On Thursday night, Hail Varsity was at Omaha Westside as 2020 Nebraska commit Donovan Williams and his teammates at Lincoln North Star opened their season against the Warriors.
Williams, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, had an up-and-down game but finished with 23 points on 5-of-20 from the field, 3-of-12 from 3 and 10-of-13 from the foul line, 10 rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in the 58-51 loss for the Navigators.
Westside took the lead early before Williams sparked a 13-3 run that gave North Star a 30-29 lead at halftime. The teams battled back and forth until the Warriors pulled ahead with a 6-0 run and held on the rest of the way. Williams hit a big 3 to pull his team within two with about 30 seconds to play, but that was as close as North Star would get.
Williams said he and his teammates can learn a lot from Thursday’s game.
“We’ve got to pick it up on the defensive end of the court,” Williams said. “We had 12 offensive rebounds, so that’s a positive for us. We didn’t score the amount of points we wanted to but I think we played well as a team. We just need to get more people involved on the offensive end. We can’t have two or three people scoring, we need at least five or six people scoring. I think it will be a good learning point for us for the season. It’s only the first game.
“We have practice tomorrow. We’re just going to pretend that Saturday’s our first game. We’re going to start over, start fresh and I think we’ll be fine.”
Despite the loss, Williams said he’s still confident in the outlook for the Navigators this season.
“I think it’s going to be really good,” Williams said. “I think we should for sure make it to state. Depending on our record this year, I don’t think it really matters — I think we’re going to be a great team. We’re eight or nine deep, so I think it will be fine when it comes toward the end of the season.”
North Star has a talented big man in 6-foot-6 senior Josiah Allick, the older brother of 2022 Nebraska volleyball commit Bekka Allick. Jared Lopez, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, is a strong rebounder particularly on the offensive end because of his motor.
Sophomore guards Kwat Abdelkarim and Josh Brown have plenty of offensive upside as they develop. North Star will need more from shooters Luke Juracek and Owen baker moving forward.
The Husker coaches were out and about on Thursday and that included a stop at Westside for assistant coach Jim Molinari.
“It means a lot for them to come up here and support me and stuff like that, but we’re family so I kind of expect that out of them and they expect me to play well, which I hope I did,” Williams said.
Williams has been following along with the current Huskers’ 6-1 start as well and said he likes what he’s seen.
“They’re playing great,” Williams said. “They’re playing a lot better than I expected and I expected them to play really good. They’re looking like a tournament team to me come March and I’m excited to watch them. They have the best starting five I think in the Big Ten. It should be exciting to watch and I can’t wait until I get there.”
Next up for Williams and the Gators is a meeting with Lincoln Northeast at North Star on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Here are some highlights from 2020 #Nebrasketball commit Donovan Williams' game against Omaha Westside.
Tough shooting night, but he finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in a 58-51 loss for Lincoln North Star. pic.twitter.com/g4IRC90zF6
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) November 30, 2018
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.