Photo Credit: Jacob Padilla

Five Thoughts on Papillion-La Vista South’s 56-40 Win Over Omaha Westview

February 03, 2023

Papillion-La Vista South turned a halftime deficit into a double-digit victory on Thursday with a strong defensive effort.

Here are five thoughts on the 56-40 win for the Titans against Omaha Westview.

Defensive Dominance

Papillion-La Vista South headed to the locker room at halftime down by four after a strong first half from the Wolverines, particularly in the shooting department. 

Whatever Coach Joel Hueser told his team at halftime seemed to light a fire under the Titans, however, as a dominant defensive second half turned a competitive game into a blowout.

Leading 30-26 at the break, Omaha Westview didn’t score its first — and only — point of the third quarter until the 1:43 mark, a free-throw from Tayvin Murphy. Westview used a 12-1 period to build a 38-31 lead heading into the fourth, where the Titans doubled up the Wolverines, 18-9.

Papio South held Westview to 2-of-19 from the field including 0-of-7 from 3 and 6-of-9 from the foul line to win the second half 30-10, and they did it by playing strong man-to-man defense. The Titans also forced 21 turnovers and didn’t give up an offensive rebound until the fourth quarter when the result was no longer in doubt.

Keep Shooting

Papio South sophomore Bryson Bahl is averaging just under 18 points this season. He hit his first three shots to score seven of the Titans’ first nine points on Thursday. Then he went ice cold.

Bahl proceeded to miss 10 straight shots from all over the court. He didn’t let the misses deter him, however. Bahl kept firing away and eventually rediscovered his touch, knocking down a mid-range jumper to close out the third quarter to end his cold streak.

He didn’t miss again, opening the fourth quarter with a personal 10-2 run to blow the game wide open, then added another layup to finish with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-19 shooting including 3-of-8 from 3. He also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out three assists and nabbed two steals.

The Titans’ other sophomore starter, Reece Kircher, got off to a rough start as well, missing his first three shots. Like Bahl, however, he kept shooting, proceeding to hit his next four including three triples. He scored seven of the 13 total points scored in the third period and finished with 13 while going 3-for-6 from 3.

Building for the Future

The second half was rough, but the first half is certainly something for the young Wolverines to build off of as Coach Mitch Runco and his staff look to build their program. As a brand new school, Westview doesn’t have an upperclassman on the team. 

The varsity roster consists of seven sophomore and six freshmen, yet the Wolverines have still managed to record five wins to this point, beating Omaha Northwest and Fremont by a combined 70 points. They also have single-digit losses to Bennington, Omaha Roncalli, Omaha Bryan and Millard West.

Against Papillion-La Vista South on Thursday, Westview built its 30-26 halftime lead by shooting a ridiculous 9-of-14 from the field including 5-of-8 from 3. It also took 11 free throws to Papio South’s four, making seven of them. Only 12 first-half turnovers prevented the Wolverines from building a double-digit lead at halftime. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep it going in the second half.

Sophomore Trey Griggs finished with 11 points, 10 of which came in the first half. He’s shooting over 40% from 3 this season and recorded the first double-double in program history earlier in the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Buena Vista, impressive for a guard listed at 5-foot-8.

Sophomore wing Carson Healy matched him with 11, seven of which came in the first quarter as he got the team off to a great start with a pair of 3s early. Healy is the team’s second-leading scorer this season at just under 13 points per game while shooting just under 40% from 3. He recorded a 31-point game in a five-point win over Omaha South on Jan. 17.

The team’s leading scorer, sophomore wing Tayvin Murphy, had an off shooting game but still finished with eight points and a team-high six rebounds. Averaging just over 13 points per game, the 6-foot-2 Murphy is an explosive athlete who has five games of 20-plus points already this year.

It’s hard to win at the varsity level with a team of all underclassmen, but Runco certainly has some pieces to build around for the next couple of years.

Live by the 3…

Papillion-La Vista South found itself trailing at halftime largely because shots weren’t falling from the perimeter. The Titans missed 10 of their 14 3s in the first 16 minutes and only made six shots inside the arc and two free throws.

They caught fire in the second half, however, shooting 6-of-12 from 3 to turn a half-time deficit into a 16-point win. They finished 10-for-26 (38.5%) from 3 and only attempts 25 shots inside the arc (making 11 of them, 44%).

Papio South looks very much like a “live by the 3, die by the 3” team right now. In the Titans’ 10 wins, they’ve shot 34.8% on 23.3 attempts per game from deep They’ve shot 35% or better in seven of those 10 games. In their seven losses, the Titans shot 29.2% on 26.4 attempts per game and failed to reach the breakeven 33.3% threshold even once.

The next step for the Titans as a team is to find a way to generate more consistent offense inside the arc and not rely so much on the 3-point line.

Strength in Numbers

Eleven different players saw the court for the Titans in the first half alone on Thursday, and that seems to be a regular occurrence. 

The starting five plays the bulk of the minutes, but Hueser cycles through a group of six different players off the bench including two seniors in Jack Wallace and Aiden Miller, three sophomores in Jayden Herrera, Ty Jelinek and Trent Krogman and a freshman in Grant Beckenhauer.

None of the reserves have been big-time producers so far this season, but each brings different things to the table and can contribute in various ways. On Tuesday, Wallace and Jelinek had tough finishes at the rim and combined for two assists and two steals. Miller also had a nice assist to Beckenhauer for a 3. The bench minutes are particularly valuable for the underclassmen as the Titans will graduate five seniors after this season. 

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