BLUE HILL — Last season was a memorable one for the Blue Hill boys basketball team. The Bobcats clinched their first state tournament berth in 35 years. Blue Hill went 18-7 and put No. 1 seeded Falls City Sacred Heart on upset alert in the first round of the state tournament, but the Bobcats fell 57-54 as the magical season came to an end.

Blue Hill has gone to consecutive state tournaments during just one stretch. While it was six straight years, it was back in 1923-1928. Needless to say, it’b be another big accomplishment to punch a ticket to Lincoln this season.

“Our strength of our team will be the defense and quickness,” said Bobcats’ head coach Jon Coffey. “We got our guards a lot of experience coming back and our underclassmen will help develop a better team. Hopefully going to the state tourney will motivate our kids to work hard and accomplish good things in the and coming year.”

MJ Coffey is one of two returning starters for the Bobcats. The junior, which stands at 6-feet, averaged 10.1 points per game and shot 41 percent from 3-point range last season. Perhaps his best game came in the state tournament, when he shot 6-for-7 from the floor for 21 points, coming up with some clutch shots in the near-upset.

Blue Hill will also have some experience from Jared Schmidt and Colby Karr, as both saw significant playing time last year. Schmidt, a 5-10 guard, is a senior while Karr is a 6-foot, 2-inch senior that will patrol the post.

Jon Coffey has 10 years coaching experience at the school. He was an assistant coach last season and helped on the girls side in previous years. He also has experience as the Bobcats’ head football coach.

Blue Hill won the Twin Valley Conference tournament last season, beating Kenesaw. Coffey believes Kenesaw will be one of the teams to beat in the TVC again this year, and sure enough, the two squads open the season against one another on Thursday, as the Bobcats travel to play the Blue Devils. Blue Hill will then host three straight home games again Doniphan-Trumbull (Friday), Superior (Dec. 12) and St. Cecilia (Dec. 14). Only one of the Bobcats’ first six games are against a team in their class; the others are against opponents in C-1 and C-2. Last season, Blue Hill lost six of its first seven games before finishing the year 17-3.

The Bobcats will compete against Bruning-Davenport/Shickley, Harvard, McCool Junction and Thayer Central in the Class D-1, Subdistrict 7 tournament at the end of the year.

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