The 2013 Warriors completed an undefeated regular season by defeating Schuyler 72 - 38, giving the Warriors their 23rd win without a loss. It marks the seventh time a Wahoo team has recorded an undefeated season and represents the most regular season wins by a Wahoo team.
The 2013 Warriors
Undefeated Regular Seasons
1989 = 20 - 0
1990 = 20 - 0
1991 = 20 - 0
1992 = 20 - 0
1993 = 19 - 0
1995 = 22 - 0
2013 = 23 - 0
Point Margins
Year Offense Defense Margin
1989 76 46 30
1990 91 42 49
1991 93 48 45
1992 82 46 36
1993 95 49 46
1995 83 55 28
2013 63 40 23
Closest Games
1989 Yutan = 74 - 69 OT
1990 David City = 62 - 38
Yutan = 74 - 50
1991 Mt. Michael = 75 - 57
1992 Mt. Michael = 44 - 37
1993 Conestoga = 91 - 58
1995 Omaha Roncalli = 77 - 75
2013 Elkhorn South = 55 - 53 OT
UNDEFEATED -- The 0 In the Loss Column

It is standard vocabulary in “coach speak” that the team will play one game at a time. It goes without saying that the goal in each of those games is to win (Herm Edwards’ statement of the obvious: “You play to win the game!”). And so it is not too much of a stretch to say that every team sets out to win them all. But most coaches, players and fans are more realistic than that and so for most teams, while they may strive for perfection, the reality is something a little less. But there are a few that are so talented that the prospect of an undefeated season appears as a realistic goal. For some it even becomes an expectation. For some it’s clear from the beginning, while for others the prospect emerges during the season. The 2013 Wahoo Warriors won their 23rd game this last weekend and became the seventh Wahoo team to complete an undefeated regular season. In some ways, their journey was similar to their predecessors and in some ways it was unique. In one way, it is identical, there is a 0 in the loss column.

I doubt the Wahoo team of 2013 began their season with a stated goal of an undefeated season. That doesn’t mean they didn’t expect success, that they were not optimistic about their prospects. They knew they were an above average team, and they were no strangers to success having lost the 2012 Class C1 championship by the narrowest of margins. But they did need to replace some outstanding talent from the 2012 team, and the schedule presented some formidable foes. The 2013 team would have to build a team chemistry that consistently competed in order to be perfect. As the season progressed, the team improved and by season’s end, the Warriors were not just winning, but dominating opponents, leaving no doubt as to what kind of team this was. And when it was all over, there was a 0 in the loss column.

The 2013 team is unique among the Wahoo teams with perfect seasons in that it was at least somewhat unexpected. The first Wahoo team to record the undefeated season was 1989 -- a team that was coming off the 1988 state championship and returned Troy Glock at the point guard position along with his super soph brother Jason Glock. This might be the closest comparison to 2013 as the team had a lot to replace in 1989, but with the Glocks and that state title in mind, many speculated in the preseason about the prospects of running the table. After the 1989 championship, there was no doubt that an undefeated season became an expectation for the next two years. The 1990 and 1991 teams faced immense pressure as the wins were now not just counted towards another undefeated season, but a record setting win streak became the focus of many. In 1992, there were doubters as Jason Glock and the “Quad Squad” graduated, but with the win streak hanging over their head the team was still expected to be perfect. For the 1993 team, the undefeated season was certainly a goal -- a goal that would erase the pain of the tournament loss to Ogallala in 1992. 1995 marked the beginning of a new era with Mark Watton taking over the head coaching duties. By then, the quest for an undefeated season was almost a part of the Wahoo DNA. For all of those teams, the undefeated season was part of their vision from the outset. The 2013 Warriors were much closer to a surprise phenomenon. Whether a surprise or not, there is a 0 in the loss column.

Challenges to the perfect season for the 2013 Warriors came early (before the prospect of an undefeated season became a reality). Opening weekend produced two close wins over class B opponents: a four point win over Bennington, and a 9 point win against Seward. Then there was a ten point win over David City, a respected district foe that would go on to a 16 win season. That was followed by convincing wins over Logan View, Fort Calhoun, and Lincoln Lutheran. The Warriors were 6 - 0 when they headed into the Holiday Tournament. They had to come from behind to defeat a ranked Lincoln Christian team. In the finals of the Holiday Tournament, the 2013 team recorded its biggest win of its perfect season, downing Elkhorn South, the top ranked team in Class B in overtime. The big win was a springboard to the rest of the season, as Wahoo began not only winning, but winning big. In the rest of the run to the 23 - 0 record, the closest score would be 15 point wins over Ashland and Grand Island Central Catholic. The 2013 Warriors completed the regular season averaging 66 points to their opponents’ 41, a 23 point margin. No matter what the margin, the important statistic is the 0 in the loss column.

