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GRAND ISLAND — The opportunity of taking on a Class A school sparked the interest of Class B No. 2 York.

That motivation certainly showed in the Dukes’ 61-41 boys basketball win over Omaha South on Saturday in the Heartland Hoops Classic at the Heartland Events Center.

When event founder and director Tino Martinez, the boys coach at Grand Island Central Catholic, extended the invitation to York coach Scott Lamberty for the 2018 event, “we told him to match us up with whoever they wanted,” Lamberty said. “Our kids were excited when we found out it was Omaha South. We’ve never played a Class A school before, and they wanted that challenge.”

York (20-1) got off to a quick start as Garrett Snodgrass scored eight of his 13 points in the opening period to help the Dukes take a 17-11 advantage. York then broke it open in the second and third quarters by outscoring the Packers 25-13 to take a 42-24 lead into the final eight minutes.

Brady Danielson led York with 19 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

Lamberty felt his team played better offensively than it did in a 40-27 win at Seward on Friday.

“We needed to play a game where we played well offensively,” Lamberty said. “We still didn’t shooting particularly well, but we took good shots and executed the offense.”

Sophomore Tyrece Griggs led the Packers (6-14) with 15 points.

Omaha South 11 17 --41 
York 17 12 13 19 --61 

Omaha South--Crawford 8, Anderson 5, Saunders 2, Griggs 15, Conley 5, McNeal-Lee 2, Thompson 4.

York--Lucas 8, Hoffmann 5, Otte 6, Danielson 19, Weskamp 2, T. Cast 8, Snodgrass 13.

Yutan 57, South Loup 48: Nebraska football walk-on recruit Colton Feist showed Saturday that he’s a pretty good basketball player as well.

Feist, a 240-pound Super-State defensive lineman, scored eight of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead Class C-2 No. 3 Yutan past C-2 No. 10 South Loup in the first game at the Heartland Event Center.

The 6-foot-3 Feist, an all-state basketball player a year ago as a junior, put Yutan (20-1) in front to stay with a steal and layup for a 37-35 lead with 3:38 left. He scored on a layup and then dished off to Allan Leahy for a point-blank basket for a 41-35 advantage.

Leahy finished with 15 points.

Feist had another steal and layup to make it 51-48 with 2:36 left and start an 8-0 run to finish the game.

“Colton’s pretty fun to watch, and he’s 10 times the kid as he is an athlete,” said Yutan coach Justin Petersen, whose team led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter. “He’s got a little grit to him and he loves performing on the big stage.”

Kalen Dockweiler paced South Loup (18-2) with 17 points, 12 of which came in the second quarter.

South Loup19 11 --48 
Yutan 17 12 12 16 --57 

South Loup--Rush 8, C. Connell 13, Dockweiler 17, Schwarz 3, J. Connell 7.

Yutan--B. Timm 2, Kube 2, M. Timm 9, Tichota 2, Heuertz 7, Leahy 15, Feist 18.

Hastings St. Cecilia 65, O'Neill 51: Trey Asher and his father will have bragging rights at the next family reunion. Asher scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the first half to help lead the Class C-2 No. 2 Bluehawks past C-1 No. 2 O’Neill.

Trey’s grandmother and coach Kevin Asher’s mother-in-law is Carol Hilker, who is also O’Neill’s Tye Hilker’s grandmother. Justin Appleby, who scored a game-high 20 points for the Eagles, is a distant cousin of Asher.

Carol Hilker was wearing a sweatshirt with both schools represented and tried to find a neutral spot in Heartland Events Center to watch the game.

“This is a fun game, it’s better than if they were playing at state. That would be a lot harder,” Carol said.

Trey Asher said he’s spent a lot of time with O’Neill’s players through the years, “and I love competing against those guys; they’re great athletes. The family connection made this one a little more special.”

Asher’s seven points in the second quarter helped the Bluehawks (18-3) break away from an 8-8 tie after one period to a 26-18 edge at halftime. St. Cecilia then lit up the Eagles with six three-pointers to expand its lead to 46-29 heading into the final period.

Grant Farmer, a 5-11 senior like Trey Asher, had three third-quarter threes on his way to 16 points.

“I thought we did a much better job of ball movement in the third quarter,” said coach Asher, whose team buried 10 threes. “Our kids take great shots, and that’s the result of how well they pass the ball and find the open man.”

St. Cecilia now has five wins over rated C-1 teams, a difficult schedule that should prepare the Bluehawks well for the postseason.

“We feel good about where we’re at right now,” Trey Asher said. “We base our culture as a basketball program on our defense, and we’re shutting teams down right now.”

O’Neill (18-2) had two other players finish in double figures: Alex Thramer with 13 and 10 for Nebraska football walk-on recruit Wyatt Liewer.

Hastings SC 18 20 19 --65 


10 11 22 --51 

Hastings St. Cecilia--Leach 10, Asher 16, Carey 3, Valentine 6, Farmer 16, Boyd 7, Furman 7.

