2020 State Tournament Notebook: All-Tournament Honors
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2020 State Tournament Roundup: Quarterfinals

March 12, 2020

For the safey of everyone amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NSAA closed off the boys state basketball tournament to the general public. However, the media and immediate family were allowed in and Jacob Padilla posted up at Pinnacle Bank Arena to bring you coverage of the Class B and A games on Thursday.


No. 1 Omaha Skutt 66, No. 8 Norris 58

The eighth-seeded Titans put up a good fight against the top-seeded SkyHawks, but a 16-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters put Skutt firmly in control and the SkyHawks cruised to the finish from there.

Skutt came out of the gates on fire, scoring on its first seven possession to take a 16-7 lead, but the Titans scored the last two buckets of the quarter to make it 16-11 after one. Skutt star Tyson Gordon picked up two fouls with just under two minutes to go in the quarter and spent much of the second on the bench.

John Peterson
Skutt junior Charlie Fletcher (24) recorded a double-double in the SkyHawks’ first-round win over Norris.

The two teams played to a draw in the second and Skutt took a 28-23 lead into halftime. 

Norris opened the second half with a 3 from CJ Hood to make it a one-possession game, but Skutt responded with a 7-0 run. Norris cut it back to five with a put-back and a 3, but Skutt scored eight straight (two buckets apiece by Gordon and Luke Skar) to spark the decisive run.

Skutt led 45-33 after three and pushed the lead to 15 early in the fourth. Norris made one more push to cut it to 10 with a 5-0 run, but Skutt senior Andrew Merfeld knocked down a 3 with just under five minutes to play and the Titans couldn’t get enough stops to dig themselves out of the hole.

Norris made Gordon work for his points, but he still finished with a game-high 18. Skar chipped in 14 points and six rebounds. Junior Charlie Fletcher had a double-double wit 13 points and 10 rebounds while Merfeld matched him with 13 points on 4-of-7 from the field (2-of-4 from 3) and 3-of-5 form the foul line.

Trey Deveaux led the Titans with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. Connor Price scored 10 points on 3-of-4 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line. Hood shot 3-of-6 from 3 for nine points snd blocked five shots.


  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Omaha Skutt 16 12 17 21 66
Norris 11 12 10 25 58

OS: Tyson Gordon 18, Luke Skar 14, Charlie Fletcher 13, Andrew MErfeld 13, Will McMeen 3, Bradley Paragas 3, Eli Carbullido 2

W: Trey Deveaux 14, Connor Price 10, CJ Hood 9, Izaiah Pankoke-Johnson 9, Aidan Oerter 5, Jack Oelke 5, Cade Rice 4, Mitch Champoux 2

No. 5 Elkhorn Mt. Michael 76, No. 4 Wahoo 50

The Warriors are probably sick of seeing Mt. Michael junior Brad Bennett at this point.

In the teams’ sub-distract final meeting, Bennett shot 7-of-11 from 3 and led the Knights to a 68-59 win with 25 points. On Thursday, he nearly matched that performance with 23 points and 6-of-8 3-point shooting as the Knights blew out the Warriors 76-50.

John S. Peterson
Brad Bennett (33) led Mt. Michael with six 3-pointers and 23 points against Wahoo.

The game looked like it would be a thriller in the first quarter. Mt. Michael shot 9-of-12 from the field while the Warriors went 6-of-8 and 3-of-4 from the foul line as the teams both executed at a high level. After a 17-all tie, Mt. Michael scored the last four points to take a 21-17 lead into the second quarter.

The execution went out the door in the second quarter, however. Mt. Michael shut out Wahoo — holding the Warriors to 0-of-11 from the field — and led 30-17 at halftime. The two teams combined for 17 turnovers in the period.

Joe Chouinard hit a 3 on Mt. Michael’s first possession of the third quarter to make it a 16-0 run stretching back to the first quarter before Wahoo got a free throw and a bucket to end the streak. However, Mt. Micheal started pouring it on from there with a 13-0 run included three straight 3s to make it 46-30, and the Knights never stopped scoring.

Kyle Pelan scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and added five boards and two blocks to his line. Chouinard chipped in 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Kaleb Brink finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Point guard Airan Lopez dished out nine assists. The Knight shot a blistering 10-of-14 from 3 and 61.9% overall to overcome 22 turnovers.

Mt. Micheal will take on Omaha Skutt at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday at 2 p.m.

Trevor Kasischke led Wahoo with 15 points in 5-of-8 shooting (2-of-3 from 3) and Trey Scheef chipped in 11 points, four assists and three steals. Wahoo shot 3-of-13 from 3.


