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Vote now: Who should be SBLive’s Nebraska high school athlete of the Week? (Feb. 20-26)

Here are this week’s candidates

By Nathan Charles 

Here are the candidates for SBLive’s Nebraska high school athlete of the week for Feb. 20-26. Read through the nominees and cast your vote. Voting will conclude Sunday at 11:59 p.m. If you would like to make a nomination in a future week, email athleteoftheweek@scorebooklive.com

Editor’s Note: Our Athlete of the Week feature and corresponding poll are intended to be fun, and we do not set limits on how many times a fan can vote during the competition. However, we do not allow votes that are generated by script, macro or other automated means. Athletes who receive votes generated by script, macro or other automated means will be disqualified.

Tatum Backemeyer, Elmwood-Murdock Girls Basketball

Backemeyer has had quite the run through the subdistrict and district round, scoring a total of 59 points and capping it off with 22 points in Friday’s district final win over Sterling. She was an efficient 8 of 12 shooting, went 5 of 6 from the line and pulled down seven rebounds. Thanks to her leadership, Backemeyer and Elmwood-Murdock are back at state for the third year in a row. Backemeyer had two games with 20 or more points before the postseason began then had games of 14, 23 and 22 in three playoff games.

Bryson Bahl, Papillion-La Vista South Boys Basketball

Bahl and the Titans were in a district semifinal battle with a quality Omaha North team and struggled to 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.

Alissa Brabec, O’Neill St. Mary’s Girls Basketball

Brabec was deadly from three-point range with six makes from beyond the arc and 23 points in Friday’s district final win over Paxton. It was Brabec’s second straight game with 20 or more points and increased her total to 78 threes on the season. Brabec has had at least one three in every game but one this season and is shooting from 35% from long range. Her performance helped lead the Cardinals back to state for the second year in a row after a fourth-place finish last season.

Dyami Berridge, Winnebago Boys Basketball

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.

Chloe Hanel, Clarkson/Leigh Girls Basketball

Hanel and the Patriots are back to state after losing a district final last year thanks to her 25 points, nine steals and eight rebounds in Friday’s win over Gordon-Rushville. She only needed 13 shots to put up her total thanks to 10 makes and 5 of 8 at the free throw line. Clarkson/Leigh lost the subdistrict final to Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family on a night she shot just 7 of 21. But thanks to a good season, the Patriots qualified for the district final thanks to their spot in the power points standings, and Hanel took advantage. She has 12 games with 20 or more points and two with more than 30.

Henry Dvorak, Creighton Prep Boys Swimming

Dvorak took home a trio of gold medals and a silver at the state meet, ending his career with seven total state medals and helping Creighton Prep return to the top of the state team standings. Three wins, two in relay events, made Dvork the only boys triple gold medalist at state. Dvorak won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 48.81, defeated the runner up by 1.60 seconds and moved into the top five all-time in the event. He was the third leg of the win in the 200 medley relay and the second swimmer off the blocks for the win in the 200 free relay.

Josie Hood, Marian Girls Swimming

Hood closed a stellar varsity career in the pool with four gold medals on Saturday at the state meet in Lincoln. She won the 200-yard freestyle, 100 free and was a part of two victorious relays. Hood took the 200 title in 1:49.23 and moved herself up to No. 2 in that event on the all-time state list. She then took the 100 free title in a battle with an opponent who won the 50 free but came out on top and finished her career No. 4 on the all-time list. Hood swam the anchor leg of the 200 relay that earned gold by a second and was also the anchor on the 400 relay team that won by more than two seconds. Hood ends her high school years with 10 gold medals. She was part of three straight wins in the 200 and 400 free relays and won the 100 free three years in a row.

Isaac Everitt, O’Neill St. Mary’s Boys Basketball

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.

Jersi Jensen, Wayne Girls Bowling

Jensen found her game at just the right moments while capturing the Class B girls state championship on Feb. 8 in Lincoln. She started the day by rolling a 230 that led to a four-game qualifying total of 697 and the third seed for the championship bracket. But if any of her competitors thought Jensen was trailing off following a 149 in the final qualifying game, she showed them she saved the best for last. Jensen led her quarterfinal match by just two pins after the first game then outscored her opponent by 36 in the second game. She fell into a 236-201 hole after the first game of the semifinals but came back from that deficit with a 183-130 win in game two. In the final, she led by eight then left no doubt when she outscored her foe by 28 in the second game. Jensen also completed a double by leading Wayne to a team title.

