Coach: Nick Orduna. Last season’s record: 20-4, Class C-1 state tournament, third place, No. 3 final rating.
Returning starters: Olivia Hollenbeck, 6-4, jr.; Macy Arnold, 5-11, jr.; Barrett Power, 5-8, jr. Others to watch: Makylee Ailes, 5-7, so.; Alexis Johnson, 5-11, jr.; Allyson Korte, 5-4, jr.; Brielle Power, 5-7, fr.; Faith McCullough, 6-2, fr.; Hallie Hueser, 5-5, so.; Addie Ehlers, 5-8, fr.
Outlook: The Crusaders must replace four-year starters Emie Hollenbeck and Chloe Dworak. Olivia Hollenbeck is a versatile post player, and Macy Arnold is a three-point threat.
Coach: Brittney Origas. Last season's record: 8-8.
Returning letterwinners: Xiara Lopez, 5-3, jr.; Jannah Follett, 5-10, sr.; Summer Boulais, 5-6, sr.; Jordan Martindale, 5-8, sr.; Ella Foster, 5-3, so.; Nyara Dovald, 5-3, so.; Jada Brewer, 5-6, jr.; Natalie Darrough, 5-4, so.
Outlook: College View returns several contributors from last season, including three seniors in Follett, Boulais and Martindale.
Coach: Dennis Prichard. Last season’s record: 22-5, Class A state tournament semifinals, No. 3 final rating.
Returning letterwinners: Delaney Roberts, 5-7, jr.; Charley Bovaird, 5-11, jr.; Taylor Searcey, 5-9, jr.; Skylar Kreifels, 5-10, jr.; Olivia Kugler, 5-7, so.
Outlook: The Spartans must replace four starters, including second-team Super-Stater Regan Sankey, Rachel Weber and Alli Roh. Roberts picked up valuable experience as a sophomore, and Bovaird averaged 6.8 points per game as a junior.
Coach: Dominique Kelley-Johnson. Last season’s record: 16-10, Class A state tournament first round, No. 7 final ranking.
Returning letterwinners: Nyayongah Gony, 6-3, jr.; Nyayien Koang, 6-1, jr.; Natayah Wilson, 5-11, sr. Others to watch: Kaysia Woods, 6-0, so.; Harper Case, 5-3, fr.
Outlook: Kaysia Woods, a transfer from Lincoln Northeast, was one of the state’s top freshmen last year and she’s receiving Division I interest. Gony also is receiving Division I interest. She has offers from Nebraska, Louisville and Florida State.
Coach: Allen Simpson. Last season’s record: 15-8, No. 8 final rating.
Returning letterwinners: Gretchen Moll, 6-4, sr.; Laney Poppe, 5-6, jr.; Josie Puelz, 5-8, sr.; Ella Moll, 5-9, sr.; Megan Garbe, 5-6, sr.; Katrina Stabb, 5-11, sr.; Lexi Kreizel, 5-8, jr.; Kayla Steinbauer, 6-2, jr. Others to watch: Addie Ernstmeyer, 5-9, so.; Leah Jurgens, 5-8, so.; Shanae Bergt, 5-7, fr.
Outlook: With four new starters and a new coach at the helm in Simpson, the Warriors will have a fresh look. Gretchen Moll averaged 7.5 points and 7.2 rebounds last year, and Lutheran will look to rely on defense.
Coach: Ellen Jorgenson. Last season’s record: 1-22.
Returning letterwinners: Drewann Edwards, 5-10, sr.; Abby Krieser, 5-6, so.; Saylor Schaefer, 5-10, so. Others to watch: Bekka Allick, 6-3, fr.; Hannah Allick, 5-10, fr.; Alivya Bollen, 5-8, fr.
Outlook: North Star continues to build its program, and there are some solid pieces to work with. Edwards brings experience to the point position, and freshman twin sisters Bekka and Hannah Allick will provide size up front.
Coach: Steve Bartek. Last season’s record: 16-9.
Returning letterwinners: McKenna Minter, 5-8, jr.; Kambree Rhodes, 6-1, sr.; Azaiya Trainor, 5-9, sr.; Jenna Wendelin, 5-9, sr.; Alieyya Jones, 5-9, sr.; Jolie Rinaker, 5-11, sr.; Bri Minter, 5-6, jr.; A’Iyana Jones, 5-6, so. Others to watch: Chely Herrera, 5-6, so.
Outlook: No doubt, the Rockets will receive a boost with the return of McKenna Minter, who missed most of last season after tearing her ACL. Four starters are back, too, so the Rockets look to make a big run.
