Welcome to Episode 28 of the Prep Extra Podcast presented by The Lincoln Journal Star.
The first thought of playing Division I basketball for Ruthie Loomis-Goltl came in the fifth grade, but she admits, it wasn't much of a thought.
Someone told her at the time that she had the talent to someday play college basketball at the highest level.
"I just remember thinking, 'OK, if you say so,'" Loomis-Goltl recalls.
Loomis-Goltl started to realize her talent and grew into one of the state's top post players. And when she earned her first Division I offer last year, playing DI hoops was no longer a thought. It was an intention.
It was sealed last week when the 6-foot-3 Bridgeport junior announced her commitment to Colorado.
"Seeing it actually happen is crazy," Loomis-Goltl said. "You hear about imposter syndrome, like, 'Oh, I'm tricking these people. I'm not really good enough for this.' But I think seeing it actually happen for me and seeing the hours that I've put into it actually pay off is incredible.
People are also reading…
"I can't even put it into words."
Loomis-Goltl was one of the most sought-after in-state targets in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Her combination of skill, size and athleticism drew offers from Omaha, Oklahoma State, Kansas City, Utah State, Colorado State, Wichita State and Kansas State.
Colorado was interested, too, and when the Buffaloes extended a scholarship offer nearly two weeks ago — when Loomis-Goltl was on a visit to the school — she didn't need a lot of time to wrap up her recruiting.
Proximity to home — Boulder is three hours away — was important, Loomis-Goltl said. But Colorado offered other things, too.
"I've met a lot of really good coaches, a lot of really awesome people, but the coaches at Colorado, I just felt very comfortable immediately," she said. "Visiting, I just felt these people are going to help me grow, definitely as a basketball player, which is important … but also just feeling they're going to mentor me and help me become a better person."
Colorado, coached by JR Payne, reached the NCAA Tournament this past season and won 22 games.
The Buffaloes will be getting a second-team Super-Stater who averaged 20 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per contest while helping lead Bridgeport to a runner-up finish in Class C-2. She shot 66% from the field.
Loomis-Goltl already is the school's all-time leader in points (1,545) and blocks (325) with her senior season still to go.
The original plan was to commit before Christmas, but that changed and Loomis-Goltl's patience paid off when an offer from the nearby Buffaloes came.
"I told my dad that sometimes I feel like I was rushing it, and he was like, 'But if you know, you know,'" Loomis-Goltl said. "There wasn't a reason to wait any longer because I was confident in my decision."
Loomis-Goltl is a three-sport standout at Bridgeport, right now focusing her efforts on helping the Bulldogs' track and field team. Then she'll turn her focus back to basketball. She doesn't plan to play club ball this summer, instead focusing on skill training.
Her younger sister Olivia, a 6-foot point guard, also is receiving Division I interest and offers. Colorado has expressed some interest in the sophomore who was a third-team Super-Stater.
Though the recruiting process can be stressful, Loomis-Goltl said she is happy to have her sister to lean on.
"We're both dealing with the pressure of, 'OK we play in the state championship game tomorrow,' and at the same time it's like, 'OK who is coming to our games,'" she said. "That's a stressful thing because you're worrying about who is in the stands, but you know you shouldn't be worrying about that.
"So it's been really cool to have somebody who in my house who knows how stressful it is and knows what it's like to be worrying about those things. She's like my confidant, which has been cool."
Meet the girls first-team Super-Staters from the 2021-22 season
𝙃𝙊𝙊𝙋𝙎 𝙁𝙇𝘼𝙑𝙊𝙍 🍦
Our theme to this year's Super-State selections had us catching a few scoops of ice cream at eCreamery in Omaha.
And like the ice cream selection at eCreamery, this year's Super-Staters treated themselves, their teams and their fans to great seasons.
Here are the five best.
