LINCOLN — At 9 a.m. today, the Sutton boys basketball team will be playing Southern Valley for the Class C-2 state championship. But bringing the title back to Sutton won't be an easy task. Southern Valley senior Spencer Kucera, a 6-foot-9 post player, has been a strong force underneath the hoop for the Eagles.
"(Kucra) knows what he has to do. He gets on the low block, shields people off very well, and he has good hands and catches the ball well," Sutton coach Steve Spongberg said. "Their offense revolves around him, but they also have good guards."
As has been the case all year, Spongberg said it's his defense that's going to need to lead the Mustangs to a victory. Pressuring Southern Valley's guards and making entry passes to the post difficult is Spongberg's first concern on defense. He said the competition the Mustangs have faced this season should prepare them for what lies ahead, but it doesn't guarantee anything.
Slowing down the Eagles' offense should open things up for Sutton. After scoring just 37 points in the first round, Spongberg's team responded in the semifinals offensively thanks in large part to a spark from senior Reed Stone, who hit five 3-pointers in the 57-42 win over Hartington Cedar Catholic. Fellow senior Austan Rath is the Mustangs' leading scorer and hasn't slowed down in the state tournament. Rath averaged 20.2 points per game in the regular season, and has scored 22 and 23 points in the first two rounds of state.