Cubs plan to prove doubters wrong in 2008

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Bell City coach Brian Brandtner watched his team play late in their loss to Jefferson on Saturday.

The Bell City boys basketball team felt heartbreak at the hands of Jefferson for the third straight year at the final four, falling to the Eagles 66-65 on Saturday in the Class 1 championship at Mizzou Arena.

This was the fourth straight trip to the final four for the Cubs, with their last state title coming in 2004. Bell City also won a state title in 2002.

Can the Cubs make it five straight? Bell City will return four starters, losing 6-foot-10 senior Will Bogan as well as sixth man Austin Segers. The Cubs had five seniors in all.

"We're looking for a big year next year," Bell City coach Brian Brandtner said. "We have a lot of kids coming back, a good nucleus. I'm sure a lot of people will count us out without Will, but we'll try to prove them wrong."

Junior guard Nick Niemczyk led the Cubs with 26 points in the championship game and finished the final four with 45 points. It was quite a turn around for Niemczyk, who did not score in double digits in either final four game

Jefferson's Phillip Henry, right, traveled while being defended by Bell City's Clay Dover Saturday in the Class 1 title game. (L.G. Patterson ~ Special to the Southeast Missourian)

last year after struggling from the field.

Niemczyk averaged close to 20 points a game and led the Cubs with more than 50 3-pointers.

"He's a stud," Brandtner said. "He's such a competitor. You build a team and not many coaches wouldn't take him with the first pick."

Fellow junior starters Phillip Gross, who averaged close to 10 points per game, and Marty Dames will return along with sophomore point guard Melvin Johnson.

Reserve guard Austin Bush will be back, and the Cubs should have Scott City transfer Ethan Watkins next year as well.

Bell City's Phillip Gross, right, and Jefferson's Logan Schieber battled for a rebound. (Photos by L.G. Patterson for The Associated Press and exclusive tothe Southeast Missourian.)

The biggest loss of course will be Bogan. Bogan averaged 22 points and nearly 15 rebounds a game during the season, and finished with 47 points and 35 rebounds in the final four.

"I was proud of the way Will played," Brandtner said. "He played hard all night long."

Bell City's Nick Niemczy, bottom, kept the ball away from Jefferson's Phillip Henry, right, and Morgan Wilmes during the first half of Saturday's game.
Bell City senior Will Bogan kneeled down with the second-place trophy Saturday after the loss to Jefferson.
Bell City leading scorer Nick Niemczyk dejectedly stood on the court as Jefferson celebrated a 66-65 decision Saturday. Niemczyk scored 26 points in defeat.
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: