Everything you need to know about Class D boys state basketball teams


Nebraska City Lourdes (8-16, No. 10 in Tuesday’s rankings):After three consecutive state titles, Coach Joe Tynon’s Knights faced another strong schedule while rebuilding and made it back to state with a district-final win over Overton. Their next generation begins with freshman guard Blake Miller, who’s averaging 16.5 points. This is their seventh state appearance.

Elm Creek (21-3, No. 7): After losing to Overton in its subdistrict final, the Buffaloes qualified for the first time in five years — their 12th appearance overall — by beating Emerson-Hubbard 50-40 and stayed No. 1 in the seeding. Coach Tanner Cavenee’s top scorers are sophomore Trey Miner (17.4), Gage Clabaugh (13.4) and Karsten McCarter (11.2)

Fremont Bergan (17-8, No. 1): Coming out of the best small-school conference (Centennial) in the state, Bergan is trying to join its girls team in winning state titles this season. Coach Ryan Mlnarik’s Knights are at state for the first time since 2016 and this is their 17th appearance, with a 4-2 record in finals (last title in 2014). Senior forward Grant Frickenstein averaged 20.4 points a game, Dre Vance 14.6 and Riley Lindberg 12.3 with a 9.8 rebounding average.

Fullerton (18-6, No. 5): Returning to state for their 20th appearance and second in a row, Coach Richard Plumtree’s Warriors are trying to make the finals for the first time since 1961 in Class C. Fullerton is 0-3 in finals. Jordan Maxfield (12.0) is one of four players scoring at least 8.7 a game. The Warriors average 66 points a game.

Hartington-Newcastle (16-9, No. 8): It’s the first appearance for the consolidated school. Hartington was Class C runner-up in 1980. Coach Nick Haselhorst’s Wildcats beat Bloomfield and upset Kenesaw to extend their winning streak to six. They have six players with 128 or more points, led by junior guard Shaye Morten (11.2 ppg.). Sam Harms is their 6-7 forward.

Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family (20-6, No. 3): The Bulldogs joined their girls in qualifying for state. It’s the first time they’ve been there. Humphrey won a state title in 1987, Lindsay Holy Family in 2005. Coach Joe Heese’s team has five 200-point scorers and one at 198. Freshman Jason Sjuts leads at 11.6 ppg., senior Turner Beller 10.7. After nearly upsetting Fremont Bergan in subdistricts, they beat Axtell in the district final.

Paxton (23-1, No. 2): Blake Brewster is a 6-10 junior who towers over the rest of D-1. He averages a double-double (20.4 points, 10.3 rebounds) for coach Jody Rhodes’ Tigers. Senior guard Kaden Schow averages 13.7 points. After losing to eventual champion Lourdes last year, they return for the 24th time and seek their third title, and first since 2000. They are 2-4 in state finals.

Wauneta-Palisade (20-5, No. 4): By beating Dundy County-Stratton the fifth time the teams met this season, the Broncos next get to try to avenge two losses to Paxton. It’s their second state berth in three years and ninth all time, with a C-2 title in 2007 and a D-2 runner-up showing in 2011. Senior guard Duncan Rector leads coach Dave Kuhlen’s team with 18 points a game.


Humphrey St. Francis (22-4, No. 3): Coach Eric Kessler’s Flyers, back after a year’s absence, are seeking their 14th finals appearance and eighth title in 25 trips to Lincoln. Junior Trevor Pfeifer averages 18.8 points a game as the focal point of their offense.

Johnson-Brock (21-4, No. 5): The Eagles, in their eighth appearance, are back from last year’s third-place finish in D-1 and seek a football-basketball double. They beat St. Francis in the football semifinal with many of these players. Ty Hahn averages 15.8 points a game for coach Lucas Dalinghaus, Kaden Glynn 15.8 and Cole Fossenbarger 13.4.

Falls City Sacred Heart (24-1, No. 1): Unbeaten against Nebraska teams, the Irish are the defending D-2 champions and seek their 10th title in their 21st appearance. Tyler Witt, a 6-3 senior, is five rebounds from a double-double average (18.1 points, 9.8 rebounds). Senior Drew Bippes averages 12.3 points a game.

Blue Hill (18-8, No. 8): At state for the first time since 1984, the Bobcats lost to Loomis in subdistricts before advancing with a win over Mullen. Coach Ryan Tegtmeier’s team, which started 0-5 against larger schools, has 6-3 senior John Himmelberg averaging 13.2 points. The school won two state titles in three finals appearances in the 1920s.

Riverside (22-0, No. 2): The school has qualified each of its five years of existence. Coach Joe Imus’ Chargers, who lost to Sacred Heart in last year’s final, score inside with 6-7 senior Joseph Bloom (16.8 ppg.) and outside with junior Tredyn Prososki (17.9) and junior Michael Bernt (12.2).

Exeter-Milligan (21-4, No. 6): At state for the first time since winning D-2 in 2015, the Timberwolves beat Giltner in the district final. Jackson Beethe averages 15 points a game, Spencer Pribyl and Max Zeleny a shade under 10 on coach Dean Filipi’s team.

Osmond (22-1, No. 4): Riding an 11-game winning streak, the Tigers are led by Merrix Dean. The 5-10 senior guard averages 19.1 points. Junior forward Keaton Timmerman averages 12. They lost in the D-1 first round last year and last were in a state final in 1994. Their titles were in Class H in 1918 and G in 1928.

Loomis (19-6, No. 7): Aaron Dow, a 6-3 senior for coach Drew Billeter’s Wolves, averages 22.2 points and 10.3 rebounds while leading them with 100 assists. Freshman guard Quin Johnson (12.1) has scored 302 points. They beat state qualifier Blue Hill and Stuart to secure their first state berth since 2012. The school was in four state finals between 1998 and 2005, winning in 1999 and 2004.

C1: Auburn vs. Grand Island CC

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Bob Devaney Sports Center

TV: News Channel Nebraska

D1: Lourdes Central Catholic vs. Elm Creek

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln East High School

Radio: KNCY 1600 AM, 105.5 FM, ncnsportsnow.com

D2: Johnson-Brock vs. Humphrey St. Francis

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln Northeast High School

Radio: B103 (103.1 FM, b103.fm)

D2: Falls City Sacred Heart vs. Blue Hill

When: 10:45 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln Northeast High School

Radio: B103 (103.1 FM, b103.fm)

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