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Nebraska high school girls basketball Top 25 rankings (2/20/2024)

District tournament set to determine state qualifiers
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With the dust from the regular season settling, Nebraska girls basketball squads are duking it out this week for eight state tournament spots. 

The state tournament is being held Feb. 28-March 2 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. Most district pools have a clear-cut favorite; however, don’t be surprised if there’s some parity at play when play kicks off Tuesday. 

1. Millard West (22-1, Last Week #1) 

The Wildcats, the No. 1 seed in District 1-A, face the winner of Omaha Northwest vs. Fremont on Wednesday. The Wildcats are heavily favored to win this district and are the likely choice to win state. Junior Neleigh Gessert has been sound as can be this season, leading Millard West with nearly 19 points per game.

2. Lincoln Southwest (19-3, Last Week #4)

Southwest is the No. 1 seed in District A-2, and faces the winner of Omaha Burke vs. Omaha South on Wednesday. The Silverhawks are winners of six straight and are coming off a 59-38 win over Kearney. Senior Kennadi Willimas is netting 16 points per game.

3. Elkhorn North (17-1, Last Week #2)

Elkhorn North drops one spot in this week’s rankings. The Wolves are coming off a 79-36 route of Grand Island Northwest. The Wolves, the No. 1 seed in Subdistrict B-4, play No. 4-seeded Elkhorn Monday evening. North is looking to three-peat this year at the State Tournament.

4. Skutt Catholic (22-1, Last Week #3)

Skutt Catholic, the No. 1 seed in Subdistrict B-3, faces 4-seed Ralston Monday evening. Ralston hasn’t won a game this season and this one will likely get ugly in a hurry. Skutt will face the winner of Omaha Mercy vs. Omaha Duchesne Academy. Both teams have a losing record on the season.

5. Millard North (16-6, Last Week #6)

The Mustangs are the No. 1 seed in District A-4, and face the winner of Gretna vs. Grand Island on Wednesday. No. 2 seed Omaha Central is the likely matchup to face North in the District Final. Gretna and Grand Island have combined to win seven games all season.

6. Lincoln Pius X (16-6, Last Week #10)

Pius has positioned itself well to make the state tournament this season. The Thunderbolts have won eight straight and are trying to put last year’s District Tournament heartbreak in the rearview. Last year, North Star beat them in overtime to end their season. Pius will likely face Lincoln Southeast in the final Thursday.

7. Bellevue West (16-6, Last Week #9)

The Thunderbirds have rolled to 10-straight wins and have really found their rhythm at this point in the season. Bellevue West plays Wednesday against the winner of Lincoln High and Buena Vista. The District final will be a big one, with a likely matchup against rival Bellevue East.

8. Lincoln North Star (17-5, Last Week #5)

North Star is at the end of a difficult three-game stretch. They beat a good Lincoln Southeast team, but fell to both Lincoln Southwest and Millard North. The Navigators earned a No. 1 seed in District A-5, and play Wednesday against the Winner of Omaha North and Omaha Bryan. Marian looks to be the stiffest competition in this District.

9. Lincoln Northeast (17-6, Last Week #8)

The Rockets are coming off a 65-47 loss to Pius, but have won four of the last five. Northeast faces 9-14 Omaha Westview Wednesday, and if it wins, will play the winner of Papillion-La Vista South and Millard South Thursday. Northeast will need big showings from Doneelah Washington, who is averaging nearly 22 points per outing.

10. Omaha Central (17-6, Last Week #11)

Central is a No. 2 seed in District A-4 and faces Lincoln East Wednesday. A District Final between the Eagles and Millard North is the most likely projection. Central is coming off a 67-57 win over Omaha Westside. Inia Jones leads the Eagles in scoring, averaging 18 points per game.

11. Lincoln Southeast (16-6, Last Week #12)

Southeast has a big opportunity to make it to State in District A-6. The Knights face North Platte Tuesday, and if they win, the winner of Pius vs. Norfolk. Though it wouldn't be an upset, per-se, we think Southeast has a great shot to win this game. Southeast is coming off a 44-37 loss to North Star.

12. Papillion-La Vista South (15-7, Last Week #7)

Riding a four-game win streak, PLVS has dropped its last two against Bellevue West and Millard West. Both losses came in blowout form. The Titans look to get back on track this Tuesday in the District A-7 bracket when they face 8-14 Millard South. If they win, they will take on the winner of Lincoln Northeast and Omaha Westview.

