Making better decisions on offense in the second half Monday night powered top-ranked Bellevue West to a 73-59 Class A boys basketball victory over Lincoln High.
The Thunderbirds leaned on a more consistent defensive effort, especially in the first quarter. That allowed them to find an offensive groove that produced better shots while figuring out how to work around Links forward Buomkoth Jock, one of the state’s best shot-blockers.
“In the first half we turned them over pretty good, but we weren’t making good decisions on the other end,” T-Birds coach Doug Woodard said. “Once we started making smarter plays, we were fine.”
Neither team could get a lead bigger than three points in the first quarter of the game played before an estimated crowd of 250 at Bellevue West. With the game tied 14-14 late in the opening period, West went on a 13-0 run that ran into the first three minutes of the second quarter.
Lincoln High took two timeouts in that stretch before going on a 15-2 run of its own to tie the game 29-29 with 1:02 remaining before halftime.
A pair of 3-point baskets — one by sophomore Chucky Hepburn and the other by junior David Nuor — in the final minute gave the T-Birds a 35-29 lead at the intermission. Hepburn scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the first half.
West then used a combination of full-court pressure defense and began to move the ball around on the offensive end in the pivotal third quarter. A 3-pointer by Nico Felici ignited a run that led to the T-Birds taking a 19-point lead before heading into the fourth quarter ahead 57-40.
Felici scored 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter, including the final four on a sequence that included a layup after a missed free throw. The 6-2 senior was fouled on the shot and made the ensuing free throw to put West ahead 57-38.
“In the third quarter we shared the ball better,” Woodard said. “The kids overall did a pretty good job. Hopefully that defensive pressure will be a hallmark for us all season.”
West’s lead eventually grew to 21 points early in the fourth quarter before fouls and free throws dominated the final five minutes of action. Keyshawn Jenkins led the 1-1 Links with 15 points while Jaxson Barber finished with 13 points and Jock had 12.
Lincoln High (1-1)..............14 15 11 19—59
At Bellevue West (2-0).......16 19 22 16—73
LHS: Tre Dixon 0-1 0-0 0, Jaxson Barber 5-16 1-4 13, Yashua Bradley 3-10 0-0, Keyshawn Jenkins 6-14 3-3 15, Zay Parks 2-5 1-2 6, Buomkoth Jock 4-7 4-7 12, Graham Newton 26- 2-3 7. Totals-22-59 11-19 59.
BW: Davi Nuor 5-11 0-0 12, Owen Woodard 1-3 1-3 3, Deng Jai 5-9 1-2 12, Nate Sullivan 2-4 0-2 4, Tre Hepburn 1-1 1-2 3, Louis Fidler 2-6 1-4 5, Nico Felici 4-9 6-7 15, Chucky Hepburn 5-12 7-10 19. Totals-25-55 17-30 73.
3-point goals: LHS 4-15 (Barber 2-7, Bradley 0-4, Jenkins 0-1, Parks 1-1, Newton 1-2); BW 6-18 (Nuor 2-4, Jal 1-3, Sullivan 0-1, Fidler 0-2, Felici 1-4, C. Hepburn 2-4). Total fouls: LHS 20, BW 19. Fouled out: Jenkins. Technical fouls: None. Turnovers: LHS 19, BW 13. Rebounds: LHS 43 (Parks 10), BW 34 Fidler 9). Field goal percentage: LHS .373, BW .455. Free throw percentage: LHS .579, BW .567. A-250 (est.).
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July 1: Air Force's Nic Ready hit a total of 55 home runs, including 21 in the final round, to edge Clemson's Logan Davidson in the College Home Run Derby.
June 28: Oregon State celebrates beating Arkansas 5-0 in Game 3 of the CWS championship series. The Beavers were down to their last out in Game 2 before a fielding blunder by the Razorbacks gave Oregon State a second life, which it took advantage of en route to the program's third CWS title.
June 18: John Olson, and Mary Olson, of Joslyn, Missouri, take cover under ponchos during a rain delay at the College World Series. Weather provided a huge problem in the 2018 CWS.
June 15: Cam'ron Jones checks out Omaha.com, or perhaps Snapchat, during the Huskers' Friday Night Lights camp.
May 19: Fremont's Lucas Arps celebrates after winning the Class A 400-meter dash.
