LINCOLN – Two teams with storied basketball traditions will meet up Thursday in the opening round of the Class B state tournament.
The Wahoo Warriors and Mount Michael Benedictine Knights will play at 10:45 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday in the 4-5 seed match up.
The two teams are no stranger to the state tournament and have combined for 13 championships.
They also have recent history.
One of the two Warrior losses this season came at the hands of the Knights in the Class B-4 sub-district tournament final played at Wahoo High School on Feb. 25.
After earning one of the eight Class B wildcards, the Warriors advanced to their third consecutive state tournament with a 70-55 win over the Platteview Trojans in the Class B-4 district final at Wahoo High School on Feb. 29.
The win was the 23rd of the season against just two losses for a Warrior team which returned just two starters off of last season’s 24-5 squad.
Veteran Head Coach Kevin Scheef has done a masterful job getting his ninth Wahoo team to Lincoln.
The 23 wins this season give Scheef 487 in his 30 years coaching high school basketball. In his 19 years at Wahoo he has compiled 366 wins against just 104 losses.
Scheef has two state championships and three runner-up finishes at the state tournament during his two decade tenure at Wahoo High School. His Wahoo teams have won 13 of their 20 games in Lincoln.
This year’s Wahoo team is led by seniors Trey Scheef and Thomas Waido.
Scheef enters the tournament as the team’s leading scorer at 18 points per game. He shoots 43 percent from behind the 3-point line, 53 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free throw line.
Undersized at 6’0”, Scheef is adept at getting to the basket and finishing against bigger players in the half court. He is also deadly when he runs the floor, scoring numerous lay ups on crisply thrown outlet passes.
Waido, the team’s tallest player at 6’4” plays at the top of the Warriors 1-3-1 defense and is an irritant for opposing teams in the half court.
Waido averages 12.2 points and leads the team in rebounds (122), steals (100) and assists (74). Waido shoots 55 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the free throw line.
Rounding out the starting five are senior Gerardo Madrid and juniors Triston Keeney and Trevor Kasischke.
Kasischke has improved tremendously over the past two months and enters the tournament as the team’s third leading scorer at 9.9 per contest.
Kasischke is the team’s most efficient 3-point shooter at 46.5 percent and shoots 75 percent from the line.
Also undersized at 6’0”, Kasischke is an effective rebounder and defender at the bottom of the Warrior zone.
Madrid has also stepped up his game, providing the Warriors with another 40 percent shooter from behind the 3-point line.
Keeney, a transfer from Fremont High School, enters the state tournament averaging 8.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals a contest for the Warriors.
Senior Braden Harris and freshman Owen Hancock come off the bench for Wahoo.
Harris brings toughness and a big body off the bench while scoring at seven points a game.
Hancock understands the game at a high level for a freshman player and provides valuable minutes off the bench.
Wahoo is the highest scoring Class B team in the tournament pouring in nearly 70 points a game, while giving up just 51 per game.
Mount Michael enters Thursday’s game with a record of 21-5.
The Knights team is built around an extremely talented junior class led by 6’5” post Kaleb Brink. Brink leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game and also leads the team on the boards at 6.6 per contest.
6’0” guard Bradley Bennett also scores in double-figures for the Knights at 11.1 per game. Wahoo will have to know where he is at all times. He made seven 3-pointers against Wahoo in the sub-district championship game.
The Knights last appearance at the state tournament came in 2015. They finished runner-up in 2005 and were state champs in 1983 and 1985.
They average 63 points a game offensively and allow only 44.6 per game defensively.