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Top stars, best performances in Nebraska high school boys basketball (Feb. 19-26)

Postseason heroes begin to take shape

By Nathan Charles 

The state tournament fields for Nebraska’s six competitive classes will be determined this week. On our way to identifying the 64 teams vying for a championship, players are building a legacy. This past week, many did so by overcoming tough shooting nights by getting to the free throw line. There are four players on this list that generated at least 12 free throws – one had 16 and made all but one. Other standout performances included six double-doubles and six games of 30 or more points. 

Hayden Frank, Malcolm Senior 

Frank is no stranger to high-scoring performances. Malcolm’s best offensive weapon posted another Tuesday in a losing effort against Lincoln Christian, scoring 24 with nine trips to the free throw line and seven makes. Frank pulled down seven rebounds during his 16th game with 20 or more points this season. He’s also had four games over 30 points and one with 41.

Gage Mintken, Hay Springs Junior

Mintken and his teammates started the postseason on the right foot with a 31-point subdistrict win that included 25 from him and the Hawks' fifth win in the past six games. The junior was effective shooting and, on the glass, where he put together a double-double with 10 rebounds. Mintken also handed out seven assists – the fifth time this season he has had five or more.

Trey Richert, Nebraska Lutheran Senior

Richert had one of those games in a Feb. 21 subdistrict game, scoring 33 points with four three-pointers and a perfect 7 for 7 at the line. Unfortunately for Richert, though it was his fourth 30-point game of the season, it wasn’t enough to get past Parkview Christian. Likely the final game for Richert, the Knight superstar ends his varsity career with 1,303 points, 223 three-pointers, 120 assists and 191 steals.

Isaac Everitt, O’Neill St. Mary’s Senior

Everitt’s efforts weren’t enough for St. Mary’s to advance in the subdistrict round, but he’ll at least walk away from the court with a lasting memory in his final game. The senior reached 30 points for the first time in his career on Feb. 21 when he hit that exact total, sank four three-pointers and went 10 of 12 from the line. Everitt also made it a double-double on one offensive rebound, nine on the defensive end and 10 total.

Brendyn Ollendick, Elkhorn Valley Senior

Ollendick is one of the most efficient scorers in the state, shooting 47% this season while averaging over 21 points per game. In a Feb. 21 subdistrict win, he was even better on 11 of 18 shooting for 28 points. He was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, was one rebound away from a double-double, dished out four assists and put together his 15th game of the year where he shot better than 50%. Ollendick then scored 27 and hit five threes two nights later in a subdistrict final win over West Holt.

Jonny Puelz, Lincoln Lutheran Senior

A Feb. 21 subdistrict win completed the best two-game scoring stretch of Puelz’s career when he had 28 points on 12 of 17 shooting. Puelz had 27 four nights earlier, combining for 55 points on 22 of 38 shooting with 20 total rebounds. He has seven games with 20 or more points this season and twice has scored 20 or more in back-to-back games. Puelz had 16 more and three three-pointers two nights later in a subdistrict title win over Lincoln Christian.

Dyami Berridge, Winnebago Senior

Berridge had a night to remember when he led the Indians to a high-scoring subdistrict win on Feb. 21. As if it wasn’t impressive enough to earn 16 trips to the foul line, Berridge sank 15 of those and had 29 points to go with seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. His big game comes just a few days after scoring 40 in a game where he shot 16 of 25 and made six three-pointers. Berridge then had 20 points and went 6 for 6 at the line in Thursday’s subdistrict final victory.

Jett Farwell, Pawnee City Sophomore

Farwell was held to his lowest total of the season earlier this month when he had 11 in a win over Southern. Since then, he’s responded with 65 total points in three games including 25 in a Feb. 21 subidstrict win. Farwell was 8 of 17 shooting, made 8 of 11 at the free throw line and put together a double-double on 11 rebounds that included five on the offensive end.

Maurice Reide, Parkview Christian Senior

The Patriots won their first boys basketball state title last season after a runner-up and a third-place finish in the previous two seasons. Reide helped ensure Parkview will at least have the chance to get back to state thanks to his 30 points in Thursday’s subdistrict final. The junior was 11 of 18 shooting, hit five three-pointers and grabbed three rebounds in what became his third game this season with 30 or more points.

Connor Millikan, Platteview Senior

Millikan reached 30 points for the seventh time this season and the 38th time in his career when he scored 35 to start the postseason Wednesday in a win over Ralston. Millikan shot 11 of 22, went to the line 18 times and had 16 total rebounds to go with six assists. The next night, Millikan rattled off his third straight game with 20 or more points and made it four out of the last five when he put up 25. The scoring superstar hit on 7 of his 13 shots, went a perfect 10 for 10 at the line and made it a double-double on three offensive boards and 10 on defense for a 13-rebound total.

