Omaha North couldn't miss in the fourth quarter after digging itself a 20-point deficit.

But Millard South came up with answers in the closing minutes to maintain the lead and capture a 7669 road win Friday night.

"Their speed and quickness bothered us down the stretch. We made some really bad decisions," Millard South coach Tim Leuschen said. "But in the end, we had some kids step up and make some huge plays."

Millard South's seniors delivered the biggest plays. Garran Pauli scored six of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and Matt Kirkle scored six in the final two minutes as the Patriots never let the Vikings get closer than three.

But another senior, guard Calvin Rudolph, hit Millard South's biggest shots. He scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, going 3 of 3 from 3-point range and 7 of 10 from the free throw line.

"He played like a veteran player," Leuschen said. "He's just a gritty, smart basketball player who made some huge plays for us."

The win was the Patriots' fifth straight as they improve to 12-7. Millard South had lost seven of nine before its current winning streak.

"We'd gone through a stretch where we weren't shooting it very well," Leuschen said. "The kids have made extra commitment to shoot the ball well, and that showed right out of the gate."

The Patriots shot 56.5 percent in the first half (13 of 23) as they built a 35-24 halftime lead. They finished the opening half on a 12-2 run and then scored the first eight points of the third quarter.

Millard South's biggest lead was 48-28 with 2:20 left in the third quarter as it appeared to be headed for a decisive win. But after scoring six points in a 10-minute span, North's offense caught fire.

The Vikings scored on their first five possessions of the fourth quarter, sparking a 12-0 run to quickly cut their deficit to 50-46 with 5:47 left. But on the ensuing possession, Rudolph hit a 3, North was hit with a technical foul and, after Rudolph made 1 of 2 free throws, Pauli banked in a layup to make it 56-46 with 5:10 left.

North, however, kept making shots. When Anthony Laravie hit a 3-pointer — North's fifth of the quarter — with 46 seconds left, the Vikings were down 71-68. At that point, North had missed one shot in the quarter - 10 of 11 from the field and 9 of 9 from the line.

But the Patriots made a free throw and Kirkle converted two layups the rest of the way to close the win.

"They worked hard. I wish they brought that same level of defensive intensity into the half-court defense at the beginning of the game," North coach Jared Andersen said of his team. "You just can't get down like that to a team like that."

Nine of North's 10 losses have been by single digits.

Millard South girls 60, North 55

Grace Rasmussen scored 12 of her 22 points in the final 6:34 to help No. 4 Millard South rally.

Omaha North had taken a 47-41 lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter after Dariauna Lewis made back-to-back baskets. That six-point advantage was the biggest lead of the night in a game that featured 11 lead changes and 12 ties.

But the Patriots took the lead for good when Rasmussen hit a 3-pointer with 2:55 left to make it 52-51. North closed to 56-55 after Lewis hit two free throws with 25 seconds left, but Rasmussen hit a pair of free throws four seconds later and then Anna Nabity added two more free throws with 6.2 seconds left. Millard South was 8 of 9 from the line in the fourth quarter.

Camille Fowler added 15 points and nine rebounds for Millard South, while Jazlyn Brown led North with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1038,

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