A big third-quarter run was enough to carry unbeaten Elkhorn South past host Omaha Northwest on Friday night.
Class B's top-ranked team used a 14-1 run at the end the third quarter to build a 15-point lead, and the Top 10 No. 6 Storm cruised from there to an 83-72 victory.
Matt Thomas scored a game-high 28 points to ensure his team remained Nebraska's last undefeated squad.
“Had to adjust to a very athletic team, but we grinded it out,” Thomas said. “We went on a couple of big runs late and closed it out. This is the most athletic team we'll play all season, no doubt. … When we can play high-tempo with a team like this, it helps when we go back down to Class B.”
Northwest's Ronney Barnes was almost as hot as Thomas — both star guards had 18 points at halftime, and the Huskies senior finished with a team-high 25.
The Storm scored the game's first 14 points before the Huskies bulled back with a 19-2 first-quarter run. They led by as many as five in the second quarter.
That momentum stalled thanks to an 18-3 Storm run, fueled largely by Thomas scoring 13 points in four minutes to get a double-digit lead back for his team.
Thomas and JJ Zumbrennen combined for nine 3-pointers for Elkhorn South, creating room for Johnny Trueblood (16 points) and Josh Alberts (15) to do damage inside.
Elkhorn South coach Alex Bahe called Friday night's game a great warm-up for state.
“I thought we rebounded really well, which we had to do tonight, during those flurries,” Bahe said. “Matt bailed us out of a bad offensive half by being so good.
“This was a great test for us, a game we had to take care of business in. We're glad we did.”
Thomas and Barnes put on a show Friday, making jumper after jumper to all but negate each other. Their levels of offensive support were different, however: Three other Storm players reached 15 points while just one Northwest player did besides Barnes.
While going undefeated was not one of his team's goals entering the season, Bahe is pleased his team has a shot at the mark entering the postseason.
“It was tough for us today because we played a Senior Night rivalry game last night,” said Bahe, referring to a game with Elkhorn. “We've talked about it all the time: We have to be able to go out and win back-to-back nights. I was pleased with our team's toughness to get it done today.”
Elkhorn South finished the regular season 22-0.
Despite draining nine 3-pointers, Northwest fell to 9-12 heading into Saturday's trip to Papillion-La Vista.
Elkhorn South (22-0) ........................................ 16 23 24 20—83
At Omaha Northwest (9-12) ............................ 19 19 10 24—72
ES: Matt Thomas 28, JJ Zumbrennen 18, Johnny Trueblood 16, Josh Alberts 15, John Wehling 4, Aaron Hardy 2
ONW: Ronney Barnes 25, Charles Marion-Adkins 16, Troy Tegels 12, DeAngelo Peak 10, Finis Jones 3, Kameron Wayne 3, Marcellis Minor 2, Carlos Williams 1
3-Point Goals: Elkhorn South 9 (Thomas 5, Zumbrennen 4), Northwest 9 (Barnes 4, Tegels 4, Jones 1)