Opening week for high school basketball in Nebraska begins Thursday, with the OPS Jamboree the top attraction.
The seven Omaha Public Schools and Millard South have been divided into two four-team brackets based on last season's final wild-card point averages. First-round games are Thursday, with third-place and championship games on Saturday.
In the top bracket are Omaha Central, Omaha North and Omaha Benson in boys and girls, along with Omaha South's boys and Omaha Northwest's girls. North will host Central in a girls-boys doubleheader Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m. Benson's boys visit South and Northwest's girls visit Benson in 7:15 p.m. games.
Thursday's losers meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Benson for girls and South for boys, with the finals at those sites at 2:45 p.m.
In the other bracket are Omaha Bryan, Omaha Burke and Millard South girls and boys, Omaha South's girls and Omaha Northwest's boys.
All Class A schools except for newcomer South Sioux City open the season with four-team tourneys.
Also on the schedule is the eight-team Grand Island Central Catholic invitational that starts Thursday.
Border-state battles Dec. 21 at Jennie Ed Shootout
With the Nebraska Prep Classic on hiatus, the top local boys basketball showcase event this season will be the Jennie Ed Sports Med MAC Shootout.
Six Nebraska teams will play Iowa opponents on Dec. 21, the final day of the three-day event at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, topped by the 8 p.m. game between Omaha South and Sioux City North. North was 21-3 last year while South took third in Class A.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students.
Nebraska games: 12:30 p.m., Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson vs. South Sioux City; 2, CB Lewis Central vs. Bellevue East; 3:30, CB Abraham Lincoln vs. Ralston; 5, West Des Moines Valley vs. Omaha Westside; 6:30, Sioux City East vs. Papillion-La Vista; 8, Sioux City North vs Omaha South.
Benson plans no appeal if it drops to Class B in football
Omaha Benson will not try to stay in Class A in football if its enrollment puts the school in Class B, Principal Anita Harkins-Baldwin said. The school, if necessary, will request a waiver from the Nebraska School Activities Association to remain Class A in all other sports for the 2014-15 school year.
The NSAA is expected to release new enrollment figures at its Dec. 12 board meeting in Norfolk. In football, Benson and Lincoln Pius X are expected to go from A to B with South Sioux City and Columbus their replacements in Class A.
Phillips selected to play in International Bowl
Millard West defensive lineman Harrison Phillips, who's a Stanford recruit, has been selected to play on the 2014 U.S. Under-19 National Team that will play Team Canada in the 2014 International Bowl on Feb. 7 at the University of Texas at Arlington.
His Wildcats teammate, Ross Drwal, recently announced that he will attend Harvard and play football for the Crimson.
Metro cross country runners earn all-region honors
Seth Hirsch of Millard West was 11th and Reno Law of Millard South 13th, each landing on the all-region second team at last month's Nike Cross Heartland Regionals in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Law led the Patriot XC Club, comprised of his school teammates, to a fifth-place finish in a highly competitive team race. Also on the team were Ben Wellwood, Nathan Wendt, Daniel Shriver, Waylon Matson, Terance Johnson and Ryan Hanrahan.
State champion Jeralyn Poe of Lincoln North Star, competing for the Mill Road Running Club, was 28th to lead Nebraska finishers. Two-time Metro Conference winner Katie Spencer of Millard South was 32nd.
Around the state: Stapleton, McPherson County to split up
Stapleton and McPherson County will dissolve their cooperative-sponsorship program after this season. Stapleton is expected to play eight-man football next year while McPherson County is likely to rejoin the six-man ranks.
» Spalding and Cedar Rapids, which are considering a merger, have formed a new football-only co-op for the next two years. Spalding had combined with Spalding Academy in football starting in 1997. Other new football co-ops will be Milford and Dorchester, Loup City and Arcadia, Greeley-Wolbach and Cedar Rapids (all sports), and St. Paul and Elba.