Joe's Morning Sports-Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will start Thursday as planned in northeastern Japan’s Fukushima prefecture, but with no torch, no torchbearers, no public, and little ceremony.  There will be an Olympic flame, which arrived on March 12 from Greece, carried in a lantern and transported by a vehicle along what organizers hope will be empty roadsides, and with curious onlookers practicing social distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus.  The Games are set to open in July, but there has been growing pressure for a postponement.

Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick is retiring from the NFL at 29.  The surprising decision comes less than two years after Frederick was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that sidelined him for all of 2018.  Frederick returned last year and made the Pro Bowl.  But Frederick was clear in a statement announcing his retirement that he wasn't the same player from before the diagnosis of Guillian-Barre syndrome.  The auto-immune disease attacks the nervous system and causes weakness.  Frederick was a first-round pick seven years ago.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches honored three individuals associated with the Creighton basketball program as it handed out All-District honors yesterday.  Greg McDermott was named NABC District 5 Coach of the Year, with Ty-Shon Alexander (First Team) and Marcus Zegarowski (Second Team) earning All-District honors for their play on the hardwood.  McDermott led a Creighton team that was picked to finish seventh in the BIG EAST Conference to the seven national ranking, a 24-7 overall record, and a share of its first BIG EAST Conference title.  Alexander led Creighton and ranked third in the BIG EAST with 16.9 points per game while also adding five rebounds.  Zegarowski averaged 16.1 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game.

The Laurel/Concord/Coleridge boys basketball squad’s 2019-2020 campaign concluded with a 26-5 record and a Class ‘D-1’ State Championship after a 76-31 rout of Southern Valley on March 14th.  The Bears had overwhelmed Paxton 75-47 in the opening round and North Platte St. Patrick’s 65-49 in the semifinals.  This season, they beat Crofton, Homer twice, Emerson/Hubbard, Randolph, Ponca twice, Plainview, Arlington, Bloomfield, Hartington Cedar Catholic, Winnebago twice, Hartington/Newcastle twice, Battle Creek, Wakefield twice, Creighton, Wausa, Summerland, Wynot, Anselmo/Merna, Paxton, North Platte St. Patrick’s, and Southern Valley.  Laurel/Concord/Coleridge outscored by their opponents on average through 31 contests 66.9-45.9.  They will lose Noah Schutte, Ty Erwin, and Landen Boysen to graduation. 

The Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family boys basketball team’s 2019-2020 season came to an end with a 26-3 mark and a third place finish in the state after winning the State Championship a year prior. The Bulldogs beat Fullerton 71-53, lost to Southern Valley 47-39 in the semifinals, and topped North Platte St. Patrick’s in the third place game 50-36.  On the season, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family beat Clarkson/Leigh twice, Battle Creek, Howells/Dodge twice, Shelby/Rising City, Pender, Nebraska Christian, Omaha Concordia, Stanton, Columbus Scotus, Riverside, Wisner/Pilger twice, Neligh/Oakdale, Summerland, Madison twice, Oakland/Craig, Elgin Public/Pope John, Logan View/Scribner-Snyder, Twin River, Plainview, Elmwood/Murdock, Fullerton, and North Platte St. Patrick’s.  The Bulldogs outscored their opponents on average through 29 games 63.1-43.8.  They will lose Bret Hanis, Bryce Classen, Jacob Brandl, Aidan Weidner, Trent Reardon, and Tyler Sjuts to graduation.

The Humphrey St. Francis girls basketball squad finished as the Class ‘D-2’ State Runner-up after falling to Wynot in the State Championship Game 59-51 on March 7th.  The Lady Flyers final mark is 25-3 and were ranked second in the state in both polls.  They had beaten Sterling 60-53 and Mullen 68-38 previously.  This season, Humphrey St. Francis defeated Palmer, Heartland Lutheran, Riverside twice, Fullerton twice, Wynot, Crofton, Hartington/Newcastle, Nebraska Christian, Howells/Dodge, Burwell twice, Pierce, St. Edward twice, Lutheran High Northeast, Central Valley, Spalding Academy twice, David City Aquinas, Elkhorn Valley, Bloomfield, Sterling, and Mullen.  The Lady Flyers outscored their opponents on average through 28 games 68.4-33.8.  They will graduate Leah Podliska, Kyleigh Sjuts, Lauren Pfeifer, and Caitlin Jarosz.  Nebraska recruit Allison Weidner finished her season at 24.9 points per game, she shot 55% from the field, 34% from three-point range, 7.6 steals, 6.5 assists, and 5.9 rebounds. 

The Northeast Hawks women’s basketball team’s 2019-2020 season came to an end with a 27-4 record after a 92-57 loss at Iowa Western Community College in the Region XI Championship on February 29th. This year the Hawks topped Northeastern of Colorado, Cloud County of Kansas, Iowa Lakes, Iowa Central twice, the Midland JV twice, Lake Region State of North Dakota twice, Southeast of Nebraska twice, the Morningside JV of Iowa, Little Priest Tribal College twice, Snow College of Utah, North Dakota State College of Science, the Mt. Marty JV of South Dakota, Central of Columbus twice, Iowa Western, the Hastings JV, Marshalltown of Iowa three times, the Grand View JV of Iowa, North Platte, and the Concordia JV.  Northeast outscored their opponents on average through 31 games 78.5-58.3.  They will lose Kyla Moore, Emina Hadzihusejnovic, Macey Kulhanek, Jacalyn Schwanebeck, and Caitlin Orton after their two years. 

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In other news

NORFOLK - Northeast Community College Head Women’s Basketball Coach Matt Svehla recently announced the commitment of Yiesha Williams, a First Team All-Area selection from Elkhart Central High School in Elkhart, Ind.