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2022 Heartland Hoops Classic Roundup: Session Two

February 12, 2022

Teams from across the state — and the country — traveled to the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island on Saturday for the 15th annual Heartland Hoops Classic.

The first session of the event featured wins by Ashland-Greenwood, Doniphan-Trumbull, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family and Omaha Concordia.

The second session tipped off in the afternoon with three more games.

Grand Island Central Catholic 52, Elkhorn North 47

Elkhorn North led by as much as 16 in the second quarter and by double digits in the third. The Wolves led 45-35 heading into the fourth. Then they stopped scoring.

Grand Island Central Catholic scored the first 17 points of the fourth as Elkhorn North missed its first one shots and turned the ball over three times. The Wolves didn’t score until a put-back with less than 10 seconds left.

Isaac Herbek and Marcus Lowry alternated scores early in the fourth quarter until Lowry tied it up at 45-all with a 3, then Brayton Johnson hit a 3 to give the Crusaders the lead with around two minutes to play. Gil Jengmer erased an Elkhorn North shot on the other end then Central Catholic got a three-point possessions as Herbek split a pair of free throws, Lowry rebounded the miss and got it back to Herbek who sank both shots when North fouled him to make it a six-point game and the Crusaders closed it out from there.

Herbek finished with a game-high 21 points, shooting 10-of-11 at the foul line. Lowry added 19 points including 14 in the second half, shooting 5-of-8 from the field (2-of-4 from 3) and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe with three assists and three steals. Jengmer had five blocks to go with his seven points and six rebounds.

Brandon Orgilbold had a big second quarter for the Wolves, scoring nine in the period to help push North’s lead to 16 at 29-13, but they Central Catholic held him without a shot attempt in the fourth. He finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 from the filed (1-of-2 from 3) and 4-of-5 from the stripe.


Grand Island Central Catholic: 9-11-15-17 — 53

Elkhorn North:                          15-16-14-  2 — 47

GICC: Isaac Herbek 21, Marcus Lowry 19, Gil Jengmer 7, Brayton Johnson 5

EN: Brandon Orgilbold 19, Paxon Piatkowski 9, Carson Ripley 5, Ryan Harrahill 5, Tommy Mecca 4, Luke Tillman 3, Jack Lusk 2

Omaha Westside 67, Grand Island 46

Omaha Westside set the tone from the opening tip, forcing turnovers on five of Grand Island’s first six possessions to jump out to a 9-3 lead early. The Islanders hung around in the first half, trailing by eight at halftime, but Westside held Grand Island to just five points and one field goal in the third quarter to open up a 19-point lead and the Warriors cruised through the fourth.

Charlie Davis and Caleb Benning knocked down back-to-back 3s to give Westside — playing against a 2-3 zone for the second night in a row — its first double-digit lead late in the first quarter, but a three-point play by Virginia signee Isaac Traudt pulled the Islanders within eight at the end of the first, 20-12. Traudt had seven points and assisted a 3-pointer in the first eight minutes, and that and-one gave him 1,500 career points.

St. Paul transfer Andy Poss stepped up in the second quarter with six points and the Islanders played the Warriors to a 13-all draw in the period, but they ran out of gas in the third.

Tate Odvody scored 15 of his game-high 19 in the second half, shooting 9-of-12 from the field overall and splitting a pair of free throws. Chandler Meeks added 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting (3-of-3 from 3) and 1-of-1 from the line with six assists, three steals and a block. Payson Gillespie chipped in 11 points, shooting 3-of-4 from deep and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe with three assists.

Westside shot 52.3% form the field including 9-of-24 from deep and dished out 20 assists on 23 field goals with just six turnovers as they picked apart the zone. Traudt led Grand Island with 16 points while Poss chipped in 15 points and four assists. The duo shot a combined 15-of-19 from the foul line. 


Grand Island:        12-13-  5-16 — 46 

Omaha Westside: 20-13-16-18 — 67

GI: Isaac Traudt 16, Andy Poss 15, Kytan Fyfe 5, Dylan Sextro 5, Barrett Olson 3, Kazadi Mukoma 2

OW: Tate Odvody 19, Chandler Meeks 16, Payson Gillespie 11, Caleb Bennning 7, Logan Wilson 5, Reggie Thomas 4, Charlie Davis 3, CJ Mitchell 2

Link Academy (Branson, Missouri) 59, Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 48

The main event between two national powerhouses turned out to be more of a rock fight than a showcase of high-level basketball. Link shot 4-of-21 from 3 and 7-of-15 from the foul line. Wasatch shot under 45% inside the arc and turned the ball over 17 times. The first possession of the game ended in a shot clock violation and it took nearly four minutes for the first points.

Even so, the game did feature five 4- or 5-star recruits committed to high-major programs and a handful of others not yet committed. Half of the players who saw the court were 6-foot-7 or taller and there are a number of rim-smashing, high-flying dunks showcasing the level of athleticism that many elite recruits possess. 

Wasatch led 10-6 after the first quarter, but Link dominated the second quarter then pulled away at the start of the fourth to secure the victory.

Senior Damien Mayo and sophomore Kavien Jones provided a spark off the bench during the second quarter, combining for 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting as Link more than doubled up Wasatch 21-10 while holding the Tigers to 3-of-13 shooting. 

Trey Green, a 2023 4-star point guard who holds an offer from Nebraska, opened the third quarter with an alley-oop to one-time Nebraska visitor and Michigan commit Tarris Reed Jr. and then knocked down a 3-pointer himself to push Link’s lead to 12.

However, the Tigers managed to cut the deficit all the way down to five at 38-33 thanks in part to a flurry of dunks (three by Keba Keita and one by Matus Hronsky). Omaha Biliew, the 5-star junior who has visited Lincoln, split a pair of free throws to give Link a 39-33 lead heading into the fourth. Billow was the one who got the scoring started midway through the first by flying in for a tip-slam off a teammate’s miss.

However, the comeback was short-lived as Link opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to take its largest lead yet at 13 and Wasatch ran out of time.

Arkansas commit Jordan Walsh had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds (seven offensive) for Link. Green finished with nine points while Reed and Mayo finished with eight apiece.

Ohio State commit Roddy Gayle came alive late, scoring 11 of his game-high 15 in the fourth quarter. Keita added 10 points and eight rebounds (three offensive).

Link bounced back to win after suffering its first loss of the season on Friday as the Lions faced off against top-ranked Sunrise Christian Academy at Grand Island Central Catholic as the lead-in to the Heartland Hoops Classic. Sunrise took down Link 74-65 with both Nebraska assistant Nate Loenser and current Husker Derrick Walker in the building. Walker spent his senior year of high school and a prep year at Sunrise.


Wasatch Academy: 10-10-13-15 — 48

Link Academy:           6-21-12-20 — 59

WA: Roddy Gayle 15, Keba Keita 10, Willie Lightfoot 8, Matus Hronsky 7, Aiden Sherrell 5, Anthony Wreszcz 3

LA: Jordan Walsh 11, Trey Green 9, Tarris Reed Jr. 8, Damien Mayo 8, Julian Phillips 7, Jordan Ross 7, Kevin Jones 4, Omaha Billow 3, Felix Okpara 2

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