Brett Eddie Warms Up
Wahoo Senior, Shannon Guy in Warrior mascot headdress
Wahoo Junior, Donna Kuncl Showing Sign
Ogallala Fan's Sign
After their impressive win on Thursday, the Warriors were fired up and ready to push on to another state title. While Wahoo displayed lots of signs indicating their goal of a 5th state title, Ogallala displayed their determination to stop the win streak.

Ogallala Roster

Wahoo faced another team with a height advantage as Ogallala had Chad Spady at 6'5" and Jeremy Glenn at 6'7".

"The kids knew I wanted to play Wahoo. It was like I was telling them last night, the pressure was on Wahoo. They have the streak, they're supposed to win." -- Ogallala Coach Mark Etzelmiller

Joel Weyand brings the ball up court.
While the loss was a big disappointment for the underclassmen, there was a slight bright side -- the next year they wouldn't have to play with the pressure of the win streak.

"At least for a while, until what we've accomplished sets in, the kids will have tears, and the coaches may have as well. When the reality of what we've accomplished sinks in, we can find some smiles." -- Coach Anderson

FALLING DOWN

snap!

“For a long time we’ve been thinking what we would say when it happened .. It’s happened and it’s tough to come up with the words.” -- Coach Anderson.

The Wahoo coach was having trouble expressing his thoughts when the 114 game win streak ended and Wahoo was knocked out of the state tournament for the first time in five years,but the newspapers had little trouble filling the headlines. Just as Ryan Eddie had expressed in 1991, when Wahoo lost it would be big news. In the Omaha World Herald it was “114 Wins -- and 1 Loss” on the front page. The Lincoln Journal Star went with “Wa - who? Ogallala goes gaga.” And the Omaha World Herald sports page perhaps put it best -- “Snap! Wahoo Win Streak Ends at 114.”

While the newspapers and the public had their attention on the end of the win streak, for those closest to the Wahoo team, the players, coaches, parents and Wahoo fans, the loss was felt much more deeply on another level. Had the streak ended during the regular season, it might have taken on more significance for the team. But Coach Anderson had indicated repeatedly that the win streak was not a focal point for the team. And senior, Trent Toline, in a pre tournament interview had said that the players really didn’t think or talk that much about the streak. There had been some fanfare when the wins reached 100 in a row, but for the 1992 team, there really were no milestones. On that Friday night, the Warriors were not mourning the end of the win streak nearly as much as they were mourning the end of their season, and the end of their hope for another state title for Wahoo.

When the Warriors entered their semifinal game with Ogallala that championship hope had perhaps been at its highest point. The team that one sportswriter had originally labeled as a “surprise” to get back to the tournament had won over most of the skeptics with their first round blasting of Plattsmouth. The team itself believed it was playing its best basketball and the vision of raising another state trophy over their heads on Saturday night was getting ever clearer.

But Ogallala had other ideas. And, unlike others who had the idea of upsetting Wahoo, Ogallala was able to put all the elements together that would be necessary to pull off the upset. First of all, it would take a talented team to beat Wahoo. Ogallala had the talent. The Indians brought a 71 point average into the tournament, and only allowed 48 per game. They had three players averaging in double figures, seniors Chad Spady with 16, Jeremy Glenn with 14 and Kent Koehn with 12. Ogallala had size. Glenn was 6’7” and Spady was 6’5”. They had three previous years of tournament experience. And they had a game plan.

It was generally agreed that the team to beat Wahoo would have to be able to beat the Warriors’ pressure defense. And they would have to not just get past the press, but score against it. That’s precisely what the Indians did. With a combination of excellent guard play from Ryan Mann and Jeramey Anderson, they wove through the press and used their height to pass over it. And then, with a mismatch at the other end, they converted. Early in the first quarter, Glenn converted three easy baskets at the end of the press break as the Indians sprinted to a 13 - 4 lead. To beat Wahoo, the opponent would also have to limit Wahoo’s three point production. Wahoo only connected on two from behind the arc in the first quarter, one by Weyand and one by Justin Anderson. The end of the first quarter found Wahoo in an unusual, and an uncomfortable situation -- they were behind 23 - 11.

But Wahoo hadn’t won all of its games in 1992 by panicking when falling behind. The Wahoo faithful expected a second quarter rally. Again, Ogallala took the upper hand, opening the quarter with a 6 - 2 run. The half time score stood at 42 - 26. Wahoo still didn’t panic. In the third quarter, the Warriors mounted a run. A three by Jeff Simons, two from Trent Toline, two from Joel Weyand, and another 2 from Toline cut the lead to 46 - 35. But the Indians weren’t panicking either and a 30 foot desperation shot by Koehn put Ogallala ahead 63 - 43 at the end of the third period.

