The Elkhorn North girls’ basketball team continues to build a dynasty with its second state championship


Photo by Tara Binte Sharil

The Elkhorn North girls’ basketball team raises its state championship trophy after a 49-36 win over Skutt

The buzzer sounded and the dog pile ensued, signaling back-to-back state championships for the Elkhorn North girls’ basketball squad. 

Following a split series of 1-1, the Wolves soundly defeated two-seed Skutt Catholic 49-36 to hoist the trophy for the second year in a row. It was a season that drew out to be almost a mirror image of the inaugural season, as head coach Ann Prince’s team is now solidifying itself as one of the best girls basketball programs in all of the state of Nebraska. 

The Wolves began the season storming past all of their opponents, clearly showing that they were, again, the best team in Class B. They won their first 11 games by an average of 39.8 points, leaving no doubt early on. 

Meanwhile, a new story was emerging in Class B. The Skyhawks of Skutt Catholic were quietly building throughout the first month of the season. Skutt and Elkhorn North were bound to be the two premier contenders within the class.

On January 7, the two squads met at Elkhorn North, the Wolves being 11-0 and the Skyhawks being 10-0. Extraordinary hype was surrounding the game. The two sophomore stars, Britt Prince and Skutt’s Peyton McCabe, sister of Fremont prodigy Taylor McCabe, would face off in what was sure to be an entertaining match-up. 

Right from the get-go, it was all Skutt. The Skyhawks walked right into Elkhorn North territory and never looked back, beating the Wolves in a shocker, 63-54. McCabe continued to sink threes and tallied 22 points. The Wolves were stunned.

However, nobody could have forgotten how last season’s events transpired. The Eastern Midlands Conference (EMC) Tournament of 2021 saw the Wolves’ first of two losses in the season, being downed by Norris 60-52.

When the teams met again at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the state championship, it was all Elkhorn North. Norris fell to its knees and the Wolves lifted their first state championship trophy, winning 46-33.

So, as the 2021-2022 season continued to play out, it seemed likely that Elkhorn North and Skutt would see each other again in the state championship. 

The Wolves bounced back after the Skutt loss and would never lose again, securing their first ever EMC championship along the way.

The Elkhorn North girls’ basketball team takes a picture with the EMC Championship trophy after its victory over Norris (Photo by Brandon Urbano)

It soon became probable, though, that Elkhorn North and Skutt would meet again before the state championship. And they did.

The two teams faced off at Skutt in the B2 Subdistrict Championship. It would take an inspired effort from the Wolves to go into Skyhawk territory and come out with a win.

Not only did that inspired effort show up, but a Britt Prince buzzer beater floater did too which gave the Wolves a 62-60 win over Skutt in terrific fashion.

The record was even, the two teams splitting 1-1 against each other. A rubber match was needed to break the tie, and that was sure to come in the state championship. 

Elkhorn North and Skutt blew past their first and second round opponents, the Wolves taking down Waverly and Norris and Skutt defeating Blair and Adams Central.

On Saturday, March 12, the two teams met for a third time, with a packed house at Pinnacle Bank Arena. It was sure to be a competitive, back-and-forth, dog fight type of a game.

But instead, the Wolves put the hammer down right from the opening tip-off, and Skutt was left in the dust.

Elkhorn North defended Peyton McCabe relentlessly, and were able to work around a very efficient Skutt defense on the other end. When the clock hit zero, the Wolves had the advantage, 49-36.

Britt Prince cuts down the net after the Wolves’ state championship win (Photo by Tara Binte Sharil)

It was an incredible atmosphere, a massive contingent of fans and students, and a joyous Elkhorn North squad as it had locked down that Pinnacle Bank Arena floor for a second year in a row. 

The Wolves, instead of it being a back-and-forth game like everyone anticipated, were able to sustain a slow death to Skutt over the course of the match-up. 

“In the state tournament there is definitely a different dynamic to the whole scene,” senior Reilly Palmer said. “By focusing on what won’t be influenced no matter where we play, we were able to come out on top, and that was defense.”

The defense surely showed up for Elkhorn North as they made life miserable for the Skyhawks offensively.

It is absolutely not time to say goodbye to Skutt yet, as the Skyhawks are still a young team with talent across the board and an excellent head coach in Kip Colony.

But for now, the Wolves hold back-to-back titles, and that is all that matters.

“It feels amazing and it is even better to do it with the same group of people,” Prince said. 

As the Wolves head into the off-season, that means the end of the first group of seniors. Reilly Palmer, Michaela Palmer, and Molly Bruggeman will all be graduating and certainly made significant impacts on building the groundwork for this program and helping secure two state championships for the Wolves.

“It is such an indescribable feeling knowing that me as well as the other seniors have taken on a leadership role opportunity and were able to have the support of the team as we began our journey,” Reilly Palmer said.

“The seniors were awesome,” Prince said. “They had to take on a leadership role that they weren’t used to as juniors. They did a great job leading and starting this program.”

The legacy of these first three seniors will be felt forever. And now, it is time for the Wolves to continue to progress and build the program. It is certain that Elkhorn North the Elkhorn North program will continue to accelerate and advance for years to come.