NEBRASKA CITY, NE – The Lourdes Central Catholic boys basketball team has been to the Nebraska School Activities Association State Basketball Championships three of the last four years, winning two state titles in 2016 and 2017.
The Knights are the first team since Spencer-Naper in 2002-2003 to win back-to-back Class D1 state championships.
Head Coach Joe Tynon told Nebraska City Rotary members Wednesday he could see what kind off success the Knights’ basketball program could build when the 2013-2014 team made the school’s first trip to the state tournament.
“That was kind of that hump to get us to the state tournament. Since then, we’ve been to the state tournament three out of four years. I think that group, about 2014, was the group that kind of got us going and kind of started building that momentum of the state tournament is where we want to be at.”
Nebraska City Lourdes’ success at the high school level begins at a young age for both girls and boys. According to Tynon, coaches get kids into the gym, put a basketball in their hands, go over fundamentals and teach them to love the game.
“We have camps all-the-time, we have kids in the gym. During the winter months, we have a camp that runs weekly throughout the whole basketball season. Then, in the summer, we do four weeks of running camps every week for an hour and a half.”
The Knights saw success before their new gymnasium and auditorium, but they have become even better with the new facilities, because the student-athletes aren’t as tired.
Before the new competition gym, the boys team would practice from 4:00 – 6:00, followed by the girls team from 6:00-8:00, or vice-versa. Then, the students who were involved in the school musical, One-Acts and/or Speech would have to meet after their basketball workouts.
With two gyms, Tynon says students can now get home at a decent hour.
“Then we have kids that aren’t so tired throughout the whole year and towards the end of the basketball season in February, where it’s always such a grind anyway. It’s a matter of who’s healthy and who’s not as tired, that’s a big key for us now.”
Lourdes returns seven players next season, including starters Quentin Vasa, Ben Miller and Thomas Ragland. All three will be seniors. No team has ever won three-straight state titles in Class D1.