  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Wahoo 17 0 15 18 50
Elkhorn Mt. Michael 21 9 23 23 76

W: Trevor Kasischke 15, Trey Scheef 11, Thomas Waido 8, Triston Keeney 5, Myles Simon 4, Braden Harris 3, Gerardo Madrid 2, Andrew Waido 2

EMM: Brad Bennett 23, Kyle Pelan 14, Joe Chouinard 11, Kaleb Brink 10, Airan Lopez 5, Greg Gonzalez 4, Parker Hottovy 3, Joe Bruggeman 3, Ethan Meduna 2, Daniel Mondi 1

Class B Scores from the Devaney Center:

>> No. 2 Scottsbluff 53, No. 7 Alliance 38: Scottsbluff's Dawson Mohr and Alliance’s Trevor DuBray scored 15 points apiece to lead their teams.

>> No. 6 Omaha Roncalli 60, No. 3 Hastings 56, OT: Jack Dotzler and Taiden Red led Roncalli with 20 points apiece while Connor Creech and Jake Schroeder scored 17 each for Hastings. 

Roncalli and Scottsbluff will face off at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday at 3:45 p.m.


No. 1 Bellevue West 55, No. 8 Elkhorn 34

The Antlers got off to a nightmare start before battling back to take a second-quarter lead, but the Thunderbirds hit them with a big run in the third quarter and Elkhorn never recovered as Bellevue West rolled to a 21-point win.

Elkhorn’s first 10 possessions included eight turnovers and three missed shots as the Antlers didn’t get on the board until a layup by Bryson Hochstein with 1:35 to go. Bellevue West jumped out to a 10-0 lead but only led 10-4 after the first quarter.

John S. Peterson
Chucky Hepburn (24) flirted with a double-double in Bellevue West’s win over Elkhorn.

Gannon Gragert hit three straight 3s in the second quarter to give Elkhorn a 15-12 lead and the Antlers pushed the lead to 19-15 with a pair of free throws by Gragert and a bucket by junior Nebraska baseball commit Drew Christo, but Bellevue West closed the first half with a 7-0 run to take a 28-23 lead into the locker room.

The Antlers ran out of mojo in the second half. Elkhorn scored 11 total points and turned the ball over 20 times in the final 16 minutes as Bellevue West blew the game wide open. Elkhorn finished with 10 field goals, 11 free throws and 36 turnovers.

Of those 35 Elkhorn turnovers, 22 were Bellevue West steals as the Thunderbirds’ pressure was relentless. Frankie Fidler led the way with 17 points, seven rebounds and six steals. His brother, Louis, chipped in 11 points and five steals. Junior Wisconsin commit Chucky Hepburn had 10 points, seven assists and five steals.

Gragert scored all 11 of his team high in the second quarter. Colton Uhing added nine points and shot 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. Christo had four points and four board before fouling out.


  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Bellevue West 10 18 13 14 55
Elkhorn 4 19 3 8 34

BW: Frankie Fidler 17, Louis Fidler 11, Chucky Hepburn 11, Owen Woodard 6, John Shanklin 4, Evan Inselman 3, Trey Hepburn 2, Nate Sullivan 2

E: Gannon Gragert 11, Colton Uhing 9, Bryson Hochstein 6, Drew Christo 4, Kyler Beekman 2, Isaac Robinson 2

No. 4 Omaha Westside 74, No. 5 Omaha Creighton Prep 70

The Warriors jumped out to an 8-2 lead and led the rest of the way as the Warriors took down their rivals for the second time this season in the closest game yet at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Westside led 15-11 after one and built the lead up to do double-digits at 28-17 after a 3-pointer from Omaha signee Jadin Booth. Booth went off for 12 points in the quarter including a couple of triples and the Warriors took a 35-26 lead into halftime. Sophomore Luke Jungers, who got his first start for Prep, went 4-for-4 in the quarter for nine points to keep the Junior Jays in the game.

John S. Peterson
Jadin Booth (2) led all scorers with 25 points in the win for Westside.

Westside ran into a bit of foul trouble in the third quarter as both Reggie Thomas and Carl Brown picked up their third fouls in the first two minutes or so. Prep made a run to cut the deficit down to 40-35 thanks to a 3 and a free-throw by Justin Sitti. However, senior guard PJ Ngambi responded with back-to-back buckets in the paint to push it right back to nine. 

Westside pulled ahead 47-37, but Prep responded with an 8-2 run. Sophomore Chandler Meeks scored late to give Westside a 51-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Westside controlled the action early and stretched it out a bit to 62-50 lead before the Junior Jays pushed back again. A 3 by Jungers and a steal and score by Sitti made it 64-59 with just under three minutes to go.

