A slow start didn’t help Millard West on Friday night.
Neither did a strong finish from Omaha Westside All-Nebraska guard Quinn Weidemann.
The junior sank two free throws with six seconds left to boost the Warriors to a 42-40 road win. Class A No. 6 Westside moved to 5-0 while the No. 2 Wildcats fell to 3-2.
Westside led 40-38 with 40 seconds left, but a steal by sophomore guard Chaise Pfanstiel and an accompanying foul gave the Wildcats a chance. She hit both ends of the 1-and-1 to tie the game.
The Warriors ran the clock down to 14 seconds before calling a timeout. Most everyone in the gym probably figured that Weidemann, one of the top guards in the state, was going to get the ball.
“We knew she was going to get it,” Millard West coach Marc Kruger said. “But she was still able to make a play.”
Westside coach Steve Clark said the play was indeed designed to free up the high-scoring guard.
“We run a lot of screens to try to get Quinn open,” he said. “She ended up taking that shot a little early, but it worked out for us.”
Weidemann was fouled by Lexie Black with 6.4 seconds left and sank both free throws. Millard West then called a timeout, but was unable to get a final shot off when Weidemann stole the ball near midcourt.
“We tried to put as much pressure on them as we could on that inbounds play,” Weidemann said. “We did a pretty good job of defense there.”
Westside led much of the game after Millard West failed to make a field goal in the first quarter. The Wildcats’ first basket came in the opening minute of the second quarter on a Pfanstiel layup.
“We need to figure out how to play in the first half,” Kruger said. “We come out and we’re not good, and it’s been like that in every game we’ve played.”
Westside wasn’t exactly lighting it up, either, but still led 8-3 after the first quarter and 20-13 at halftime. The Warriors’ lead grew to 10 in the third quarter, but a 9-0 run by the Wildcats drew them within a point.
Millard West finally got it tied at 35 after a pair of Jenna Bohaty free throws. The Wildcats then took their final lead on a layup by Nicole Hruby, her only basket of the game.
But Weidemann, who finished with a game-high 17, would score Westside’s final seven points. She tied it on a short jumper and made an old-fashioned three-point play before sinking her game-winning free throws.
The Warriors already have knocked off two teams ranked in the Class A Top 10 — the No. 2 Wildcats and No. 3 Papillion-La Vista South.
“We’ve got a lot of girls new to the varsity, but we’ve been playing well,” Clark said. “We kept our composure tonight, so that was good to see.”
Both teams shot 34 percent from the field, but Westside forced 17 turnovers while only turning it over seven times.
“We’re not playing with a lot of consistency,” Kruger said. “We’re still trying to get things figured out.”
Omaha Westside (5-0) ...............8 12 10 12—42
At Millard West (3-2) .................3 10 16 11—40
OW: Ryley Nolin 1-7 1-3 3, Ravionne Pullum 3-5 0-0 8, Caroline Leibel 1-3 0-0 3, Lauren Fehr 2-4 1-4 5, Kenedy Beda 1-3 0-0 2, Ella Wedergren 1-2 2-2 4, Quinn Weidemann 5-17 5-7 17. Totals 14-41 9-16 42.
MW: Lauren Rongisch 3-12 0-0 7, Chaise Pfanstiel 3-7 5-5 11, Taylor Farrell 1-3 0-0 2, Emma Campbell 1-6 1-2 3, Logan Black 3-8 0-0 6, Honnah Leo 1-2 0-0 2, Jenna Bohaty 2-4 3-4 7, Nicole Hruby 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 15-44 9-11 40.
3-point goals: OW 5-16 (Pullum 2-3, Weidemann 2-6, Leibel 1-3, Nolin 0-4); MW 1-10 (Rongisch 1-4, Pfanstiel 0-2, Lo. Black 0-3, Leo 0-1). Rebounds: OW 22 (Weidemann, Beda 5); MW 42 (Rongisch, Campbell 8). Total fouls: OW 13; MW 16. Turnovers: OW 7, MW 17. Field-goal percentage: OW .341; MW .340. Free-throw percentage: OW .562; MW .819.