The 2019 Metro Holiday Tournament reached its conclusion on Friday with two teams left standing: Millard North on the boys side and Millard South on the girls. Jacob Padilla was there to recap all the action.
No. 2 Millard North 71, No. 5 Omaha Creighton Prep 65
The Junior Jays gave the Mustangs a serious run for their money, but Millard North’s length and athleticism was too much in the end as the Mustangs secured the first Metro Holiday Tournament title in school history.
“Millard North is a great school with a great staff, our principal Mr. Begley, our AD Mr. Zimmerman and they fight like crazy to provide the best for everyone, so it means a lot for us right now, and it means a lot for all these guys in the past,” Millard North coach Tim Cannon said. “I remember the players and the coaches that played at Millard North and there are a lot of friends there, so I’m glad we did it for all the Mustangs.”
The two Nebraska targets on Millard North put on a show for the packed house at Ralston Arena, combining for 41 points to power the Mustangs to victory.
Hunter Sallis showed off his next-level athleticism with a number of jaw-dropping plays en route to a game-high 23 points on 9-of-16 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line and four steals. At one point, he dunked the ball so hard he knocked himself off-balance and hit the floor hard before bouncing right back up.
Green put up a career-high 18 points on 6-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line. He threw down a couple of dunks, showed a soft touch in the post and he also knocked down a jumper off the dribble. He grabbed four rebounds, dished out four assists, recorded three steals and blocked one shot.
“Hunter’s become just a great leader in so many ways,” Cannon said. “We know all the things he can do, score it and he can rebound it, but he’s passing it and he’s leading us … Jasen Green was big tonight. Second half, he was big.”
Prep did a good job of battling early despite shooting 1-of-9 from 3 in the first quarter. The Junior Jays held Sallis without a field goal as Millard North shot 4-of-13 from the field to lead 12-9 after one.
Northwest Missouri State commit Spencer Schomers hit a 3 early in the second quarter to tie it up, then junior Justin Sitti hit one to give Prep a 15-14 lead. Millard North answered with an 8-2 run, however, capped by a dunk from Sallis for a 22-17 lead.
Sitti hit another 3 after a pair of free throws from junior AJ Rollins to cut it to one but Millard North closed the half on a 6-2 run as Sallis scored just before the half to make it 29-24 at the break.
After shooting 3-of-6 from deep in the second quarter, Prep misfired on all four of its attempts in the third as the Mustangs began to pull away. A transition alley-oop to Sallis put Millard North up 39-30, then after a pair of Prep layups the Mustangs scored five straight to make a 10-point lead before the Junior Jays shaved a couple of points off heading into the fourth.
Millard North opened the final period with two more dunks — one by Green and one by Jadin Johnson — to make it a 12-point game and the Junior Jays played catch-up the rest of the way. Junior Brendan Buckley exploded for 16 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth, cutting it all the way down to four in the final seconds, but Prep ran out of time.
Rollins, a 2021 Nebraska football target, put up 18 points on 4-of-7 from the field and 10-of-11 from the line with seven rebounds (six offensive). Buckley led the Junior Jays with eight rebounds (four offensive) and four steals in addition to his 20 points.
Prep shot 7-of-28 from 3 including 3-of-13 in the second half. Millard North missed all seven of its 3-point attempts but shot over 70% inside the arc including 15-of-17 in the second half. Twelve of Millard North’s 25 field goals were dunks.
Millard North: 12-17-17-25 — 71
Omaha Creighton Prep: 9-15-14-27 — 65
MN: Hunter Sallis 23, Jasen Green 18, Max Murrell 10, Jadin Johnson 8, Saint Thomas 5, Noah Erickson 4, Tyler Sandoval 3
OCP: Brendan Buckley 20, AJ Rollins 18, Justin Sitti 8, Spencer Schomers 8, Luke Jungers 5, Mai’Jhe Wiley 4, Conor Buckley 2
No. 1 Millard South 54, No. 3 Omaha Westside 40
The sides traded shots in the first quarter before Millard South delivered the knockout blow in the second, drilling five 3-pointers and outscoring the Warriors 23-6 to take a 37-20 lead at halftime.
Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor put the Warriors on her back in the third quarter, scoring 10 of the their 12 points in the period, but it was too little too late as the Patriots cruised to the Metro Holiday Tournament title, their ninth.
Creighton commit Jayme Horan led all scorers with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks. South Dakota commit Maddie Krull added 11 points and four steals. Freshmen Mya Babbitt and Cora Olsen combined for 19 points, all of which came in the first half to help the Patriots take control.
McGinnis-Taylor led the Warriors with 13 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line with 11 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive end.
Millard South: 14-23-10-7 — 54
Omaha Westside: 14- 6-12-8 — 40
MS: Jayme Horan 14, Maddie Krull 11, Mya Babbitt 10, Cora Olsen 9, Megan Belt 6, Juliana Jones 4
OW: Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor 13, Adriana DiPrima 8, Brooklyn James 6, Kaitlyn Hanna 6. Ella Wedergren 4, Ellie Tempero 2, Abby Hellman 1
No. 6 Omaha Westside 86, No. 14 Millard South 73
Omaha Westside put on an offensive clinic, shooting nearly 65% from the field in a game that didn’t feature a whole lot of defense from either side. Millard South went shot-for-shot with the Warriors in the first quarter but Westside opened up a double-digit lead midway through the second quarter and then pulled away even more in the third quarter before cruising to the finish.
Senior point guard PJ Ngambi controlled the game from the opening tip, getting to the rim at will and finding his teammates all over the court. He finished with 23 points on 8-of-9 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line, eight assists and three steals.
Sophomore Reggie Thomas had 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting including 3-of-6 from 3 while classmate Chandler Meeks chipped in 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and three steals.
Trevor Albert had 16 points on 6-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from the foul line for the Patriots while Michael Harding matched him with 16 points, shooting a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe, and grabbed seven rebounds.
Omaha Westside: 17-23-21-25 — 86
Millard South: 15-16-13-29 — 73
OW: PJ Ngambi 21, Reggie Thomas 17, Chandler Meeks 16, Jadin Booth 10, Carl Brown 10, Payson Gillespie 5, Charlie Davis 3, Dylan Folda 2
MS: Trevor Albert 16, Michael Hardin 16, Gage Stenger 9, Jack Cooper 8, Tre mungin 8, Blake Stenger 7, Brock Murtaugh 7, Ben Stratman 2, Maal Jal 2
No. 6 Omaha North 59, No. 8 Omaha Northwest 57
Omaha North was in control most of the game until a second-half rally by the Huskies, but Wal Chuol rose up and buried a shot at the buzzer to give Omaha North the win.
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) January 3, 2020
Chuol hit a deep 3 at the end of the first quarter to put North up 17-14 and the Vikings extended that lead to 12 at halftime. However, second-chance points and takeaways gave the Huskies some life as they cut the deficit to seven at the end of the third.
The Huskies continued to cut into the deficit until they erased it entirely and took the lead at 55-54 on a pair of free throws by Jayden Curtis-Sayers. Keshaun Williams put the Vikings back in front quickly with a layup and then Northwest turned the ball over. Williams split a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game but Curtis-Sayers scored on a baseline drive to tie it up with 11.1 to play.
North got the ball in Chuol’s hands and he did the rest. He finished with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting and 10 rebounds. Williams added 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Curtis-Sayers sparked the comeback with 13 of his 15 in the second half and he recorded five steals as well. Vincent Burns led the Huskies with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Kadon Walker added 12 points and six rebounds.
Omaha North: 17-16-11-15 —59
Omaha Northwest: 14- 7-16-20 — 57
ON: Wal Chuol 22, Keshaun Williams 17, Evan Decker 8, Darryl Bennett 6, John Farmer 2, J-Ron Lewis 2
ONW: Vincent Burns 17, Jayden Curtis-Sayers 15, Kadon Walker 12, Jace Cooper 7, Enoch Roden IV 6
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.