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lnichols / By Marcus Scheer/Daily Sun sports editor 

The Beatrice Lady Orange defeat the Sidney Lady Raiders, 52-38, in the Class B Girls State Basketball Tournament on March 1, 2018, in Lincoln, NE.

Hoops for hope

There was no love lost between the two teams jockeying for position on the hardwood Thursday night at Tri County School, but there were probably some sore knees the next morning.

The Tri County High School student council hosted a basketball fundraiser on Thursday that pit teachers and administrators against each other, all to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The school held a similar fundraiser about three years ago that brought in about $575. Student Council president Shayna Lijewski was a freshman at that time, and thought the council could do better this year.

“We're hoping to make more this year,” she said. “We've had students here that have been helped by Make A Wish and have received wishes.”

As for the players, they’re all in. They have no need for fancy names, choosing simply to go by “Blue Team” and “White Team."

The rules were not what you traditionally see in basketball. The first two quarters were 10 minutes long and the second half would be two eight minute quarters. Players could also score special five-point shots which would net $10 for Make-A-Wish.

The players had been practicing for the past week and they’d been trash talking one another in the hall, but as to who was the favorite going in, Lijewski couldn’t say.

“I have no preferences,” she said. “I am unbiased. That's why I wore a black shirt tonight.”

The game began and the white team took an early lead, punishing the blue team with wicked layups and nailing any free throw opportunities that came along.

As the half approached, the blue team nailed a five-pointer, giving them a lead of 20 to 17 as the halftime siren sounded.

A little winded, sweaty and red-faced from huffing and puffing up and down the court, Brett Scheiding, Ryan Clark and Zach Schuerman of the white team were sore, but even trailing by three points couldn’t dampen their bravado.

“I'm really glad we let them back in it to give them that feeling,” Scheiding said. “It's tough when you're down that big that early, and we though 'Let's give them a little taste of a lead.'”

Jared Spahr of the blue team stopped for some water at the drinking fountain and said that even from the beginning, he had no doubts that his team would be the champs.

“Of course, blue,” Spahr said. “All the way. The older staff, we've got more maturity. The young guns, they'll start running out of gas. Second half, you'll see.”

While the teams rested, kids from the stands mobbed the court, where for $1 a throw, they could try to win bottles of pop or boxes of candy by making baskets.

After a good 20 minute halftime, the kids cleared the court and the teachers laced their Jordans back up.

It was a hard fought battle, but the white team never reclaimed their early lead. Thanks to another five-pointer and a few more baskets, the blue team got the win at 32-27.

The stands were packed with spectators and, at $5 for adults and $3 for kids, it looked like the student council had easily surpassed their goal of $600.

Lijewski said she hoped the council would hold another staff basketball again, but next time, they might make an addition.

“I think all of them are going harder than we all expected them to,” she said. “We should have rolled up an ambulance for them.”

County honors Vietnam veteran

A lifelong Gage County resident was recognized for serving in the Korean War by the County Board of Supervisors this week.

Dean Thornburg was announced as the veteran of honor for the month March. The monthly program is an opportunity during regular County Board meetings to respect Gage County residents who served their country.

“This month we’re going to be honoring Korean War veteran and lifetime Gage County resident, Dean Thornburg,” said Gage County Veteran Services Director Phil Dittbrenner. “Dean served in the United States Air Force from October 10, 1950 to April 26, 1954. He was a staff sergeant and served two years and four months overseas.”

For his service, Thornburg received the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Thornburg competed his basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He also spent time in Colorado before being sent to the Far East.

He put an interest in photography to use, and worked in reconnaissance missions.

“They asked me if I had any preference and I said not necessarily,” Thornburg said. “I knew that wherever you’re needed, that’s where you go, but I said I’d always been interested in photography.

“I never regretted joining the air force. After going through photography school, they shifted me over to reconnaissance.”

Thornburg thanked the county for the recognition, and also the fellow veterans who served.

“I guess I need to admit that I like a dry bed at night,” he said. “I take my hat off to those guys in the trench, and I think it’s nice when you honor them.”

Making reading fun

Kids from schools across Gage County met up for a battle of the books.

At the Gage County Reading Classic at the National Guard Armory in Beatrice, teams of students matched wits with fellow literature enthusiasts on Friday afternoon.

Reading Classics has been held for 28 years now. The event is about getting kids to read for fun, rather than as an assignment, said Marjorie Brubaker, Gage County coordinator of the Reading Classic.

Two divisions of kids, one made up of third and fourth graders, the other fifth and sixth graders, read 50-75 books to prepare for the competition that asks them to remember details from the books they’ve read over the past year.

The books include Newbery Award winners, Caldecott Medal winners and winners of Nebraska’s Golden Sower award, but, good as they might be, there are still a lot of them.

The third and fourth graders get a selection of picture books and age-appropriate chapter books, Brubaker said, but it’s all chapter books for the fifth and sixth graders. The four-kid teams usually split up reading responsibilities, she said.

The kids were competing for a chance to attend the state Reading Classic next weekend at Tri County School. The orange-shirted Diller-Odell team was the first runner up, but the team of fourth graders from Stoddard Elementary in Beatrice took home the trophy, answering 42 of 50 questions correctly.

“Not everything is athletic,” Brubaker said. “Some of the kids, they enjoy reading but they don't care for sports as much, so it gives them a chance to excel in something they're interested in.”

Driver dies in Saline County crash

DORCHESTER — Authorities say a 67-year-old driver died after his pickup truck crashed in Saline County.

The crash occurred Saturday about 6½ miles south of Dorchester. The county Sheriff's Office said in a news release that the pickup ran off the roadway when attempting to turn right.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. He's been identified as Norman Sokolik, who lived in rural Dorchester.

His wife, 63-year-old Karen Sokolik, was taken to a Lincoln hospital.