Nate Germonprez, Westside Boys Swimming

Germonprez had collected a medal in every event he had competed at in state swimming and added to the collection on Saturday in the finals when he won the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events to go with runner-up finishes on Westside’s 100 free and medley relay teams. His win in the 100 free defends his title from last year. With two more gold medals he end his varsity career with six gold medals, five in individual events and as a member of the 2020 medley relay time. Although he couldn’t better his times, Germonprez already owns the state record in the 100 and 200 freestyle events.

Kenzie Melcher, Bellevue West Girls Basketball

Melcher was in the middle of her second five-game stretch of double-digit point totals when she put up 19 in Wednesday’s win over Elkhorn South that earned Bell West it’s 21st victory of the season. She hit three times from distance, was a perfect 4 for 4 from the line and grabbed five boards on each end for a double-double on 10 rebounds. The performance was Melcher’s second double-double of the season.

Kalvin Hahn, Millard North Boys Swimming

Hahn went to the top of the podium twice at the state meet when he won the 500-yard freestyle and the 100 breaststroke at the state meet. His final high school meet also included swimming a leg of the 200 medley relay and free relay that picked up two more medals. Hahn’s career now includes 11 total medals at state, two golds and two silvers. Hahn’s win in the 500 free was one of the most dramatic finishes of the meet. After trailing most of the race, Hahn came back and took the lead in the final 25 yards for a win by 0.10 seconds. His time of 4:29.30 in the 500 made him second on the all-time list.

Kailey O’Grady, Bennington Girls Basketball

O’Grady had only scored in double digits three times before Feb. 20 when the senior exploded for a career-high 21 in a home win over Elkhorn that made it victories in five out of the last six. She only needed seven shot attempts to reach her total thanks to five three-pointers and a perfect 6 for 6 on free throws. It was the second time this season O’Grady has hit five threes in a game. She has 37 makes from the perimeter and is shooting 34%.

Garrett Hansen, McCool Junction Boys Bowling

Hansen was down by 12 pins then came storming back for a win by four when he rolled over 200 in the second game on Feb. 8 in the boys Class B state bowling championship. Hansen’s championship included three scores of more than 220 in the preliminaries and the top total of the preliminary round at 893. As the top seed in the championship bracket, he dominated the first two rounds by putting together a 418 in the quarterfinals then 490 in the semifinals. Hansen won the quarterfinals by 61 then took the semifinals by 86. His championship bracket games included totals of 243, 247 and 265.

Mikah O’Neill, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller Girls Basketball

O’Neill and the Mustangs are back to state for the first time in 13 years thanks to her 26 points in the district final win over Alma. Her aggressive attitude at taking the ball to the hoop earned O’Neill 10 free throws and nine makes. She also had a double-double on 10 rebounds and swiped away five steals during her seventh 20-point game of the season. O’Neill has generated 162 free throws this season and is averaging a double-double on 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Connor Millikan, Platteview Boys Basketball

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.

Molly Von Seggern, Millard North Girls Swimming

Von Seggern won three gold medals and increased her career total to eight state gold medals on Saturday in Lincoln. The Millard North senior won the 100-yard butterfly and 100 back for her second and third individual golds and was the led leg on the 200 medley relay that edged out Marian by .20 seconds. Both of her wins in the 100 fly and 100 back fit into the top-10 all-time list. Her win in the 100 fly was the second year in a row she’s claimed the gold in that title. Von Seggern’s career at state ends with eight gold medals, two silvers, three bronze and one for seventh-place.

Maurice Reide, Parkview Christian Boys Basketball

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.

Mckenna Yates, McCool Junction Girls Basketball

Yates was unstoppable in a district final win over Pleasanton and led her team to a win that sends the Mustangs to the state tournament for the first time in 20 years. She hit 12 of 18 shots, was a blazing 8 of 12 from three-point range and a perfect 7 for 7 at the free throw line while scoring a career-high 39 points. It was the second time she’s scored more than 30 points this season and the fourth time she’s done that in her career. Yates has 72 three-pointers this season, 180 in her career and also set a new career-high with the eight makes from the perimeter.

Jonny Puelz, Lincoln Lutheran Boys Basketball

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.