May 19: Lincoln Lutheran's Josie Puelz celebrates after clearing 12-2 in the Class C girls pole vault final.
May 17: Omaha Roncalli's Thomas Alitz cheers after scoring the winning run in the Class B state championship on a hit by Logan McGill with two outs in the seventh inning.
May 17: Omaha Creighton Prep's Eric Allbery, right, jumps on the dogpile as the Junior Jays celebrate their Class A state baseball title.
May 16: South Sioux City celebrates after defeating Elkhorn South in the Class B state soccer championship.
May 16: Kearney's Christian Dakan hoists the Class A state soccer trophy alongside his teammates.
May 14: Millard North celebrates its Class A state championship win against Omaha Marian by kissing the trophy.
May 14: Elkhorn celebrates its Class B championship win against Omaha Skutt.
May 9: Creighton's Will Robertson celebrates with Jack Strunc, left, after homering the fifth inning. The Jays beat UNO 10-6.
May 6: The Omaha Storm Chasers play below the newly dedicated Steve Pivovar Press Box at Werner Park.
April 21: Nebraska coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers during the Tunnel Walk on Saturday.
April 19: Awardee Dante Pettis and former Nebraska football player Johnny Rodgers, right, pictured during the Jet Award dinner.
April 19: Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne attends the Jet Award dinner.
April 18: UNO's Malik Moore pitches against Nebraska. The Mavericks knocked off the Huskers for the first time since 1997.
April 11: Creighton's Will Robertson, left, and Thomas Luevano celebrate scoring on a triple by Jack Strunc.
April 11: Elkhorn South's Mo Gohr gains control of the ball in the Metro Conference tournament.
April 3: Scott Frost directs Husker football practice.
March 31: The boy campers pose for a photo at the Athletes' Training Center Futures Camp at Iowa West Field House.
March 27: Creighton defeats Nebraska 3-1 in the first matchup of the year.
March 25: Kansas' Malik Newman drives to the basket, drawing a blocking foul on Duke's Wendell Carter. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Blue Devils in Omaha and advance to the Final Four.
March 17: Creighton defeats Iowa in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
March 17: Creighton's bench cheers as Michael Emodi hits a walk-off homer off Wichita State pitcher Chandler Sanburn in the Jays' home opener.
March 12: The Creighton women's basketball team celebrates making the NCAA tournament.
March 10: Wahoo celebrates winning the Class C-1 boys basketball title.
March 10: Nebraska City Lourdes' Quinten Vasa, center, holds up the trophy with his team.
March 9: Glenwood celebrates after winning its first boys basktball state title in school history.
March 3: Scotus' Maggie Feehan celebrates after winning the Class C-1 title.
March 3: Superior celebrates a Class C-2 championship win over Ravenna.
Feb. 25: Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night. The Huskers went on to defeat Penn State.
Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night.
Feb. 24: Creighton's Marcus Foster, left, and Davion Mintz celebrate Creighton's 89-83 overtime victory over Villanova.
Feb. 24: Omaha Creighton Prep's Colin LaFave competes in the 100 fly at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 24: Lincoln Southwest's Anna Heinrich, left, and Josie Ford celebrate their first and second-place finishes in the 50 free at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 17: Kearney’s Phillip Moomey is in the top 20 of his weight class in two national polls. Only a handful of underclassmen are ranked ahead of him.
Feb. 17: Omaha Burke's Jakason Burks does a backflip after defeating Millard South's Caleb Coyle during the 106-pound Class A final at the state wrestling championships.
Jan. 28: Omaha Lancers coach and General Manager David Wilkie talks with players during first-period action.
Jan. 26: UNO's Luke Nogard skates past the referee.
Jan. 16: Nebraska's Nicea Eliely gets excited during pregame introductions as the Huskers went on to beat Iowa.
Nebraska's James Palmer celebrates a home victory over Illinois with Isaiah Roby.
Jan. 9: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, left, talks with former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne during the Outland Trophy banquet.
Jan. 4: Omaha Burke's Shereef Mitchell brings the ball up court in the Metro holiday tournament.
Jan. 1: In his final game with Central Florida, now-Nebraska coach Scott Frost raises the Peach Bowl title after defeating Auburn.