Road bumpy, but Nebraska City Lourdes sees clear path to three-peat

Road bumpy, but Nebraska City Lourdes sees clear path to three-peat
Nebraska City Lourdes’ Quinten Vasa has had to adapt after helping the Knights to the Class D-1 title last season. “It’s been more as a leader, both an emotional leader and voal leader,” he said. (World-Herald News Service)

The run for the title trifecta has had its bumps for Nebraska City Lourdes.

Its 18-8 record has Lourdes seeded seventh in the Class D-1 state tournament that begins Thursday with first-round games at Lincoln Northeast. But the Knights will be a tough out for once-beaten Paxton, the No. 2 seed, or anyone else in the eight-team field.

“It’s been up and down,’’ 6-foot-8 senior center Quinten Vasa said. “But I think we’re playing our best basketball at the right time.”

Joe Tynon, the 12th-year coach for the Knights, said his team has battled adversity while getting battle-tested. Their rotation got shortened with injuries to guards Neilas Tamosiunas (knee) and Colter Fulton (dislocated elbow and broken ankle on the same play).

Lourdes was 4-5 in December, including 1-3 in games against teams at state this week, while learning new roles after two starters graduated.

Vasa said he’s had to adapt.

“Sure, I had to score a few more points and get a few more rebounds, but it’s been more as a leader, both an emotional leader and vocal leader,’’ he said.

The Briar Cliff signee is averaging 15.3 points and 9.6 rebounds, better than the 12.7 and 6.9 he took to state last year.

Lourdes was 15-8 entering the postseason with the momentum of consecutive wins over now-Class C-1 No. 3 Wahoo Neumann and D-2 No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart. The Knights advanced to state with wins over Weeping Water, East Butler and Walthill.

“All that matters is these three games to get to Lincoln and give us our chance because once you get to Lincoln, anything can happen,’’ Tynon said.

Vasa said the Knights have had a different mentality for each of the three seasons.

“The first year was like, well, we’re here,’’ he said. “Last year, it was, ‘Hey, we did it.’ This year, we’re chasing history.”

No team has won Class D-1 three consecutive years. Schools that previously won back-to-back were Falls City Sacred Heart in 1988 and 1989, Johnson-Brock in 1997 and 1998 and Spencer-Naper in 2002 and 2003.

2018 NSAA Boys State Basketball Championship Brackets

NCN State Tournament Coverage Plan (1st Round)

C1: #2 Winnebago vs. #7 Syracuse

When: 3:45 p.m. Thursday

Where: Bob Devaney Sports Center

Radio: 103.1 FM, B103.fm

D1: #2 Paxton vs. #7 Lourdes Central Catholic

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln Northeast High School

Radio: 1600 AM, 105.5 FM, ncn21.com

D1: #3 West Holt vs. #6 Johnson-Brock

When: 10:45 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln Northeast High School

Radio: 103.1 FM, B103.fm

D2: #1 Falls City Sacred Heart vs. #8 Cody-Kilgore

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln Southeast High School

Radio: 103.1 FM, b103.fm

Class D-1 boys state basketball tournament scouting reports

Fullerton Warriors (20-4)

Coach: Richard Plumtree

W-H ranking: 7

Averages: 61.7 offensive-45.8 defensive

Top scorers: Brandon Rasmussen, 16.2; TJ Dubas, 9.6.

Top rebounder: Brent Wetovick, 6.5

Tournament history: First appearance since 2014 and 19th overall. Runner-up in B in 1953 and 1958 and C in 1961.

Did you know? The Warriors are on a 10-game winning streak.

Heartland Huskies (20-3)

Coach: Clark Ribble

W-H ranking: 9

Averages: 62.6-42.8

Top scorers: Lane Huebert, 24.6; Connor Boehr, 11.3

Top rebounder: Huebert, 5.4

Tournament history: Repeat qualifier is making fourth appearance. Henderson was 3-3 in finals; Bradshaw was 2-5 at state.

Did you know? The Huskies qualified as a wild card after losing to Fullerton in the district finals. They went 4-3 after a 16-0 start.

Johnson-Brock (22-5)

Coach: Lucas Dalinghaus

W-H ranking: 6

Averages: 60.5-43.7

Top scorers: Ty Hahn, 17.0; Kaden Gyhra, 14.9; Cole Fossenbarger, 11.6

Top rebounder: Ben Bohling, 6.9.

Tournament history: First appearance since 2013 and seventh overall. Won D-1 in 1997 and 1998.

Did you know? Hahn is a sophomore who was an all-state wide receiver and Gyhra is a freshman.

Kenesaw Blue Devils (26-0)

Coach: Jack Einrem

W-H ranking: 1

Averages: 61.9-41

Top scorers: Tyson Burr, 14.5; William Gallagher, 13.8

Top rebounder: Gallagher, 8.0

Tournament history: First appearance since 2016 and 21st overall. Class E runner-up in 1920.

Did you know? Kenesaw is the only undefeated team this season.

Nebraska City Lourdes Knights (18-8)

Coach: Joe Tynon

W-H ranking: 4

Averages: 50-40.7

Top scorers: Quinten Vasa, 15.3; Brandon Friedrichs, 10.3; Thomas Ragland, 10.3

Top rebounder: Vasa, 9.6

Tournament history: Two-time defending champion is making third consecutive appearance and sixth overall.

Did you know? Vasa is 6-foot-8, Friedrichs 6-6 and John Funke 6-3.

Osmond Tigers (22-3)

Coach: Todd Schulze

W-H ranking: 3

Averages: 60.7-43.2

Top scorers: Keaton Timmerman, 18.4; Alex Kumm, 14.0

Top rebounder: Timmerman, 10.6

Tournament history: First appearance since 1999 and ninth overall. Won Class H in 1918 and Class G in 1928 and was C-2 runner-up in 1994.

Did you know? Osmond’s losses are to Class C-1 or C-2 teams.

Paxton Tigers (22-1)

Coach: Jody Rhodes

W-H ranking: 2

Averages: 62.8-31.4

Top scorers: Blake Brewster, 16.4; Ryan Fox, 11.3.

Top rebounder: Brewster, 8.1.

Tournament history: First appearance since 2015 and 23rd overall. Class D-1 champion in 1995 and 2000 and is 2-4 in finals.

Did you know? Seven opponents have scored fewer than 20 points against the Tigers.

West Holt Huskies (20-3)

Coach: Todd Hale

W-H ranking: 5

Averages: 64.7-42.4

Top scorers: Bryce Kerkman, 16.0; Payton Williams, 10.4.

Top rebounder: Williams, 4.7.

Tournament history: First appearance since 2016 and fourth overall. It won Class C-1 in 1988. Atkinson won Class J in 1923 and E in 1927.

Did you know? West Holt qualified as a wild card after losing its first subdistrict game to Boyd County, which it had beat twice during the season.

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