LINCOLN–(KFOR Feb. 27)–The Millard South boys basketball team may have learned a few things from their overtime loss to Lincoln Northeast at the Ed Johnson Gym two weeks ago. The Patriots had a double-digit lead and lost it when the Rockets rallied back to force overtime and outscored them 16-3 to win by 13.
On Saturday night, Millard South found themselves back at the Ed Johnson Gym with the mindset to play their tempo and limit Northeast’s standout Pierce Bazil.
The Patriots accomplished both in earning a 52-43 victory over the Rockets in the semifinals of the Boys A-6 district semifinal, heard on KFOR.
Millard South (10-11) now plays Papillion-LaVista for the A-6 championship and a state tournament berth Monday at 7pm.
Jack Cooper helped in securing the Patriots’ victory. The 6-6 senior scored a game-high 15 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. Cooper sank 10 free-throws to help seal the win.
Northeast (14-7) got as close as 29-27 with 6:29 left in the game, when Bazil scored his second basket of the game. His first point came with 42 seconds left in the third quarter, but prior to that, was hounded and shutdown by the Patriot defense. Offensively the Patriots held the ball and slowed down the tempo, taking away the Rockets’ ability to utilize their uptempo transition game.
After a timeout, Millard South sprinted to a 7-0 run, off a three-point play from Gage Stenger and a pair of free-throws, then a steal and layup from Cooper for a 36-27 lead with 5:04 to play.
Freshman Will Cooper added 13 points in the victory for the Patriots, while Stenger finished with 11. Will Cooper’s three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the second quarter gave Millard South a 19-16 halftime lead.
Bazil, averaging over 21 points a game, was held to just 13 points in his final game at Northeast. Zander Beard, a 6-1 junior, led the Rockets with 14 points and 6-7 senior center Connor Renard scored 10 points in the loss.