Auburn will tip-off second ever state tournament appearance vs. defending champions

AUBURN – The Auburn girls basketball team has heard it from everybody: “haven’t been to state since 1978.” That trip forty-years ago was the only trip to the Nebraska state tournament in the school’s history.


The Bulldogs defeated Conestoga, 51-42, in last Friday’s Class C1-1 District Final to punch their ticket to Lincoln this weekend.

One current member of the team may have heard about the ’78 team a little bit more than others.

Cindy Clark, who played point guard in that Class B state tournament, is head coach Grant Cole’s mother. Auburn lost to eventual champion Lexington, 54-31, in the first round.

“It’s really special to be able to get back to the state tournament and have that connection with that 1978 team, because my mom was the point guard on that team. I mean that’s special. This is special for the girls and that’s more important, because I want the girls to enjoy this experience as much as possible.”

Cole is an Auburn boy through and through. Played quarterback for the Bulldogs. Graduated in 2009. Came back in 2015 to teach and coach softball and basketball. He has led the softball team to the state tournament the last two seasons.

In his first season as the girls basketball coach, he leads the school to the 2018 Nebraska School Activities Association Class C1 State Championships. Auburn, the #6-seed at 21-4, begins tournament play on Thursday at 9 a.m. against #3 and defending champions Lincoln Christian (19-4). The Crusaders are making their fourth-straight appearance (21st overall) at the state tournament.

The game will be held on the Bob Devaney Sports Center and will be broadcast on KNCY 1600 AM, 105.5 FM and (Fans wanting to listen in Auburn will catch a better signal on 1600 AM)

2018 Nebraska School Activities Association State Championship Brackets

C1 First Round: #6 Auburn vs. #3 Lincoln Christian

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Bob Devaney Sports Center

Radio: 1600 AM, 105.5 FM and

D2 First Round: #1 Sacred Heart vs. #8 Sandhills/Thedford

When: 9 a.m. Thursday

Where: Lincoln North Star High School

Radio: 103.1 FM,

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Class C1 girls state basketball tournament scouting report

Auburn Bulldogs (21-4)

Coach: Grant Cole

W-H ranking: 6

Tournament history: Second appearance, first since 1978

Top scorers: Ashley Teten, 14.3 ppg; Sydnie Reeves, 7.8

Top rebounder: Reeves, 7.3 rpg

Fast fact: Cole, in his first season as head coach, led the Bulldogs to state for the first time in 40 years

Columbus Scotus Shamrocks (19-5)

Coach: Jarrod Ridder

W-H ranking: 4

Tournament history: Eleventh state tourney appearance, second in a row

Top scorers: Bailey Lehr, 10.4 ppg; Marika Spencer, 9.4

Top rebounder: Lehr, 7.8 rpg

Fast fact: The Shamrocks reached state by avenging two earlier losses against Lincoln Christian, defeating the Crusaders 35-34 in OT in the district final

Grand Island Central Catholic Crusaders (18-7)

Coach: Stacia Rice

W-H ranking: Unranked

Tournament history: Seventh appearance, first since 2008

Top scorers: Megan Woods, 18.1 ppg; Courtney Wilson, 9.2

Top rebounder: Woods, 11.7 rpg

Fast fact: Woods, a UNO volleyball recruit, helped the Crusaders reach the C-1 state volleyball final

Lincoln Christian Crusaders (22-5)

Coach: Nick Orduna

W-H ranking: 5

Tournament history: Twenty-first state tourney appearance, fourth in a row; two-time champion, including last year

Top scorers: Chloe Dworak, 16.5 ppg; Emily Hollenbeck, 9.8

Top rebounder: Hollenbeck, 7.3

Fast fact: Dworak, an All-Nebraska selection last year, will walk on at Creighton

Mitchell Tigers (26-0)

Coach: Tory Schwartz

W-H ranking: 3

Tournament history: Sixth state tourney appearance, third in a row

Top scorers: Keyana Wilfred, 20.3 ppg; Jori Peters, 14.4

Top rebounder: Wilfred, 7.5 rpg

Fast fact: Mitchell, the only unbeaten team left in the state, is winless in five previous state tourney appearances

Pierce Bluejays (17-8)

Coach: Darren Sindelar

W-H ranking: 7

Tournament history: Eighth appearance, first since 2016; three-time champion, most recently 2015

Top scorers: Carly Sutherland, 13.9 ppg; Maggie Brahmer, 11.0

Top rebounder: Brahmer, 11.0 rpg

Fast fact: The Bluejays knocked off previously unbeaten Ord in the district final to earn their state tourney berth

Wahoo Warriors (23-3)

Coach: Linda Walker

W-H ranking: 1

Tournament history: Seventh appearance, first since 2013; state runner-up in 2010 and 2011

Top scorers: Hallie Reeves, 13.2; Taryn Scheef, 11.8

Top rebounder: Kyla Swanson, 5.6 rpg

Fast fact: The Warriors are going for the rare volleyball-girls basketball state championship sweep this season

Wahoo Neumann Cavaliers (19-4)

Coach: Jason Simons

W-H ranking: 2

Tournament history: Seventeenth trip to state, fifth year in a row; two-time champion

Top scorers: Aspen Jansa, 13.4 ppg; Lindsey Thiele, 9.2

Top rebounder: Thiele, 4.6 rpg

Fast fact: The Cavaliers reached state as a wild card after losing to Wahoo in the subdistrict final

The World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.

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