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Area Youth On South Central Basketball Team

During the Memorial Day weekend, kids from seven area schools combined to form the South Central Bison Basketball Team in Lincoln. Team members included Kyle Jensen (Exeter-Milligan), Spencer Feldkamp (Fairbury), Lance Donovan and Conrad Schelkopf (Fillmore Central), Brayden Knapp, Graham Stutzman and Josh Nickel (Friend), Cole Wiseman (Sutton), Brendan Lipovsky and Jared Brockman (Sandy Creek), Daniel Schroer (Lawrence/Nelson), and Jay Cottam (Thayer Central).

The team was coached by Richard Evans of Fillmore Central and Derek Reinsch of Sandy Creek. They played other eighth and ninth grade teams from across the state during pool play and the tournament. The kids practiced on weekends and scrimmaged a few teams that competed in tournament.

They kicked off pool play on Friday by playing a team made up of Fremont High School kids. After a slow first half, the team made a furious second half rally and had a chance to win at the buzzer. The game went into overtime before Fremont prevailed by a score of 37-31. Points: Jensen-4, Donovan-2, Knapp-13, Nickel-4, Stutzman-5, Cottam-3.

On Saturday, they returned to action against Sarpy County, which included kids from Omaha Gross and Omaha Bryan. The kids came out against another oversized team and put up a valiant effort. It was a close game throughout with South Central eventually falling 46-36. Points: Jensen-5, Knapp-15, Stutzman-4, Wiseman-8, Schelkopf-2, Schroer-2 .

The final game of pool play was on Sunday against a very athletic Lincoln West team made up of Lincoln High kids. Lincoln High came out hot and never stopped rolling to a huge lead. The kids played hard throughout the entire game and outscored Lincoln in the second half. However it was not enough as Lincoln won 50-24. Points: Jensen-1, Donovan-2, Knapp-9, Wiseman-7, Schelkopf-3, Brockman-2 .

South Central opened the tournament against a Hastings team including players from St. Cecilia and Adams Central. The first half featured a back and forth game with neither team being able to pull away. South Central was able to hang on for a 57-53 victory, which was their first of the weekend. Points: Jensen-4, Knapp-14, Nickel-2, Stutzman-13, Wiseman-10, Cottam-14.

The second and final game came against a Grand Island Senior High team. This was an extremely competitive game as South Central was only down by a slim margin heading into the half. They fought hard playing their third game of the day but eventually wore down in the second half to a fresher team.

Overall, the kids began to gel and were playing their best basketball by the end. They played extremely tough defense and really got out and ran when they could.

The team’s lack of size showed up against much bigger teams, but they were able to scratch and claw for every rebound and loose ball that they could.