Basketball at NSAA Boys Basketball Championship Semi Finals
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

2022 Nebraska State Basketball Tournament Roundup: Day Two

March 08, 2022

The Nebraska boys and girls state basketball tournament rolled on with day two of quarterfinals on Tuesday.

I bounced between the Devaney Center for the morning session and Pinnacle Bank Arena for the afternoon and evening sessions to provide coverage of the Class C1 and Class A boys quarterfinals.

CLASS C1 BOYS

No. 8 Fort Calhoun 54, No. 1 Wahoo 52

The Fort Calhoun Pioneers had to wait nearly a century to make it back to state. Now they’ll get to stay for a while.

Junior guard Austin Welchert knocked down a go-ahead 3 from the corner in front of the Fort Calhoun student section with 7.2 to go and the Pioneers forced a turnover on Wahoo’s final possession, sending the top-seeded Warriors home.

Despite making their first appearance in 99 years, the Pioneers were ready to play from the opening tip, going head-to-head with the Warriors and taking a 15-11 lead at the end of the first thanks to a step-back 3 from sophomore Grayson Bouwman.

Owen Hancock hit a 3 — Wahoo’s first of the game — at the end of the second quarter to push Wahoo ahead 23-22 at halftime. That make got the lid off the rim for Hancock, who went 0-for-3 in the first. He scored 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting including three triples in the third, but the Pioneers kept pace on the other end and Wahoo maintained its one-point lead heading into the fourth, 39-38.

The final frame featured four lead changes and a tie. Fort Calhoun used an 8-0 run to take a 49-44 lead with two minutes to play, but Marcus Glock answered with a 3, and after a series of free throws, Hancock hit his fifth 3 of the game to put Wahoo back in front, 52-51, with 45 seconds left. That set up the final sequence, culminating in Welchert’s 3 and Wahoo’s final turnover, its sixth of the final period and 15th of the game.

Bouwman scored a game-high 20 points. Senior forward Zane Schwarz added 14 points while his twin brother Carsen pulled down nine boards and four steals and dished out four assists to go with his five points. Welchert finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting including 3-of-5 from deep.

Hancock led Wahoo with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting (5-of-10 from deep). Glock added 12 points and seven rebounds (four offensive). Senior guard Myles Simon fell just shy of a double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals.

BOX SCORE

Wahoo: 11-12-16-13 — 52

Fort Calhoun: 15-  7-16-16 — 54

W: Owen Hancock 17, Marcus Glock 12, Myles Simon 10, Garrett Grandgenett 6, Benji Nelson 5, Kamron Kasischke 2

FC: Grayson Bouwman 20, Zane Schwarz 14, Austin Welcher 11, Carmen Schwarz 5, Glenn Hunter 3, Owen Newbold 1

No. 4 Auburn 34, No. 5 Omaha Concordia 29

The reigning champions survived a fourth-quarter battle with Omaha Concordia to keep their hopes for a fourth straight state title alive.

The Mustangs scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to tie the game up at 28-all with 6:09 to play. Four minutes of scoreless basketball followed between tough shots from Concordia and turnovers from Auburn as the Bulldogs looked to extend their possessions.

Justin Otten, who hit a tough jumper in the pst to tie it up, got called for his fifth foul with 1:56 to play. Maverick Binder hit both bonus free throws to give Auburn the lead. After four straight empty possessions, Zach Alharithy drew a foul in the post with 13.7 to go. He split the free throws to make it a one-point game.

Auburn got the ball in to Marcus Hudson and killed nearly five seconds before Concordia managed to foul him. He hit both shots to push the lead to three, then Auburn put Concordia at the foul line instead of letting them get off a 3. The Mustangs missed the front end of the bonus and Skylar Roybal grabbed the board then hit two free throws to ice the game.

The Bulldogs move and will face Fort Calhoun in Thursday’s semifinals set for 9 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

BOX SCORE

Auburn:                   12-  9-  7-  6 — 34

Omaha Concordia: 11- 6-  7-  5 — 29

A: Ryan Binder 9, Marcus Hudson 9, Skylar Roybal 8, Maverick Binder 6, Austin Lavigne 2

OC: Justin Otten 8, Zac Kulus 7, Brock Olson 5, Zach Alharithy 5, Quientan McCafferty 4

Other scores:

No. 2 Ashland-Greenwood 56, No. 7 Ogallala 43: Jeron Gager’s 17 points wasn’t enough for the Indians to keep pace with the Bluejays as Cale Jacobsen dropped a game-high 21, Evan Shepard scored 12 and Brooks Kissinger chipped in 10.