Preseason information not submitted.
Coach: Ryan Psota. Last season’s record: 15-10, Class A state tournament first round, No. 8 final rating.
Returning letterwinners: Grace Driewer, 5-5, jr.; Clare Lewandowski, 6-1, sr.; Lauren Taubenheim, 6-2, jr.; Jadyn Greisen, 5-10, sr.; Kloee Sander, 5-10, sr. Others to watch: Alexis Markowski, 6-3, so.; Matti Reiling, 5-5, jr.; Julia Wordekemper, 5-6, jr.; Jillian Aschoff, 5-5, so.; Ryleigh Knobbe, 5-7, so.
Outlook: The first-year HAC member has one of the deepest teams in Class A. Taubenheim, Greisen and Sander are multi-year starters and Alexis Markowski is expected to play a big role after missing her freshman year because of injury.
Coach: Isaiah Dell. Last season’s record: 9-15.
Returning letterwinners: Cassie Nash, 5-10, sr.; Claire Strong, 5-10, sr.; Brittany Wulf, 6-0, so.; Kennedy Kirkendall, 5-3, jr. Others to watch: Mackenzie Toomey, 5-8, jr.; Murphy Grealish, 5-7; Meg Hatfield, 5-7.
Outlook: The Knights return a solid nucleus, led by Nash, one of the city’s top point guards. Mackenzie Toomey, a Lincoln East transfer, also is expected to contribute for Dell, the Knights’ first-year coach.
Coach: Jeff Rump. Last season’s record: 18-9, Class A state tournament semifinals, No. 4 final rating.
Returning letterwinners: Hannah Kelle, 6-1, sr.; Jaden Ferguson, 6-0, sr.; Emerson Barada, 5-6, jr.; Emma Kauf, 5-6, sr.; Reagan Wells, 6-0, sr.; Katie Carpenter, 5-6, so.; Kate Dilsaver, 5-8, so.; Skylar Pieper, 5-6, so.; Riley Wells, 6-0, so.; Carly Coen, 5-10, so.
Outlook: A combination of experience and athleticism should carry the Silver Hawks. Kelle and Ferguson form one of the top frontcourt duos in the state, and Barada gained a lot of starting experience at the point as a sophomore.
Team (’17-18) | RS
1. Millard South (25-3) | 5
2. Millard North (23-3) | 4
3. Lincoln Southwest (18-9) | 4
4. Lincoln Northeast (16-9) | 4
5. Lincoln High (16-10) | 3
6. Omaha Westside (28-3) | 4
7. Millard West (13-11) | 5
8. Lincoln Pius X (15-10) | 4
9. Papillion-La Vista (18-8) | 3
10. Omaha Benson (13-9) | NA
RS — Returning starters
Contenders: Bellevue West, Fremont, Lincoln East, Omaha Marian.
Case for No. 1: Slowing down Millard South’s Maddie Krull and Jayme Horan, two Division I recruits, will not be an easy task for any team. The two players had big sophomore seasons and followed with huge summers on the club scene. The Patriots will need to overcome the loss of starting point guard Bailey Urban to a knee injury. The depth -- and motivation after back-to-back runner-up finishes -- is there for Millard South.
Ready to contend: Millard North returns almost its entire rotation from last year, including junior Nicole Avila-Ambrosi, who averaged 14.5 points per game as a sophomore. Lincoln Southwest, meanwhile, still has multiple girls who played on the 2017 state championship team. It just so happens that the Mustangs and Silver Hawks play each other Thursday in Lincoln.
Health boost: Many teams in Class A will receive boosts from players returning from injury. That includes Lincoln Northeast, which is getting McKenna Minter back from an ACL injury. She was a Super-State first-teamer as a freshman. Westside must replace Super-State honorary captain Quinn Weidemann, but the return of Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor and Ryley Nolin from serious knee injuries will help. Millard West is much healthier than it was at this point last year, and Lincoln Pius X is looking to get a spark from Alexis Markowski, a Division I prospect who missed last season because of injury.
