omaha Benson — a tough game to play two days after the grueling tourney.
>> She’s back: All-Nebraska guard Jayla Hobza returned from the knee injury that sidelined her much of last season and is playing a major role for Bellevue East. The Chieftains returned many of the key players who helped the team capture state in 2011, and coach Scott Jensen’s squad will be a definite factor the rest of the way.
>> Star City supremacy: Lincoln Southeast soundly defeated Lincoln Southwest in their first meeting, but the Silver Hawks bounced back to beat the Knights in the final of the Heartland Athletic Conference tourney. Don’t forget about Lincoln Northeast, which is 9-2.
>> Surprising Huskies: Omaha Northwest won four games last season but is 7-3 this year. Whether the Huskies can hang with the top Class A teams the rest of the way remains to be seen, but props to coach Kevin Vann for having his team pointed in the right direction.
>> Norfolk rolling: The Panthers are off to a 9-2 start, though their schedule gets tougher the rest of the way. We’ll see if Norfolk, which hasn’t reached state since 2000, can maintain its winning ways.
>> End of the streak: Seward saw its 104-game winning streak end in a home loss to Lincoln Pius X, leaving the Bluejays seven wins short of the state record. Coach Tom Tvrdy’s squad is still solid, but right now the top team in Class B is ...
>> Beatrice: The Lady Orange have defeated Seward twice, though they lost to Grand Island Northwest in the final of the Vikings’ tournament. Beatrice, the Class B state runner-up last year, appears formidable once again despite the absence of graduated star Alicia Armstrong.
>> Class B parity: Several teams have emerged to challenge four-time defending champion Seward. In addition to Beatrice, toss in Grand Island Northwest (10-1), Norris (7-2), Waverly (8-2), Gretna (10-1), Holdrege (9-1), McCook (11-2), Sidney (8-3) and South Sioux City (7-3) as top contenders.
>> Civic minded: It was kind of fun to have the semifinals and final of the Metro holiday tourney played at the Civic Auditorium. Even with the absence of music between games and at halftime, the auditorium proved to be a suitable venue.
Ratings update: Bellevue West claims the top spot in Class A while Beatrice takes over No. 1 in Class B. Class A preseason No. 1 Lincoln Southeast falls to No. 4 while Class B preseason No. 1 Seward is No. 2.
Statistics: Coaches of teams in Class A, Class B and the Omaha area should have received a statistics sheet by email. The deadline for the first report is Tuesday. Information may be emailed to email@example.com or faxed to 402-444-1238.
Reminder: The aforementioned coaches (A, B, Omaha area) also are reminded that The World-Herald needs a call after a game if the information is going to be in the newspaper. It’s the responsibility of the home team (win or lose) to phone in the boxscore — score by quarters and individual scoring for both teams — and provide a highlight.
The sports department may be reached at 402-444-1201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class C, Class D: As in past years, ratings for Classes C and D will run in Tuesday’s World-Herald.
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