What a ride for Coach Bahe and his talented Storm. Elkhorn South enters State play with a perfect 24-0 record and the #1 seed. They take the Devaney court Thursday at 7:00 to face the #8 seed Grand Island Northwest who enters the tournament with a 11-16 record but riding a five game winning streak.
Elkhorn South has an impressive 12-0 mark against teams with a winning record this season while the Northwest Vikings are just 1-10 in such games. To make matters worse the Vikings are just 2-5 against Class "C1" opponents and 1-2 verse Class "C2" teams. The Storm are 2-0 against "C1" teams, 20-0 verse Class 'B" teams, and 2-0 against Class "A" opponents. Both teams played Seward (13-12) with the Storm winning by 31 and the Vikings losing by 5 in overtime, against Bishop Neumann, Northwest lost by 35 points while the Storm won by 14 points, against 8-17 Columbus the Vikings lost by 4 points while Elkhorn South won by 36.This wide margin continues with other common opponents played and none of it gives the Vikings much hope of winning this game.
The Storm should advance to play either Skutt or Scottsbluff. Coach Bahe would probably rather face the Bearcats than play the Skyhawks for a third time this season. Elkhorn South has won both meetings with Skutt this season and both went down to the wire. In December the Storm prevailed 55-53 at Skutt and in the district finals last week they remained undefeated by posting a 52-46 win. Beating a tough team three times in a season is always hard to do.
The Storm are led by a group of seniors that knows how to win and what it takes to win. Matt Thomas is always a threat to score, but his play making skills have also emerged this season and his ability to make the others around him better is a big reason this team is 24-0. Johnny Trueblood is a 6'2 guard that can stroke the deep ball or take it off the bounce and when teams have tried a box and one on Thomas, Trueblood is one that often makes the opponents pay. J.J. Zumbrennen is a 5'11 guard who often plays small forward on this team and is yet another scoring threat that has to be accounted for. Just ask Nebraska City who saw JJ go off for 24 points on 7 three balls. Fellow seniors Aaron Hardy, Josh Alberts, and JohnWehling get a lot of their work done in the paint and rebound very well for guys that are often under sized in the front court. Alberts had a double double in the Gretna win in districts with 11 points and 12 boards.
It's easy to talk about the Storms offense and all of their weapons but, their defense is very good. To defeat Elkhorn you have to beat their pressure and that;s tough do. Coach Bahe does an excellent job of negating his height by using full court and 3/4 court pressure to slow down the half court games of their opponents and to get easy transition buckets off their pressure. Forecast: Hawks may cause some turbulence but Lincoln appears Stormy through Saturday.