Team Play and an Outstanding Individual Performance by 6-7 Freshman Agau give Central 4 out of the last 5
By Will Cummings
6-foot-7 freshman Akoy Agau was the difference-maker that propelled the Omaha Central Eagles to a 71-58 victory over the No.1 seeded Norfolk Panthers. The win gave Central their fourth Class A state basketball title in the past five years.
The Cardinals had no answer for the big, long-armed and athletic Sudanese who finished the game with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 9 blocked shots—just one block shy of a triple. Agau played with tremendous poise throughout the game and showed quick feet and a nice touch underneath the basket. He even demonstrated on a couple of occasions that he could put the ball on the floor from the perimeter and take it to the hoop and finish. Hmmm!
As a freshman, Agau shows the kind of potential to become one of the best big man prospects to ever come out of Nebraska—he is that special. But to realize his potential he will have to dedicate himself to the constant development of his game. If Akoy Agau does that, man are we in for a treat over the next few years. Yet as good as his performance was last night the Eagles won this game as a TEAM.
The Eagles are a very well-coached team and they are deep in talent. Deverell Biggs, who may not have been on his A-game last night, still lead his team in scoring with 19 points and delivered the goods at the right time when he had to. Senior guard Sean McGary played well, scoring 16 points, while breaking down Norfolk’s defense with his ability to penetrate the lane at will. He also provided some solid defensive play for the Eagles. Senior Josh Hacket (10 points) stepped up big on several occasions with some timely shots and rebounds and so did Dominique McKinsie. Eddie Vinson, Jake Fuhs and Darian Barrientos-Jackson contributed mightily with their play when coming off the bench in relief.
After a brilliant long-range shooting performance in the first half by Norfolk sophomore guard Jalen Bradley (connecting on 4 3-pointers), the Eagle’s defense turned up the heat full tilt in the second half to slow his roll. Ja. Bradley’s inability to find the bottom of the net in the second half and the Panther’s horrendous performance at the foul line would spell their doom.
Bradley set a Class A state tournament record by hitting a total of 12 3-pointers during his three games.
In the end, the Eagles were simply too deep and too athletic for the Panthers to handle. Most importantly, however, the Eagles proved to be just as well-coached—if not better. And that’s how you win championships–four in the last five years. Oh my!
Eric Behrens has certainly built a heck of a resume. How much longer will the young man be around before some college program swoops him up?
Hats off to coach Behrens and his staff and congratulations to the Omaha Central Eagles: 2009-2010 Nebraska High School Class A State Basketball Champions.
Note: The officiating crew working the Class A finals was very good. They let the kids play but kept the game under control.
Announcement: The MHN end-of-season Top 25 Nebraska High School Basketball Prospects ranking will be posted on Friday, March 19th.