Prep Boys Basketball Notes: Nebraska high school boys basketball team capsules; Ratings

Prep Boys Basketball Notes: Nebraska high school boys basketball team capsules; Ratings
World-Herald News Service

Class A

Returning starters listed

Bellevue East (8-15 in 2016-27): Seniors: Austin Slie, 6-1; Hunter Mengel, 6-5. Junior: Fred Knotts, 5-11. Coach Chad Mustard: “Returning three of top four scorers. As talented as I’ve had at East. If new faces get up to speed, we could surprise some people.”

Bellevue West (17-8): Senior: Cedric Johnson, 6-2. Junior: Nico Felici, 6-1. Coach Doug Woodard: “Athletic, fast, deep, but need to make significant improvement in decision-making and half-court defense to reach high level. The range of possible finishes for this team is very wide. Potential to really improve but must develop consistency.”

Fremont (4-15): Seniors: Riley Harms, 6-7; Zach Woehrer, 6-3. Coach Mark Williams: “We will have a young team in terms of experience, but we have length and talent.”

Grand Island (7-17): Seniors: LeBeck Warren, 6-3; Casey Burnham, 5-8; Will Nordhues, 6-0; Andrew Bardales. Coach Jeremiah Slough: “This team returns an abundance of experience from a very competitive team a year ago. We will look to use the returning experience from our guard play to be a catalyst for a successful season. The emergence of a couple of big kids will allow us to do some things differently on both ends of the floor and make us a much more consistent team.”

Kearney (22-5): Senior: Kanon Koster, 6-3. Juniors: Shiloh Robinson, 6-7; Carson Schwartz, 6-1. Coach Drake Beranek: “We were fortunate to play in some great environments and enjoy some amazing experiences last season. Having some success can either make you hungry for more, or satisfied. We are excited to see if our program is ready to consistently compete at a high level.”

Lincoln East (18-7): Seniors: Sam Griesel, 6-5; Jordan Janssen, 6-6; Hayden Barrett, 6-1. Coach Jeff Campbell: “We want to play selfless basketball and have each player’s focus be on making his teammates better and become overachievers. Playing great defensive and rebounding will help our consistency. Offensively, we need to exploit mismatches and play physical.”

Lincoln High (6-18): Seniors: Carlos Santistevan, 6-4; Sammy Richardson, 6-3; Jihad Muhammad, 6-2. Juniors: Jaden Horton, 6-1, Morgan Perry, 5-11; Keyshawn Jenkins, 6-1. Coach Dan Noble: “With several returning starters, we’ll field an experienced team. We will need to develop roles, depth and consistency.”

Lincoln North Star (3-21): Seniors: Brock Johnson, 6-7; Dillon Brandt, 6-3; Derek Ruhl, 5-10; Sam Juracek, 5-10. Coach Tony Quattrocchi: “Vastly improved. Four starters return, led by Brock and Dillon. Donovan Williams (6-4 sophomore guard) returns after only playing three games last year due to knee injury. Newcomer Luke Reimer will make an immediate, significant impact.”

Lincoln Northeast (14-11): None. Only letterman is junior Yashua Bradley. Coach David Mercer: “A lot of new faces with little varsity experience, but a very hard-working group.”

Lincoln Pius X (20-4): Seniors: Joe Burt, 6-2; Thomas Robertson, 6-4, Junior: Charlie Easley, 6-2. Coach Brian Spicka: “We are excited about our depth and return good scoring punch. Defense and rebounding will be key to finding sustained success.”

Lincoln Southeast (10-14): Junior: Michael Anderson, 6-1. New coach Jonah Bradley: “There will be a lot of new faces this year, including a new head coach. This year will be a big learning curve for young players battling to fill varsity spots. Our biggest test will be defending at a high level consistently.”

Lincoln Southwest (8-16): Senior: JaQuaylon Mays, 6-1. Junior: Cam Frederick, 5-10. Coach Alex Bahe: “Mays and Frederick are dynamic point guard types who will play a great deal of minutes and look to elevate their play from productive seasons a year ago. This team is athletic and deep on the perimeter.”