Jayme Horan*, Millard South, jr., 15.7 (ppg), 7.5 (rpg)
Maddie Krull*, Millard South, jr., 10.8, 4.0
Jaden Ferguson*, Lincoln Southwest, sr., 13.0, 6.5
Hannah Kelle*, Lincoln Southwest, sr., 12.0, 5.0
Quinesha Lockett*, Omaha Benson, sr., 19.0, 6.9
Nicole Avila-Ambrose, Millard North, jr., 15.0, 4.0
Natayah Wilson, Lincoln High, sr., 15.4, 8.0
* Returning Super-Stater
Team (’17-18) | RS
1. South Sioux City (23-5) | 5
2. Elkhorn South (14-13) | 2
3. Elkhorn (26-3) | 3
4. Norris (11-12) | 4
5. Seward (20-5) | 2
6. Waverly (15-8) | 4
7. Crete (12-11) | 4
8. Sidney (21-4) | 4
9. Northwest (11-11) | 3
10. Beatrice (13-9) | 3
Contenders: Hastings, Omaha Skutt, Platteview, York.
Case for No. 1: South Sioux City, which fell short of winning a second straight Class B state title, returns just about everybody, including arguably the best player in the class in point guard McKenna Sims, an Illinois State signee. Senior guards Marybeth Rasmussen and Taryn Christensen return, and Kyra Fischer looks to build off an impressive freshman season.
Ready to contend: Elkhorn South will be cutting its teeth on a Class A-heavy schedule, which should help prepare the Storm for the season’s stretch run. A trio of sophomores — Lily Ziemkiewicz, Rylee Gray and Omaha Concordia transfer Cami Small — highlight the Storm roster. Defending champion Elkhorn must replace Super-Stater Brooke Carlson, but guards Maddy Meehan and Payton Jakopovic are expected to take on bigger scoring roles. Norris came on strong late last year, and returns several key players, so the Titans get the nod at No. 4, though Seward and Waverly also have the makings of top-four teams.
Welcome back: Two accomplished coaches are back in the game in Class B. Kip Colony won 420 games at Millard West before stepping away from the game in 2014. He’s now leading the Omaha Skutt program. Hall of Fame coach John Larsen is leading Crete this year. Larsen led Lincoln Southeast to nine state titles.
McKenna Sims*, South Sioux City, sr., 16.9, 4.5
Morgan Maly, Crete, jr., 15.2, 6.5
Maddy Meehan, Elkhorn, jr., 8.7, 7.0
Camryn Opfer, Seward, sr., 11.0, 8.0
* Returning Super-Stater
Team (’17-18) | RS
1. Wahoo (23-4) | 5
2. Mitchell (27-2) | 3
3. Bishop Neumann (20-4) | 2
4. Auburn (21-5) | 3
5. West Point-Beemer (21-7) | 3
6. Louisville (19-7) | 4
7. Grand Island CC (18-8) | 2
8. Lincoln Christian (20-4) | 3
9. Ravenna (22-6, C-2) | 3
10. Columbus Scotus (22-5) | 1
Contenders: Broken Bow, Hershey, Kearney Catholic, Malcolm, North Bend Central, Pierce, Syracuse.
Case for No. 1: Wahoo returns six of its top eight players from last season, and the Warriors boast a potent starting five. First-team all-stater Hallie Reeves and Elly Larson return from ACL injuries, and Kendal Brigham gives the Warriors a strong floor general at point. Mitchell must replace Jori Peters at point, but first-team all-stater and UNLV commit Keyana Wilfred is one of state’s top post players, and the Tigers should get a boost at guard from Morrill transfer Kenzey Kanno.
After Wahoo and Mitchell … : It’s anyone’s guess. There are a lot of question marks for many teams. Bishop Neumann lost three senior starters from last year’s state runner-up team, but the Cavaliers had a strong bench and players such as Taylor Stuhr and Lindsey Thiele are expected to take on bigger roles. Defending champion Columbus Scotus must replace four starters, but all-stater Bailey Lehr is among a solid group of returning seniors. Auburn and Grand Island Central Catholic have standouts to build around.
Movers and shakers: West Point-Beemer is expected to receive a big boost from Conestoga transfer Sierra Kile, who was one of the state’s top scorers a year ago. Ravenna, last year’s state runner-up in Class C-2, moves up to C-1. The Bluejays are led by all-state guard Jordyn Fiddelke (19.1 ppg last season).
Keyana Wilfred, Mitchell, sr., 18.5, 7.7
Hallie Reeves, Wahoo, sr., 12.8, 4.2
Bailey Lehr, Columbus Scotus, sr., 10.6, 8.0
Megan Woods, Grand Island CC, sr., 18.1, 11.7
Jordyn Fiddelke, Ravenna (C-2 last year), sr., 19.1, 3.5
Team (’17-18) | RS
1. Superior (28-1) | 3
2. Hastings SC (23-3) | 4
3. Oakland-Craig (12-11) | 5
4. Stanton (24-5) | 4
5. Hartington CC (16-9) | 3
6. BRLD (21-5) | 5
7. Crofton (15-9) | 4
8. Doniphan-Trumbull (14-9) | 5
9. Centennial (15-9) | 5
10. Blue Hill (18-6, D-1) | 5
Contenders: Bridgeport, Burwell, Clarkson/Leigh, Fillmore Central, Guardian Angels CC, Homer, Wood River.
