Pospisil: To be No. 1, Bellevue West had to end Creighton Prep's27-game winning streak

Much of Bellevue West’s heavy lifting is over. Only four remaining opponents are .500 or better, with two of them on tap this week. The Thunderbirds visit No. 9 Millard North (6-4) on Tuesday and play Council Bluffs Lewis Central (7-3) on Saturday in the Jennie Ed Shootout at the Bluffs’ Mid-America Center. 

Bellevue West has traded one malady for another in the first part of the season.

First it was the inability to hold leads and finish games, notably a loss to Lincoln Southeast when it led by 19. Then came slow starts. At the Metro Conference Holiday tournament, the Thunderbirds trailed at halftime in each of their final three games and after three quarters in the championship against Omaha Creighton Prep.

But as the January grind begins, they’re 11-1 and return to the top of the Top 10 as Metro champion. Their first title in 11 years came on a 51-46 win over Prep, ending the Junior Jays’ school-record winning streak at 27 games.

Much of Bellevue West’s heavy lifting is over. Only four remaining opponents are .500 or better, with two of them on tap this week. The Thunderbirds visit No. 9 Millard North (6-4) on Tuesday and play Council Bluffs Lewis Central (7-3) on Saturday in the Jennie Ed Shootout at the Bluffs’ Mid-America Center. Omaha South (8-2) is a road game Jan. 19 and the rematch with Prep (10-1) is at home Feb. 8.

Prep, in contrast, has eight games left against teams with winning records.

The next two in the Top 10, Kearney and Class B’s Lincoln Pius X, play their Heartland Conference championship game at 7 p.m. Monday at Pius. Those are two of the conference’s three new teams — Norfolk being the other. Incidentally, the HAC girls final between Lincoln Southwest and Fremont will be played Jan. 22 at Southwest.

A second Class B team, Omaha Skutt, remains in the all-class ratings in sixth despite a 65-62 loss Friday to now-Class B No. 6 Omaha Roncalli, the first instate setback for the 10-2 SkyHawks. It’s two weeks until their Jan. 22 showdown at Pius.

Metro semifinalists Papillion-La Vista South and Omaha Central move up to seventh and eighth — Central was outside the Top 10 last week — with Millard North and Lincoln High completing the list. In the Class A ratings, Omaha South is ninth and Omaha Bryan 10th.

Sign up for daily headlines from NEPrepZone

Get a daily roundup of game recaps, player features and more in your inbox.

Ratings comments

Class B: The loss to Roncalli doesn’t dislodge Skutt at No. 2, with the Crimson Pride gaining two spots to sixth and happy that point guard Jack Dotzler is back from his broken wrist. He scored 29 on the SkyHawks.

Elkhorn Mount Michael spoiled Hastings’ first visit to its crackerbox, winning 68-63 to move into seventh and drop the Tigers from fifth to eighth.

Class C-1: Wahoo is back to No. 1 after it won twice and previous No. 1 Adams Central lost 52-49 at Class B Lexington.

Streaking upward is Ogallala, the last unbeaten in the class. The Indians vault from 10th to third after beating two unbeatens — Kearney Catholic and Cozad — and one-loss Bridgeport. Kearney Catholic rebounded with a 56-55 home win over Grand Island Central Catholic that dropped the Crusaders (9-2) from third to ninth with an arduous schedule ahead.

Class C-2: Freeman gets its turn at No. 1 after last week’s occupant, Sutton, lost 53-43 at Centennial. Sutton falls to sixth, with Centennial rising from eighth to fifth.

Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur is the new No. 2, followed by high-scoring Laurel-Concord-Coleridge. The Bears (11-1) had back-to-back 100-point games, a rarity in the new age of 40-point running clocks.

Wisner-Pilger (8-2) enters at No. 8 after giving two-time champion Ponca its second loss, then beating West Point-Beemer 50-45 for coach Duane Mendlik’s record 671st career victory.

Class D-1: Less turbulence here. Wauneta-Palisade enters at No. 9 after an 8-2 start. Wilcox-Hildreth (7-3) stays 10th because its two losses last week were to No. 4 Kenesaw and new No. 5 Elm Creek.

Class D-2: The first collision of No. 1 Johnson-Brock and No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart could happen in the 8 p.m. semifinal Thursday of the Mudecas tournament’s A Division in Beatrice. Sacred Heart lost for the first time Saturday, to Missouri unbeaten Mound City 68-56 in the Steve Vertin Classic at St. Joseph LeBlond.

Vertin was the longtime Adams Central coach who then had a long stay at LeBlond to complete a career of more than 40 years. He died in May 2017.

Top games

Class A — Monday: Kearney at Lincoln Pius X (HAC final). Tuesday: Bellevue West at Millard North, Gretna at Council Bluffs Lewis Central. Friday: Omaha South at Omaha Creighton Prep, Lincoln High at Lincoln Pius X. Saturday: Bellevue West vs. Council Bluffs Lewis Central (at Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs), Lincoln East at Omaha South, Omaha Central at Lincoln High.

Class B — Tuesday: Hastings at Aurora, Blair at Omaha Roncalli, York at Grand Island Central Catholic. Thursday: Blair at Omaha Skutt, Boys Town at Elkhorn Mount Michael. Friday: Mount Michael at Roncalli.

Class C-1 — Tuesday: Platteview at Ashland-Greenwood, Boys Town at Lincoln Christian, Southern Valley vs. Chase County (3:30 at Mid Plains-McCook), Lexington at Kearney Catholic, Wayne at Laurel-Concord-Coleridge. Thursday: Broken Bow at Kearney Catholic, Wayne at North Bend. Friday: Grand Island Northwest at Adams Central, Columbus Scotus at Lincoln Christian, Wahoo at Platteview. Saturday: Wahoo Neumann vs. Council Bluffs St. Albert (at Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs), Columbus Scotus at Boys Town.

Class C-2 — Tuesday: Ainsworth at Boyd County, Centennial at Shelby-Rising City, Neligh-Oakdale at Osmond, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family at Wisner-Pilger. Thursday: Neligh-Oakdale at Humphrey/Holy Family, Ponca at Wakefield. Friday: BRLD at Oakland-Craig, Wisner-Pilger at Howells-Dodge.Saturday: Adams Central at Doniphan-Trumbull.

Class D-1 — Friday: Humphrey/Holy Family at Clearwater/Orchard, Loomis at Wilcox-Hildreth. Saturday: North Bend at Fremont Bergan, Elm Creek at Kenesaw

Class D-2 — Tuesday: Giltner at Kenesaw. Saturday: Mead at Howells-Dodge

Tournaments — Mudecas, semifinals Thursday and final Saturday at Beatrice Auditorium

Get a daily roundup of game recaps, player features and more in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.