13. Gretna East (16-6, Last Week #15)

Gretna East has had a heck of a year, but has a tough draw with No. 1 seed Elkhorn North being in the Subdistrict B-4 bracket. The Griffins face 15-7 Bennington Monday evening, and if they win, take on the victor of Elkhorn North vs. Elkhorn Tuesday.

14. Marian (15-7, Last Week #13)

Marian has lost two out of its last three games, falling to Millard West and Millard North. The Crusaders are a No. 2 seed in District A-5 and face 10-12 Columbus Wednesday. Elsa Vedral leads Marian in scoring, netting 12 per game. McKenna Stover is averaging about eight points per game.

15. Bellevue East (15-7, Last Week #14)

The Chieftains have won their last four games, including a huge overtime victory against Millard North. Bellevue East is a No. 2 seed in District A-3, and faces 11-12 Elkhorn South Wednesday. It’s likely East will face Bellevue West in the District Finals Friday. This could be a heck of a matchup.

16. Waverly (16-4, Last Week #17)

The Vikings are riding a six-game win streak, with their last loss coming in late January against Gretna East. Junior Parker Christiansen has been a strong presence all season, averaging 13 points per game. Waverly, the No. 1 seed in Subdistrict B-2, faces the winner of Nebraska vs. Plattsmouth Tuesday.

17. Norris (16-5, Last Week #18)

Norris is the No. 2 seed in Subdistrict B-1 and faces 15-8 Crete Monday evening. We like Norris in this game, and think it has a legitimate shot to make it to state. If the Titans get through Crete, they will face No. 1 seed Beatrice in the District Final Tuesday. Norris toppled Beatrice during the regular season 57-52.

18. Benson (12-8, Last Week #16)

Benson falls two spots in this week’s Power Rankings after losing two of its last three games. The Bunnies beat Omaha South, but fell to Elkhorn South and Lincoln Northeast. Benson is a No. 3 seed in District A-1 and faces 13-9 Papillion-La Vista. We give Benson the edge here, but won’t be surprised if PLV pulls it off.

19. Beatrice (16-4, Last Week NR)

The Orangemen are the No. 1 seed in Subdistrict B-1 and face the winner of Crete vs. Norris on Tuesday in the Subdistrict Final. Norris bettered Beatrice during the regular season, and give them a slight edge in the rematch. This will be a good one to watch if it’s the final matchup.

20. Bridgeport (24-0, Last Week #23)

The Bulldogs are the top squad in Nebraska’s C-1 class. They won the Subdistrict C1-12 final against Sidney 40-33. Olivia Loomis-Goltl led Bridgeport with 15 points, shooting 63 percent from the floor. Last year, Bridgeport took third place at State.

21. Sidney (23-1, Last Week #22)

Sidney, the No. 1 seed in Subdistrict C1-12, fell to Bridgeport in the finals 40-33. It’s the lone blemish on an otherwise stellar season from the Red Raiders and snapped a 23-game win streak dating back to the start of the season.

22. Kearney (12-10, Last Week #19)

Kearney has won three of its last four, including an impressive 53-42 win over Lincoln Southeast Feb. 9. The Bearcats last game, though, was rough – they fell to Lincoln Southwest 59-38. Kearney is the No. 3 seed in District A-2 and faces Omaha Westside Wednesday evening.

23. North Platte (11-8, Last Week NR)

North Platte enters our rankings for the first time this season. The Bulldogs are the No. 3 seed in District A-6 and face Lincoln Southeast Tuesday. This is a tough draw for North Platte, but the Bulldogs have won three straight and are deserving of making the Top 25 Power Rankings.

24. Lincoln Christian (21-2, Last Week #24)

Lincoln Christian is the winner of Subdistrict C1-2 following a 66-34 win over Raymond Central. The Crusaders two losses of the year came at the hands of Sidney and Grand Island Central Catholic. This squad recently picked up big wins against Class B Norris and Class B Beatrice.

25. Grand Island Central Catholic (21-2, Last Week NR)

GICC makes its way into our rankings this week for the first time this season. GICC won Subdistrict C1-9 with a 41-40 win over Adams Central. On the year, GICC has only fallen to Lincoln Christian and Hastings St. Cecelia.

Next 5: Papillion-La Vista, Westside, Elkhorn South, Lincoln East, Bennington 

--Sam Pimper I @SBLiveNeb