O’Neill--Dempster 2, Thramer 13, Hererra 4, Appleby 20, Liewer 10, Dean 2.

Ponca 34, Gretna 33: Ponca’s celebration on the Heartland Events Center court after toppling two-time defending Class B state champion Gretna didn’t reach the state championship level, but it wasn’t far off.

“That’s a huge win for our kids,” Ponca coach Adam Poulosky said after a Connor Day free throw with 2 seconds left lifted the Indians (23-1) to victory. “Two-time state champion, and when you look at Gretna’s team, they have physically imposing athletes. It was a great win over a great team.”

The eighth-ranked Dragons (15-4) had a 33-29 lead after Chance Sterling made a pair of free throws with 1:49 left. Senior all-stater Logan Kingsbury (10 points) responded 9 seconds later with a driving layup, then tied the game with another drive and score with 42 seconds remaining.

Gretna tried to hold it for the final shot, but Kingsbury came up with the steal and threw it ahead to Day, who was fouled. Day sank the first of two for the first game-winning foul shot of his career.

“I saw Logan make the steal and just took off,” Day said. “I heard someone coming behind, so I was expecting contact. I knew I wasn’t going to get an uncontested layup.”

The game turned into a half-court slugfest, not the uptempo style that Ponca wanted to play.

“We wanted to pick up the pace early because we knew it would be hard to get anything going against their big guys in the half-court,” Poulosky said. “Eventually we realized we were going to have to grind it out. We had to keep it close, hang around and try to win it at the end.”

Ponca 13 --34 
Gretna 10 10 --33 

Ponca--Tremayne 4, McGill 1, Day 7, L. Kingsbury 10, Masin 6, C. Kingsbury 6.

Gretna--Mikkelsen 3, Sullivan 6, Burghardt 5, Sterling 7, Johnson 6, Vuksich 3, Doble 3.

Grand Island CC 67, Winnebago 61: The Class C-1 No. 4 Crusaders have struggled shooting the ball during a four-game losing streak.

That all changed against C-1 No. 3 Winnebago, as the Crusaders knocked down 11 of 18 three-point attempts and improved to 4-7 in the 11-year-old event.

“The last few games against (Hastings) St. Cecilia and Wahoo, there were not a lot of good looks,” said Martinez.

“We had guys open today and our shooters did a good job of making the most of it.”

Especially freshman Russ Martinez, a cousin of the coach, who was 6-of-8 from beyond the three-point line for 18 points. He hit three three-pointers in the second quarter to help GICC open up a 39-27 halftime lead.

Mayra Almayra, a 6-2 senior, led GICC with 24 points, 12 in the fourth quarter to help thwart a furious Winnebago run that saw the Indians trim a 17-point deficit to as little as four in the final 20 seconds.

Lance Denney paced Winnebago (17-5) with 19 points. The Indians were without standout senior guard D’Von LaPointe because of a sprained ankle.

Winnebago 19 27 --61 
Grand Island CC 17 22 10 18 --67 

Winnebago--Scott 2, Frenchman 2, GreyOwl 5, Payer 8, Bass 7, Cleveland 12, Wingett 2, Denney 19, Proctor 4.

Grand Island Central Catholic--Goering 9, Martinez 18, Pirnie 2, Almayra 24, A. Herbek 6, Bales 2, J. Herbek 6.

Omaha Skutt 73, Aurora 68: A barrage of first half three-pointers gave the Class B No. 4 Skyhawks the lead and they then hit just enough free throws to stave off a fourth-quarter rally by the No. 1 Huskies.

“They’re (Skutt) just a really tough matchup,” said Aurora coach Tom Leininger, whose 18-3 Huskies had their 13-game winning streak snapped.

“They have a lot of guys who can put it on the floor, a lot of guys who can shoot it and a big guy inside who’s tough to handle,” Leininger added. “We’ll need to get better to beat them, if we get another chance.”

Skutt, now 18-3 after their 10th straight victory, sank six three-pointers in the first half on its way to a 31-22 lead. Austin Ash, a 6-foot-3 senior who led the Skyhawks with 18 points, had four baskets from beyond the arc, including two in a 13-2 run that gave Skutt a 16-10 lead after one period.

Skutt led 63-49 after a three-point play by Jackson Gordon with late in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies hit four three-pointers in a span of 1:20 to make things interesting. The last one from Lukas Pohlmann made it 70-65.

Junior Baylor Scheierman, a 6-6 South Dakota State recruit, had two of those three-pointers as he scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half.

The Skyhawks held off the charge, however, by hitting 11 of 13 foul shots in the fourth quarter. And they closed the game without the services of 6-3 standout sophomore Tyson Gordon, who fouled midway through the fourth quarter.

Gordon had 16 points in the fourth quarter of Skutt’s win at No. 7 Norris Thursday.

“This was a really good win in the middle of a tough stretch of games for us,” said Skutt coach Kyle Jurgens, whose team plays ratings contender Blair on Monday and two-time defending state champion and No. 8 Gretna on Tuesday.