Millard North (13-10): Senior: Nick Ferrarini, 6-4. Juniors: Bret Porter, 6-6; Jake Ruesschoff, 6-0; Josh Bailey, 6-2. Coach Tim Cannon: “Still young, but three returning starters give us a good nucleus.”

Millard South (13-12): Seniors: Kyle Perry, 6-0; Drew Gilin, 6-2; Dylan Wagner, 6-3. Coach Tim Leuschen: “(We) return three starters who averaged a combined 32 points for a state qualifying team. Experienced guard play with Gilin and Perry. Tyrell Carroll (Omaha North) joins the team as a dynamic scorer and distributor. A promising year.”

Millard West (15-11): Seniors: Giavonni Guido, 5-10; Brock Burling, 6-8. Coach Bill Morrison: “Good mix of returning players and young talent. We have a lot of good young players with different skill-sets so we can adapt to different types of opponents. We need to get back to basics on defense to be successful.”

Norfolk (23-4, state champion): Senior: Matt Hagedorn. Coach: Tony Siske: “Many players are looking forward to their opportunity to play at the varsity level. We will be replacing a lot of scoring so we will need to be solid defensively and rebound well.”

North Platte (2-23): Seniors: Bryson Krull, 6-5; Zavion Mitchell, 6-5; Alec Sawyer, 5-10. Coach Matt Kaminski: “We have productive experience returning along with some younger players determined to make an impact. We will be much deeper and competitive.”

Omaha Benson (4-19): None. New coach Tyrie Fant: “We have a brand new team from top to bottom. No returning starters or rotational players. We have young men who are working hard on their craft and looking forward to competing on a high level.”

Omaha Bryan (10-13): Seniors: Tre’Vioon Crawford, 6-2; William Worthington, 5-10. Juniors: Javen Udofia, 6-2; Antione Curtis, 6-4; Johnny Montalvo, 6-1. Coach Terrence O’Donnell: “This team has all the pieces. It is loaded with talent, culture and chemistry. They have come from the bottom to position themselves to be one of the top teams in the state — if they continue to stay humble and hungry as well as buying into sacrificing for each other.”

Omaha Burke (15-9): Seniors: Shereef Mitchell, 6-1; Tyson Gunter, 5-11. Junior: Chris Hickman, 6-6. Sophomore: Xavier Watts, 6-2. Coach Kevin Kobs: “Mitchell leads an experienced group, energized by Hickman. We look to build on last season.”

Omaha Central (19-5): Seniors: Roman Behrens, 6-1; Jakrol Pay, 6-7. New coach Eric Behrens: “Limited experience returning. Hoping to stay competitive during a tough December schedule.”

Omaha Creighton Prep (21-4): Seniors: Spencer Moes, 5-6; Kyle Luedtke, 6-5; Jayden Temme, 6-6. Junior: Akol Arop, 6-6. Coach Josh Luedtke: “This team is very talented and driven to be successful. It does not feel entitled and they know they must work to achieve our goals. It was very unselfish and committed to a team mentality.”

Omaha North (17-8): None. Coach Jared Andersen: “With no returning starters and many dual sport athletes, North will be a work in progress early in the year but with the necessary buy-in and role acceptance we should be able to play at a speed that makes a lot of teams uncomfortable.”

Omaha Northwest (8-16): Junior: Kristion Johnson, 6-5. New coach Donnie Johnson: “With only one returning player with varsity experience, defending and rebounding will be important for our team to be successful. Without a true post player we are going to have to be very scrappy.”

Omaha South (19-7): Senior: Tyreek Crawford, 6-0. Sophomore: Jay Saunders, 5-10. Coach Bruce Chubick: “Looks like we could be starting three sophomores, a junior and a senior. Our least experienced team in nine years.”

Omaha Westside (6-17): Senior: Jaden Kohls, 6-2. Junior: Chase Thompson, 6-2. Sophomore: Jadin Booth, 6-1. New coach Jim Simons: “Will need to blend three returning starters with a large group of skilled young players — they are talented but need experience. Without a true post presence, will look to push tempo and play in transition. Will need to shoot well from the perimeter and commit to defensive rebounding and team defense to have success.”

