BOYS: NO. 2 OMAHA CREIGHTON PREP 54, NO. 3 PAPILLION-LA VISTA 44
The rematch between Top 10 No. 2 Creighton Prep and No. 3 Papillion-La Vista turned out to be a major test for both offenses.
But the first 5:20 of the game turned out to eventually doom the Monarchs as they fell 54-44 to the Junior Jays at the Bird Cage.
Papio missed its first seven shots and Prep took advantage, building an 11-0 advantage before the Monarchs finally got on the scoreboard with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter.
Papillion-La Vista was 1 of 9 from the floor in the first quarter and trailed 15-2 heading to the second.
Four players scored in double figures for Prep, led by Nate Schimonitz with 15 points and Drew Homa with 14. Will Schenken added 11 and Ethan Walz had 10. Schimonitz also grabbed 11 rebounds and had four assists.
Chad Lechtenberg scored 11 points to pace the Monarchs, who lost to Prep 77-64 in the Metro Conference tournament on Dec. 30.
Creighton Prep coach Josh Luedtke said he thought Friday's game was the best his team has looked defensively all season.
Papio, which averaged 65.8 points per game coming into the day, had just 12 points at halftime.
"We got off to a great start. I thought defensively our kids really listened to the scouting report," Luedtke said. "I think defensively they really recognized what we wanted to do with their big three."
The Monarchs' "big three" of Ed Chang (16.9 points per game), Ayo Akinwole (15.2) and Lechtenberg (15.1) were held to a combined 25 points.
The second quarter was Prep's turn to struggle offensively.
After making 7 of 12 in the opening quarter, the Junior Jays made just 2 of 9 in the second.
And that allowed the Monarchs to get back into the game.
"The second quarter (was) probably our worst quarter, but they played great defense," Luedtke said.
"We're not as deep as we were in the past where we wanted to play some more guys, so we had to stretch minutes a little bit, and that's concerning a little bit."
Outside of the 11-0 run to begin the game, Papio outscored the Junior Jays (20-3) 44-43 the rest of the way.
Papio coach Dan Moore said that finish proved his team could play with Prep.
"That wasn't definitely the way we wanted to start," said Moore, whose team fell to 18-4. "We held them to 20 points in the first half. That's pretty good defense.
"We didn't panic. Obviously, offensively we didn't play well. I think they know they had a battle. We wanted to set the tone that it's a district-type atmosphere. Fight another day."