While the 2013 team grew into its perfect record, the others were more dominant from the outset. The first to end the regular season undefeated, the 1989 team, had five games that were decided by less than 10 points, including an overtime win at Yutan. The closest anyone came to the 1990 team during the regular season was 24 points, the opening win over David City and a midseason victory over Yutan. In 1991, Elkhorn Mt. Michael was the only team to come in under a 20 point loss (18). The 1992 team had six teams with under 20 point losses, including the closest game, a 7 point win over Elkhorn Mt. Michael. The 1993 team had total dominance over its regular season foes, with Conestoga coming the closest, a 33 point loss to the Warriors. The 1995 team had three close games: a 2 point win over Roncalli in the Lincoln tournament, a 9 point decision over Ashland in the Conference Tournament final and a 6 point win over Schuyler in the final game of the season. The bottom line is that all these teams had one thing in common -- the 0 in the loss column at the end of the regular season.

Regarding point averages, the 2013 team had the lowest margin of victory among the seven undefeated teams at 23, while the 1991 team was the highest at 49. One contributing factor to this difference is the significant changes in the schedule in the twenty years since the last undefeated season. While all the other undefeated teams competed in the Class B tournament, it was true that a majority of the opponents were Class C1. A common criticism concerning the Wahoo championship teams was the perception that they had a “weak” schedule. At the time, Coach Anderson repeatedly defended the schedule and conceded that the point margins, and indeed, the win streak may not have occurred if there was a tougher schedule, especially if it was a Class A schedule. But he also pointed out that changing schedules was not an easy thing to do, even though Wahoo would welcome some tougher competition. The schedule played by the 2013 team as compared to its predecessors reflect the efforts Wahoo made in subsequent years to “beef up” the schedule. In 1993, Wahoo added Class B, Seward, a team with a respected basketball history. The 1994 team was kept from the perfect list by its entry into a prestigious tournament in Lincoln that ultimately produced a loss to a powerful New York team. Subsequent years saw the addition of Class B teams such as Beatrice and Crete and respected Class C1 teams such as Norfolk Catholic and Grand Island Catholic. The result is a “respectable” schedule for the 2013 team, especially when including the previously mentioned Class B Elkhorn South. Again, no matter what the level of competition was, the end result was the same: a 0 in the loss column.

While taking a moment to enjoy and celebrate completing an undefeated regular season, the 2013 team is aware that an undefeated regular season is not the ultimate goal for high school basketball teams in Nebraska. That ultimate goal is the same for every team -- to make it to the state tournament and to win a state title. The regular season is a marathon; twenty games or more over three months. It requires a consistent and prolonged focus of energy to complete that set of games undefeated. The tournament is more of a sprint with five or six games, but each one with the added pressure of potentially being the end of the season. Four of Wahoo’s undefeated teams were as successful in the sprint as they were in the marathon (‘89, ‘90, ‘91 and ‘93). In the end, the 1992 team had to add the “and one” to their record as they lost in the semifinals of the state tournament. The 1995 team’s “and one” came in the first round of the state tournament. Undefeated teams are expected to win the title -- they usually enter the tournament highly favored to do just that. That’s what the 0 in the loss column means.

As the Wahoo team of 2013 stands on the threshold of the District Tournament, they face the same challenge as their predecessors. They do have one advantage. Since the advent of the wild card entry to the state tournament a team does not have to win the district tournament in order to make it to state. As Coach Anderson used to point out, you could be 20 - 0 and it didn’t mean a thing; one loss in the district and you’d be “doing laundry” instead of traveling down to Lincoln. Wahoo’s 2013 undefeated season has earned it a wild card birth in the state tournament. So the 2013 Warriors could conceivably lose in the district tournament and still claim a state title -- they would join the 1992 and 1995 teams with the “and one” record, but would be state champions. But that is not the scenario they want or expect. And if they are looking for something to set themselves apart from their predecessors, consider this: If the 2013 Warriors can run the table, they will claim the record for the most wins ever by a Wahoo team (29)! Although winning the state title won’t necessarily make them the best Wahoo team ever, it will punch their ticket to get into the discussion. And they’ll bring a significant statistic with them -- the 0 in the loss column. Go Warriors!