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From the Press Box for 01/05/2015

One of the more dominant girls high school basketball players in Nebraska history will be spending the rest of her senior season on the Fremont Tigers bench, rooting on her team.

Jessica Shepard, ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 post player and No. 3 player overall in the 2015 recruiting class, suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter of Monday night's Heartland Athletic Conference tournament game involving Fremont against Lincoln North Star.

An MRI on Tuesday confirmed the injury, leaving Shepard to be out for the rest of the season.

It comes as not only a critical blow to Fremont, but for hundreds of fans who followed her for a long time and those who have just started to track her career as she heads to college next year.

The next time you'll see Shepard in uniform and on the court will likely be next season in a Nebraska uniform.

The reigning Gatorade Player of The Year will be not only cheering, but perhaps help coach her teammates into what's turned into a promising season for the Tigers.

When you look back at Shepard's career, she's put up some impressive numbers and earned individual recognition, while helping her teams to post season success.

Shepard's career total of 2,229 points puts her at No. 4 on the all-time girls basketball charts and had a 34 point per game average this season.  She's earned first-team All-State honors at Southeast and Fremont.

Before her freshman season at Lincoln Southeast, Shepard accepted a scholarship offer from Nebraska.  To cap off her first high school season, she led the Knights to a runner-up finish in the 2012 Class A state tournament.   Southeast returned to the 2013 tournament to win it all behind the efforts of Shepard and Iowa basketball player Alexa Kastanek.

It was after her sophomore season that Shepard moved to Fremont, where her father, Mark, became the district's superintendent.  Last season, the Tigers made it to the first round at state and are in the middle of trying to make a return trip.

Fremont, now coming off a runner-up finish in the Heartland Athletic Conference tournament, looks to keep their dream season alive without perhaps their best girls basketball player in school history.

We wish nothing but a full and speeding recovery for Shepard and best of luck in her college career!


LINKS AND ROCKETS EARN TOP 10 RANKINGS

If you have not seen the brand new Union Bank Boys Basketball ratings, you'll see Lincoln High and Lincoln Northeast receiving recognition.   The Links are now No. 5 after capturing the Heartland Athletic Conference Tournament championship on Wednesday.  After receiving recognition as a contender in the pre-season top ten, the Rockets move in at No. 9.

Northeast finished as the HAC Tourney runner-up, enough in my opinion to earn a spot in the ratings.  No matter what the outcome would have been, both teams would be rated.  The Links and Rockets will meet again in the regular season match up on Jan. 17 at Northeast.


Omaha Creighton Prep, who won the Metro Conference Title on Wednesday, is the new No. 1 in Class A, followed by Norfolk.  The Panthers are still undefeated and won the Greater Nebraska Conference tournament title.


Defending Class A girls champion Omaha Benson, led by Arizona State recruit Kianna Ibis, won the Metro Conference title over Millard West and have claimed the No. 1 spot in the girls ratings.  HAC tourney champion Lincoln Northeast is No. 2.  Lincoln East, who finished third in the HAC, is also rated entering January at No. 8.

 
UPCOMING WEBCASTS


We're taking the weekend off to start 2015, but we'll pick it up and get into high gear on Friday, Jan. 9 when the Waverly boys play at Norris.  We're also planning to carry the Creighton Prep/East boys game on Jan. 10.

Click on the broadcast schedule link on the main page to see the rest of our season schedule.

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