It’s been 22 years since a team from Bridgewater or Emery competed in the state basketball tournament. Ten years ago, the schools consolidated in athletics and now the two communities are poised to win a state championship for the first time since Emery won the Class B title in 1973.
The Huskies enter the Class B tournament Thursday-Saturday in Aberdeen as the No.1 seed with a record of 23-0.
“It’s really exciting for people in both communities. Everyone is excited,” said Bridgewater-Emery coach Scott Schultz. “Everybody out here follows, but this year it has been really good. They’ve been out to see us and have been very supportive.”
For a good chunk of the season, the Huskies had four players in double-figure scoring, with 6-3 sophomore guard Sawyer Schultz (15.3 ppg) leading the way. Other scoring threats include senior guard Sam Arend (13.7) and sophomore guard Jamin Arend (13.5).
The Huskies made a run at the tournament last year but fell short, losing to Hanson in district play. They lost just one senior from last year’s team and are a clear favorite at this year’s tournament.
“We were hopeful we would be competitive with our district and region teams this year,” Schultz said. “We had a good nucleus coming back and we certainly thought we could compete and have a chance.”
Bridgewater-Emery will first have to get past Platte-Geddes (13-9), a team that has peaked after a slow start. The Black Panthers have won eight of their last nine.
Langford Area is the No. 2 seed. The Lions will be searching for their first state title, but they’ve had recent runs in the tournament. They lost by three in the championship game in 2015 to James Valley but they’re having a memorable season in 2016-17. The Lions opened the season with 11 straight wins and enter the tournament at 21-2. Their last loss came against Class A Chamberlain on Feb. 11.
Langford faces a Parker team that sits at 15-7 and is led by 6-2 senior Kelby Peters (11.3 ppg) and 6-3 junior Connor Carlson (10.1).