West basketball dominates the courts

Beck Frazier, Broadcast Manager

Coming into the season the depth of both Thunderbird basketball teams was very good. Even with the depth though, there were still some questions that wouldn’t get answered until the season started. How good will the guys’ team be without WIll Kyle and Evan Inselman? Are they really the best team in the state after dropping another championship to Millard North? Will the girls team be able to improve like they have for the past three seasons? What will be the effect of losing Taryn Wharton?
This season for the Thunderbirds basketball teams was one of dominance. The boys continued their streak of having 20 plus win seasons finishing 24-0. The girls however, finishing 21-3, haven’t seen a season this good since the 2012-13 season when they ended the season with a 26-3 record.
The boys, while having their moments, left no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are the dominant force for boys basketball in Nebraska. Their closest win of the season was against Gretna and it was by nine points. One of the reasons behind this dominance is the trio of Jaden Jackson, Josiah Dotzler, and Robby Garcia. All three have been averaging more than ten points per game and Garcia leads the team in rebounds per game at 6.
Having wins against teams like Gretna, Creighton Prep, and Sioux City East while winning 24 games in a row also led the boys team to a national ranking from MaxPreps. They went as high as 21st in the nation. Though the boys continued their dominance on the court, the story of the season is the girls basketball team.
The Thunderbirds girls basketball team has gotten better every season since the 2018-19 season. But losing Taryn Wharton to graduation this past year was going to be a blow, or so we thought. Ahinca Russell-Brown, Kenzie Melcher, and newcomer Naomi White have been a fighting force on the court this season.
All three are averaging over 11 points per game with Naomi averaging almost 18 a game and 7.5 rebounds per game. This season, like the boys, has come with many dominant wins with the most dominant win of the season coming against Omaha Burke where they won by 40 points. Their closest wins were against Kearney and Liberty North by one point.
The girls have also had wins against very good teams that include: Millard South, Millard North, Pius X, Millard West, and Lincoln North Star. These performances have led the girls to appearing at first in the state.
Now for both teams, they are preparing for the district tournaments. According to the NSAA website, district tournaments for the girls will start on February 22 and the guys will start on the 25th with the district championships on February 24 for the girls and February 27 for the guys.