Nebraska Boys State Tournament Roundup: Semifinals
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Boys State Tournament Roundup: Semifinals

March 08, 2019

Hail Varsity is back at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the semifinal round of the 2019 boys state tournament. We’ll bring you updates throughout the day as teams punch their ticket to championship Saturday.


No. 6 Omaha South 59, No. 7 Lincoln North Star 54

North Star’s run came to an end on Friday as the Packers built up a lead and held on through a late North Star rally to punch their ticket to the Class A final on Saturday. Four Packers finished with 12 or more points as South’s balance won out over North Star’s star power.

John S. Peterson
Omaha South senior Ta’Vion Anderson attacks the basket against Kearney on Friday. He had a double-double in South’s semifinal win over Lincoln North Star.

South knocked down three triples in the first quarter and jumped out to a 17-9 lead before 2020 Nebraska commit Donovan Williams drilled a 3 to make it 17-12 after one. North Star pulled to within one at halftime as South led 26-25.

The teams went back and forth early in the third but South closed the period on an 8-0 run to take a 46-35 lead into the fourth thanks to a buzzer-beating 3 by Ta’Vion Anderson.

North Star didn’t give up, however, Led by senior forward Josiah Allick, the Gators cut the deficit down to three at 53-50 with just under two minutes to play. After trading buckets, North Star put Skyler Wilson at the foul line and he hit two shots to make it a four-point game with less than 25 seconds to play. North Star turned the ball over looking for a quick shot and Wilson sealed the game with two more freebies.

Jay Saunders did a bit of everything for the Packers, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, five assist, two steals and a block. Anderson had a double-double with 14 points (12 of which came in the second half), 10 rebounds and four assists.

There was a lid on the rim all game for Williams as he finished with a game-high 19 points but shot just 6-of-20 from the field and 2-of-9 from deep. Allick finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.

Nebraska coach Tim Miles was sitting courtside to watch Williams play after also watching him against fellow Nebraska commit Akol Arop in Thursday’s semifinal.


No. 6 Omaha South (20-6):          17-  9-20-13 — 59

No. 7 Lincoln North Star (17-9): 12-13-10-19 — 54

OS: Jay Saunders 15, Ta’Vion 14, Skyler Wilson 12, Ty Griggs 12, Rashawn McNeal-Lee 4, Kyle Hutcherson 2

LNS: Donovan Williams 19, Josiah Allick 16, Luke Juracek 9, Kwat Abdelkarim 6, Jared Lopez 2

No. 4 Omaha Central 71, No. 1 Bellevue West 57

This one wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated as the Thunderbirds hit six 3-pointers and scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to cut into a deficit that was near 30 through three.

John S. Peterson
Chucky Hepburn, a 2020 Nebraska target from bellevue West, saw his tournament run come to an end on Friday against Omaha Central.

Central jumped out to a 17-10 lead after one then opened the second with a 12-0 run and the Thunderbirds never recovered. Central led by 20 at halftime and by 28 heading into the fourth as Bellevue West shot 26 percent from the field through the first three quarters.

Max Polk led the Eagles in scoring for the second straight game with 18 points on 8-of-11 from the field. Latrell Wrightsell Jr. added 17 points and eight boards and John Tonje chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Sophomore Nebraska target and Bellevue West point guard Chucky Hepburn led the T-Birds with 19 points including four 3-pointers, four rebounds and three assist while senior guard Nico Felici chipped in 11 points.

The Eagles will face Omaha South in the Class A final at 6:30 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.


No. 1 Bellevue West (26-2):  10-  7-12-28 — 57

No. 4 Omaha Central (22-5): 17-20-20-14 — 71

BW: Chucky Hepburn 19, Nico Felici 11, Louis Fidler 6, Jacob Coldanghise 6, David Nuor 5, John Shanklin 3, Nate Sullivan 3, Deng Jan 2, Frankie Fiedler 2

OC: Max Polk 18, Latrell Wrightsell Jr. 17, John Tonje 12, Faisaun Germany 9, Abe Hoskins III 7, Goy Panom 4, Teth Tut 4


No. 1 Lincoln Pius X 62, No. 4 Omaha Skutt 59, OT

Omaha Skutt gave Lincoln Pius X all it could handle and then some, but in the end the Thunderbolts were able to weather the storm and advance to the Class B title thanks to an incredible effort on the offensive glass.

Pius jumped out to an 8-2 lead but Skutt responded with an 8-2 run and it was neck-and-neck from then on. Pius led 15-13 after one, Skutt tied it up at 30-all at halftime and Pius pulled ahead 47-43 at the end of three.

Jake Kudron opened the fourth with a three-point play then Tyson Gordon scored to give Skutt a 48-47 lead but Charlie Easley answered with four straight. Gordon scored four in a row himself then Andrew Merfeld got a steal and split free throws to put Skutt up 53-31 with less than two to play. Nebraska football walk-on commit Austin Jablonski grabbed an offensive rebound and drew Gordon’s fourth foul, hitting both free throws to tie it up with 53.9 to play.

Neither side scored again, sending the game to overtime.

