Great Moments, Boys Basketball:
- 2003 – Basketball: “The Big Barn”:
“The Old Barn,” which is what the Nebraska Coliseum was affectionately known to high school basketball fans, played host to the state tournament from 1926-76.
In the Twenties, practically any team with a way to get to Lincoln came to play in the state tournament. In the Coliseum’s first year, 339 teams were on hand and were divided into 22 classes (A to V). It was the biggest field ever. Games were played from early in the morning until close to midnight, using other venues in Lincoln for the early rounds as well.
They broke up the Coliseum floors in ’26 so seven games went on at the same time. For several years, four courts were in use –two on the main floor (one went crossways), separated by curtains), one on the stage and a fourth in the basement (eventually became a swimming pool).
By 1961, only the larger main floor was used.
Meanwhile, attendance greatly increased so the Coliseum practically every year had a semifinal or championship game (or both) that resulted in full houses and spectators locked out.
With all 1976 state finals in the then new Bob Devaney Sports Center, the Coliseum was an early round host its final year, with the Class C semifinal in 1976 the last high school game played there (Walthill 56-54 over Howells before a crowd of 3,421 and Brian Blum of Howells scored the last basket).
- 2002: “Huge Jump Shot”:
Matt Kelly, Millard South. With two seconds left, Matt made the jump shot that defeated Columbus in the 1989 Class A State Championship game. This win for Millard South cinched the first undefeated season for a Class A team in 29 years and gave the team a No. 23 team ranking in the nation.
- 2001: “In Focus”:
The 1976-77 newspaper photograph by Rudy Smith of the Omaha World-Herald, shot at the conclusion of the thrilling boys basketball tournament championship game between Holdrege and Aurora, captured the essence of high school sports: the joy of the winners, the anguish of defeat and the compassion of a dedicated coach.
- 2001: “Point Parade”:
1934 basketball game. With Avoca winning by 100-0 against Syracuse, a game which is believed to be the only Nebraska high school game mentioned in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”
- 2000 – Football/Basketball: “Historic Double”:
In 1975, the first year of the NSAA-determined football championships, Nelson High School won the Class D 11-man football title and followed it with the basketball championship in March, thus becoming the first official winner of state championships in the two sports in the same year. Gary DeBoer was the football coach, Tom Murray the basketball coach.
- 1998: “Multi Miracles”:
Wahoo High School in 1989 was in the early segment of a state record winning streak that eventually in 1992 reached 114 games, The streakest biggest scare came in the finals of the 1989 boys state tournament when the Warriors won a state championship with two dramatic three-point goals in a Class B finals overtime victory. Down by 61-55 with 11 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, Bernie Inbody made a 30-footer , then made a steal and got the ball to Troy Glock whose last-second field goal did some dramatic bouncing from rim to backboard and back, sending the game with Lincoln Pius X into overtime. Inbody started the overtime with a three-pointer and Wahoo went on to win by 68-66.
- 1997: “Fantastic Final”:
The 50 points by Andre Woolridge of Omaha Benson in one game during the 1992 Class A state tournament, an individual showing in terms of inside-outside that had a huge Devaney Center crowd in awe of what took place on the floor in front of them.
- 1995: “Miracle on Vine Street”:
Lincoln East’s last second shot by Scott Copple, winning the 1971 state tournament final against Papillion.
- 1995: “Scoring Explosion”:
Ed Vondra scored 102 points for Brainard in a 1922 basketball game.