The Irish look to defend their State Title at the 2023 Boy’s Basketball State Tournament
High School Basketball
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The North Platte Saint Patrick’s Boy’s Basketball Team will try and defend their 2022 State Title starting next Wednesday at the 2023 NSAA Boy’s Basketball State Championship.
In the 2022 State Championship, the Irish came into the tournament as the top seed. St. Pat’s would go on to defeat the Loomis Wolves in the Championship Game by a final score of 65-57. This year the Irish are also the top seed heading into the tournament and will have the eighth-seeded Mead Raiders in the first round.
The Mead Raiders were also in the State Tournament last season and were eliminated by the Dundy County Stratton Tigers in the first round.
“Mead is traditionally an excellent program. They’ve been in I think three or four State Championship Games in the last twenty years or so, and they’ve won a championship. It’s not really new to them... They’ve got a really experienced senior group of guys, they’re pretty guard heavy, so that makes them formidable. We’ll have our hands full, but we’ll do the best we can,” says Bill O’Malley the Head Coach of the Irish.
Senior Will Moats, who was a part of the 2022 State Championship Team, says the keys to success next week for the Irish will be good ball handling, good defense, and rebounds.
“We know that we’re going to have to take it one game at a time. All the games last year at state were close and I expect it to be the same this year. Every team there deserves to be there, so we’re just going to have to take it one game at a time and work hard to be there,” explains Moats.
St. Pat’s will go into the tournament with confidence as they hold a 23-2 record so far this season. The Irish will also bring experience to the table as they bring back a core group from last year’s State Championship Team.
“Success breeds success. Some of these guys have had the opportunity to be a part of the teams that have done well before. We’ve got great senior leadership and I think that helps a lot. I expect them to play well,” says O’Malley.
The Irish will take on Mead on Wednesday, March 8th at 9:00 a.m. in Lincoln at Pinnacle Bank Arena as they look to finish their quest for a second straight State Title.
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