No. 4 Bennington 55, No. 5 Aurora 45
The first game of the day at Pinnacle Bank Arena got the tournament started off on the right foot with the 4-5 matchup between Bennington and Aurora. The game was tight throughout and all knotted up heading into the fourth, but the Badgers dominated the final period to advance with a 55-45 win.
Junior Karson Gansebom finished with a team-high 20 points, shooting 5-of-6 from 3 in the first half alone. Fellow junior Cooper Prososki added 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting while senior center Thomas Spoehr chipped in 14 points including eight in the third quarter.
Tied at 37-all after three, Bennington opened the final frame with a 7-0 run and held on from there as the Huskies shot 4-of-15 from the field including 0-of-5 from 3 in the fourth.
Junior Baylor Scheierman, a South Dakota State commit, kept the Huskies in it with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists, but the Huskies only got two points out of Nebraska-Kearney commit Henry Penner. Senior guard Jayden Herzberg added 12 points.
No. 1 York 70, No. 8 Crete 68, 2OT
Game two might have been the game of the tournament as the top-seeded Dukes survived a double-overtime thriller against No. 8 Crete, 70-68.
York junior Brady Danielson fouled out with a game-high 29 points with 1:09 to play in the first overtime and junior forward Garrett Snodgrass, York’s second-leading scorer on the season and a Husker football commit, followed suit on the first play of the second overtime, but York’s other pieces stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park.
Crete pulled ahead by five midway through the second overtime, but Tyler Cast and Reid Hoffmann made big plays to keep the Dukes in it. Cast knocked down a 3 then got a steal, giving the Dukes possession down two, and they took a timeout to set up a play. With Danielson on the bench, Coach Scott Lamberty called Hoffman’s number and he responded, knocking down a go-ahead 3 with 6.8 to play.
With a chance to go for the win, Crete turned the ball over under its own basket against York’s pressure and Hoffmann split a pair of free throws to create the final margin.
Snodgrass was held to three points, two boards, an assist and a block while dealing with foul trouble all game, but Hoffmann finished with 12 points including six in the second overtime while junior guard Jeb Lucas chipped in 11.
Concordia commit Carter Kent finished with 28 points for the Cardinals, shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 13-of-20 from the foul line. Fellow Concordia basketball commit Klay Uher, who received a preferred walk-on offer from the previous Nebraska football coaching staff, added 17 points.
No. 6 Gretna 67, No. 3 Platteview 35
The reigning Class B champions made short work of the Trojans, jumping on them early and dominating throughout. Gretna’s zone defense limited the post-up opportunities for 6-foot-10 Nebraska basketball signee Brady Heiman and the Trojans struggled to knock down shots form the perimeter, finishing 4-of-23 from deep.
Nebraska football preferred walk-on commit Joseph Johnson led the way for the Dragons with 20 points while junior guard Tre’ Mikkelsen chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Heiman just missed out one a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds but was the only Trojan in double figures.
Nebraska coach Tim Miles was in the building to watch Heiman’s final high school game.
No. 2 Omaha Skutt 62, No. 7 Omaha Roncalli 36
The final quarterfinal of the day at the Devaney Center was a tale of two halves. Skutt jumped out to a 17-9 lead after one, but the Crimson Pride used an 8-0 run to pull within one late in the second quarter. Skutt Sophomore Tyson Gordon scored in the final seconds to give the SkyHawks a 27-24 lead at the half.
The third quarter was all Skutt as the SkyHawks held Roncalli to 1-of-14 from the field to build a 40-26 lead heading into the fourth and cruised to victory.
Gordon finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while junior center TJ Skradksi added 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Sophomore point guard Jack Dotzler led Roncallli with 11 points and junior Alex Rodgers, who holds a Nebraska baseball offer, added 10.
No. 8 Millard South 75, No.1 Omaha Central 65
The York-Crete game set the bar incredibly high and the Patriots and Eagles managed to clear it.
Omaha Central came out on fire from deep, hitting six of their first seven 3-pointers, and raced out to a 23-3 lead (including a 17-0 start). However, Millard South wasn’t ready to call it a season. Nebraska baseball commit Kyle Perry and Emporia State basketball commit Tyrell Carroll put the Patriots on their back and willed them back into the game.
Perry scored Millard South’s first 10 points and assisted their next bucket, then Carroll took over and scored seven points in the second after missing his first five shots. After giving up 25 in the first, Millard South held Central to eight in the second and cut the deficit to 33-21 at the half.
The teams went back and forth and Central still lead 41-32 midway through the period but Millard South closed on a 10-2 run to pull within one at 43-42 heading into the fourth. The Patriots took their first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Nebraska baseball commit Drew Gilin and it was back-and-forth from there as the teams went bucket-for-bucket throughout the fourth.
