The de facto AAU Nebraska state championships, better known as the River Cities Summer Tip Off, took place over the weekend. There are multiple takeaways, but there is one that I feel compelled to lead with.
Let me soften it a bit first. There are many good AAU programs in the state, and each one can roll out good players. The programs are run by good people who truly care about the kids in their programs.
Now the big statement: OSA is the dominant high school AAU program in Nebraska.
Anyone who watched River Cities all three days — even the staunchest supporters of other programs — would have to agree. Two of the three OSA Gauntlet teams claimed bragging rights in Nebraska for the next year as the program’s 17-and-under and 16-and-under teams convincingly won titles.
The 17U and 16U Gauntlet teams had perfect records, with the closest game for either coming in the 16U semifinals when OSA defeated All Iowa Attack 9th Red 78-71. OSA 16U not only went 6-0 at the tournament, it outscored opponents by an average margin of 36.1 points.
“It was a good weekend for our guys,” OSA 16U Gauntlet coach Jim Simons said. “They played extremely hard on the defensive end and very unselfishly offensively. We got contributions from every player on the roster and I really liked the energy and enthusiasm we played with.”
OSA 17U Gauntlet was nearly as impressive with a 27-point average margin in its six wins. Its closest game was 73-59 in the final against Powerhouse Nebraska Elite, which looked good in getting to the finals by handling a talented All Iowa Attack squad.
“I was very pleased with our effort this weekend,” OSA 17U Gauntlet coach Andy King said. “Our guys have really bought in to what we are trying to do and the way we want to play. This was a great opportunity for us to play some good teams and knock the rust off.”
Both OSA teams will be in New York to play in the Adidas Gauntlet Finale set to begin Thursday. Since the inception of AAU shoe-sponsored leagues, never have there been two Nebraska-based teams playing in an AAU tournament of this caliber on the same weekend.
“The fact that we are able to qualify two of our teams for the Adidas Gauntlet Finale this year is a huge accomplishment and speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication of our players,” said Bob Franzese, OSA general manager. “Our 16- and 17-year-old teams, players and coaches are excited to go to New York City later this week and compete against the nation’s best.”
In 2017, OSA’s 17U team played in the Gauntlet Finale. Prior to that, Omaha Elite merged with All Iowa Attack and played in the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in 2015.
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