If Class A was up in the air before Saturday night, it landed square on its head after.
Just 24 hours after getting blown out by an Omaha Westside team that hasn’t been above .500 since the opening weekend of the season, fourth-ranked Millard West added to a season of surprises with its 54-50 victory over No. 1 Omaha South.
The Packers held the top spot in the rankings for the last two weeks after beating three-time defending state champion Omaha Central earlier this month. But a packed house watched Millard West earn its first win against a top-ranked team in Bill Morrison’s four seasons as the head coach.
“We didn’t talk about South all week,” Morrison said. “Everything was about Westside. I knew we’d have energy tonight.”
The Wildcats fired out to a 7-0 lead less than two minutes in and led for a majority of the first half. The second-half featured five ties and seven lead changes, the final coming on Connor Lusso’s three-point play with 2 ½ minutes to play.
After a turnover, Lusso added another bucket to push the Millard West lead to four. Each team made one of two from the line before the Wildcats iced things with offensive rebounds and free throws.
Nick Hargis made a pair with 52.4 seconds left — Millard West was 3 of 9 from the stripe in the fourth quarter before those makes. Cam Williams sank two free throws with just more than 30 seconds left before a key sequence went the way of the Wildcats.
West’s Joey Koca hit the first of two free throws and saw his miss on the second attempt get rebounded by Lusso. The 6-foot-6 senior made his first try and also missed his second, but this time the ball was rebounded by teammate Spencer Sharp, who promptly knocked down both of his shots.
“We rebounded very well,” Morrison said. “A lot of them were our own missed free throws, though.”
Lusso’s 21 points led all scorers. He added nine rebounds on the night. Spencer Sharp chipped in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Millard West, without a real marquee victory on the season, was a combined 1-4 against the other teams in the top five before Saturday.
“This puts up with those top three in the state,” Morrison said of South, Central and Papillion-La Vista. “They all obviously deserve to be up there, but I think this puts us in the mix with them.”
Williams scored 15 points for South and teammate Lyle Hexom added 14 points, including two monster dunks, and seven rebounds.
Packers coach Bruce Chubick said he sensed that his team could be ripe for an upset Saturday.
“I don’t know that there are ever good losses, but this might be one,” he said. “They outhustled us. It’ll refocus us.”
Omaha South (19-3)........................11 10 14 15—50
At Millard West (15-6).................................11 9 15 19—54
OS: James Dumes 0-2 0-0 0, Buay Tuach 4-8 1-2 9, Tyler Hall 1-7 0-0 3, Cam Williams 5-12 5-7 15, Kevin Harkins 1-3 4-6 6, Lyle Hexom 5-8 4-4 14, Bobby Lage 1-4 1-4 3 Totals 17-44 15-23 50.
MW: Joey Koca 0-2 2-4 2, Nick Hargis 1-6 3-5 5, Josh Lallman 2-6 3-5 8, Tyler Kallman 1-1 0-0 2, Connor Lusso 9-13 3-6 21, Spencer Sharp 4-10 4-4 12, Ben Kositzke 2-4 0-0 4 Totals 19-42 15-24 54.
3-point goals: OS 1-9 (Tuach 0-1, Hall 1-4, Williams 0-2, Lage 0-2); MW 1-7 (Koca 0-2, Hargis 0-2, Lallman 1-1, Lusso 0-1, Sharp 0-1). Rebounds: OS 27 (Hexom 7), MW 35 (Sharp 10). Turnovers: OS 15, MW 18. Technical fouls: None. Fouled out: Tuach. Field goal percentage: OS .386, MW .452. Free throw percentage: OS .652, MW .625. Att: 1,250 (est).
Contact the writer:
402-850-0781, firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/nickrubek