Choice was easy for NU football recruit Snodgrass to stay at York for state basketball run
Three of Garrett Snodgrass’ future Husker football teammates from Nebraska — Omaha Burke’s Nick Henrich and Chris Hickman as well as Scottsbluff’s Garrett Nelson — are already on campus going through spring ball and starting their college careers.
The two-time, first-team Super-State linebacker from York, however, is where he wants to be this week — playing basketball at Pinnacle Bank Arena, trying to help the Dukes defend their Class B state championship.
“It was an option (to go to NU early), but there’s no way I was going to miss this,” said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Snodgrass. “The seniors, we’ve been through so much and basketball may be my favorite sport. We knew we had a chance to be a pretty good team this year, so I knew this is where I needed to be.”
The third-ranked Dukes (21-4) begin their title defense against a familiar opponent, No. 4 Omaha Skutt (22-4) at 10:45 a.m. Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Behind an offensive explosion from 6-4 senior all-stater Brady Danielson, York overcame a nine-point deficit in the final 1:20 to force overtime before finally claiming a 61-55 double-overtime win.
Danielson scored 12 points in the final 75 seconds of the fourth quarter. After he fouled out in overtime, teammate Reid Hoffmann took over from there with 10 points in the two extra sessions.
Danielson is leaving all of those memories in the past as he prepares for the 2019 state tournament.
“This is a new year and my focus is on what we have now instead of trying to re-live something from the past,” said Danielson, a Northern State recruit who is averaging 18.7 points per game. “It won’t help us any this year.”
Both Danielson (hamstring) and Snodgrass (ankle sprains on both legs) suffered through injury-plagued football seasons, which then lingered into basketball. Danielson then sprained his ankle in early January and was sidelined when Norris upset the Dukes.
Three of York’s losses are to No. 2 Aurora, including a 55-51 decision in the subdistrict final.
Danielson has not only picked up the pace offensively late in the season, but the left-hander’s defense on standouts like Seward’s Nate Lliteras, Hastings’ Connor Creech and Bennington’s Cooper Prososki has also made a difference. He’ll face another challenge going against Skutt’s 6-3 junior Tyson Gordon, who averages 14.9 points per game.
“Defensively, Brady has taken it to another level,” York coach Scott Lamberty said. “He’s just dominating on the defensive end.”
Lamberty has seen the same jump from Snodgrass (12.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game) and the other three senior starters — 6-foot guard Jeb Lucas (8.8 PPG), the 6-4 Hoffmann (8.5 PPG) and 6-5 Wyatt Cast (5.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG).
“The past three weeks to a month, they’ve really started to lock in, a little more sense of urgency in practice and in games,” Lamberty said. “They’ve had a stretch here where they’ve played really well.”
With top-ranked Lincoln Pius X dropping down from Class A this season and Aurora beating York three times, the spotlight hasn’t been on the Dukes quite as much as it was one year ago when York won the 2017 Class B state football title and was No. 1 in basketball the entire season.
“We’re not getting talked about as much and we kind of like that,” Danielson said. “We take that within ourselves and play with a chip on our shoulders. We’re the defending state champs and it’s that way until we get beat, and we’re coming out with that attitude.”