Thunderbird rally comes up short in loss to Packers

Omaha South's Arop Arop fouls Bellevue West's Deon Pettigrew during a dunk attempt in the second quarter of Thursday's 64-60 Packer win. Pettigrew, playing his first game in five weeks for West, had 22 points and 14 rebounds.

One quarter wasn’t enough for Bellevue West to undo the damage Thursday night from the first three quarters of its 64-60 home loss to No. 2 Omaha South.

The No. 7 Thunderbirds scored 28 points in the fourth quarter after getting only 32 in the game’s first 24 minutes. They got within a basket of the Packers with 36 seconds left to play.

But by getting two free throws from Tyler Hall on its next possession, South regained a four-point lead. West missed its next two 3-point attempts to end its comeback.

South coach Bruce Chubick said it was his first win with the Packers in the Bellevue West gym.

“I’m happy as all get out to get a win here, whatever the margin,” he said.

West coach Doug Woodard, whose team was in its second game of a five-game stretch playing ranked teams from Nebraska and Kansas, was disappointed in the mistakes he saw.

“We can’t be that casual and loose with the ball and make that many soft turnovers,” Woodard said. “We finally started attacking after being back on our heels.”

Deon Pettigrew and Malik Hluchoweckyj shot the Thunderbirds (8-3) back into the game.

In his first game since injuring his right knee, the 6-foot-4 Pettigrew in the fourth quarter had 14 of his game-high 22 points and six of his game-high 14 rebounds.

“He’s going to be somebody to reckon with, because he was rusty and played like that,” Chubick said.

Hluchoweckyj, the Thunderbirds’ sophomore point guard, was scoreless through three quarters, then made three 3s and a pair of free throws.

South (13-1), which took the lead midway through the first quarter, got a team-high 16 points from 6-foot-8 senior Lyle Hexom and 15 from senior Cam Williams.

The Packers twice had 14-point leads late in the third quarter, a period in which Hexom, 6-7 Kevin Harkins and 6-4 Buay Tuach combined for 15 of their team’s 20 points.

“These kids want to work hard and win and they were smart enough to see we had to go to our inside guys,” Chubick said.

Tuach and Hall never came out of the game for South and Williams was subbed for once. A reason was that 6-3 junior guard James Dumes didn’t dress for the game as a disciplinary measure, Chubick confirmed without elaborating.

Omaha South (13-1)..............16 10 20 18—64

At Bellevue West (8-3).........11 12 9 28—60

S: Buay Tuach 3-5 1-1 7, Tyler Hall 2-7 4-4 8, Cam Williams 3-11 7-13 15, Arop Arop 1-1 0-2 2, Bobby Lage 2-4 0-0 5, Lyle Hexom 8-10 0-1 16, Kevin Harkins 3-6 1-5 7, Marquise Collins 1-1 2-4 4. Totals 23-45 14-29 64.

BW: Brad Brazeal 3-6 0-0 6, Deon Pettigrew 7-14 7-9 22, Malik Hluchoweckyj 3-10 2-2 11, CJ Johnson 2-4 3-6 7, Christian Hatterle 4-7 3-5 12, Brad Cluff 0-1 0-0 0, Chris Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Brayden Knapp 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Moore 1-3 0-0 2, Kael Strawmier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-47 15-22 60.

3-point goals: S 4-11 (Tuach 1-1, Hall 0-2, Williams 2-5, Lage 1-3), BW 5-17 (Brazeal 0-3, Pettigrew 1-2, Hluchoweckyj 3-7, Johnson 0-1, Hatterle 1-2, Cluff 0-1, Martin 0-1). Total fouls: S 20, BW 20. Fouled out: Lage. Technicals: none. Turnovers: S 22, BW 22. Rebounds: S 31 (Harkins 8), BW 29 (Pettigrew 14). Field-goal percentage: S .511, BW .425. Free-throw percentage: S .482, BW .681. A: 900 (est.)

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>> Video: See highlights from Omaha South's 64-60 win over Bellevue West:

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