The boys basketball team is going to make school history and win their third straight state championship.


Sailor Ruby

Senior Christian Braun drives in the game against Blue Valley West on Friday Feb. 8 at BVW. BVNW defeated BVW, 57-49.

Blank Report, Ryan Blank

Northwest has been known for its boys basketball program for years. This current team can help solidify BVNW’s reputation. For the first time in school history, the boys basketball team has a chance to secure three straight state championships.

The Huskies finished the regular season 18-2, clinching the number one seed in the 6A substate bracket, with a great chance to clinch a state tournament berth.

BVNW head coach Ed Fritz was in a tough situation last year with the Huskies at a 4-4 record, with all the losses coming to schools in Missouri. Coach Fritz displayed his basketball brilliance and exemplified why he is one of the greatest high school coaches ever by switching Braun  to point guard, which changed the season drastically. After the switch, the Huskies went on to win 17 straight games with Braun at point guard, leading the Huskies to the 18-2 record this season.

Braun, now a University of Kansas basketball commit, has had a phenomenal season, leading the team in points, rebounds and assists. Braun had a huge performance at the Bill Hanson Memorial Basketball Tournament in Pittsburg from January 17-19, where he averaged 31.3 points per game, leading the Huskies to a first place finish. Braun also has multiple double-doubles on the year, leading him to be nominated to the 2019 McDonald’s All-American Game.

“I do a pretty good job of just keeping everybody focused before games and in practice if guys are not doing things right. They also do a good job of keeping me in check when I get off track or when I’m not playing my best. A big part of it is keeping everybody playing hard because we are really talented and if we play hard and as a team, then we will be successful,” Braun said.

Injuries have plagued the Huskies this year, with sophomores Jack Chapman and Ben Fritz missing games. Chapman returned to the court Jan. 11 against Blue Valley North, but with Chapman sidelined, the Huskies suffered one of their two losses this year.

“I think it was really hard playing without Jack,” Fritz said. “Jack was our second-leading scorer, so we had to figure out what we needed to do. I thought Nathan Burger, [and] Andrew Davis did a great job of stepping up and contributing to the team, but having Jack back will make us a lot stronger.”

Last year’s team had an issue with depth on the bench. It was mainly six or seven guys playing in each game, but this year’s team is different having more depth with eight or nine guys playing in each game.

“It’s really important for us [to have great depth] because if someone gets in foul trouble or isn’t playing their best, then we have someone who can come in and it won’t be a drop off,” Chapman said. “Where last year if you sent in some guys off the bench, you weren’t nearly as strong as the starting five, but this year with all the depth that we have, you put in Andrew Davis, Jack Hungerford, or Nathan Burger we’re playing the same way.”

This team has a lot of strong spots, but Braun and Chapman said they believe the team can grow on defense, while Fritz believes it doesn’t stop at defense for improvement.

“I think we need to get some guys a lot better to improve. Along with that, I think we need a little more consistency, Christian does a lot of stuff for us, but if we can some more guys to alleviate some pressure off him, I think that will make us a better overall team. On the defensive side, we can guard, but we need to be more aggressive, and we’ve been working on that a lot. Jack Hungerford is a really good defensive player, we need to get him better. The development of our bigs, I think if Matt Chapman, Mike Peake, and Markelle Hood can give us some more consistency that will help us go a long way,” Fritz said.

It is clear the 2018-19 team needs to keep working, but having a great coach in Ed Fritz, and a true leader in Braun, will lead this team to three straight titles. With what the school has seen from the 18-2 Huskies, all they can be is confident in this team as they continue the quest for the first three-peat in school history.

The Huskies begin postseason play tonight against Wyandotte High School at BVNW with tipoff at 7 p.m.