Prep just couldn’t get over the hump, though. Westside shot well enough from the free-throw line to prevent the Junior Jays from getting any closer than four, the final margin.

Booth led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-14 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3 and 5-of-7 from the line. Ngambi scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half including nine in the fourth quarter and also dished out four assists. Meeks was in double figures as well with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Carl Brown went scoreless in the first three quarters but went 3-for-3 in the fourth for eight points including a big 3 followed soon after by a three-point play.

Sitti put up 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals before fouling out late. Juniors matched him with 16 on 6-of-9 from the field (2-of-4 from 3). Senior Spencer Schemers finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Nebraska football target AJ Rollins, a junior, had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds while Brendan Buckley chipped in 11 points, five rebounds (all offensive) and four assists off the bench.


  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Omaha Westside 15 20 16 23 74
Omaha Creighton Prep 11 15 20 24 70

OW: Jadin Booth 25, PJ Ngambi 19, Chandler Meeks 14, Carl Brown 8, Reggie Thomas 7, Payson Gillespie 1

OCP: Justin Sitti 16, Luke Jungers 16, Spencer Schomers 13, AJ Rollins 11, Brendan Buckley 11, Mai’Jhe Wiley 3

No. 2 Millard North 62, No. 7 Papillion-La Vista South 60

The Titans took the Mustangs right down to the final buzzer, but some last second heroics by Saint Thomas sent Millard North on to Friday’s semifinals. 

Papio South senior point guard found a wide open Graham Cassoutt for a game-tying 3 with 52 seconds left that made it 60-all. The Mustangs ran down the clock to 18 seconds and called a timeout, then got the ball in to point guard Jadin Johnson. He swung the ball to Thomas on the right wing and the 6-foot-6 junior drove in and rose up for an 8-footer with 6 seconds left.

Jared Mattley’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer never had a chance, sealing Millard North’s fourth win of the season over the Titans.

The Titans made a statement early, jumping out to a 9-2 lead. The Mustangs put together a late run behind eight points from Hunter Sallis to pull ahead 17-14, but Tyler Lee scored inside for Papio South to make it a one-point game after one.

John S. Peterson
Hunter Sallis led Millard North with 20 points in Millard North's win over Papio South.

The teams went back and forth throughout the second and third quarters as neither side was able to create any separation. Millard North led 32-30 at halftime, then Papio South pulled ahead 46-45 with a 6-0 run late in the third. Sallis converted a three-point play to end the quarter, then Millard North scored the first six points of the fourth to take a 54-46 lead. 

Daniel Brocaille scored four straight for the Titans to cut the deficit in half and the sides traded blows from there until the final sequence.

Sallis led the Mustangs with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Thomas finished with 14 points, eight boards, four assists and two steals. Jasen Green, a 2022 Nebraska target, chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.

Junior forward Danair Dempsey was a force for the Titans all game, putting up 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Mattley, the senior point guard who injured his ankle in Papio South’s district loss to Lincoln Northeast, played with the ankle wrapped and finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.


  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Millard North 17 15 16 14 62
Papillion-La Vista South 16 14 16 14 60

MN: Hunter Sallis 20, Saint Thomas 14, Jasen Green 13, Max Murrell 7, Jadin Jonson 4, Noah Erickson 2

PLVS: Danair Dempsey 20, Jared Mattley 13, Daniel Brocaille 8, Tyler Lee 8, Josiah Beckenhauer 6, Graham Cassoutt 5

No. 6 Omaha South 48, No. 3 Omaha Central 47

For the second straight year, Omaha Central’s season came to an end at the hands of Omaha South guard Ty Griggs. 

Trailing by one with the clock ticking down, Griggs drew a foul with 5.5 seconds to go. He stepped to the line and calmly sank both shots. Last season, Griggs stole the ball from an Eagle in a tie game and took it the other way for a layup just before the buzzer in the Class A state championship.

After Griggs’ free throws, Central got the ball up the court and called timeout with 4.5 on the clock. Out of the huddle the Eagles got the ball to Max Polk — a senior with numerous clutch shots on his resume — and Polk pulled up from just behind the free-throw line for a jumper. It hit the backboard, circled the rim, hit the glass again and again circled the rim before popping out as time expired.

Griggs scored two points in the first three quarters before stepping up in the fourth with seven more including the game-winning free throws.

