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Class A: Creighton Prep vs, Pius X, 3/8

Lincoln Pius X’s Charlie Easley shoots a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime against Creighton Prep during a Class A first-round state tournament game in March at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

CLASS A

Team (Rec.) | Pvs.

1. Creighton Prep (5-0) | 2

2. Lincoln East (6-0) | 9

3. Bellevue West (5-1) | 1

4. Omaha Westside (5-1) | 6

5. Kearney (3-2) | 4

6. Omaha Central (4-2) | 5

7. Millard North (4-2) | 3

8. Lincoln High (4-2) | -

9. Papillion-La Vista South (3-2) | -

10. Omaha South (5-1) | -

Contenders: Omaha Bryan, Lincoln North Star, Elkhorn South, Lincoln Southwest, Millard West, Lincoln Southeast, Gretna.

Comments: The defending state champion Junior Jays ascend to the top after Bellevue West lost a 21-point first-half lead against Lincoln Southeast and fell to the Knights on the road last week. No one has been closer than 12 points to Prep so far this season. Lincoln East’s undefeated start includes wins over Omaha Westside and Kearney as well as B No. 2 Lincoln Pius X, which will visit the Spartans for a rematch on Friday. Kearney tops the two-loss teams in the rankings because both of its setbacks went down to the wire — falling in the final seconds to Bellevue West on a three by Chucky Hepburn and in overtime to Lincoln East after leading the Spartans by seven with one minute left in regulation.

Key games: Tuesday—Papillion-La Vista South at Kearney, Omaha South at Omaha Central. Thursday—Lincoln High at Lincoln Southwest. Friday—Lincoln Pius X at Lincoln East, Omaha Westside at Bellevue West, Papillion-La Vista South at Omaha Central.

CLASS B

Team (Rec.) | Pvs.

1. Omaha Skutt (6-0) | 1

2. Lincoln Pius X (5-1) | 3

3. Aurora (5-0) | 6

4. York (4-1) | 2

5. Bennington (4-1) | 4

6. Hastings (4-1) | -

7. Seward (4-1) | 5

8. Omaha Roncalli (4-1) | 7

9. Mount Michael (5-1) | 9

10. Scottsbluff (4-4) | 8

Contenders: Elkhorn, Blair, Northwest, Lexington, Waverly.

Comments: Skutt’s undefeated start includes wins over A No. 6 Omaha Central, B No. 5 Bennington, No. 9 Mount Michael and ratings contender Elkhorn. All of Scottsbluff’s losses are to Wyoming and Colorado schools, so a better barometer of the Bearcats will come when they play in the Greater Nebraska Conference Tournament just after Christmas.

Key games: Tuesday—Norris at Aurora, Columbus at Seward, Platteview at Omaha Roncalli, York at Adams Central. Thursday—Sioux City West at Omaha Skutt, Omaha Concordia at Bennington. Friday—Northwest at Aurora, Hastings at Beatrice.

CLASS C-1

Team (Rec.) | Pvs.

1. Wahoo (3-2) | 4

2. Adams Central (5-1) | 2

3. Bishop Neumann (4-2) | 3

4. North Bend Central (4-1) | 5

5. Cozad (6-0) | 7

6. Auburn (4-0) | 10

7. Kearney Catholic (4-0) | -

8. Ogallala (6-0) | -

9. Syracuse {5-1) | 9

10. Lincoln Lutheran (5-1) | -

Contenders: Boys Town, Grand Island CC, Broken Bow, Lincoln Christian, Hershey.

Comments: Lincoln Christian’s 2-5 start not only knocks the Crusaders out of the No. 1 spot but also outside the top 10. Expect the Crusaders to be in the conversation at the end, however, as their tough schedule will prepare them well for the postseason. Defending state champion Wahoo started 0-2, but the losses were to B No. 3 Aurora and B No. 5 Bennington. The ratings do not account for Wahoo’s road game at C-2 No. 5 Yutan on Monday.

Key games: Tuesday—Lincoln Lutheran at Wahoo, Omaha Concordia at Auburn. Thursday—Syracuse at Wilber-Clatonia, Yutan at Auburn. Friday—Milford at North Bend Central.

CLASS C-2

Team (Rec.) | Pvs.

1. Ponca (5-0) | 1

2. Sutton (5-0) | 4

3. Doniphan-Trumbull (6-0) | -

4. Freeman (4-1) | 5

5. Yutan (5-1) | -

6. Wilber-Clatonia (6-0) | -

7. BRLD (4-1) | 2

8. Centennial (4-1) | 3

9. Hartington CC (3-0) | -

10. Laurel-C-C (6-1) | -

Contenders: Lutheran High Northeast, Tri County, Bridgeport, Shelby-Rising City, Wakefield, Hastings SC, Howells-Dodge, Walthill.

Comments: Wilber-Clatonia’s win over Tri County and Tri County’s triumph over Centennial scrambled the middle of the top 10. BRLD’s 10-point loss to Howells-Dodge costs them five spots, but a Friday home game against defending state champion Ponca looms as a chance to regain ground in the top 10.

Key games: Tuesday—Freeman at Johnson County Central, St. Paul at Doniphan-Trumbull, Riverside at Lutheran High Northeast. Thursday—Centura at Sutton. Friday—Ponca at BRLD.

CLASS D-1

Team (Rec.) | Pvs.

1. Fullerton (4-2) | 1

2. Kenesaw (3-1) | 2

3. Archbishop Bergan (5-1) | 3

4. Paxton (6-0) | 7

5. Elm Creek (7-0) | 9

6. Humphrey/LHF (4-0) | 10

7. Wilcox-Hildreth (7-0) | -

8. Boyd County (4-1) | -

9. Anselmo-Merna (3-1) | -

10. Dundy County-Stratton (7-1) | -

Contenders: Overton, Clearwater-Orchard, Southwest, North Central, Bloomfield, Ansley-Litchfield.

Comments: It’s difficult to judge the top three teams because all of their losses are to elite teams in other classes, so Fullerton, Kenesaw and Bergan stay where they’re at until more is known how they compare with the rest of the D-1 field. Three-time defending champion Lourdes Central Catholic exits the top 10 after a 1-5 start, including a 24-point loss to Bergan.

Key games: Tuesday—Wilcox-Hildreth at Northern Valley, Kansas. Tuesday-Thursday—Paxton Pre-Holiday Tournament (Paxton, Mullen). Thursday-Friday—Pleasanton Pre-Holiday Tournament (Anselmo-Merna), Knight Classic (Archbishop Bergan). Thursday—Boyd County at Wausa.

CLASS D-2

Team (Rec.) | Pvs.

1. Johnson-Brock (6-0) | 1

2. Falls City SH (6-0) | 2

3. Riverside (5-0) | 3

4. Osmond (5-0) | 4

5. Humphrey SF (5-1) | 5

6. Exeter-Milligan (6-0) | -

7. Mullen (4-1) | 6

8. Wynot (5-1) | 8

9. Lawrence-Nelson (5-1) | -

10. Stuart (6-1) |-

Contenders: Mead, Parkview Christian, Loomis, Giltner, Sterling.

Comments: This class is extremely strong at the top and the first five teams are off to strong starts. Riverside and Humphrey St. Francis have beaten D-1 No. 1 Fullerton, while Riverside also has a win over St. Francis and D-1 preseason rated Clearwater-Orchard.

Key games: Tuesday—McCool Junction at Lawrence-Nelson, Parkview Christian at Johnson-Brock, Tri County at Falls City SH. Thursday—Johnson-Brock at Sterling. Friday—Falls City SH at Elmwood-Murdock.

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

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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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