Mar'Shun Stewart kept Omaha Benson from picking up its first loss of the season.
The 5-foot-9 junior scored nine of his 14 points in the final 8½ minutes, including the game-winning 3-point play, as the preseason No. 1 Bunnies beat Omaha Burke 58-55 to advance to the Metro Conference Holiday Tournament semifinals.
Also winning their quarterfinals Tuesday were Millard South, No. 3 Omaha South and No. 2 Omaha Central. In Thursday's semifinals at the Civic Auditorium, Benson-Millard South will be at 6:15 p.m., followed by South-Central at 8 p.m.
Benson (7-0) played large chunks of its quarterfinal without 6-foot-4 senior Khyri Thomas. While scoring a game-high 20 points, Thomas sat out the final 4:53 of the first half after picking up his second foul and missed the last 10½ minutes of the game after landing awkwardly on his left foot following his last basket.
“He could have come back, but we told him to keep the ice on it,'' Benson coach Donnie Johnson said. “We have to learn how to play without him.”
The lessons apparently will go on for a while. On his Twitter account later Tuesday, Thomas posted that he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a bone fracture on the side of the foot.
He left the game after putting Benson ahead 39-38. Burke took its last lead, 40-39, on 6-6 sophomore Wanjang Tut's basket, but Stewart finished the quarter by making 3 of 4 free throws in the final 31 seconds.
“I knew when Khyri went out, I had to step up,” Stewart said.
He opened the final quarter with a 3, and Benson led until 6-4 Noah Fant, Burke's other rising sophomore, made two free throws with 51.7 seconds left for a 55-55 tie.
Stewart drove from the top of the key and was fouled with 2.4 seconds. He made the free throw, and Tyrone Clayton intercepted Burke's inbounds pass to halfcourt to seal the win.
A layup was the last thing Burke coach Ben Holling wanted his defense to give up.
“It was, 'Beat us from the outside, no matter what,' ” he said. “Their kid made a tough shot. We tried to foul him and he finished the play.”
Tut led Burke with 15 points and seven rebounds. Fant, held scoreless in the first half, had 10 points while Danny Poppen had 12 points and Trey Carr 11.
Omaha Burke (5-3) .......... 18 10 12 15—55
Omaha Benson (7-0) ....... 22 7 13 16—58
Bke: Wanjang Tut 15, Noah Fant 10, Trey Carr 11, Jack Dressler 3, Danny Poppen 12, Darian Henderson 4.
Ben: Khyri Thomas 20, Mar'Shun Stewart 14, Tyree Peter 6, Thik Bol 6, Maurice Buckley 4, Tyrone Clayton 6, Tre Henderson 2.
Omaha South 48, Creighton Prep 46
With five sophomores or juniors in Tuesday's seven-man rotation, the Packers rallied after spotting No. 9 Prep a 15-1 lead.
“This was pretty satisfying,'' South coach Bruce Chubick said. “How (the players) took what we put on the board out to the floor was one of the best jobs I've seen in a lot of years.”
With his team trailing by nine at halftime, Chubick threw a junk defense on Prep's Jacob Mattern after the Junior Jay junior guard scored 16 of his game-high 20 points.
South (7-1) held Prep (5-3) to one point in the third quarter and 12 for the half. Prep made only four of its final 20 shots.
“Defense was the key,'' Chubick said. “Without it, no way could we have come back from down 15-1.”
South took the lead for good, 42-40, on a Kevin Harkins basket. Orlando Blair made it 44-40 before Tommy Pritchard sank a 3 for Prep. Aguek Arop, a freshman who led South with 11 points, answered for a 46-43 lead with 1:08 left.
Chad Witecy scored for Prep with 51 seconds left and was fouled, but he missed the free throw. Blair and Harkins each went 1 of 2 at the line, as did Mattern, to leave South ahead 48-46.
Prep shot two 3s in the final 9 seconds, the first by James Scott and the last by Jason Allbery after he had to take the ball upcourt in the final 5 seconds after rebounding a missed free throw.
South played without leading scorer James Dumes, who Chubick said missed the team's morning walk-through.
Prep also was down a starter. Junior Jay coach Josh Luedtke said Monday night that 6-6 sophomore Drew Homa was sitting out the tournament because of injury.
Omaha Creighton Prep (5-3) ..... 17 17 1 11—46
Omaha South (7-1) ................... 10 15 8 15—48
P: Tommy Pritchard 9, Jacob Mattern 20, Chad Witecy 13, Jason Allbery 2, James Scott 2.
S: Aguek Arop 11, Orlando Blair 10, Caleal Walker 9, Makoor Arop 7, Kevin Harkins 6, Anthony Naimie 4, Monte McGary 1.
Millard South 56, Omaha Westside 49
The Patriots got past the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2002-03 season by outscoring No. 5 Westside 10-3 in the final two minutes after the Warriors tied the game.
Millard South (5-3), which avenged an earlier 75-61 loss, led the rematch 18-7 after one quarter.
“The last time, we were down 21-6 after the first quarter,” Patriots coach Tyler Cerveny said. “Our focus was on getting a good start.”
Westside forged a 46-46 tie on a 3 by Jake Meyers, then Brendan Rockwell scored to put the Patriots back in front.
With 1:15 left, Wyatt Miller was fouled while scoring on a layup, and Meyers received a technical for swearing. Miller, who tied Garron Pauli for game honors with 16 points, couldn't finish the 3-point play, but Calvin Rudolph made the two free throws for the technical in restoring a six-point lead for the Patriots.
Mike Kiger had a team-high 15 points for Westside (4-4).
Millard South (5-3) .......... 18 11 12 15—56
Omaha Westside (4-4) ... 7 10 16 15—49
MS: Calvin Rudolph 7, Wyatt Miller 16, Riley Miller 3, Troy Sedlacek 12, Garron Pauli 16, Brendan Rockwell 2.
W: Brock Nemecek 5, Kevin Metoyer 6, Jake Meyers 5, Mike Herrmann 12, Mike Kiger 15, Sam Wilkinson 2, Trae Meeks 2, Jack Matt 2.
Omaha Central 63, Millard North 48
The Eagles (7-1) advanced to the semifinals for the fifth consecutive year behind 15 points apiece from Jarek Coles and Austin McGaugh and 14 from Tre'Shawn Thurman. Zared Steed led Millard North with 16 points.
Omaha Central (7-1) .... 16 17 13 17—63
Millard North (2-6) ........ 10 8 15 15—48
C: Malik Harris 8, Jarek Coles 15, Austin McGaugh 15, Tre'Shawn Thurman 14, Reath Nyoach 7, Marcus Polk 3, Magay Agou 1.
MN: Zared Steed 16, Dillon Nelson 10, Jake Grasso 4, Mike Popkov 3, Pat Higginson 7, Jake Lenagh 4, Carter Larson 1, Nabeel Hakki 1.
Millard West 44, Omaha North 27
Joey Evans had a game-high 11 points for Millard West (3-5).
Millard West (3-5) .......... 6 6 17 13—42
Omaha North (0-7) ......... 4 7 10 6—27
MW: Joey Koca 8, Max Sealer 2, Austin Hall 5, Adam Staashelm 10, Joey Evans 11, Ben Kositzke 6.
N: Justin Patton 6, Joe Nash 1, Davion Reed 4, Jordan Nash 3, Grant Martin 3, Howard Glass 7, Jaylin OneFeather 1, Kendal Patton 2.