Papillion-La Vista (24-5): Senior: Peyton Priest, 6-5. Coach Dan Moore: “We will need our younger players to step up to add depth. We should be competitive.”

Papillion-La Vista South (9-14): Senior: Tuach Dol, 6-9. Juniors: Chase Norblade, 6-2; Lok Wur, 6-8. Coach Joel Hueser: “We don’t return a lot of experience but they do have several pieces to the puzzle and with hard work and good team play they could come together and be a very competitive team down the stretch. Dol and Wur have great length to complement a host of guards led by Norblade.”

Class B

Alliance: Did not report

Aurora: Senior: Henry Penner, 6-5. Coach Tom Leininger: “We will have a nice mix of players from sophomores to seniors. After having a great offseason we are looking to improve on last year.”

Beatrice (17-6): Seniors: Cam Jurgens, 6-4 (hurt); Dillon Buss, 6-2. Coach Tyler Struck: “We’ll be one of the deepest teams I have had at Beatrice, being able to play 10 to 12 without much dropoff. A strength will be being able to put a lot of multi-skilled kids on the floor who are interchangeable on offense and defense. However, without a traditional post player (with Jurgens out) that similarly could also be a weakness some nights. This is an extremely hard-working group with a lot of basketball smarts who believe they can still be one of the top teams in B.”

Bennington (15-11): Seniors: Thomas Spoehr, 6-5; Jacob Wageman, 5-9. Juniors: Karson Gansebom, 6-2; Cooper Prososki, 6-2. Coach Luke Olson: “Tough early-season schedule will prepare this group and serve as a good launching pad for the rest of the season. Experience from an inconsistent 2016-17 should hopefully prepare this team for the difficulty of playing consistent all season. With talented young players, practices should be extremely competitive for players trying to break into the top eight or nine spots.”

Blair: Did not report

Columbus (12-10): Seniors: Michael Koch, 6-5; Jaz Ackerson, 6-0; Andy Pike, 6-1; Nathan Slusarski, 6-5. Coach Jimmy Motz: “With four starters and 11 returners, we will have our most experienced team in quite some time. It provides some optimism. If our group competes hard and does the tough things, we’ll have a chance. It’s as simple as it gets.”

Crete (16-9): Seniors: Jonah Weyand, 5-10; Carter Kent, 6-2; Klay Uher, 6-5. New coach Garrett Borcher: “With three returning starters coming off last year’s state tournament team, expectations are high — as they should be. Our schedule is as competitive as they come, which is part of the rigor of playing in Class B.”

Elkhorn (13-9): None. Coach Spencer Peterson: “We need to gain experience, but we have some talent and, more importantly, we have a group of young men who have grown and come together throughout the offseason.”

Elkhorn Mount Michael (13-10): Seniors: Jacob Idra, 6-2; John Hudson, 5-8. Coach Derrik Spooner: “Solid senior leadership. Newcomers will be looking to contribute.”

Elkhorn South (18-7): Seniors: Mick Williams, 6-1; Alex Nelson, 6-5. Coach Nolan Reilly: “We have a talented, athletic and competitive group of seniors coming back. To round out our team we have a couple of underclassmen who will step in and play important roles. The seniors’ experience and leadership will have a big impact on our team. That leadership will be called on often as we make the transition from the EMC to the Metro. We believe playing our schedule will prepare us well for the postseason.”

Gering (14-11): Seniors: Tyler Pszanka, 6-5; Jake Rocheleau, 6-1. Coach Randy Plummer: “We have very little varsity experience returning. It will be an adjustment as our team gets used to the quality of competition at the varsity level. We have decent size, athleticism and ball-handlers. We will be establishing our offensive identity as we go.”

Grand Island Northwest (6-19): Seniors: Brady Glause, 6-0; Riley Schliep, 6-5. Junior: Carter Terry, 5-10. Coach Chip Bahe: “Look for GINW to be improved.”