𝖥𝗋𝖾𝗆𝗈𝗇𝗍 | 𝟧-𝟫 | 𝖲𝗋. | 𝖯𝖯𝖦: 𝟤𝟣.𝟤 | 𝖱𝖯𝖦: 𝟧.𝟨
Season flavor: Triple berry.
There's a kicker with the McCabe ice cream flavor. It melts fast. As one of the greatest girls shooters in state history, McCabe scorched the nets for four seasons, hitting an all-class career record 389 three-pointers, including 104 this past season. But shooting isn't the only thing that defines McCabe's game. Usually assigned to guard the opposing team's best shooter and getting her hands on a lot of steals, McCabe was arguably the best defensive player in Class A. She also rebounded well and could run point if the Tigers needed her to. But when the Tigers needed a big shot, they went to McCabe, who had 13 games of four threes or more, including nine against Lincoln Southeast. The biggest treat for McCabe, though, was leading her team to the school's first Class A state title.
Coach speak: "Taylor is probably the best as far as total player. We talked a lot times about her scoring and her numbers and how impressive all those stats are, but the ones that don't show up are the defensive ones. To get assigned to the best player almost every single game and really neutralize that best player, even shut them down sometimes, for her to get every team's best and really not be shut down … is impressive." — Fremont coach Kelly Flynn.
Three scoops with Taylor:
Favorite ice cream: Chocolate chip cookie dough.
Favorite ice cream topping: Gummy bears.
Favorite moment of season: "Winning a state championship obviously stands out. We took a (team) trip to Florida, and I had a lot fun with my team down there."
𝖤𝗅𝗄𝗁𝗈𝗋𝗇 𝖭𝗈𝗋𝗍𝗁 | 𝟧-𝟣𝟣 | 𝖲𝗈. | 𝖯𝖯𝖦: 𝟤𝟦.𝟣 | 𝖱𝖯𝖦: 𝟩.𝟢
Season flavor: Cookies ’n dimes.
If you want to compare Prince's all-around game to an ice cream dish, it'd be one loaded with about 20 toppings. She can do it all. After dazzling as a freshman, Prince followed with an even better sophomore campaign, averaging 24.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.4 steals per game while shooting 57.5% from the field — an impressive figure considering Prince shoots a lot of outside and midrange shots. Defenses threw everything at her, from box-and-one to triangle-and-two, but Prince's ability to read defenses and her superb passing skills still made her unstoppable. Listed as the No. 10 2024 recruit in the country by ESPN, Prince had seven games of 30 points of more, eight double-doubles and her 3.0 assist/turnover ratio showed how great she was at taking care of the ball. Prince has more than 20 Division I offers, including Maryland, Louisville, North Carolina, Michigan and Nebraska.
Coach speak: "You come in as a freshman and maybe not that many people know about you and you do some pretty good things, but then your sophomore year, now you're kind of a marked women. … Everybody is gunning for the team and I thought she handled the expectations very, very well, and maybe exceeded them in some capacities." — Elkhorn North coach Ann Prince.
Three scoops with Britt:
Favorite ice cream: Chocolate.
Favorite ice cream topping: Reese's.
Favorite moment of season: "Winning state. Just to be able to do it again with the same group of people was really awesome."
𝖬𝗂𝗅𝗅𝖺𝗋𝖽 𝖲𝗈𝗎𝗍𝗁 | 𝟧-𝟪 | 𝖩𝗋. | 𝖯𝖯𝖦: 𝟣𝟩.𝟧 | 𝖱𝖯𝖦: 𝟤.𝟨
Season flavor: Peppermint stick those shots.
Babbitt has a shot that's as good as, well, ice cream. Like her coach Bryce Meyers says, when Babbitt gets a good look at the rim and let's it fly, "We think it's going in." One of multiple lethal shooters on the Millard South roster, Babbitt knocked down 71 threes at an impressive clip of 41%. That included seven threes against Bellevue West at Pinnacle Bank Arena, which tied an all-class state tournament record. She also was the top free-throw shooter in Class A at 93%. Babbitt, whose Division I offers include one from Omaha, expanded her game, too. She began driving to the basket more as teams started to play her tighter on the perimeter, and her on-ball defense continued to improve. Behind Babbitt's consistent scoring, the Patriots finished 27-1.
