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By Will Cummings
my Hit News.com
This week Central, the three-time defending state champions, has– earned–the right to be considered the the best team in Nebraska.
It’s kind of odd that a program that has won the last three Class A`state titles would be in the position of having to wait so long to be recognized as the best team in the state. But that is exactly the circumstances that head coach Eric Behrens’ one-loss Eagles have found themselves in since the start of the season. However, don’t blame us (media types) for the slight. I mean how can we gloss over the fact that those three titles came with Ronnell Grixby and Chris Griffin and Josh Jones on the team–all of whom are gone!
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year, wasn’t it? Or is it that most of us overlooked or discounted the most important element of all in assessing the Eagles’ ability to contend for the title this year: Coaching.
Oh, the Eagles have had some great talent in the past, but Behrens and his staff are evidently overlooked when it comes to the reason for their past successes. I would suggest that going forward to never discount an Eric Behrens coached team–it should be pretty obvious by now that the man is very much on top of the game and that he must have some pretty good staff around him too.
Despite this weekend’s good-natured taunts and jeers directed against Action Force and my Hit News.com by Central fans–undoubtedly displeased with his lack of respect in his rankings–Central’s performances have earned them recognition from Action Force as being the best basketball team in the state of Nebraska.
At least for this week.
Top 10Nebraska High School Basketball Teams
(week ending January 25 2009)
Rank, Team, (Record) Last Week’s Rank
1. Omaha Central (11-1) 2
The Eagles went 2-0 this weekend and the biggest win of the two came against Bell, a game that I was fortunate enough to attended. Central’s play, style, depth and manner of victory was convincing enough for me to move them past the Rams—after all, this team has won 3 state titles in a row. Right?
2. Ralston (12-1) 1 The Rams are a very, very good team! We’ll see at the Cage Classic this week, if they can maintain their high ranking. If you want to see good hoops come on out to Bryan High School this week Greg Smith and Dwight Smith are both D-1prospects and don’t forget Tony Grant, Tyler Pleiss and Karon Crawford. 3. Lincoln Southeast (11-2 ) 3 The Knights are a team that can beat you in a variety of ways, inside and out, or outside and in. You pick. UNO commit Matt Hagerbaumeris an impressive finesse big man and soph Derrius Vick is going to continue to make noise over time. 4. Omaha Bryan (12-3) 4 Coach Tim Cannon’s Bears had their time in the spotlight but their loss to current No.1 Central set them back some. But don’t worry Gullie, Agustine, Imig, Kuek, and Jiech are still fully capable of winning a state crown. Remember, it’s not what you do now it’s what you can do come state tournament time. 5. Lincoln Southwest (12-2) 5 The Silverhawks continue to linger. around and be counted among the top teams in the state. My basketball guru friend Dave Shillinglaw–host of Nebraska High School Hoops radio show which airs at 7:00 p.m. every Wednesday on AM station 1620 the Zone –is a huge fan of what the very athletic Silverhawks are capable of doing down the stretch, and I don’t blame him. The athletic duo of Jordan Tyrance and Drew Edmonds along with the rest of the Hawks may be enough of a force to get them a state title. 6. Omaha Creighton Prep (10-3) 7 The return of senior star Alex Hook has brought back major leadership. Add that to the fact he is just a great overall basketball player. Nick Davis and Cole Marten need to continue to play well for the Jays to make it to Lincoln. 7. Lincoln Northeast (10-3) 8 The fighting Dol Kuteycontinues to make noise. Message to Class A start paying attention to the Rockets and Dol Kutey–this is a good team and very capable of putting together a end-of-the-season run to the title. 8. Omaha Benson ( 9-4) 10 Tyler Cerveny’s Bunnies are somewhat quietly surfacing as a legit title contender with lots of guard firepower with senior Stevelle Burns and sophomore CJ Carter and the recent hot streak of sophomore Cal McCoy. All of which is making the Bunnies a very dangerous foe. 9. Omaha Burke (8-5) NR The Bulldogs are back in the Top 10 after putting together 2 wins in a row for the first time since the Holiday Tournament with wins over last week’s Top 10 No. 6 Bellevue East and Papio South. Junior sharpshooter Ray McGaugh continues to light up the score board and sophomore point guard Adonis Hill continues to do an impressive job of being the Bulldogs’ floor general, while senior Devon Simonds is starting to find his groove. 10. Bellevue East (9-6) 6 Tough losses to Omaha Burke and Omaha Central this weekend for the Chieftains, but remember they still have Jarell Crayton. Don/t you all remember what he did down the stretch last year?
Norfolk, Lincoln High and Beatrice