BOYS BASKETBALL: Links Come Up Short in OT to Warriors In District Championship

OMAHA–(KFOR Feb. 28)–Lincoln High briefly held a three-point lead to begin the A6 boys district basketball championship on Tuesday night and trailed by as much as 11 points throughout before storming back and forcing overtime.

However, Omaha Westside would find a way to prevail in the extra period and claimed an 83-76 victory over the Links to win the district title and secure a trip to the NSAA Class A Boys State Basketball Tournament.  The Warriors are set to play Lincoln East Wednesday, March. 8 at 3:15pm inside Pinnacle Bank Arena.  Lincoln High finishes the season as the Heartland Athletic Conference Tournament champions and a 17-8 record.

Westside (18-7) trailed 4-1 early in the game before a 9-0 run sparked by Caleb Benning and Tate Odvody put the Warriors up 10-4 before Lincoln High had to burn an early time out to regroup.  Westside led 21-15 in the first quarter and got a boost offensively in the first half from Odvody, who had 15 of his game-high 31 points in the first half.

The Links rallied in the second quarter behind the offense of senior guard Vince Garrett, who led Lincoln High in scoring with 28 points, 6-8 senior forward Bryson Faines, point guard Andrew Gaines and reserve guard Elvis Nguyen.  A three-pointer from Nguyen to start the second quarter pulled the Links to within three and while Odvody was hitting shots from long-range for Westside, Lincoln High kept it from getting out of hand.  Faines would score from close range that pulled the Links to within four with 2:15 left in the first half and Gaines connected on a three-pointer that cut the Westside lead down to two before the Warriors got another three-pointer shortly before halftime, leading 38-33.

Westside jumped out on a run to start the second half and led 43-33 before taking a 59-50 advantage into the fourth quarter.  Garrett hit a three-pointer to pull Lincoln High to within five, 61-56, and Garrett would come up with another three-pointer to stay within reach of Westside.  With 30 seconds remaining in regulation, Garrett hit a game-tying basket from the left baseline area.  An shot attempt to win the game for Westside was missed by CJ Mitchell, as the buzzer sounded to force overtime.

Lincoln High couldn’t convert on the front-ends of two one-and-one attempts to take control in overtime, but Malik Crawford’s three-pointer put Westside in the driver’s seat for good at 72-69.  The Warriors got some late free throws from Kevin Stubblefield to seal the victory.  Stubblefield scored 20 points in the winning effort for Westside.

Benning added 11 points for Westside and Crawford chipped in 10 for the Warriors.  Faines added 13 points and 6-8 center Justin Bolis added 11 points in the loss for the Links.