LINCOLN | Four Northeast Nebraska High Schools won state basketball championships in the final state title games contested in the Bob Devaney Sports Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska.
The 2014 state basketball championship games will be played in Pinnacle Bank Arena, the sparkling new facility being constructed in the Haymarket Park district of Downtown Lincoln.
The 15,000-seat arena, the new home for the Nebraska men and women’s basketball teams, is scheduled to open in the fall.
So state titles won by the South Sioux City boys, Pender girls and Crofton girls along with the Wynot boys and girls, were part of the final championships at the Devaney Center.
“Anytime you get the opportunity to go into a new facility there is always excitement,” said Jim Angele, assistant director with the Nebraska School Activities Association. “There is a little bit of sadness that you won’t be playing championship games at the Devaney Center anymore.
“The Devaney Center has been very good to us (NSAA).”
The Devaney Center is also currently undergoing renovations as it will be used as the new home for the Huskers volleyball team this fall. Basketball, though, will still be able to be played in the building so the NSAA plans on still using the Devaney Center for the first two days of its three-day state basketball tournament.
“What we’re planning on doing, we will use the Devaney Center for games on Thursday and Friday,” Angele said. “So will have Pinnacle for all three days, play at the Devaney Center the first two days.
“Then will figure out what we’re going to do with the high school sites, because Pershing Auditorium could also be in the mix. It’s a lot of options, which is a good thing for the NSAA.”
Another possible option, Angele said, would be to play at six sites on Thursday, meaning four games at each site to lessen the load of the opening day.
The NSAA wouldn’t be able to give Nebraska high school student athletes this opportunity without its partnership with the University of Nebraska.
“That’s what’s so nice, the University has an overall concept, they understand the championships are important,” said Angele. “We couldn’t do it without their help and their willingness to be a part of a state leader, a state institution. They see themselves as playing that role, part of being that state leader, is having high school games here in this facility.
“I think that’s one of the neat things about being in Nebraska.”