Coach speak: "That's kind of her role, if she catches it and can get it off clean, we want her to shoot it. Her motor is getting better and better each year where she's making a better effort on the defensive end. She also knows that teams are going to start trying to take her away, so just getting used to being denied and moving without the ball, and all those things, are starting to come together for her." — Millard South coach Bryce Meyers.
Three scoops with Mya: Chocolate.
Favorite ice cream: Brownie.
Favorite moment of season: "Probably winning Metro Tournament or making it to state."
𝖭𝗈𝗋𝗍𝗁 𝖡𝖾𝗇𝖽 𝖢𝖾𝗇𝗍𝗋𝖺𝗅 | 𝟨-𝟢 | 𝖩𝗋. | 𝖯𝖯𝖦: 𝟣𝟦.𝟦 | 𝖱𝖯𝖦: 𝟪.𝟤
Season flavor: Mint chocolate ’ship.
There's always been a cool treat at the end of each season for Emanuel, who is now 3-for-3 when it comes to helping lead the Tigers to state championships in Class C-1. This year's team won with a lot of new players, but with Kaitlyn and her sister Sydney having a lot of big-game experience, the Tigers didn't miss a beat. One of the more versatile players, Emanuel played the lead role. From a strong midrange game to an arsenal of post scoring moves to her smoothness in transition, Emanuel can impact in a lot of ways. Because NBC is not very big, Emanuel takes on the task of patrolling the post, and her ability to guard bigger players showed at state where NBC saw three teams with strong post play, including two all-staters in Lucy Ghaifan (Grand Island CC) and Katelynn Oxley (Lincoln Lutheran).
Coach speak: "You don't find too many kids who can do on the basketball court all the things that she can do. When you're 6-foot tall and you play at a post position if needed, but you can also run the court basically like a deer … it's hard to defend her because you don't know who to put on her. She's a matchup nightmare for the other people and that's why we're really glad that she's on our side." — NBC coach Aaron Sterup.
Three scoops with Kaitlyn:
Favorite ice cream: Chocolate.
Favorite ice cream topping: Cookie dough.
Favorite moment of season: "Definitely making it to state each year. Each of them have been really special."
𝖧𝖺𝗌𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀𝗌 𝖲𝗍. 𝖢𝖾𝖼𝗂𝗅𝗂𝖺 | 𝟧-𝟨 | 𝖲𝗋. | 𝖯𝖯𝖦: 𝟣𝟩.𝟦 | 𝖱𝖯𝖦: 𝟦.𝟤
Season flavor: Icing on the cake.
Icing on the cake came in the form of a third Class C-2 state championship for Kissinger and her senior teammates. In addition to her ability to have big scoring games (10 games of 20 points or more this season), Kissinger averaged 4.2 boards, 2.9 steals and 2.4 assists per contest, and coach Greg Berndt's label of "one-man press break" gives one an idea of how well Kissinger handles the ball. A physical and fearless guard, too, Kissinger got to the line for 211 free-throw attempts. But what makes Kissinger stand out as one of the top five players in the state is, simply, she's a winner. She led the Hawkettes to four state championship game appearances and a remarkable 102-9 record over four seasons, and her leadership skills gave the team another coach on the floor.
Coach speak: "From her freshman year on to her senior, you knew exactly what you were getting every single day. It was, 'I'm going to win this competition. We're going to win this game.' There's times where we need a bucket and she'd will our team to get a bucket. The will to win and not quit when things go a little south was pretty incredible." — Hastings SC coach Greg Berndt.
Three scoops with Bailey:
Favorite ice cream: Cake batter.
Favorite ice cream topping: Cookie dough.
Favorite moment of season: "Winning state and going out as champions was definitely the highlight."
Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.