What is it that makes postseason high school basketball exciting?
Obviously, the stakes are different. Every team wants to get to Lincoln.
Then, of course, the games are bigger — as in, the games aren’t those normal Tuesday night affairs where there are plenty of seats and homemade soup available. No, postseason games require fans to show up early before the seats run out.
Amped up student sections. Dueling bands. The works.
While all those things are fun to be apart of, the sports nerd in me barely pays attention.
What gets me pumped about postseason basketball is the coaching, the strategy, the play.
Especially since most games are rematches, I like to watch how teams attack each other again, especially on a stage where the result really matters.
It was different when the St. Cecilia and Blue Hill girls met during the regular season. The Class C-2 No. 3 Hawkettes handed the C-2 No. 9 Bobcats a 45-32 loss — their only loss of the season to this point. Ultimately, that one loss won’t matter next week.
What will matter, though, is the possible rematch between those two schools in the subdistrict finale. They are the two favorites to reach the final in the C2-8 subdistrict, and say St. Cecilia (18-3) wins like they did a year ago, then Blue Hill’s (18-1) season will likely end. Even with the impressive win-loss record.
In the spirit of story lines like St. Cecilia-Blue Hill, here is a glance at some key subdistrict tournaments for girls basketball in Tribland beginning this week:
MUST-SEE — The Class C-1, subdistrict 10 tournament at Kearney High School is not a win or go home type tournament. It’s very likely that the two teams that should reach the final will still both qualify for the state tournament regardless. So why is it the most exciting? Because it features two of the top teams this area has seen in some time for girls basketball — Class C-1 No. 1 Minden (22-0) and Class C-1 No. 2 Kearney Catholic (23-0). The two schools are the only undefeated teams left in the state, and barring a miraculous upset, they’ll meet in the finals in which will be a Titanic sized matchup. I’m taking the Whippets to win this subdistrict and advance to the district championship. Both teams shoot the heck out of the ball and play great press defense. But Minden just has excellent athletes, and that’s what it comes down to in big-time games.
ANYONE? — A fun tournament for me to follow will be the all-Tribland, all-Southern Nebraska Conference C2-7 subdistrict. All four teams know each other pretty well. Let’s start with No. 1-seeded Superior (18-3). The Wildcats, ranked 10th in C-2, open with fourth-seeded Thayer Central (2-16). All indications point to Superior winning that battle and eventually move on to subdistrict final against the winner of No. 2 Sutton (14-8) and No. 3 Sandy Creek (11-11). That’s where things could get a little tricky. Superior’s beaten Sandy Creek twice but lost to Sutton. Meanwhile, the Fillies and Cougars have split their season series. Really, this subdistrict is up for grabs for any of those three schools. And the pressure will be high because it doesn’t appear that any of them could sneak into the state tournament without a subdistrict and district title attached to their resume.
TIME IS NOW — No. 1-seeded Deshler (19-3) and No. 2 Bruning-Davenport/Shickley (15-5) could be in for a rematch at the D1-2 subdistrict tournament in York. In their matchup earlier this season, the D-1 No. 7 Dragons took home an eight-point victory over the No. 9 Eagles. The time is now for BDS to avenge that loss and get one step closer to Lincoln.
Other subdistrict tournaments lack the drama as the ones previously mentioned.
I think it would be a disappointment in the D2-7 subdistrict at Adams Central if D-2 No. 1-ranked Giltner (19-2) didn’t win against a bracket featuring four other Tribland teams.
Red Cloud (9-11) is the high seed in the D1-6 subdistrict at St. Cecilia, but the four-team bracket features two teams, including Harvard, that have just one win all season. Not exactly thrilling.