The 2017-18 high school basketball season officially kicked off on Thursday, and since then every Metro team has played at least two games. Thus, we took the liberty to vote in our first power rankings of the year. Here’s the results:
1. Omaha Burke
Shereef Mitchell and Co. went 2-0 in week one after narrowly escaping Omaha North on the road and Omaha Central at home. They’re led by Mitchell, who is currently averaging 32.5 points per game through two games after dropping 28 and 37. However, he’s not their only asset. The whole team is shooting 45% thus far. This is a well-rounded team that has weathered the storm thus far. They play Prep this week at the birdcage.
2. Omaha Creighton Prep
Although Norfolk, the defending Class A State Tournament champions, lost the bulk of their talent, it’s never easy to go into a small town atmosphere on the road and win. Prep won at Norfolk by 21. Next, in the face of their first test, the Jr. Jays pulled out a road win over an up-and-coming Lincoln Southwest squad on the road. We’re excited to see how Akol Arop fares against Burke next week, in what will be Prep’s biggest test so far in the 1 vs. 2 matchup.
The Bearcats have yet to play at home, yet they hold a 2-0 record. Kearney held up one of the best 0-2 teams in Papillion-La Vista South on a neutral floor and then came to town and wiped out a very solid Bellevue West squad. If nothing else, don’t pass up your opportunity to see Koster and the rest of the squad play this season.
4. Omaha Central
The Eagles escaped the week 1-1 after two games decided by two or less points on the road. The loss came at Omaha Burke and the win at Omaha Bryan, both games they had control of for the majority of the competitions. Despite the loss, the Eagles were either tied or leading at every quarterly interval against Burke. They held the lead at every interval in the game at Bryan as well.
5. Millard South
The Patriots remain undefeated at the end of week one thanks to an overtime victory at Omaha South and a blowout win at Omaha Northwest. They’re led by Tyrell Carroll, a guard that’s as athletic as they come, and Kyle Perry, a forward that can get the ball in transition and know exactly what to do with it. The Patriots had one real test, which is why they fall behind Central early.
6. Omaha Bryan
It feels good to include them in this post. For that community, that school, and those players on the court, this season has been in the making for years. But this isn’t a pity ranking: the 1-1 Bears deserve this spot. They looked about as good as a team can in a two point loss to Central at home. They bounced back on a neutral floor by taking control early and never looking back in their seven point win over Omaha North.
7. Lincoln Southwest
The 1-1 Silverhawks took down a solid Millard North squad by six points at home, and they were able to pin second ranked Creighton Prep against the wall for a bit on Saturday. This is a legit Lincoln Southwest team coached by Alex Bahe, brother of former Lincoln Southeast and Creighton player Nick Bahe.
8. Bellevue West
The Thunderbirds looked convincing in Thursday’s road win at Lincoln High, and their lone loss came in a close matchup with third ranked Kearney. They’re led by freshman guard Chucky Hepburn, who scored 23 in the win at Lincoln and 11 in the loss to Kearney.
9. Grand Island
The Islanders are another team to watch outside the metro area. They’re off to a 2-0 start after taking down Papillion-La Vista at home and Bellevue East on the road. Eleven of their 16 players are upperclassmen, so they have the experience to become even more dangerous as the season progresses.
10. Lincoln East
Sneaking into the top ten, the Spartans exit week one with a 2-0 record thanks to two double digit wins away from home. Lincoln East has just two players listed on their roster that are not seniors, so the experience they bring is unparalleled. However, they need a statement win to hop in the rankings. The Spartans will have that opportunity when they travel to Kearney on Friday.
Others receiving votes: Omaha South, Millard North