The case for No. 1: Superior gets the nod. The Wildcats are the defending state champions, and they have the state’s top post player in Husker volleyball recruit Kalynn Meyer. Guard Teghan Sullivan was a key cog last year, and Kalynn’s sister Shayla will be added to the mix.
C-2 may be the deepest class: If it’s not the deepest, it’s certainly the most experienced. Several teams are returning their starting lineups intact. Hastings St. Cecilia and Stanton were built for deep runs last year, and both teams will be among those pushing Superior.
Oakland-Craig’s 1-2 punch: Dacey Nelson averaged 23 points as a sophomore before an ACL injury wiped out her junior season. Stepping into her place was freshman Kennedy Benne, who averaged 20.6 points per game last season before an ACL injury cut her season short. Now healthy, they’ll be on the court together, forming C-2’s best 1-2 combination.
Kalynn Meyer*, Superior, jr., 20.5, 14.0
Lexi Vertin, Hastings SC, sr., 12.2, 4.9
Kennedy Benne, Oakland-Craig, jr., 20.6, 5.7
* Returning Super-Stater
Team (’17-18) | RS
1. Pleasanton (24-2) | 5
2. North Platte St. Pat's (22-4, C-2) | 5
3. Humphrey/LHF (21-5) | 4
4. Archbishop Bergan (18-7, C-2) | 2
5. Hartington-Newcastle (19-4, C-2) | 3
6. Dundy Co.-Stratton (18-5) | 3
7. North Central (25-3) | 1
8. Elkhorn Valley (17-7) | 4
9. Elgin/PJ (15-7) ] 2
10. Hitchcock County (19-7) | 4
Contenders: Cambridge, Howells-Dodge, Meridian, Overton, Randolph, Weeping Water.
Case for No. 1: Depth and more depth have Pleasanton at the top to begin the season. The Bulldogs return most of their contributors from last year, including four players who averaged 7.6 points per game or better. North Platte St. Pat's returns all five starters, including all-stater Kaleigh Kummer (15.6 points per game last year). Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family reached the state volleyball final in November. The guard-forward combo of Brittney Veik (13.1 ppg last year) and Taya Beller (12.5 ppg and 11.2 rpg) looks to help lead a similar run in hoops.
Adding some muscle: North Platte SP, Archbishop Bergan and Hartington-Newcastle were each in Class C-2 last year, and all three have the makings for big seasons in Class D-1. Bergan must replace four seniors, but several players are set to step into bigger roles. Ratings contender Cambridge also was in C-2 a season ago. Defending state champion North Central must replace four starters, but Miah Wiebelhaus (12 ppg last year) leads a team ready to reload.
Kaleigh Kummer, NPSP (C-2 last year), sr., 15.6, 5.1
Taya Beller, Humphrey/LHF, sr., 12.3, 11.3
Grace Cave, Weeping Water, so., 17.4, 5.3
Team (’17-18) | RS
1. Humphrey SF (26-3) | 3
2. Falls City SH (27-1) | 2
3. BDS (26-3, D-1) | 3
4. Exeter-Milligan (23-7) | 3
5. CWC (13-9) | 3
6. Ewing (20-5) | 3
7. Mullen (16-6) | 3
8. Wynot (14-9) | NA
9. Red Cloud (19-6) | 2
10. Maywood-Hayes Center (20-6) | 4
Contenders: Hyannis, Kenesaw, Sterling.
Case for No. 1: Last season's state champion (Falls City Sacred Heart) and state runner-up (Humphrey St. Francis) are at the top again. Both teams have all-staters to replace, but St. Francis' Allison Weidner and Sacred Heart's McKenzie Witt are dynamic point guards and should help keep both teams in contention.
BDS looking for volleyball-hoops double: BDS, which dropped to Class D-2 this year, won a state volleyball title, edging Ewing in five sets. The Eagles, who finished second in Class D-1 last year, must replace three starters, but a mix of size and speed will have BDS in the mix.
Allison Weidner, Humphrey SF, so., 14.5, 4.1
Kate Jansky, Exeter-Milligan, sr., 15.0, 6.0
Marlee Taylor, Sandhills/Thedford, sr., 13.0, 10.0
Mary Nibble, Red Cloud, sr., 12.9, 9.3