Gretna (27-2): Seniors: Tyler Sullivan, 5-11; Joey Johnson, 6-3. Coach Bill Feeken: “We lost a lot to graduation, but a strong senior group will be relied on to continue the tradition and expectations for the Dragons.”

Hastings (9-13): Seniors: Christian Creech, 6-9; Seth Simonson, 5-10; Lukaas Simonson, 5-10. Junior: Quentin Synek, 6-2. Sophomores: Connor Creech, 5-11; Jake Schroeder, 6-4. Coach Lance Creech: “Our success will be determined on how well we can defend in the paint and rebound on both ends. Guard play will be a strength.”

Holdrege (12-11): Seniors: Trent Hoeft, 5-11; Trevot Matousek, 6-0. Coach Jon Karn: “We will need to mature as a team throughout the season as our varsity experience is limited.”

Lexington: Did not report

McCook (11-13): Seniors: Hunter Potthoff, 5-10; Zach Schlager, 6-2; Clayton Stevens, 5-10. Junior: Gabe Sehnert, 5-11. Coach Jeremy Yilk: “We have a strong nucleus of seniors and juniors returning who are motivated to do great things. We will be looking for our experienced players to expand their roles. Our athleticism and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor will help make up for our overall lack of size.”

Nebraska City: Did not report.

Norris (12-12): Senior: Michael Wardy, 6-5. Coach Adam Brill: “We are looking to build off a 12-12 campaign that ended as district runners-up. We have a good mix of guards who played a lot of minutes last year on our reserve/junior varsity levels on the varsity and in various high levels of AAU this past summer. They are competing for spots in our rotation.”

Omaha Gross (7-17): Senior: Kyle Sweeney, 6-2. Junior: Trey Powers, 6-3. Coach Tim Powers: “Team will be guard heavy again this year. Look to improve on last year’s record.”

Omaha Roncalli (16-8): Senior: Logan McGill, 6-3. Juniors: Alex Rodgers, 5-11; Nate Weibel, 6-0. Sophomore: Jack Dotzler, 5-8. Coach J.J. Stoffel: “We have a lot of experience back and, at the same time, a lot of youth. Our players are very hungry to build on last season. We will be relentless in our approach all season.”

Omaha Skutt (19-7): Seniors: Austin Ash, 6-3; Jackson Gordon, 6-0. Junior: TJ Skradski, 6-6. Sophomore: Tyson Gordon, 6-3. Coach Kyle Jurgens: “Still very young but more experienced than last year.”

Platteview (21-5): Seniors: Brady Heiman, 6-10; Nate Thayer, 6-3; Rayshon Hovaldt, 6-3; Matt Kingston, 5-10. Junior: Evan Kingston, 5-10. Coach Tim Brotzki: “Expectations are high with NU signee Heiman and our all-time leading scorer, Thayer, returning. Hovaldt (Midland commit) had a great summer and will be a tough matchup for other team. We return all-starters and 13 of top 14 from last year’s state tournament team. Looking to make a third state tournament appearance in a row.”

Plattsmouth (1-21): Seniors: Luke Setlak, 5-9; Charlie Knust, 6-1; Kaleb Church, 6-0. Junior: Tucker Anderson, 5-9. Coach Kevin Tilson: “A successful early season would provide confidence going into 2018.”

Ralston (6-19): Senior: Jacob Padilla, 6-5. New coach Bo Buettenback: “Tough schedule, looking forward to that challenge.”

Schuyler: Did not report

Scottsbluff (26-3): Senior: Devin Buderus, 6-1. Coach Scott Gullion: “We will be replacing a lot of scoring. We will be very guard-orienged and have the ability to put five on the court who can shoot the ball. Sharing the ball and playing great team defense will be keys to our success.”

Seward: Did not report

Sidney (12-12): Seniors: Mitch Porter, 6-3; Jon Smith, 5-9. Junior: Arik Doty, 5-11. Coach Austin Lewis: “With three returning starters and a couple of guys with experience, we hope to be better. We have a strong senior class for leadership. We will be challenged in Class B with our size but hopefully can manage defending the paint.”

South Sioux City: Did not report.