Latrell Wrightsell Jr. got Central off to a quick start with six points right out of the gate, but the Packers picked it up to make it 14-12 Central after one. The Packers pulled ahead 23-20 in the second before Wrightsell scored five straight. With time running down, Jay Saunders picked up a loose ball and heaved it up from halfcourt, nailing the shot to give South a 26-25 lead at halftime.

John S. Peterson
Omaha South senior Ty Griggs (3) hit the game-winning free throws in South’s win over Central.

The teams only managed to score two points apiece through the first four minutes of the third quarter before a 3-pointer by Central sophomore Jay Dawson tied it up at 30-all. South closed the quarter on a 7-1 run, however, and led 37-31 heading into the fourth.

Polk scored the first seven points of the final period to retake the lead for Central. Three more ties followed before a bucket by Wrightsell gave the Eagles a 47-46 lead. South turned the ball over with 26.8 to play, but Central gave it back with a missed layup instead of running down the clock and Griggs drew the foul in the ensuing transition play.

Skyler Wilson put the Packers on his back in the first half, scoring 16 of his 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Saunders was the only other Packer in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals while RaShawn McNeal-Lee snagged a game-high nine rebounds to go with his six points.

Wrightsell led all scorers with 22 points, but the packers made him work for every one as he finished 8-of-20 from the field. Polk finished with 12 points while Dawson chipped in seven,


  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Omaha Central 14 11 6 16 47
Omaha South 12 14 11 11 48

OC: Latrell Wrightsell Jr. 22, Max Polk 12, Jay Dawson 7, Fai Germany 3, Deng Diew 2, Abe Hoskins III 1

OS: Skyler Wilson 18, Jay Saunders 10, Ty Griggs 9, RaShawn McNeal-Lee 6, John Forget 5

Class C1 Scores

>> No. 1 Hastings Adams Central 65, No. 8 St. Paul 42: Gavin Lipovsky scored a game-high 24 points for Adams Central while Andy Poss scored 17 for St. Paul.

>> No. 4 Ogallala 65, No. 5 Kearney Catholic 62: Carter Brown led the Indians with 19 points and Brett Mahony had a game-high 24 for Kearney Catholic.

Adams Central will face Ogallala on Friday at 9 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

>> No. 2 Auburn 54, No. 7 Ashland-Greenwood: Josh Lambert and Dan Frary scored 14 points apiece while Cale Jacobsen scored 32 of the Bluejays' 48, the highest total of day one.

>> No. 3 Lincoln Christian 44, No. 6 Wayne 38: Justin Bubak scored a game-high 16 points for Lincoln Christian and Tyrus Eischeid had 15 to lead Wayne.

Auburn will take on Lincoln Christian on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena at 10:45 a.m.

Class C2 Scores

>> No. 1 Grand Island Central Catholic 41, No. 8 Palmyra 38: Russ Martinez scored 12 points to lead the Crusaders while Kaleb Kempes and Dominic Darraf chipped in nien apiece to lead the Panthers.

>> No. 4 Yutan 63, No. 5 Ponca 56, 2OT: Trey Knudsen had a game-high 20 points for the Cheiftains while Brandon Kneifl had 18 points for the Indians.

Grand Island Central Catholic will face Yutan on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center.

>> No. 2 BRLD 71, No. 7 Doniphan-Trumbull 46: Lucas Vogt led the Wolverines with a game-high 19 points while Keithan Stafford had 15 for the Cardinals. 

>> No. 3 Sutton 55, No. 6 Centennial 48: Tyler Baldwin scored 13 points for Sutton while Cooper Gierhan and Jake Bargen had 13 apiece for the Broncos.

BRLD and Sutton will play against each other on Friday at 8:45 p.m. at the Devaney Center.

Class D1 Scores

>> No. 1 North Platte St. Patrick’s 57, No. 9 Pleasanton 48

>> No. 4 Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 75, No. 5 Paxton 37

St. Patrick’s will face Laurel-Concord-Coleridge on Friday at 9 a.m. at the Devaney Center.

>> No. 2 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 71, No. 7 Fullerton 53

>> No. 6 Southern Valley 50, No. 3 Osmond 49

The Bulldogs will face the Eagles on Friday at 10:45 a.m. at the Devaney Center.

Class D2 Scores

>> No. 1 Humphrey St. Francis 57, No. 8 Randolph 46

>> No. 4 Mullen 51, No. 5 O’Neill St. Mary’s 49

St. Francis and Mullen will face off on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Devaney Center

>> No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart 45, No. 7 Johnson-Brock 40

>> No. 6 Lincoln Parkview 65, No. 3 Loomis 49

Sacred Heart will take on Parkview on Friday at 3:45 p.m. at the Devaney Center.

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