The teams traded blows in the overtime until Jablonski put the the Bolts up three with another put-back, but Gordon got a steal and hit a step-back 3 to tie it up at 59-59 with less than 40 seconds to play.

Pius ran the clock down, leading to this sequence:

Harman hit two free throws to put Pius up three with 0.6 to play and Kudron’s prayer from the opposite free-throw line came up short.

Pius out-rebounded Skutt 15 to five on the offensive end including 12 to two after halftime.Easley scored a game-high 20 points despite struggling with his jumper, finishing 4-of-13 from he field and 0-of-4 from deep while making it up with a perfect 12-for-12 at the free-throw line. He grabbed nine rebounds including five on the offensive end.

Jablonski, who is set to play tight end at Nebraska, had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds including seven offensive boards. Junior guard Kolbe Rada added 12 points and Harman chipped in 11.

Sophomore forward Charlie Fletcher led Skutt with 18 points and six rebounds. Kudron scored 16 points and Gordon finished with 15 before fouling out.


No. 1 Lincoln Pius X (26-2): 15-15-17-  6-9 — 62

No. 4 Omaha Skutt (23-5):    13-17-13-10-6 — 59

LPX: Charlie Easley 20, Austin Jablonski 13, Kolbe Rada 12, Holton Harman 11, Mitchell Sebek 2, Dominic Pelan 2, Josh Miller 2

OS: Charlie Fletcher 18, Jake Kudron 16, Tyson Gordon 15, Andrew Merfeld 4, TJ Skradski 4, Grant Bertucci 2

No. 3 Omaha Roncalli 75, Aurora 66, 2OT

The first Class B semifinal set a high bar but the second managed to clear it with plenty of room to spare. South Dakota State commit Baylor Scheierman put on a show from start to finish but it wasn’t enough to overcome an incredible effort by the Crimson Pride as Roncalli outlasted the Huskies in double-overtime.

The 6-foot-6 Scheierman finished with 37 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals. He accounted for 21 of Aurora’s 25 field goals and scored or assisted on 17 of Aurora’s first 19 points.

The Huskies jumped out to a 22-16 lead after one. Roncalli rallied to take a 28-25 lead but Scheirman found teammate Cade Reichardt for a layup then scored two buckets of his own to put the Huskies up three. Junior sharp-shooter Taiden Red knocked down a 3 to tie things up at 31-31 at halftime.

Junior point guard Jack Dotzler opened the third quarter on a personal 8-2 run but Aurora answered as a pull-up 3 then a tough coast-to-coast bucket by Scheierman put Aurora up 44-43 heading into the fourth.

Scheierman found Reichardt for a three-point play to open the fourth but Roncalli fought back to tie it at 50-50 on another 3-pointer with about two minutes to play. Red put the Pride up two at the free-throw line with 1:17 to play but Scheierman tied it up and Dotzler’s jumper at the buzzer was just off.

Scheierman opened the first overtime with an offensive-rebound and step-back 3, but Roncalli freshman Jake Orr answered with a corner 3 to tie it. After going scoreless in regulation, Orr stepped up with a bucket in each overtime period to finish with five points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks off the bench.

After going back and forth a couple of times, Scheierman hit two free throws to put Aurora up 59-56 with 44.6 to play. Roncalli got the ball to Red in the corner and he hit a tough contested 3 to tie it once again attic 25.2 to play. The Huskies ran down the clock but couldn’t get a shot to fall at the buzzer, setting up a second overtime.

Aurora scored six of the first eight points in the final frame — five by Scheierman — but Roncalli closed the game on a 14-1 run as Scheierman ran out of gas and no one else stepped up. Jake Orr got a layup to tie it and Mitchell Hines knocked down a corner 3 to take the lead during that stretch, and that duo gave Roncalli a 13-0 edge in bench points as Hines finished with eight on 3-of-3 shooting.

Scheierman scored 13 of aurora’s points in the overtimes while ROncalli had six different players score led by Dotzler’s 10.

Dotzler finished with a team-high 26 points and five assists, shooting 7-of-14 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3 and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. Red added 21 points on 7-of-10 from the field including 5-of-8 from deep. Shane Orr added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists as Roncalli shot 10-of-20 from 3 and 19-of-24 from the foul line as a team.

Reichardt, a Concordia signee, added 15 for the Huskies and Nick Hutsell chipped in 10 points and five boards.

Roncalli advances to Saturday’s Class B final against Lincoln Pius X at 1 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.


No. 2 Aurora (26-2):                22-  9-13- 8-7-  7 — 66

No. 3 Omaha Roncalli (25-2): 16-15-12-  9-7-16 — 75

A: Baylor Scheierman 37, Cade Reichardt 15, Nick Hustell 10, Jordan Stevenson 5, Rylan Willis 1

OR: Jack Dotzler 26, Taiden Red 21, Shane Orr 11, Mitch Hines 8, Jake Orr 5, Noah Stickrod 2, Alex Rodgers 2


No. 3 Auburn 59, No 2 Wahoo 46

Wahoo entered the game down a man after second-leading scorer Blake Lacey broke his ankle in the Warriors’ quarterfinal win on Thursday and leading scorer Winston Cook, a Nebraska-Kearney signee, gutted out the game on a bad knee. Wahoo jumped out to an early 10-2 lead with their disruptive 1-3-1 defense but they didn’t have enough firepower to hold on.

