A team-by-team breakdown as Lincoln's high schools prepare to tip off the season.
Coach: Jeff Campbell.
Last season's record: 14-9.
Key returners: Carter Tempelmeyer, 6-2, sr., G; Jared Townsley, 6-3, sr., F; Connor Hamilton, 6-1, sr., G; Christian Melessa, 6-3, sr., F; Carter Mick, 6-2, jr., G.
Outlook: The Spartans pushed many of the top teams in the state, especially early last season, but lost their final seven games against squads that finished the year with winning records. Can high-scoring guard Carter Tempelmeyer (17.9 ppg. last season) lead East to the next level?
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Coach: Dan Noble.
Last season's record: 5-18.
Key returners: Andrew Gaines, 6-0, sr., G; Marcelus McCulley, 6-2, sr., G; Elvis Nguyen, 6-1, sr., G; Vincent Garrett Jr., 6-2, sr., G/F; Collin Nick, 6-6, sr., G/F; Kui Diu, 6-2, sr., G/F; Bryson Faines, 6-8, sr., F/C; Kavontay Jones, 5-9, sr., G; Justin Bolis, 6-8, sr., F/C; Alyice Hicks, 6-4, sr., F/C.
Outlook: An injury-plagued season means the Links return seven players who started games last season. Lincoln High's huge senior class (10 seniors who lettered last season as juniors) gives coach Dan Noble a deep, veteran squad with six players who averaged between seven and 12 points per game last season.
Lincoln North Star
Coach: Lee Steinbrook.
Last season's record: 9-15.
Key returners: Antallah Sandlin'el, 6-8, sr., F; Brennon Clemmons, 6-8, sr., F.
Outlook: First-year coach Lee Steinbrook has a pair of talented pieces to build around in Antallah Sandlin'el and Brennon Clemmons, both of whom received all-state honorable mention last season. Steinbrook, who played for Danny Nee at Nebraska in 1994-95, should get a good handle on where his squad is early in the season with a Dec. 10 home opener against Bellevue West, and a road trip to Millard North one week later.
Coach: Monte Ritchie.
Last season's record: 18-7.
Key returners: Jalen Lang, sr.; Porter Bazil, sr.; Christian Winn, sr.
Outlook: The Rockets suffered heavy graduation losses from last year's city championship team that started 10-0 and won the HAC Tournament before finishing 18-7. Just three letterwinners return from that squad, meaning several players without much varsity experience will have to step up.
Lincoln Pius X
Coach: Adam Brill.
Last season's record: 18-8.
Key returners: Jackson Kessler, 5-10, sr., G; Treyson Anderson, 6-9, jr., F.
Outlook: First-year coach Adam Brill, a member of Pius X's 2004 state championship team, takes over for Brian Spicka as the Thunderbolts retool their lineup after last season's state tournament appearance. Treyson Anderson has a scholarship offer from South Dakota State and could be poised for a big jump in production after averaging 3.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season.
Coach: Joey Werning.
Last season's record: 10-13.
Key returners: Wade Voss, 6-7, sr., F; Bangot Dak, 6-9, sr., F; Taye Moore, 6-0, jr., G; D'Marius Shumaker, 5-10, so., G; Daniel Schafer, 6-8, sr., F; Henry Woods, 6-1, sr., G; Tre Gray, 6-1, jr., G; BJ Bradford, 5-10, so., G.
Outlook: It could be a breakout season for the Knights, who return four starters and much of their bench from last season, in addition to adding North Star transfer Jake Hilkemann, who averaged 11.3 points and 4.1 rebounds last year for the Gators. Six-foot-9 Bangot Dak and 6-7 Wade Voss, who both started last year, and 6-8 Daniel Schafer give Southeast a formidable trio in the front court.
Coach: Alex Bahe.
Last season's record: 16-8.
Key returners: Rylan Smith, 6-1, sr., G; Lukas Helms, 6-6, sr., G; Chuck Love, 6-6, so., G; Bhan Buom, 6-7, jr., G; Braden Frager, 6-6, so., G/F.
Outlook: A third-year starting point guard in Rylan Smith, a college prospect in Concordia recruit Lucas Helms and a talented young trio that includes NCAA Division I prospect Chuck Love have the Silver Hawks primed for a strong follow-up to a season that ended with a five-point district loss to Class A state semifinalist Gretna. If the Silver Hawks can develop some depth, a run for the program's first state tournament appearance since 2009 could be in the cards.
Coach: Gary Nunnally.
Last season's record: 15-9.
Key returners: Luke Hovendick, 6-4, sr., G; Ty Hansen, 5-10, sr., G; Parker Bash, 6-6, sr., C; Cade Marshbanks, 6-6, jr., F.
Outlook: The Crusaders return just one starter, Luke Hovendick, from last season's team. Gary Nunnally's other three varsity returners combined to average 2.4 points and 0.8 rebounds per game last season and one of those, junior Cade Marshbanks, will miss the season with an injury. The Crusaders will need some inexperienced guys to develop as the season goes on.
Coach: Jesse Bouwens.
Last season's record: 13-10.
Key returners: Jonny Puelz, 6-5, sr., F; Gabe Schmidt, 6-1, sr., G; Logan DeBoer, 6-2, sr., G; Ryan Hager, 6-2, so., G; Jacob Duitsman, 6-5, so., F; Logan Lebo, 6-0, jr., G; Ethan Ringler, 6-2, sr., G; Cooper May, 6-3, sr.; G/F; Will Jurgens, 6-4, sr., F.
Outlook: The Warriors have big expectations and a tough schedule to test them. Jonny Puelz, coming off a massive football season as one of the most productive receivers in the state, leads a group of nine letterwinners from last season's team. The Warriors are also in their second season under coach Jesse Bouwens. The always challenging Centennial Conference, as well as games against Class B foes Norris and Omaha Skutt, will steel Lutheran for the postseason.
Coach: Nate Godwin.
Last season's record: 21-6.
Key returners: Viktar Kachalouski, 6-1, sr., G; Maurice Reide, 6-2, sr., G; Brayden Ulrich, 6-5, sr., F; Terance Pittman, 6-0, jr., G; Mikyle Stabler, 6-6, sr., C; Brayden Bayliss, 6-2, jr., F; Jaxton Supenchek, 6-0, jr., F; Judah Sundermann, 5-10, jr., G
Outlook: The defending Class D-2 champion will be right back in the mix after the school added a six-man football title this fall. Viktar Kachalouski, who nearly had a triple-double in last season's state title game, leads a group of three returning starters and a deep bench that includes 6-foot-6 transfer Keyan Simonson. The Patriots were unbeaten against Class D-2 competition last season and could be headed in that direction again.
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Coach: Brian Carlson.
Last season's record: 14-8.
Key returners: Cort Trana, sr., F; Kent Krueger, so., G; Chandler Carlson, so., G; Jacob Orian, so., F; Sam Edgerton, so., F.
Outlook: It will be a rebuilding year for the Eagles, who lost all five starters to graduation and count just one senior among their returning players with varsity experience. Coach Brian Carlson is back on the sideline after a 16-year absence, having coached the program from 2000 to 2006.
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