No. 3 Kearney Catholic 47, No. 6 Wayne 40: The Stars avenged their first-round loss to the Blue Devils from last season behind 12 points from Turner Plugge and 10 apiece from Garrett Schmaderer and Dylan Merz. Tanner Walling led Wayne with 12 points and Alex Phelps added 10.

Ashland-Greenwood and Kearney Catholic will square off in the semifinals on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

CLASS A BOYS

No. 1 Millard North 62, No. 8 Elkhorn South 50

After trading blows early, the reigning champs doubled up the Storm in the second quarter, 16-8, then cruised through the second half to earn a trip back to the semifinals.

Creighton commit Jasen Green dominated the game from start to finish on both ends, finishing with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting (1-of-1 from 3) and 5-of-6 free-throw shooting, 14 rebounds (four offensive), seven blocks, two steals and two assists. Elkhorn South shot just over 33% inside the arc for the game, and Green was. Big part of that.

Millard North created separation thanks to 6-0 runs in the first and second quarters to take a 10-point lead into halftime. The Storm cut the deficit down to six in the third, but Millard North answered with a 6-0 run and the Storm stretched the advantage out to as much as 17 after a dunk from Nick Dolezal. The Strom cut t down to 10 but could get no closer.

David Harmon added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists while Doelzal finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

Alec Noonan led Elkhorn South with 16 points and three steals. Henry Birth chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Evan Hill went 3-for-3 from deep for nine points.

BOX SCORE

Millard North:   13-16-12-21 — 62

Elkhorn South: 11-  8-12-19 — 50

MN: Jasen Green 20, David Harmon 16, Nick Doleful 10, Elijah Gaeth 8, Isaiah McMorris 5, Jakson Page 3

ES: Alec Noonan 16, Henry Burt 12, Evan Hill 9, Chase Anderson 5, Jackson Moeller Swan 2, Caden Peterson 2, Carson Chochon 2

No. 4 Gretna 67, No. 5 Omaha Creighton Prep 65, 2OT

It took an extra eight minutes to determine a winner in the second quarterfinal, but in the end the Dragons survived to win their first state tournament game since moving up to Class A.

With the loss, Eric Behrens’ legendary career as the Central head boys basketball coach has come to an end. Behrens is set to become the first athletic director at the new Westview High School.

Gretna pulled ahead by 13 midway through the fourth quarter and looked to be cruising to an easy victory, but the Eagles weren’t ready to go out like that. After scoring just two points in the first three quarters, Loyola-Chicago signee Jay Dawson came alive for the Eagles to spark a comeback. Central scored 15 straight (the first six by Dawson) to take the lead with just over a minute to play.

Gretna sophomore Landon Pokorski finally ended the run with a tough bucket inside with 15 seconds to go, giving the Eagles one last shot for the win, but they couldn’t get it to go.

Both teams showed patience in the first overtime, scoring four points apiece. The last bucket came from Quinton Butts with about 50 seconds to go to tie it up for Central.

Landon Pokorski gave the Dragons the lead with a floater on the first possession and Gretna held onto it the rest of the way. They opened the period with a 6-1 run to take a 60-55 to lead with 90 seconds to play. Central hit some shots down the stretch to make it a one-possession game multiple times, but the Dragons hit enough free throws to hold on and advance.

Pokorski finished with a game-high 25 points, six rebounds and six assists and he hit all seven of his free throws. Alex Wilcoxson put up 16 points while Alec Wilkins chipped in 11 points and three assists. Gretna shot 53.2% from the field including 6-of-12 from deep.

PJ. Davis didn’t miss in the first half and finished with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting (5-of-7 from 3). Jay Dawson added 16 points — surpassing 1,000 for his career in the process — and six assists. J’Dyn Bullion made some big plays during Central’s comeback and finished with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, eight rebounds and four steals.

The Dragons advance to meet Millard North in Thursday’s semifinal, set for 6 p.m.

BOX SCORE

Gretna:               13-15-12-10-4-13 — 67

Omaha Central: 10-20-  3-17-4-11 — 65

G: Landon Pokorski 25, Alex Wilcoxson 16, Alec Wilkins 11, Jeffrey Rozelle 8, Grant Jansen 7

OC: PJ Davis 19, Jay Dawson 16, J’Dyn Bullion 11, Quinton Butts 8, Raheem Briggs 6, Yeah Pallor 3, Awit Mamer 2

No. 2 Bellevue West 60, No. 7 Lincoln Pius X 46

Bellevue West built a big first-half lead then cruised through the second to advance to the semifinals.

Bellevue West junior Josiah Dotzler (22) makes a layup against Lincoln Pius X senior Sam Hastreiter(30) in the first round of the 2022 NSAA Basketball Championships. Photo by John S. Peterson.