Gage Olsen, Plattsmouth Junior

Olsen spent the night earning his way to the foul line and put together an efficient performance of 22 points and just nine field goal attempts in Wednesday’s subdistrict win over Nebraska City. The junior went to the line 12 times and made nine of his foul shots while also shooting 6 of 9 from the floor. He was two steals away from a double-double with eight takeaways to go with five rebounds. Olsen has gone to the line 165 times this season and is 24 points away from a scoring total of 400.

Kale Gustafson, Osceola Junior

Gustafson couldn’t miss, and that might have been the difference for his team during a Feb. 21 subdistrict win over St. Francis. The Bulldogs edged the Flyers by three points thanks to 24 points by both Gustafson and senior teammate Isaiah Zelasney. Gustafson hit all 11 shots from the floor, was 2 of 3 at the line and cleaned up the glass on a total of 15 rebounds – 11 on the defensive end. It was his sixth double-double in a row and his 22nd of the season.

Krae Lavicky, Aquinas Catholic Senior

Lavicky was the man all game for the Monarchs but especially late when he was needed to wrap up a close, two-point win over Heartland in the first round of the subdistrict tournament. The senior scored a game-high 20 points and earned 14 of those at the line where he was an impressive 14 for 15. It’s his highest point total of the season and the most free throws he’s made by more than double.

Carter Siems, Tri County Senior

Tri County is looking to make it two trips to state in three years – something the program hasn’t accomplished since the late ‘80s. Siems is an important piece of that puzzle. He got the Trojans off to the right start in the playoffs when he led Tri County to a win and scored 27 points in a Feb. 21 subdistrict win. Siems shot 12 for 24, pulled down eight rebounds and handed out four assists. He has 10 games with 20 or more points this season and is nearing 200 total rebounds.

Braylon Anderson, Oakland-Craig Sophomore

Oakland-Craig came into February 6-12 and in need of momentum to keep the season alive. Since the start of the month, the Knights have won four in a row and find themselves in a district final. Anderson has been the latest hero in the subdistrict round, scoring 23 then 24 in a pair of wins over Tekamah-Herman and Omaha Nation. His best was the win over Omaha Nation, shooting 8 of 15 and pulling down 13 rebounds for a double-double.

Michael Hassenstab, Omaha Northwest Senior

Hassenstab has been an absolute monster recently, scoring 30 or more points in back-to-back games while shooting 22 of 37 with 16 total three-pointers. His most recent 30-burger came in Friday’s road win at Columbus where he was 10 of 15 shooting overall and 9 of 13 from long range. Hassenstab is shooting 44% on the season, has 84 total three-pointers and has improved his perimeter shooting up to 39%.

Coriahnn Gallatin, Fremont Freshman

As Platteview’s Connor Millikan prepares to close his high school career, it seems Gallatin has already taken up the mantle as the state’s best scorer. The freshman posted his fourth game with 30 or more points in Friday’s win over Norfolk when he shot 11 of 19 and hit seven three-pointers. Gallatin had 33 to go with five rebounds. Since Jan. 14, Gallatin has had 20 or more points in nine of 11 games.

Zack Foxhoven, Wynot Junior

Foxhoven had just 12 three-pointers in the first eight games of the season but has had at least one in 13 of the past 17 including a career-high five in Friday’s subdistrict final home win against Wausa. He was 5 of 11 from the perimeter for another career-high of 22 points, went 3 of 4 from the line and filled up the stat sheet in other areas as well. Foxhoven dished out seven assists, had six rebounds and swiped away four steals.

Derris Hansen, Boyd County Junior

The Spartans went into the subdistrict tournament in a win-or-go-home situation. Hansen ensured the season stayed alive in Friday’s subdistrict final win by getting to the free throw line. He scored a game-high 22 points and did it with just nine field goal attempts thanks to shooting 12 of 14 from the charity stripe. His performance followed up one from earlier in the week when Hansen scored 19 with seven rebounds and five assists.

Bryson Bahl, Papillion-La Vista South Sophomore

Bahl and the Titans were in a district semifinal battle with a quality Omaha North team and never could find their shooting touch. But thanks to Bahl earning 15 trips to the free throw line and Papio South generating a 21-13 advantage in free throws, he and his teammates moved on to the next round. Bahl hit 12 of his 15 free throws, scored a game-high 27 points and was one rebound away from making it a double-double. Bahl has made 100 trips to the line this season and made an impressive 89 of those attempts.