“They’re used to competition like this. They love the challenge and they accept it. Austin hit some big threes early to spark us and that energy fed into our defense. Down the stretch, our kids stepped up without Ty out there.”

Gordon’s older brother, Jackson, a senior, added 14 points for the winners, while Jake Kudron chipped in 10. Cade Reichardt and 6-5 senior Nebraska-Kearney recruit Henry Penner had 13 and 12, respectively, for Aurora.

Skutt 16 15 15 27 --


Aurora 10 12 17 29 --68 

Omaha Skutt--Merfeld 5, Bertucci 3, J. Gordon 14, T. Gordon 8, Kudron 10, Ash 18, McCormick 4, Skradski 11.

Aurora--Reichardt 13, Herzberg 9, N. Boerkircher 3, Pohlmann 8, Scheierman 19, Penner 12, Stevenson 4.

Sunrise Christian Academy, Kan. 76, Oak Hill Academy, Va. 65: It’s not often in the high school boys basketball ranks that a game in the central part of Nebraska can cause an earthquake on the national scene.

Sunrise Christian Academy, the No. 5 team in the USA Today national ratings, used a 20-3 run to open the fourth quarter and pull away from USA Today No. 2 Oak Hill Academy Saturday night before an estimated 3,500 spectators at the Heartland Events Center.

It was Oak Hill’s first loss in 37 games, a perennial prep school power from Virginia that features four high profile Division I recruits in 6-7 senior Keldon Johnson (Kentucky), 6-5 senior Keyontae Johnson (Florida), 6-10 senior David McCormack (Kansas) and 6-4 senior Will Richardson (Oregon). Richardson led the Warriors with 23 points.

Sunrise coach Luke Barnwell hopes the high profile win will enhance his team’s chances for qualifying for the eight-team Dick’s Nationals in late March. Sunrise rose from No. 19 to 5 in the national rankings after winning a tournament in Maryland last week.

“A win like this should leave no doubt,” Barnwell said. “(Oak Hill) Coach (Steve) Smith is an icon and so is his program. They (Oak Hill) probably have more talent in their starting five, but I thought our depth might start wearing them down by the fourth quarter, and that’s what happened.”

Malik Hall, a 6-7 junior who has offers from Kansas and Purdue, led Sunrise (21-2) with 20 points, including seven in the fourth quarter burst that expanded a 44-42 lead after three quarters to 64-45 after 7-foot sophomore N’faly Dante, the No. 2 prospect nationally in the class of 2020, threw down an alley-oop dunk with three minutes left.

Sunrise 20 10 14 32 --76 
Oak Hill 16 12 14 23 --65 

Sunrise Christian Academy--Hinson 8, Paez 8, Bujdoso 12, Bennett 13, Dante 7, Keita 6, Crowley 2, Hall 20.

Oak Hill Academy--Richardson 23, Dey. Johnson 12, Kel. Johnson 9, Kayouloud 6, Johnson 3, McCormack 12.

Platteview 63, Crete 52: You might not call Brady Heiman a sleeping giant in the first half, but Platteview’s 6-foot-10 senior and Nebraska recruit certainly rose to the occasion against Crete in the final 16 minutes of the final game in the Heartland Hoops Classic Saturday night.

Heiman scored 17 of his 21 points after intermission, including 11 in the fourth quarter to help the Class B No. 3 Trojans pull away for a win over the No. 10 Cardinals at the Heartland Events Center.

“They were physical with me and I wasn’t ready for it,” said Heiman, who also had seven rebounds, enough to put him over the top to become Platteview’s career record holder. “In the second half, I made the adjustment. It was time to do my thing.”

Heiman slid Platteview (20-2, 13 straight wins) in front to stay with a basket inside for a 46-44 lead with 6:02 left. After he blocked a shot on the other end, Heiman nailed an 8-foot jumper along the baseline on the next possession, then after an empty Crete possession, dished off to teammate Garrett Kirwan for a layup that made it 50-44 with 4:28 left.

Crete (15-8) never got closer than four after that.

“They (Platteview) made an adjustment on their post entry in the second half, and it turned out to be a good one,” Crete coach Garrett Borcher said. “We were physical with him (Heiman), but in the second half, he became physical himself and decided to take over.”

Matt Kingston and Evan Kingston added 13 and 12, respectively, for the Trojans and senior all-stater and Wayne State recruit Nate Thayer nearly had a triple-double with nine points, nine rebounds and 12 assists.

“We haven’t needed Nate to score as much this season, and he’s accepted the role of getting the ball distributed to our shooters outside and Brady in the post,” Platteview coach Tim Brotzki said.

Crete had three players in double-figures – Carter Kent with 15, Ethan Mach with 13 and Carson Deisley 10, all of which came in the first half.

Platteview 19 16 20 --63 
Crete 16 12 12 12 --52 

Platteview--M. Kingston 13, E. Kingston 12, Kirwan 2, Thayer 9, Michaels 6, Heiman 21.

Crete--Kent 15, Deisley 10, Weyand 9, Uher 5, Mach 13.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or On Twitter @ronpowell_ljs.


Sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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