Waverly (8-13): Senior: Tanner Wubbels, 6-6. Junior: Alex Murray, 6-2. Coach Ryan Reeder: “We have a great mix of seniors, juniors and sophomores who all could be in the mix for playing time. We were a senior-led team last year so we will have to grow up rather quickly with tough pre-Christmas games.”

York (15-9): Seniors: Simon Otte, 6-1; Tyler Cast, 6-4. Juniors: Brady Danielson, 6-3; Garrett Snodgrass, 6-3. Coach Scott Lamberty: “We return a lot of experience but will be starting 12 days late because of football. We will need everyone to take steps fundamentally and be able to shoot a higher percentage to be successful. I believe it’s an athletic team that should be able to get up and down the floor offensively and defensively and use our depth to our advantage.”

Other Teams

Arlington (13-10): Senior: Jackson Borgmann, 6-2. Coach Chad Sharp: “We will be inexperienced at the beginning of the season attempting to work in a lot of new faces.”

Ashland-Greenwood (0-20): Senior: Toby Welling, 6-3. Sophomores: Hunter Washburn, 5-8; Bryce Kitrell, 6-0; Jacob Ludwig, 6-1. Coach Jacob Mohs: “Young group, but gained a lot of experience last year with a variety of lineups. Steady improvement over the last year should help us be a competitive team.”

Bellevue Cornerstone (2-11): Seniors: Lane Kieser, 6-1; Garrett Poppen, 5-10. Juniors: Jordon Strong, 5-8; Nathan Schrag, 5-9. Coach Brett Dotzler: “As our program continues to grow, we are making steps in the right direction. We will have to rely heavily on our upperclassmen to provide points and leadership. Looking to improve on our ability to take care of the basketball and play solid defense.”

Boys Town (20-7): Senior: Dashawn Bates, 6-2. Coach Tom Krehbiel: “Talented and deep, very athletic and fast. We are inexperienced with very few guys who have been through the pressure of playing.”

Conestoga (9-12): Senior: JeVon Lewis, 5-11. Coach Jason Ahrens: “We will be very young with most of our numbers in our freshman class. We have only one senior.”

Douglas County West (17-7): Seniors: Peyton Weiss, 6-1; Spencer Hays, 5-10. Coach Chip Daehling: “We are a very heavy senior-led team. Looking to build off the success from last year’s team.”

Elmwood-Murdock (24-5): Seniors: Zach Rust, 6-1; Caleb Marlatt, 6-4. Junior: Wes Dreamer, 6-6. Coach Matt Shelsta: “A lot of expectations for a team coming off a state fourth-place finish. A bit of inexperience in losing three starters. But young talent and a drive to compete will fuel this team. We have a team on a mission. Our young bench will need to step up soon with tough games early.”

Fort Calhoun (6-16): Seniors: Jamie Warner, 6-0; Ray Gartin, 6-1. Coach PJ Mallette: “Tough group that is committed to growing as a team.”

Louisville (19-7): Senior: Hunter Klein, 5-10. New coach Adam Vogt: “We are a very inexperienced team. Only three returners who have played varsity minutes.”

Mead (25-3): Seniors: Dylan Taylor, 6-3; Timothy Hughes, 5-10. Coach PJ Quinn: “We will have a competitive nucleus but must develop some depth.”

Omaha Brownell-Talbot (8-15): Seniors: Jarrett Proby, Ben Porter. John Vovk, Peter Rice. Coach Eric Jones: “This is a sneaky experienced team that has grown a lot over the summer. We have a lot more length and athleticism than we have had. Proby and Porter are poised to have big years with increased playing time and responsibilities they will get. Lots of the teams we play have graduated a good core group of the players who have hurt us the past two seasons and we have returned a good core group. I’m cautiously optimistic that this could be a very good year for us.”

Omaha Christian (6-17): Seniors: Luke Andersen, 6-1; Masen Dinklage, 6-2; Josiah Krehbiel, 6-0; Dalton Wirges, 6-0. Coach Mike Thompson: “Some experience returns. Will need to develop depth.” School will open its new campus gym this season.