Wahoo kept fighting. Weyand fouled out at the 6:05 mark. Baskets by Simons, Mike Hancock and Toline cut the lead to single digits, 68 - 59 with 3:35 to go. Coach Anderson later commented, “I thought we were going to win the game.” Weyand, said, even after fouling out, “down to the last seconds, that little ray of hope never went out.” Ogallala Coach Mark Etzelmiller said he kept emphasizing to his team that they just needed to keep their composure: “If you lose your composure for even a short time, Wahoo is going to get the lead back.” The Ogallala players listened to their coach and kept their composure. The Indians answered with an eight point run, and the end had come. Both coaches emptied their benches in the final minutes and Ogallala accomplished what Roncalli Coach Ryan Woodard had called “a little bit of history.” They defeated Wahoo 84 - 68 to end the win streak and eliminate Wahoo from a chance at a fifth consecutive state championship.

The Wahoo players left the court at Devaney with their heads hanging a little low. But there were no angry outbursts, or unsportsmanlike demonstrations. The Warriors accepted defeat in the same way they had celebrated all the victories, with what coaches like Etzelmiller labeled a “class act.” Still, the hurt was immeasurable. Losing a game, losing in the state tournament; this was all uncharted territory for the Wahoo players of 1992. There was no getting around it, and Coach Anderson expressed the reality: “It really isn’t fair to the seniors. They will be remembered as the group that got beat. They have worked as hard as any group I’ve had and deserved to win just as much as the others.” For Ogallala, their was a state of euphoria when reflecting on their accomplishment. Senior Chad Spady expressed , “Everybody wondered if they could do it. It’s a big tradition they have, and it’s a lot of people’s dream to get the chance to end a streak like that.” Senior Kent Koehn showed his respect for Wahoo in his post game comments: “This makes my whole career in high school basketball. I remember seeing Wahoo on TV when they were in the state tournament my freshman year, and they were miraculous. And they just kept it up.” From sophomore Andy Kosmicki, “What we just did is so unreal, so great.”

In the following weeks, the Wahoo community put the loss in perspective. Sara Poston, a fan, wrote to the newspaper expressing support: “We want to tell you that we are NOT disappointed in the loss of Game #115.” Jeff Simons eventually admitted that “It was bad. The first couple of days after the tournament, it was tough.” Perhaps Coach Anderson put it best in his post game interview, “One off night in 115 games; and that ain't all bad."

Snap!


"It wasn't just a one or two-man show. Give credit to Coach Etzelmiller and his staff. They outcoached us and outplayed us." -- Coach Anderson

"The last couple of weeks, we prepared for this by putting the five starters on the floor and having seven guys press us. That made us think facing just five guys was easy." -- Ogallala senior, Kent Koehn

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Wahoo vs. Ogallala-- 1) Justin Anderson hits a 3; 2) Joel Weyand drives for the score; 3) Weyand hits a 3; 4) Jeff Simons scores a 3; Mike Hancock pulls up for 2; Trent Toline rolls to the basket for 2

The headlines weren't kind when Wahoo's loss finally came. When the Warriors qualified for a return to the state tournament, the media attention once again focused on their win streak and quest for a record fifth consecutive title. When the loss occurred, it was big news.

Wahoo vs. Ogallala Scorebook:
It wasn't hard to pinpoint where Ogallala took advantage of Wahoo -- the inside duo of Jeremy Glenn and Chad Spady scored 29 points in the first half. Click here to enlarge the scorebook.

Trent Toline gets ready for an in-bounds play.
Toline led the Warriors in scoring with 18 points against Ogallala, but it wasn't enough to get the senior the win that Coach Anderson said the seniors "deserved."

Jeff Simons comes to the bench
Jeff Simons had started for the Warriors for two seasons, winning 50 of those starts. As Coach Anderson said, it "wasn't fair" that his final game was a loss. Simons scored 17 points in his last game as a Warrior.

Even to the end, the Warrior faithful continued to cheer on their team. But when it became clear there would be no miracle comeback, the Wahoo fans gave their team a standing ovation as they left the court.

"... even though the streak ended and we didn't win the state title, you have to remember just the joy of being here." -- Joel Weyand


4/12/12