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

5 Thoughts on Bellevue West’s 73-66 Win Over Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln

January 05, 2022

The Bellevue West Thunderbirds bounced back from their loss in the Metro Holiday Tournament final to take down a tough Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln team 73-66 at the Thunderdome on Tuesday night.

Here are five thoughts on the game plus a bonus thought on Scottsbluff’s win at Norris.

Third Quarter Blitz

The Lynx held the Thunderbirds to 29% from the field in the first half and took a 31-26 lead into the locker room. Things looked pretty shaky for the host team.

Then Jaden Jackson banged home two 3s to start the third quarter, sparking a 10-0 run, and the Thunderbirds never looked back. Bellevue West used an 8-0 run to push the lead to 10, then sophomore point guard Eldon Turner scored the last two buckets of the period to make it 51-40 Bellevue West heading into the fourth.

In total, the Thunderbirds shot 10-of-12 from the filed in the third quarter including 5-of-6 from deep.

Abraham Lincoln scored the first five points of the fourth to pull within six, but they couldn’t get enough stops to pull any closer than that. Overall, Bellevue West shot 68% from the field in the second half and went 7-for-8 at the free-throw line in the fourth to secure the victory.

Josh Dix Does it All

Iowa commit Josh Dix is one of the best players in Iowa and is off to a great start this season for the Lynx. The 6-foot-5 guard is a stat-sheet stuffer who can impact the game in so many different ways, and he showed that again on Tuesday.

The jumper wasn’t falling early for Dix as he scored just four points in the first half, yet he still put his fingerprints all over the game with six assists to help the Lynx build a lead.

He got going in the second half, scoring six of Abraham Lincoln’s nine points in the third quarter then pouring in 13 in the fourth to give the Lynx a chance to claw back into the game. Abraham Lincoln didn’t get enough stops to dig itself out of the hole, but Dix finished with a game-high 23 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Dix is averaging 21.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.7 turnovers per game through Abraham Lincoln’s first seven games, and earlier this season he broke the school’s career scoring record.

Jackson, Jaxon, Jaxson

No matter how you spell it, if that was your name you had a good game on Tuesday night.

Jaden Jackson, a 6-foot sophomore guard, was the driving force behind the win as he went off for a career-high 21 points on 6-of-7 from the field (5-of-6 from 3) and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. He hit all four of his 3s in the third quarter as the Thunderbirds outscored the Lynx 25-9.

Jaxon Stueve, a 6-foot-4 junior, chipped in 11 points for Bellevue West, which was down two rotation players because of illness. He shot 4-of-6 overall and hit Bellevue West’s fifth 3 in the third quarter to push the lead to 10.

For the Lynx, senior Jaxson Jones hit three 3s in the first two quarters to get Abraham Lincoln to its halftime lead. He finished with 13 points on 4-of-8 from 3 including a four-point play. The 6-foot-4 wing is shooting 46.8% from 3 this season and is a great complement to Dix and Jamison Gruber, Abraham Lincoln’s dynamic senior point guard.

Surviving Foul Trouble

Tuesday was a big win for Bellevue West because the Thunderbirds had to pull it off with star point guard Josiah Dotzler dealing with foul trouble for much of the game.

Dotzler is a disruptive defender and opened the game on Dix, but he picked up his second foul two-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter. He sat for more than three minutes, and the Lynx closed the half on a 7-0 run.

Dotzler picked up his third foul less than two minutes into the third quarter, but this time the Thunderbirds continued to roll when he was on the bench, and Dotzler scored nine points in the fourth quarter to finish with 17 on 6-of-12 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line.

Big Week for Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday was Abraham Lincoln’s first loss of the season after the Lynx got off to a 6-0 start. Bouncing back the next time out won’t be easy, however, as they will cross the river again on Friday to take on another of Nebraska’s best in Millard North.

The last time the Mustangs took the court was their loss to Omaha Westside in the Metro Holiday Tournament semifinals, and they won’t play again until the Lynx visit the Stable. That’s a long time to think about their first loss of the season and game plan for AL.

The Lynx have a tough one scheduled next week as well as they head to Sioux City East (7-1) next Tuesday.

Coach Jason Isaacson will have learned a lot about his team by this time next week.

BONUS: Scottsbluff 61, Norris 56

Before heading over to the Thunderdome, I watched a stream of Scottsbluff’s win at Norris on Tuesday afternoon. The Bearcats played a lot of Colorado and Wyoming teams to open the season, but they made a statement by smacking a good Bennington team in the final of its holiday tournament last week.

The Bearcats made a rare trip east this week, however, and stubbed their toe against a talented but inconsistent Waverly team on Monday. They bounced back to end their eastern road trip with a five-point win against the Titans on Tuesday.

Senior point guard Austin Then proved to be the difference for the Bearcats as the transfer from Mitchell finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting (2-of-5 from 3), six rebounds and six assists. Junior Kellon Harris chipped in eight of his 14 points — including an emphatic steal and slam — in the fourth quarter to help the Bearcats repel Norris’ comeback attempt.

Lincoln Southwest transfer Myles Hoehne led the Titans with 16 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from the line, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Nebraska football walk-on commit Cooper Hausmann added 12 points on three 3-pointers (including two in the fourth quarter to help Norris cut Scottsbluff’s lead to one possession) and a three-point play. The Titans put up a good fight despite missing junior post Wyatt Wubbels, the team’s leader in rebounds and assists and third-leading scorer.

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