Second-half adjustments by Auburn coach Jim Weeks led to a 20-point third quarter turning a 24-20 halftime deficit into a 40-33 lead after three and the Bulldogs salted away the clock in the fourth quarter, building the led up to double digits. Auburn shot 65 percent rom the field in the second half and hit nine of their 11 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the game and advance to the state championship for the first time in school history.

Sophomore guard Cam Binder, who hit the game-winning shot for Auburn in the quarterfinals, led the Bulldogs with 18 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Josh Lambert was strong inside with 13 points and eight rebounds. Junior CJ Hughes scored all 12 of his points in the second half and sophomore Dan Frary did a bit of everything with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists, picking apart the Wahoo zone out of the high post.

Cook finished with 17 points for Waho while sophomore guard Trey Scheef stepped up in Lacey’s absence with 14 points including 12 in the first half.


No. 2 Wahoo (24-4):  12-12-  9-13 — 46

No. 3 Auburn (23-3): 11-  9-20-19 — 59

W: Winston Cook 17, Trey Scheef 14, Thomas Waido 6, Karson Hesser 4, Braden Harris 3, Gerardo Chavez Madrid 2

A: Cam Binder 18, Josh Lambert 13, CJ Hughes 12, Dan Frary 10, Brody Darnell 4, Bret Baltensperger 2

No. 4 North Bend Central 64, No. 1 Ogallala 44

The Tigers handed the Indians their first loss of the season on Friday thanks to a strong effort on both ends.

North Bend Central senior Tanner Wietfeld brings the ball up the floor.

John S. Peterson
North Bend Central senior Tanner Wietfeld brings the ball up the floor.

Senior Tanner Wietfeld came out firing, knocking down three triples in the first quarter included one late in the first quarter that put the Tigers up 17-14 after one and North Bend Central never relinquished that lead. The Tigers used a 7-0 run to pull ahead by 10 and continued to control the game the rest of the way. They led 34-26 at halftime and 47-38 after three before cruising to victory in the fourth.

Wietfeld finished with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-18 from the field, 3-of-7 from deep and 3-of-4 from the line with seven rebounds and two blocks. John Emanuel added 14 points and six boards for the Tigers who shared the ball well and recorded assists on 14 of their 24 buckets.

Carter Brown led the Indians with 24 points on 8-of-14 from the field (2-of-4 from 3) and 6-of-7 from the foul line. Evan Allen-Mader added 11 points for the Indians but the rest of the team combined for just nine as they shot 15-of-44 from the field.

North Bend Central will face Auburn for the C-1 championship at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Wahoo will play against Ogallala for third place on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Southeast.


No. 1 Ogallala (27-1):                     14-12-12-  6 — 44

No. 4 North Bend Central (25-3): 17-17-13-17 — 64

O: Carter Brown 24, Evan Allen-Mader 11, Adam Kroeger 7, Cameron Raffaeli 2

NBC: Tanner Wietfeld 26, John Emanuel 14, Chase Ruzicka 7, Jaxon Wietfeld 6, Ben Rolenc 4, Cole Kluthe 4, Austin Endorf 3


Scores from the Devaney Center:

>> No. 6 Yutan 46, No. 7 Ponca 42: Sophomore point guard Brady Timm led all scorers for Yutan while junior forward Carter Kingsbury had 15 for the Indians.

>> No. 1 BRLD 54, No. 4 Centennial 25: Sophomore point guard Lucas Vogt led the Wolverines with 18 points.

The Yutan Chieftains will face BRLD in the C-2 final on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Pinnacle Ban Arena.

Ponca will face Centennial in the C-2 third place game at 9 a.m. at Lincoln Southeast.


Scores from the Devaney Center:

>> No. 4 Fremont Bergan 56, No. 1 Elm Creek 39: Senior forward Grant Frickenstein scored 24 points to pace the Knights while sophomore Trey Miner had 18 for the Buffaloes.

>> No. 2 Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 61, No. 3 Paxton 43: Junior guard Bret Hanis led three Bulldogs in double figures with 15 points while junior center Blake Brewster had a game-high 16 points for Paxton.

Bergan will play Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family in the D-1 title game on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Elm Creek will take on Paxton in the D-1 consolation game at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Southeast

Class D-2

Scores from the Devaney Center:

>> No. 5 Johnson-Brock 48, No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart 45: Johnson-Brock junior Ty Hahn scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback for the Eagles while senior guard Drew Bippes had 19 for the Irish while leading scorer Tyler Whitt had ti watch from the bench thanks to an injury suffered on Friday.

>> No. 3 Osmond 62, No. 2 Riverside 50: Senior guard Merrix Denn had 26 points including six 3-pointers for the Tigers while junior guard Tredyn Prososki had 28 and five triples for the Chargers.

Johnson-Brock and Osmond will face off in the D-2 championship on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Sacred Heart will play Riverside for third place on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lincoln Southeast.

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