It’s now been a week since the Spartans fell short to A-Street rival, Lincoln Pius X, in the first round of the NSAA Girls State Basketball Tournament. The Spartans had trouble getting the ball inside, which we saw early in the first half as the Spartans committed six turnovers. At the end of the first
It’s now been a week since the Spartans fell short to A-Street rival, Lincoln Pius X, in the first round of the NSAA Girls State Basketball Tournament.
The Spartans had trouble getting the ball inside, which we saw early in the first half as the Spartans committed six turnovers. At the end of the first half, the Spartans trailed the Bolts 10-16, behind Lindsay Nottleman’s 8 points.
Pius lead for the rest of the way to defeat the defending state champions 44-36. Spartan junior Regan Sankey finished the game with 13 points.
It’s never fun losing, especially to Pius…but it’s best we shake it off and take a look back on the 2016-17 season and see how we got to Pinnacle Bank Arena.
To begin, we didn’t know how this team would be successful without the presence of former Spartan Grace Barry. Coach Prichard, the 2016 NSAA Coach of the Year, started freshman Taylor Searcey along with juniors Ali Roh, Regan Sankey, and Rachel Weber, as the three of the returning seniors continuously saw little playing time.
Once the Spartans were mid season, they were 7-5, suffering losses to Lincoln Southwest twice, and Lincoln Northeast, but splitting two games to Lincoln Southeast, winning the second game 62-50.
On January 20, the Spartans hosted, the number one ranked team in the state at the time, Millard South. The Spartans were ahead for almost the whole game but were cut close due to a late Patriot run, having missed the chance to make a game-tying three at the buzzer, the Spartans pulled off the upset, 47-44.
After getting a quality 45-25 road win against Kearney and taking a gut punching 58-46 home loss against Millard West, the Spartans then hosted Bellevue West. The Spartans were 9-6 at this point and Coach Prichard decided to make a change in the starting lineup. Senior guard Maggie Wilson was awarded the start over freshman Taylor Searcey, who has started all of the Spartans games until this point.
The Spartans beat the Thunderbirds 45-31 to get their tenth win on the year. From this point on, the Spartans wouldn’t lose another regular season game winning their last seven games, picking up key road wins over Omaha Northwest, who would later upset Omaha Westside in the A-3 District Championship game, and Norfolk.
The Spartans finished the regular season 16-6 and were awarded the number one seed in the A-5 District, their second year in a row hosting districts. The Spartans knew that Southeast was the other power team in their district, and surely they wouldn’t want to play anybody else in the championship. That fantasy came true as the Spartans defeated Omaha Bryan in the first round 66-35 and the Knights defeated Omaha Benson 55-41.
No matter the sport, whenever East is matched up with Southeast, there is always going to be that rivalry mentality in the fan’s and the player’s minds. Both teams shared the lead throughout the game, but the Knights held a 21-19 halftime lead. Coming out of the locker room, the Spartans were determined to return to Pinnacle Bank Arena to defend their state title. The Spartans came out on fire, as junior Regan Sankey took over the game finishing with 21 points as the Spartans defeated Southeast 52-43 in the A-5 District Championship. The Spartans would play Pius in the first round at Pinnacle Bank Arena, but like I said, would have a tough time on offense and having a hard time defending Pius out on the three point line.
It was such a fun season to watch. Seeing a team bounce back from losing key seniors is pretty impressive. It’s too bad we couldn’t see the Spartans repeat what they did last year, but it was great to see how much this team improved throughout the season. Until next year, go Spartans!!