The bad news for Papillion-La Vista South during Friday's game with Papillion-La Vista was that the Titans had just 11 points at halftime.
The good news was that it left them behind by only five points.
Papio South found its offense in the third quarter and dominated the rest of the way in a 45-29 victory over its rival.
“This was the first game on a big stage like this for a lot of our kids and I think we were a little tentative in the first half,” Titan coach Joel Hueser said. “We stayed the course and were able to pick up some things in transition.”
Both teams sloughed through a choppy first half as there were more fouls (16) than field goals (six).
Papio South opened the second half with a 7-0 run, taking its first lead on an Aaron Rothermund bucket with 5:10 remaining.
Papio briefly tied the game on a Jack Kalina bucket, but the Titans responded with two Christian Schneider free throws and never trailed again.
Braxton Murphy's 3-pointer briefly cut the lead to 22-21, but the Titans would take control by reeling off the next 12 points.
A 7-0 surge to open the fourth, courtesy of Cole Wellman, gave the Titans a 34-21 lead that never shrunk below double digits the rest of the way.
It was the third win in a row for the Titans (5-7), who are getting contributions from several new faces.
“This team has great chemistry, they really like playing for each other,” Hueser said. “We've had some other kids step in and contribute for us.”
The Titans had just one player finish in double figures as Bradley Spencer had a dozen, but Rothermund added eight and Wellman and Christian Schneider each finished with seven. Schneider also had eight rebounds.
It was a long night for the Monarch offense, which was held to its lowest point total in several seasons and made just 6 of 30 field goal attempts, only three over the last three quarters.
“We got off to a good start and our defense played well in the first half,” Monarch coach Dan Moore said. “We're up five and if we could have stretched that lead to eight or 10, it's a different game. But once we got behind, we started to force things.”
Kalina finished with eight points to lead the Monarchs (4-8), who are still trying to settle on a rotation after welcoming Tyler Dougherty back to the lineup for the second straight game.
“Tyler was out four weeks and it's not an excuse, but it takes some time to change the rotation around and get it where we want it,” Moore said. “Tyler didn't make some plays tonight he normally makes.”
Omaha Northwest 44, P-LVS 41 – The Titans took a one-point lead into the final quarter before being outscored 12-8 down the stretch.
Rothermund had 14 points in the loss with Schneider adding eight.
Creighton Prep 51, P-LV 38 – Trailing by just two at the half, the Monarchs were outscored 28-17 over the final two quarters.
Ja'Rell Burns paced the Monarchs with 10 points while Chad Lechtenberg added nine.