The word “enigma” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something hard to understand or explain”; a synonym given is “mysterious.” I believe the word’s adjectival counterpart, enigmatic, is the perfect way to describe the 2017-18 Metro Conference basketball season. I can not possibly sit here and explain who will be elite this season, and that’s the beauty of it. A large portion of the teams in the Metro participated in open scrimmages to support the Nebraska Hall of Fame on Saturday. Here’s what I got out of the games our staff attended:
The Warriors from 87th and Pacific dropped a four quarter game to Omaha Skutt Catholic by a score of 62-52 at home. While seven Westside players found the basket, two of them also reached double digits (Jadin Booth with 11 and Chase Thompson with 20). The Warriors ran the floor effectively, forcing turnovers and making extra passes, but this is a team whose tallest player is 6’6” and prefers to play the wing. They’re going to live and die off extra passes and jump shots in the half court offense. The Warriors return at Lincoln Northeast in a preseason tournament at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 30.
The Thunderbirds scored 94 points in a span of 32 minutes for an average of 2.93 points per minute. They like to get out and run the floor, but they’ll effectively slow it down in their half court offense as well. Against smaller teams, their inside game will dominate the paint which is exactly what happened against Boys Town. Bellevue West has four players listed at 6’5” or taller, so their weapons near the basket are countless. It’s going to be a fun year for Thunderbirds fans. The T-Birds went 2-0 in a triangular, topping Boys Town 53-30 and Millard South 41-38. They return to action at Lincoln High in a preseason tournament on Thursday, November 30, at 7 p.m.
Remember that old tune from Katy Perry that went “you’re hot then you’re cold/you’re yes then you’re no/ you’re in then you’re out”? That sums up this Millard South offense fairly well. They were able to utilize the painted area while up against a small Boys Town team, but when the big boys came out in game two, they relied a lot more on the shot. They shot well in the first eight of the 16 minute scrimmage, which is a good sign. While they played a solid Bellevue West squad to a three point game, their jump shots were frozen down the stretch and it hurt them. They went 1-1 at the triangular, topping Boys Town 47-30 and falling to Bellevue West 41-38. The Patriots return at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 30 in an exhibition at Omaha South.
The Monarchs took to Highway 370 on their travel to Gretna for their Jamboree Saturday matchup. They prevailed, 62-55, over the back-to-back Class B champions. I was not at this game, but the Monarchs “dominated the Dragons in all four quarters”, per Nathanial George. It may have been a scrimmage, but Papio exceeded a lot of expectations in this game. They return to action at Grand Island in the I-80 shootout at 7 p.m. on November 30.
The Fighting Bunnies hosted Ralston on Saturday. They prevailed by a score of 73-39. I wasn’t at this one either, but Benson looked really good, numbers wise. The Bunnies held a 47-24 lead at halftime, and there was no looking back from there. This game had Nathanial asking to leave early, which is a good sign for Benson. They return on Thursday, November 30, at 7 p.m. against Omaha Northwest in the OPS Invite.