The Thunderbirds used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to build a 19-point lead before the Thunderbolts finally got a bucket to go down, then Josiah Dotzler converted a tough layup to make it 36-17 at halftime. Bellevue West forced 13 first-half turnovers and out-rebounded Pius four to one on the offensive glass, resulting in Bellevue West firing up 14 more shots in the first half.

Pius managed to slow down Bellevue West’s high-powered attack in the third quarter but couldn’t take advantage on the other end to get back in the game as both sides shot 4-of-14 from the field. The Bolts put together a quick 8-0 run int her out with a pair of Brady Christiansen 3s sandwiching a Jack Hastreiter in-bounds pass steal and layup, but that only cut the deficit to 14, and the teams played even the rest of the way.

Dotzler led everyone with 18 points. South Dakota State commit William Kyle III added 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting and five boards while sophomore Jacob Arop chipped in 10 points and six rebounds. Bellevue West went 3-for-15 from deep but shot over 60% inside the arc to make up for it.

Jack Hastreiter, who is also headed to South Dakota State next year. Led Pius with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting (3-of-6 from 3). Christiansen added nine points and nine rebounds.

BOX SCORE

Bellevue West: 18-18-10-14 — 60

Lincoln Pius X: 10-  7-11-18 — 46

BW: Josiah Dotzler 18, William Kyle III 12, Jacob Arop 10, Jaden Jackson 8, Jaxon Stueve 5, Eldon Turner 4, Evan Inselman 3

LPX: Jack Hastreiter 13, Brady Christiansen 9, Jared Bohrer 7, Sam Hastreiter 6, Jackson Kessler 5, Treyson Anderson 4, Jack Noel 2

No. 6 Omaha Creighton Prep 53, No. 3 Omaha Westside 48

When Creighton Prep and Omaha Westside faced off during the regular season, the Warriors blitzed the Junior Jays from the jump and put up 50 points in the first half en route to a 39-point win.

Tuesday’s rematch in the state tournament looked to be heading in a similar direction was Westside scored the first seven and last seven points of the first quarter to jump out to a 16-6 lead. The Warriors led 27-16 late in the first half, but Prep got a pair of free throws from Emmett Knight and a layup at the buzzer from Martel Evans to make it 27-20 at halftime.

Westside answered an early Prep push in the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Payson Gillespie, but the Warriors went ice-cold after that as the Junior Jays scored the last eight points of the period including another buzzer-beating layup from Evans to take a 34-33 lead into the fourth. Prep scored 14 of the first 16 points in the fourth quarter as well to build the lead to 11 at 46-35 with less than three minutes to play.

Creighton Prep senior Luke Jungers (0) throws down a dunk against Omaha Westside in the first round of the 2022 NSAA Basketball Championships. Photo by John S. Peterson.

The Junior Jays left the door ajar thanks to four missed free throws and seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. After struggling mightily from the 3-point line all game, Westside hit three triples in the final minutes to pull within three then forced a five-second violation on the in-bounds play with 18.9 to play.

The Warriors had one last chance to tie the game up, but after working the ball around they got a look from the perimeter that didn’t go down, and Luke Jungers hit a pair of free throws with four seconds left to seal the victory.

Jungers, an Omaha commit, topped 20 for the fourth time in his past five games as he finished with a game-high 24 points on 7-of-10 from the filed and 11-of-12 from the foul line while pulling down seven rebounds. PJ Newbill added 11 points (all in the second half) while Evans finished with nine points and seven rebounds. Prep hit one 3-pointer all game (an NBA-range shot from Jungers) but shot 50% from the field overall and 24-of-32 from the free-throw line.

Prep typically plays man-to-man defense, but Coach Josh Luedtke decided to try a zone on Tuesday to great success. The Juniors Jays deployed primarily a 3-2 with the 6-foot-8 Jungers at the top playing back near the foul line wile mixing in a bit of 1-3-1 here and there. Westside generated plenty of looks but just couldn’t get them to fall, shooting 16-of-58 from the field including 9-of-38 from deep.

Reggie Thomas led Westside with 13 points, eight rebounds (four offensive), four assists and three steals. Meeks and Gillespie chipped in 11 points apiece.

The Junior Jays move on to Thursday’s semifinals where they will face No. 2 Bellevue West at 7:45 p.m.

BOX SCORE

Omaha Westside:         16-11-  6-15 — 48

Omaha Creighton Prep: 6-14-14-19 — 53

OW: Reggie Thomas 13, Chandler Meeks 11, Payson Gillespie 11, CJ Mitchell 8, Charlie Davis 3, Caleb Benning 2

OCP: Luke Jungers 24, PJ Newbill 11, Martel Evans 9, Casey O’Malley 5, Joey Rieschl 2, Emmett Knight 2

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