Lincoln Journal-Star and Omaha World Herald Preseason Rankings
Although not given the respect that its predecessors had been given (Wahoo would not be listed with the Class A teams in the World Herald "Top Ten"), Wahoo still got the nod as #1 Class B in both papers. For the most part, people were just waiting for the Warriors to be beaten before removing them from the top spot.

Introduction -- REBUILDING

fuel for the fire
Wahoo’s 1992 team wasn’t exactly the Rodney Dangerfield of Nebraska high school basketball. The Warriors did get some respect -- they were seen as the team to beat and got the preseason #1 Class B ranking in both the Lincoln and Omaha newspapers. But from the moment the Quad Squad had claimed that fourth title, the next year’s team took on the feeling of an underdog. Even their own coach had indicated they would be less of a team: “The one thing we won’t have is a superstar player which I think great teams need. We can’t have a great team, but a good team might be 26 - 0.” What the players of 1992 heard most was “can’t have a great team” and probably didn’t recognize that their coach had already laid out a goal of an undefeated season. And why wouldn’t they be grinding their teeth when they kept getting compared to what many considered to be one of the best Class B teams ever to play in Nebraska? This was a challenge most teams couldn’t hope to meet. And of course they faced the resentment that four years of domination had fostered among their opponents. It would be a chance for teams that had suffered losses (some of them by humiliating margins) to knock Wahoo from that lofty pedestal. Coach Anderson noted, “They heard so many comments last summer about how this would be the year we’d get what’s coming to us.”

In one way, the Wahoo basketball program had come full circle. Prior to the 1988 Class B title, Wahoo had been generally dismissed as having no championship potential. In 1989 they were still viewed as second banana to the Pius X team. Then, with all the wins and a third and fourth title, the Warriors had become the “evil empire.” Now they were being dismissed again -- at least that’s the way the players saw it. Joel Weyand commented, “We are not going to give up because someone tells us we’re not as good as the team was last year.”

So how did they overcome this inferiority complex that people were trying to thrust on them? First and foremost, they knew the Quad Squad they were being compared to first hand. They had competed against and with those players; and they knew they could hold their own. While they would quickly acknowledge what their coach had said about Jason Glock being a superstar, they would just as quickly dismiss any contention that they didn’t belong on the same court with him. While it is pertinent to acknowledge Jason Glock as a high school superstar, it is also pertinent to ask if we truly knew how good the players surrounding him were since we never saw them perform in his absence. Without an inside game to rely on, Bernie Inbody might have set state records for three point shooting. Ryan Eddie, if called upon to carry the team, might have been a super state player himself. Had the seniors of 1991 not been as prolific of scorers as they were, Jeff Simons might have been a leading scorer his junior year. A case could be made that the “waiting their turn” and the “filling a role” aspect of the Wahoo program depressed the value outsiders placed on the individual players that Wahoo had for the “rebuilding.”

Another element in the team’s leap to confidence was their experience together on the court. The 1992 team certainly had some moments during the previous season when they had been on the court together (minus Hancock) and they had performed well -- usually increasing leads and scoring points (witness the previous season scoring averages). Added to that was their summer experience. They had defeated Class A teams in winning a summer league in Lincoln. They had defeated Class A teams in team camp at the University of Nebraska. And then the team traveled to Southwest Missouri State where they were the smallest school there and yet finished with an 18 - 2 record. Trent Toline commented, “We rocked the house. We knew we could play after that.”

The 1992 Warriors carried the baggage of their predecessors into the new season. They were seeking an unprecedented fifth consecutive state championship and began the season with a 90 game win streak - many already noting that they would move up to #4 in the nation if they won their first two games and eventually had the potential for climbing all the way to #3 if they could win them all. But this team didn’t really have the pressure on them that the Quad Squad had experienced. Jeff Simons noted, “For the most part, we haven’t had the newspapers and news cameras around as much. I think people thought we wouldn’t be very good.” Those negative judgments poured fuel on the fire that would burn through another undefeated season for the Warriors and all the way to 114 games in a row. In the end, people would have to say they did a pretty good job of “rebuilding.”


"We want to get back to Lincoln and defend our state championship. The win streak is just icing on the cake." -- Coach Anderson

4/8/12