Nebraska basketball fans have more reason than ever to pay attention to high school basketball in the state this year, so each week Hail Varsity will be looking back at the performances by 2019 commit Akol Arop (Omaha Creighton Prep), 2020 commit Donovan Williams (Lincoln North Star) and 2021 targets Hunter Sallis (Millard North) and Chucky Hepburn (Bellevue West).
The regular season came to an end last week and all four Nebraska recruits ended the year in victorious fashion to finish with top-10 records in Class A. District pairings for Class A will be announced on Tuesday.
2019 Forward Akol Arop (Omaha Creighton Prep)
Creighton Prep closed out the season with wins over both the Papillion schools.
On Thursday, Prep beat Papillion-La Vista South 71-40 on senior night. Arop finished with 16 points on 7of-11 from the field, 1-of-2 from 3 and 1-of-1 from the free-throw line, 11 rebounds (three offensive) and five blocks. Arop was also the primary defender on one of the state’s leading scorers in 6-foot-8 Papio South senior Lök Wur and held him to 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting and seven turnovers.
On Friday, the Junior Jays won at Papillion-La Vista 74-44. Arop had 14 points on 6-of-10 from the field (2-of-3 from 3) and 0-of-1 from the line, 13 rebounds (five offensive), one steal and one turnover.
Arop closed out the regular season with 10 straight double-doubles. Over the last four games, Arop shot 5-of-9 from 3 and the Papio game was the first time since Dec. 22 he made two 3s in one game.
Creighton Prep finished the regular season at 20-4, the second-best record in Class A.
2020 Guard Donovan Williams (Lincoln North Star)
The Navigators closed out the regular season with a pair of roads wins.
On Thursday, North Star beat Millard West 61-43. Williams had 19 points on 6-of-15 from the field, 2-of-9 from 3 and 5-of-9 from the foul line with three rebounds, one assist, one steal and three turnovers.
On Friday, North Star beat Fremont 54-42. Williams scored 11 points on 2-of-8 from the field including 0-of-5 from deep and 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. He chipped in five boards, two steals, a block and three turnovers.
Senior forward Josiah Allick did the heavy lifting in both games, totaling 38 points and 26 rebounds with a pair of double-doubles. North Star finished 14-8 and and won eight of its last 10 games.
Williams was also in the house for Nebraska’s 59-50 win over Northwestern at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday night.
2021 Wing Hunter Sallis (Millard North)
Sallis saved his best for last as he closed out the regular season with a bang.
On Tuesday, Millard North’s senior night, Sallis went off for a career-high 33 points on 10-of-15 from the field, 1-of-3 from 3 and 12-of-12 from the free-throw line. He chipped in four rebounds, four assists and four steals as the Mustangs beat Omaha Benson 81-50.
He followed that up with 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting (3-of-6 from 3) and 7-of-9 from the foul line, two rebounds, one assists and one turnover in a 60-45 win at Fremont on Thursday. That game was the first game of his career with more than two 3s.
Fifty-seven points on just 27 field goal attempts is absurd efficiency, and one turnover in two games is great to see as well. Take away his eight-turnover game against Omaha Northwest and Sallis had just five turnovers in seven games down the stretch of the season.
Millard North closed the season on an eight-game winning streak to finish 15-7.
2021 Point Guard Chucky Hepburn (Bellevue West)
Bellevue West had just one game last week, senior night on Friday. The Thunderbirds smacked Millard South 80-49 behind 21 points from senior Nico Felici which pushed him over 1,000 points for his career.
Hepburn had 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting (2-of-6 from 3) and 3-of-3 from the line with four rebounds (three offensive), seven steals, one block and six assists with just one turnover.
Bellevue West finished the regular season with just one loss, going 23-1, the best record in Class A, and Hepburn is the biggest reason for that.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. 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.