Omaha North gets a second chance on Monday to give Papillion-La Vista its first loss of the season.
The Vikings haven't lost since a 49-47 decision on Dec. 7 to the Monarchs, who are now 8-0. North takes a five-game winning streak into the 11:15 a.m. Metro Conference boys basketball holiday tournament quarterfinal at Millard South.
“We were up two with 40 seconds left,'' North coach Ryan Mlnarik said. “They are physical and they match up with us. But we're looking forward to playing them again.
“We know we have to play very well with good focus and effort.”
Monday's other boys quarterfinals have Omaha South (8-0) meeting Omaha Burke (4-4) at 1 p.m., Millard West facing Benson at 2:45 and top seed Omaha Central (6-2) playing Omaha Creighton Prep (5-2) at 4:30.
In girls quarterfinals at Benson, Millard West (7-1) plays Omaha Westside (4-4) at 11:15 a.m., Central (6-2) takes on Millard North (6-2) at 1 p.m., Bellevue West (7-0) faces Omaha Northwest (6-2) at 2:45 and Bellevue East (6-0) plays the host Bunnies (6-2) at 4:30.
Monday's action at both sites begins at 9:30 a.m. with consolation games — Westside-Omaha Bryan in boys and Omaha South-Burke in girls.
The championship semifinals will be Wednesday at the Civic Auditorium, with girls games at 2:45 and 4:30 p.m. and boys games at 6:15 and 8 p.m. The finals are Thursday at the auditorium. The girls play at 6:15, followed by the boys at 8.
At halftime of the boys final, the tournament's all-time top 10 players will be honored. This is the golden anniversary year for the boys tournament.
North's boys, who were seeded 11th of the 16 teams, were the only lower-seeded team to win in the first round. They beat then-undefeated Bellevue West 52-50 for their sixth win in seven games.
The Vikings opened the season by absorbing an 89-42 thumping at the hands of Omaha South. North had gotten in only a handful of practices with its complete varsity roster following the Vikings' appearance in the Nov. 19 Class A football championship game.
Five basketball players, including returning starters Aireon Porter and Zach Martin, were on the football team that lost 17-14 to Millard North in Memorial Stadium.
“We continue to improve each and every game and practice, and our intensity has gotten better,'' said Mlnarik, who's trying to guide the Vikings to their first winning season since 2007-08.
He said he's seen a carryover in confidence between the two sports.
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