State Tournament stage not too big for Isaac Herbek

Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 9:40 PM CDT
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Grand Island Central Catholic sophomore Isaac Herbek stood before the free throw line at the Devaney Sports Center preparing to do something he has done hundreds of times. Only this time, it was in the Class C2 semifinals with a berth in the title game on the line. He drained it.

"He's 87, 88, 89 percent free throw shooter. He doesn't feel the moment," GICC Boys Basketball Coach Tino Martinez said. "Now granted, that's the biggest moment he's probably shot them in. I felt great. I felt great with Isaac on the line in that situation."

Herbek averaged 11.6 points a game across the Tournament. No point was bigger than the one he hit on Friday night.

"It just means a lot. I'm doing this for my team and for myself. I'm doing this for them, the fans," Herbek said. "I'm doing it for all of them. I had to come up in the clutch like that."

"I'm not a big guy of superstition or anything but we were due. We were due for a break," Martinez said. "We've been snake-bitten a few times. So, I'm just extremely happy for our kids and at the same time I feel for Yutan because we've been in their shoes."

GICC went on to lose to BRLD in the C2 title game. After Saturday's win, the Wolverines are on a 52-game winning streak.

The Crusaders only had one senior on this year's team, Connor Henke. While the future seems bright, Coach Martinez knows to not take anything for granted.

"The future probably is bright. You're never guaranteed anything, I think we've learned that this week given the events that have occurred really in our world right now," Martinez said. "So, tomorrow's not guaranteed but as long as we're willing to put the work in, I like our chances of being back and maybe having the opportunity to do something special."

With the sports world on hiatus, watching Herbek at the line on Friday with bated breath gave us a brief escape from reality, as sports is known to do.

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