Powerful No. 1 Ralston Rams Headed to Grand Island To Face Hastings St Cecilia

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

But Before They Meet, Rams Face a Meat Grinder of a Schedule

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Courtesy of Ralston High School

Ralston Rams Team Picture: Courtesy of Ralston High School.

By Bobby Mills
Contributing Writer
my Hit News.com

   The top boys basketball team in the state of Nebraska (according to the Omaha World-Herald) is going to be in Central Nebraska—my neck of the woods—at the Heartland Events Center for a February 14th Valentines Day showdown against 11-1 Hastings St Cecilia.

   You want to talk about a Class B team that is battle tested? Mother of Mercy, this Ralston Rams bunch has scheduled just about everybody except Duke and it still has only one loss in 14 tries this season. But before these two meet on Valentines Day, things are going to get even tougher for the state’s numero uno team starting with their January 27thshowdown with Class A No. 4 Omaha Bryan at the Byan High Cage Classic.  The winner of that contest will move on to face the winner of #5 Bellevue East and No. 7 Creighton Prep on Thursday the 29th.  To end the week, the Rams will have a rematch against Class B No.2 Beatrice!

   Right about now, Coach Bill Heard is probably saying “Pass the antacid tablets, please.” Man, do these guys ever mix it up with the the big boys, or what?

   Ralston is a Class B basketball team that is currently sitting atop the Omaha World-Herald’s All-Class Top Ten ranking–ahead of Omaha Central, Lincoln SW, Bryan, Bell East, Prep…..you name ’em, they are ahead of them. This is the same team that lost close to 38 points worth of scoring and 12 boards from last year’s Class A State Tournament Team, but Bill Heard was not overly concerned due to the fact the talented Smith brothers, Greg and Dwight, returned for this current squad.

 The Smith Brothers

   The 6-foot-6 Greg Smithis arguably the top high school basketball prospect in this state, and next season he will headed to Colorado State on a full ride scholarship, where he’ll join Ainsworth sharpshooter, Jesse Carr.

   The older Smith is averaging just over 20ppg this season afte18.5 his Junior season, and nearly 14 as a Sophomore. Junior brother Dwight is hitting at a clip of 15 per game, after averaging 16 last year and 12.5 as a Freshman. Dwight and Greg also are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in rebounding in Class B. Both have some serious hops my friends.

   This Ram team can flat out shoot the ball with deadly accuracy too. Dwight Smith will drain the ball about 6 out of every10 tries and 5-11 Junior Tony Grant is shooting treys at a 42% clip.

 Coach Heard Breaks It Down

   Coach Bill Heard explained that except for the Smith boys, the other current players really didn’t get much playing time a year ago.Heard stated “What they did get last year was to practice against really good players every day who played hard in practice, as well as in games.” “It rubs off on those guys and makes them learn to compete”.

   You could go into a long litany about the starting five for Ralston, but thus far Heard has used at least FIVE different starting combinations…….must be nice. They truly go TEN DEEP, with Tyler Pleiss, Romeo Agnew, and with Andy Smolinski always figuring into the mix somehow.

 Battle Tested Tough

   The offense is averaging about 77 points a game and that’s against some pretty salty opponents. They have faced five out-state teams and only Kansas City Sumner Academy has pinned a loss on the Rams– that loss coming in December at the tough Blue Valley Shoot-Out in Kansas City.

   Last week, Heard’s crew beat highly touted Harlan, Iowa., then swept South Sioux City and Beatrice to win the River Cities Conference Tournament–typical week for the Rams.

    Against Beatrice, they “took the air out of the ball,” a tactic that can really frustrate the best of teams around. I have seen them run this drill and you don’t want to get caught up in trying to chase them around when they employ it.

   On defense, they apply as much pressure as possible, and that may mean man, or that may mean zone-just depends on the situation.

 State Title On the Horizon

   Ralston has come a long ways in 50 years. According to a 1959 NSAA listing, the school had only 105 boys, and now has grown to a combined boy/girl total of 804. The Rams last won a State title in 1964 when they beat the now defunct Omaha Holy Name 58-52.

    The 2008/2009 season may be ripe for the Ralston Rams to collect a state championship trophy–it’s been far too long for this current group to let this one slip by!  And if the chance to win this title depends on how “battle tested” this Ralston unit is by the time Districts roll around…………they may be blasting “We Are The Champions” when it’s all said and done.



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  • my Hit News.com

    Nebraska High Schoolhoops7Top 25 Prospects '08/'09

    By Action Force


    Sponsor: Hit Highlights Inc.

    1. Jarell Crayton, 6-7, SR, C, Bellevue East

    2. Gregg Smith, 6-6, SR, SF/PF/SG, Ralston

    3. Elliot Elliason, 6-11, JR, C, Chadron

    4. Dwight Smith, 6-3, JR , PG/SG, Ralston

    5. Tyler Evans, 6-2, JR, SG/PG, Waverly

    6. Mike Gessell, 6-0, FR, PG, South Sioux City

    7.. John Karhoff, 6-8, SR, PF/C, Creighton Prep.

    8. Vondrae Tostenson, 6-5, SR, PF, Millard South

    9. Matt Hagerbaumen, 6-7, SR, SF, Lincoln Southeast

    10. Stevelle Burns, 6-0, SR, PG, Benson

    11. Deverell Biggs, 6-1, JR, SG/PF, Omaha Central

    12. Caleb Steffensmeir, 5-11, JR, PG, Creighton Prep

    13. Jordan Tyrance, 6-4, SF/PF, JR, Lincoln Southwest

    14. Trevor Meinke, 6-0, JR, PG, Beatrice

    15. Scottie Davis, 6-5, JR, SF/PF, Omaha Burke

    16. Derrius Vick, 6-0, SO, PG, Lincoln Southeast

    17. Ted Lampkin, 5-11, SO, PG, Omaha Central

    18. Jerad Warner, 6-6, JR, PF/C Omaha Gross

    19. Dol Kutey, 6-6, SR, C, Lincoln Northeast

    20. Ben Imig, 6-0, JR, SG/PG, Bryan

    21. Galen Gullie, 5-7, SR, PG, Bryan

    22 Pete Uhing, 6-5, SR, PF/C, Lincoln High

    23 Adonis Hill, 5-10, SO, PG, Omaha Burke

    24. Mike Dentlinger, 6-6, JR, PF/C, Millard North

    25. DK Augustine, 6-4, SO, C, Omaha Bryan

  • Action Force’s Top Ten


    Nebraska High School

    Basketball Teams

    (Week ending 02-15-09)

    Team ,(Record) Last wk rank


    Lincoln SW (18-2) 1


    Creighton Prep (15-4) 3


    Lincoln East(13-5) 4


    Lincoln High (11-6) 5


    Omaha Central (13-3) 3


    Lincoln Southeast(14-5) 7


    Lincoln Northeast(12-5) 103


    Omaha Bryan (15-6) 8


    Chadron (19-0) NR


    Norfolk (13-5) NR Contenders: Bellevue East, Omaha Burke, Omaha Benson, Bellevue West

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