Bulldogs vs. Wildcats: First step for the Wildcats State Tournament hopes


Annaliese Punt

Schnuerle passes to a fellow teammate.

Jaden Cover, Sports Editor

District play begins for third seeded Millard West (11-11) boys’ basketball on Saturday at Omaha Burke High School against the second seeded Bulldogs (15-9).

Burke might as well have 17 wins, but they were forced to forfeit two of their wins in December against Omaha South and Bellevue East. Former Millard West student Devin Thomas transferred to Burke and played in those two games without sitting out the minimum 90 days following his transfer. Student athletes are required to miss 90 days of athletics before participating at a new high school.

The two teams squared off earlier this season at Millard West. Although the Wildcats were able to contain Shareef Mitchell, the Bulldogs pulled away at the end, winning 62-50.

Mitchell is still the focus for Millard West’s defense on Saturday. The senior is averaging 24.5 points per game this season, and has earned high praise from Wildcat’s Head coach Bill Morrison.

“Shareef is probably the best offensive player in the state,” Morrison said. “He boxes out, he draws fouls, and he’s a good shooter.”

Morrison has also pinpointed poor free throw shooters Burke has, saying it is not out of the picture for Millard West to purposely foul those players and forcing them to earn their points at the line. Defense has been the better side of the ball for Millard West throughout the season and they will need to keep up the strong play on their half of the court in order to beat Burke.

Offensively, Morrison believes the key is to go right at Burke with hard drives to the basket and crashing the glass for offensive rebounds.

“We have to be aggressive and attack Burke,” Morrison said.

Max Anderson
Senior Hunter Schnuerle receiving a pass.

While both teams are only focused on the task at hand, it is hard not to look ahead for what the winner of this game is up against. The other game going on in this district is a lopsided matchup between Creighton Prep (21-1) and Omaha Benson (1-20). All signs point to the district championship being hosted at Creighton Prep, assuming they defeat Benson. If Millard West were to beat Burke, it will result in a rematch of last year’s District Championship between the Jr. Jays and Wildcats. Creighton Prep came out on top last year and they would be favored in the game this year if it occurs.

First, Millard West will have to find a way to beat the favored Burke Bulldogs on Saturday in the first round of district play. Check out @MWHSWildcats on Twitter for live updates on the game.