For the second time in three years, the North Platte Bulldogs will be hosting the Class A-6 District in the Dawg House — and only the second time in the school’s history. For those that remember that 2011 tournament, the results weren’t exactly what the Bulldogs were looking for.
“A couple of the seniors have actually reminded me,” said North Platte Matt Kaminski of the Bulldogs early exit from the tournament. “They know this time of year records are out the window. Teams are refocused with new life and new energy, especially in class A.
“Any team on any given night can surely beat anyone. All the teams we have seen in class A play tremendous defense. They’re going to bring their ‘A’ games to district. You have to be able to execute and you need to make plays at a high level. We know we have to do that come Saturday.”
The Bulldogs completed their season with a 16-6 record and winning nine of 10 games on their home floor. Their only home loss came at the hands of the Kearney Bearcats in early January.
“It means a lot of things especially to us with our location,” said Kaminski of hosting a district. “It gives the opportunity for the school and community to have a rare opportunity to support good basketball.
“The kids have worked hard to achieve this goal. It’s a huge advantage because this time of year you need as much energy and enthusiasm as you can get. Having a home crowd and home atmosphere definitely boosts that and it’s encouraging to know we’re going to be playing in our own gym.”
North Platte will play Papillion-LaVista South on Saturday in the 5:30 p.m. game followed by Omaha North and Omaha Bryan at 7 p.m. South comes into the contest against the Bulldogs with a 7-15 record after dropping their last five games, but four of those teams have a combined 51-29 record.
“Papio South plays a very difficult Metro schedule,” Kaminski said. “I told the boys their record means nothing so don’t look at it.
“They play tremendous competition and have competed well at times. They’re going to come in very confident. They have excellent shooters and are well coached. They space you out and are very fundamentally sound when you look at them on film.”
Both Kaminski and South’s head coach Joel Hueser have a McCook connection. Kaminski moved to McCook in 1990 and played for the Bison. Hueser was Kaminski’s coach from 1991-93.
“I know their coach very well. I know they’ll have us scouted and they’ll be very ready to play,” Kaminski said.
Omaha North brings a 13-9 record into the A-6 District after dropping their final regular-season game in 2 OTs to 21-3 Omaha South 75-71. Bryan, losers of their last five contests, has an 8-14 record.
“We have three teams from the Metro coming to North Platte and I have respect for all three teams,” Kaminski said. “All three have tremendous athleticism — tremendous play makers and tremendous coaches. There’s no doubt you have to be dialed in for 32 minutes to not only be able to do the little things but to execute and play at a high level.”