With 15.7 to play and Central leading 57-55, the Patriots put the ball in the hands of Carroll and let him go to work. Carroll drove the lane and pulled up for a 13-foot jumper that bounced around a couple of times before falling through to send the game to OT.
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) March 8, 2018
Millard South opened the extra period with a 5-1 run and put the game away with defensive stops and free throws, stretching the lead to 10 before a couple of late buckets by Central.
Perry led all scorers with 30 points on 8-of-16 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line and seven rebounds. Carroll wasn’t far behind with 26 points on 9-of-18 from the field and 8-of-11 from the line and seven boards.
Jay Pal and Trelly Wrightsell led Central with 15 points apiece, and Pal added six blocks before fouling out.
No. 5 Bellevue West 59, Kearney 51
The Thunderbirds built up an early lead and maintained a comfortable cushion for most of a somewhat clunky game. The Bearcats pulled within six with a minute-and-a-half to go but it wasn’t enough as Bellevue West held on for the 59-51 win.
Senior Cedric Johnson led Bellevue West with 17 points while freshman Chucky Hepburn added 12.
Kanon Koster finished his outstanding Kearney career with a game-high 22 points and sophomore forward Seth Stroh added 11 points.
The Thunderbirds advance to take on Millard South at 7 p.m. on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
No. 2 Omaha Creighton Prep 83, No. 7 Lincoln Pius X 81, 3OT
Junior point guard Jaylin Hunter, the son of Nebraska basketball assistant coach Kenya Hunter, led the Jr. Jays with 22 points while junior forward Akol Arop added 21 points as the Thunderbolts gave the Junior Jays all they could handle and then some before falling just a bit short.
Seniors Kyle Luedtke and Jayden Temme added 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Junior guard Joe Dworak led all scorers with 25 points for Pius while junior guard Charlie Easley added 20 points including a bank at the buzzer to send the game into its first overtime.
No. 6 Omaha Bryan 50, No. 3 Lincoln East 48
Senior guard Tre Crawford hit a 3 at the buzzer to send the Bears on the the semifinals. Crawford finished with 14 points while junior Javen Udofia added 12. Anthony Marfiisi and Jordan Janssen scored 14 points apiece for East.
No. 5 Lincoln Christian 69, No. 4 Grand Island Central Catholic 58
LC — Justin Bubak 28 points, Caleb Canfield 18 points
GICC — Mayra Almayra 31 points
No. 1 Wahoo 87, No. 8 Ogallala 44
W — Brendan Lacey 21 points (six 3s in the first quarter, seven total), Cameron Quick 15 points, Will Shanahan 11 points
O — Cameron Raffaeli 17 points, Adam Kroeger 16 points
No. 3 Broken Bow 66, No. 6 Boone Central/Newman Grove 64
BB – Padyn Borders 22 points, Tanner Linn 15 points, Joshua Harvey 14 points
BC/NG — Jake Sullivan 19 points, Carter Henry 15 points, Dylan Gentry 12 points
No. 2 Winnebago 59, No. 7 Syracuse 50
W — D'Von LaPointe 17 points, MaNaPe Cleveland 16 points
S – Trevor Brinkman 16 points, Ben Nannen 11 points
No. 3 Hastings St. Cecilia 52, No. 6 South Loup 34
HSC — Trevor Leach 19 points
SL — Cade Connell 17 points
No. 2 Yutan 65, No. 7 Arcadia-Loup City 54
Y — Nebraska football preferred walk-on commit Colton Feist had 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Chieftains. Allen Leahy and Brady Timm led with 17 points apiece and Mason Timm added 11.
ALC — Tige Calerroz 22 points, Nolan Baker 18 points
No. 1 Ponca 72, No. 8 Perkins County 29
P — Carter Kingsbury 14 points, Logan Kingsbury and Evan Anderson 12 points, Max Masin 11 points
PC — Josh Johnston 14 points
No. 5 BRLD 48, No. 4 Elmwood-Murdock 47, OT
BRLD — Lucas Vogt 17 points (including the game-winning 3), Darwin Snyder 14 points
EM — Wes Dreamer 21 points, Zach Rust 15 points
No. 7 Nebraska City Lourdes 63, No. 2 Paxton 57
No. 6 Johnson-Brock 65, No. 3 West Holt 56
No. 4 Heartland 52, No. 5 Osmond 34
No. 1 Kennesaw 74, No. 8 Fullerton 51
No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart 63, No. 8 Cody-Kilgore 20
No. 5 Giltner 40, No. 4 Wilcox-Hildreth 34
No. 2 Riverside 54, No. 7 Wynot 48
No. 7 Mullen 58, No. 2 Mead 49
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.