LINCOLN – It’s been a tremendous three year run for the Yutan boys basketball team.
Under the direction of their energetic and defensive minded Head Coach Justin Petersen, the Chieftains have compiled a record of 70-9 over the last three seasons, qualified for the state tournament three times, finishing fourth in 2018 and runner-up last season in Class C-2.
The Chieftains are looking for their first state tournament win in nearly a century. The Chieftains beat Nelson 16-13 in 1924 to the win the Class E state title.
They got close last season, falling to undefeated BRLD 53-42 in the Class C-2 state title game.
Three starters returned off last year’s runner-up squad including All-State candidate Brady Timm.
Timm, a 5’11” junior point guard is the offensive catalyst for the Chieftains and is one of the top on-ball defenders in the state.
He averages 13.6 points a game, leads all of Class C-2 with 152 assists, leads the team with 56 steals and shoots 83 percent from the free throw line.
6’2” combo guard Trey Knudsen has also put together a phenomenal campaign. Knudsen is the consummate ‘3-and-D’ type guy with unlimited range and the ability to guard multiple positions on the defensive end. He leads the team in scoring at 14.1 per game and also leads the team in made 3-pointers.
6’6” senior post Colby Tichota also returned this season after starting as a junior on the Chieftains runner-up squad.
Tichota averages 11.7 points a game, 6.6 rebounds and is a game-changer defensively with 50 blocked shots on the season.
5’9” guard Will Hays shoots the ‘3’ with deadly precision and despite being undersized brings toughness and the ability to rebound into the fray. He averages nearly 10 points a game.
6’2” sophomore Sam Petersen rounds out the starting five and averages 3.7 points and three rebounds a game.
The Chieftains average a shade over 55 points per contest and give up only 39 points a game on the defensive end of the floor.
A familiar opponent awaits the Chieftains in the opening round.
The Ponca Indians bring a 23-4 record to Lincoln and are seeking a measure of revenge against the Chieftains. Yutan defeated the Indians 46-42 in the state semifinals a season ago; ending the Indians shot at playing for a third consecutive state title.
6’5” senior All-Stater Carter Kingsbury is back to lead the Indians.
Kingsbury scores at nearly 22 points a game and leads the Indians with 189 rebounds and 107 assists.
Guards Cayden Phillips and Brandon Kneifl also score in double-digits for the Indians.
The Indians average 62 points a game and allow just 48 on the defensive end.