Omaha Concordia: Did not report

Wahoo (22-6): Seniors: Cameron Quick, 6-3; Dylan Egr, 5-10; Brendan Lacey, 6-2; Will Shanahan, 6-4; Billy Hancock, 5-11. Coach Kevin Scheef: “We return a lot of experience. Staying healthy is always a key. Playing unselfishly and having great team chemistry will determine how successful we are this year.”

Wahoo Neumann (26-3): Junior: Eli Vedral, 6-2. Coach Mike Weiss: “We will be replacing 77 percent of our scoring and 62 percent of rebounding from back-to-back title teams. With only one starter back it will be very important that we stick together and learn to play hard every night against a very tough schedule.”

Weeping Water (4-21): Seniors: Jayden Brammier, 6-0; Noah May, 5-10; Marshall Garner, 6-0. Sophomore: Avery Heath, 5-9. Coach Ryan White: “This team is full of potential. We just need to experience some success. Perimeter play will be important for this team to be successful.”

Yutan (18-8): Seniors: Bryland Menicucci, 5-9; Mason Timm, 5-11; Brett Heuertz, 6-4; Colton Feist, 6-3; Jalin Kube, 6-2; Allan Leahy, 6-7. Coach Justin Petersen: “We should be a very experienced team with only losing one player from last year. Depth will be something that we should be able to rely on. Competition for playing team will be extremely high.”

Nebraska prep boys basketball rankings – Nov. 30

TOP 10/Class A, Rec, Prv

1. Omaha Creighton Prep, 21-4, 4

2. Kearney, 22-5, 3

3. Lincoln East, 18-7, 8-A

4. Millard North, 13-10, NR

5. Omaha Bryan, 10-13, NR

6. Omaha Central, 19-6, 6

7. Bellevue West, 17-8, 9

8. Omaha Burke, 15-9, NR

9. Millard South, 13-12, 10-A

10. Lincoln Pius X, 20-4, NR


1. Gretna, 27-2, 1

2. Omaha Skutt, 19-7, 6

3. Aurora, 25-2, 3

4. Platteview, 21-5, 10

5. York, 15-9, NR

6. Elkhorn South, 18-7, 5

7. Bennington, 15-11, NR

8. Columbus, 12-10, 8

9. Crete, 16-9, 4

10. Scottsbluff, 26-3, 2


1. Wahoo, 22-6, 2

2. Wahoo Neumann, 26-3, 1

3. O’Neill, 23-3, 5

4. Grand Island CC, 13-11, NR

5. Winnebago, 28-3, 3

6. Logan View/SS, 18-6, NR

7. Boys Town, 20-7, 8

8. North Bend, 19-5, 10

9. Boone Central/NG, 15-9, NR

10. Kearney Catholic, 21-5, 7


1. Ponca, 27-4, 1

2. Yutan, 18-8, 7

3. Hastings St. Cecilia, 22-6, 3

4. Elmwood-Murdock, 24-5, 4

5. Centennial, 22-4, 6

6. Oakland-Craig, 16-8, 9

7. Amherst, 23-4, 5

8. Hartington CC, 16-10, 8

9. Freeman, 15-10, NR

10. Sutton, 15-8, NR


1. Nebraska City Lourdes, 24-5, 1

2. Bruning-Davenport/Shickley, 20-5, 6

3. Johnson-Brock, 17-7, 3

4. West Holt, 16-10, NR

5. Kenesaw, 16-8, NR

6. West Point GACC, 16-14, 2

7. Heartland, 14-9, 10

8. Boyd County, 21-3, 8

9. Deshler, 15-8, NR

10. Walthill, 18-4, 7


1. Riverside, 24-5, 4

2. Humphrey St. Francis, 21-5, 7

3. Wynot, 19-7, 3

4. Mullen, 27-2, 1

5. Falls City Sacred Heart, 17-7, 8

6. Giltner, 18-7, 10

7. Lincoln Parkview, 21-5, 5

8. Mead, 19-7, 2

9. Wauneta-Palisade, 19-7, 9

10. Winside, 9-12, NR