Omaha Creighton Prep and Omaha Central share one of the best rivalries in the Metro, and the latest meeting between the two schools on the hardwood did not disappoint as the Junior Jays rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to win 64-62 on a buzzer-beater.
Here are five thoughts on a game-of-the-year candidate.
Creighton Prep senior Spencer Schomers’ teammates and coaches call him Showtime, and he lived up to that moniker on Friday night. Through the first 31 minutes and 55 seconds, Schomers had taken just six shots, hitting three of them for eight points.
But after Omaha Central had taken the lead with 9 seconds left, Prep pushed the ball up the court and junior point guard Justin Sitti found Schomers wide open on the trail for a 3.
Here’s the final sequence of Creighton Prep’s 64-62 win over Omaha Central.
Trelly Wrightsell for the Central lead, Spencer Schomers for the Prep win.
Video credit to @The_Bigelow. pic.twitter.com/LnIjVcrv3V
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) February 1, 2020
Schomers told me he felt it was good as soon as it left his fingers. The future Northwest Missouri State Bearcat finished with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting including 3-of-5 from 3 and four rebounds.
It wasn’t Schomers’ first clutch bucket as a Junior Jay — he scored what ended up being the game-winning bucket with 12 seconds left in a 63-62 win at Lincoln Pius X last season — but it was his first buzzer-beater.
All the Wright(sell) Moves
Schomers may have hit the biggest shot of the game, but the best player on the floor for most of the night was Latrell Wrightsell Jr. He finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-18 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line, seven rebounds (four offensive), three assists and two turnovers. He was the one who made that layup in the clip above to give the Eagles a 62-61 lead with less than 10 seconds to play.
Central actually had a chance to take the lead on the previous possession but Wrightsell traveled as he was trying to pass the ball off to a teammate. Prep missed the front end of the bonus after a Central foul, however, and Wrightsell made the most of his second chance to get all the way to the cup for the left-handed layup.
As a young player, Wrightsell was known mostly as a spot-up shooter, but he got to 29 points on Friday without making a single 3 (he was 0-for-4). He's developed his ability to attack off the bounce tremendously over the last two years, and this season he’s made a huge leap athletically (literally). Wrightsell threw down two ridiculous one-handed alley-oops in the third quarter, he was all over the offensive glass and he’s a lock-down defender on the ball as well.
Wrightsell showed on Friday why he has a handful of Division I scholarship offers even if the final result didn’t go his way.
Friday’s game can be broken down into three parts.
The first quarter was a terrific display of offensive basketball by both teams, leading to a 21-20 Central lead after the first eight minutes. The Eagles shot 7-of-14 from the field, 2-of-6 from 3 and 5-of-5 from the line with three players sowing 19 of the 21 points. The Junior Jays shot 8-of-13 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3 and 2-of-2 from the line with six different players logging at least two points.
The second quarter was all Central. The Eagles outscored the Junior Jays 20-8 to take a 41-28 lead into the locker room thanks to this last-second 3 from sophomore PJ Davis.
Scott Warner to PJ Davis for 3 to end the first half. Omaha Central leads Creighton Prep 41-28.
OC: Trelly Wrightsell 14 pts, 5-7 FG, 4-4 FT, 4 reb; Jay Dawson 9 pts, 3-4 3FG; Max Polk 8 pts, 3 ast.
OCP: Mai’Jhe Wiley 9 pts, 3-3 FG, 2-2 FT.#nebpreps pic.twitter.com/P6ReDTDcfq
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) February 1, 2020
Prep shot just 2-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from the line in the second quarter, and the Junior Jays didn’t record a single defensive rebound. Central shot 8-of-12 including 3-of-4 from 3 and it rebounded three of its four misses with the fourth going out of bounds off a crashing Eagle.
Creighton Prep turned the tables in the second half, however. The Junior Jays shot an absurd 75% from the field in the second half (15-of-20) including 4-of-6 from deep. After shooting 5-of-10 from 3 in the first half the Eagles missed all four 3-point attempts in the second half and shot 8-of-23 overall.
The Junior Jays cut the deficit down to three at the end of the third quarter, tied it up with 3:02 to play then took the lead with 2:09 remaining. Ultimately, the game came down to who had the ball last, and on Friday that was Creighton Prep.
AJ Rollins, a 2021 Nebraska football target, was a force for the Junior Jays while he was on the court. He scored 12 points on 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3. But he picked up his second foul just 119 seconds into the game after scoring Prep’s first four points and sat the rest of the half.
He continued to deal with foul trouble in the second half, fouling out with 1:55 to go on a three-point ply by Wrightsell that put the Eagles up 60-59.
With Rollins on the bench for much of the game, sophomore forward Luke Jungers stepped up and scored a team-high 15 points on 6-of-6 from the field. He knocked down a big 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and then dropped in a jump hook to give Prep a 59-57 lead with 2:20 to play.
Jungers’ other four buckets were all put-backs as he was a beast on the offensive glass, cleaning up his teammates’ misses. Prep finished with 10 offensive boards but Jungers was the only Junior Jay with more than one.
Class A Craziness
This game’s result is another example of how wild the top of Class A is this season. After Friday’s games, 13 teams have won more than 60% of their games yet no team has less than two losses.
Creighton Prep has wins over Bellevue West and Millard North, but the Junior Jays have also lost to both teams. They’ve lost one rivalry game to Omaha Westside but now have a rivalry win over Central.
The Eagles have lost four games. The Bellevue West Thunderbirds have lost twice, once to Prep and once to Omaha South. The Packers, the reigning champions, are 13-2 with losses to Omaha North and Papillion-La Vista South. Millard North, the most talented team in the state on paper, has lost twice, once to North and once to Prep as mentioned above.
Omaha North, the team with wins over Millard North and Omaha South, is just 6-8. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
Buckle up. February and March are going to be a blast.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. 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.