Pospisil: Omaha Westside nearly solved the puzzle of Bellevue West in last matchup

1 month ago Omaha World Herald

Did Omaha Westside find a chink in the Bellevue West armor?

“Not a big enough one obviously,” Westside coach Jim Simons said.

But what the Warriors did last Saturday, taking the undefeated Thunderbirds to overtime before losing 80-78, has to hearten those hoping that a Bellevue West state title isn’t a foregone conclusion in two weeks.

The road to Lincoln starts Friday night with play-in games in five of the seven Class A districts. On Saturday, there will be 14 games with the winners advancing to finals Monday in all districts but Westside’s. More on that later.

What Simons saw against Bellevue West in his team was a level of play he hoped to see from the start but only has showed up to his liking the past couple of weeks. The Warriors’ effort and attention to detail has improved.

But against Bellevue West, the challenge is two-fold. Keep the Thunderbirds from running the floor in transition. And rebound.

“I thought we did both of those things much better the second time we played than the first (at the Metro Holiday Tournament,’’ Simons said. “Those things are easier to say and tougher to do.”

Bellevue West also didn’t make one of their almost-expected big runs during the game, as it needed the night before in the fourth quarter to beat Millard North.

“Like I said, it wasn’t any big secret strategy or anything we did,’’ Simons said. “You have to play hard, you have to be really disciplined against them and you have to keep them out of transition.”

The NSAA is back to giving Class A districts the option of finishing on Monday or Tuesday. Last year, the year of the weeklong, girls/boys tournament, there was a mandated schedule for Class A.

It shocked Simons that the other districts opted for Monday. To him, Monday is a “weird” night to play and he likes having two days instead of one for preparation for the most important game to that point.

He’d go along with an NSAA mandate of a Saturday-Tuesday schedule. So would we.

Class A play-ins

Old rivals Norfolk and Fremont meet at 6 p.m. in Fremont, perhaps the best of the five games. Omaha Westview started the season with a win over Omaha Buena Vista and the Wolverines try for a three-game sweep of the Bison at home at 5.

Other games have Grand Island at Omaha Benson and Omaha Northwest at Columbus, both at 6 p.m., and Omaha South at Bellevue East at 5.

Class B subdistricts

No. 3 Elkhorn (16-7) stunned No. 1 Omaha Skutt 48-47 Thursday night on the SkyHawks’ court. It was the first loss for Skutt against Class B competition. Skutt will be the No. 1 seed in the district final round, with Elkhorn moving up to third.

Blair (9-12) had another stunner, catching No. 4 Bennington 63-62 in overtime on a basket off the glass by Greyson Kay. No. 7 Norris won 63-61 in double overtime at No. 6 Crete on Barrett Boesiger’s basket.

Connor Millikan scored 25 points, increasing his Class B record total to 2,529, in No. 2 Platteview’s 58-35 home win over Omaha Gross.

Other winners were No. 10 Waverly, 56-42 over Plattsmouth; McCook, 49-30 over Grand Island Northwest; and Scottsbluff, 83-43 over Gering as Michael Mickey had a game-high 26. York hosts Seward, a 45-38 semifinal winner over Hastings, at 6 Friday.

The top five seeds appear set — Omaha Skutt, followed by Platteview, Elkhorn, Scottsbluff and Crete. Bennington, York and Norris are projected to be the other host teams, with Omaha Roncalli drawing the No. 9 seed. Blair is No. 16.

If Seward wins, it knocks out Omaha Gross as the No. 15 seed. Also projected as road teams are Beatrice, Gering, Waverly, McCook and South Sioux City.

Class C-1

No. 1 Wahoo took control of its 54-32 win over No. 3 Ashland-Greenwood in the second quarter. No. 8 Omaha Concordia’s Carter Sunde made five free throws in a row in the final two minutes after No. 10 Boys Town took a 45-44 lead as the Mustangs won 51-47.

No. 7 Central City got 15 points from Ayden Zikmund to defeat No. 4 Aurora 34-25. The Bison host a district final in hopes of a first state appearance since 1947. No. 2 Ogallala stayed undefeated through 25 games by beating Sidney 65-43.

Class C-2

No. 3 Amherst defeated No. 1 Doniphan-Trumbull 75-62 by making 13 of its final 14 free throws. No. 7 Elkhorn Valley, looking for its first state appearance, secured a home game in the district finals by beating West Holt 78-52. No. 4 Freeman’s Carter Ruse had the go-ahead 3 in a

Class D-1

Defending champion and No. 1 North Platte St. Patrick’s held off No. 2 Maywood-Hayes Center 40-39. Both will be district-final hosts. No. 8 Mead defeated Omaha Brownell-Talbot 78-41.

Class D-2

Defending champion and No. 1 Lincoln Parkview defeated No. 3 Osceola 71-58 but both teams will host district finals. No. 10 Stuart went to double overtime before beating No. 9 Santee 91-87 on the road.

Santee (14-5) is projected to be the No. 9 seed and visit No. 8 Mullen with a first state berth in play for the Warriors.​

[email protected], twitter.com/stuOWH

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy. Stu Pospisil

Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Email [email protected]

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