Even when his Packers trailed by 17 midway through the third quarter, Omaha South coach Bruce Chubick told one of his assistants that their team would find a way to win.
Even though it took an extra eight minutes, he was right.
South, ranked second in the state, used its quickness to get back in the game early in the fourth quarter and then outlasted eighth-ranked Omaha North for a 75-71 double overtime victory Saturday night at North High School.
“Our kids are resilient. You never want to count them out. It’s frustrating at times, but they keep working and fighting,” said Chubick, whose team takes a 21-3 record into districts. “A game like that is going to help us. It tests your mettle and shows what you’re made of. Are you going to wilt when things aren’t going your way? I was really pleased how they responded to adversity.”
There were plenty of twists and turns in Saturday’s second half.
After neither team led by more than six in the first half, North (13-9) hit its first six field-goal attempts in the third quarter, scoring 12 straight points during one stretch. When Zach Martin made a layup with 3:55 left in the third quarter, the Vikings had their biggest lead at 43-26.
But South switched its lineup, going with quickness instead of size. That quickly paid dividends.
South cut its deficit to nine after three quarters, then scored the first 12 points of the fourth to take a 49-46 lead with 5:40 left. South’s press forced four turnovers during that run.
“They brought in a lot of guards and turned the pressure up on us, and we didn’t handle it very well,” North coach Ryan Mlnarik said.
But North quickly regained its footing and led 57-55 in the final minute. And the Vikings looked like they had secured the upset when North’s Aireon Porter blocked a shot in the lane, leading to teammate Davion Reed’s breakaway layup with 11 seconds left for a 59-55 lead.
South’s Cameron Williams quickly scored a layup with 6.7 seconds left. After a timeout, North threw a baseball pass that was stolen at midcourt by Williams. He then drove toward the paint and found Lyle Hexom, who hit a 5-footer at the buzzer to force overtime.
“After I got the ball, I knew they would collapse on me,” Williams said. “I just had to find the open man.”
Williams came up big down the stretch, scoring 13 of his game-high 26 points after the third quarter. He was 14 of 14 from the free throw line.
The teams traded baskets in the first overtime. North never led, but the Vikings had a chance to win at the end of the overtime.
Martin was fouled as he put up a shot near the low post as the buzzer sounded. Martin was given two free throws with no time on the clock, but both attempts were short.
The teams then were tied 71-71 in the second overtime when Williams was fouled with 14 seconds left. He hit both, and after North turned the ball over, Kevin Harkins hit two free throws with 2.7 seconds left to secure the win.
Hexom, a 6-foot-8 senior, and Harkins, a 6-7 junior, were non-factors for most of regulation, but they made the difference in the overtimes when they combined for 11 points and eight rebounds.
“They were fresh in the overtime,” Chubick said. “That wasn’t the plan, but it worked out that way.”
Hexom finished with 11 points, nine of which came after the third quarter, and eight rebounds.
North got a big game from Porter, a 6-7 senior who had 22 points and 12 rebounds. Reed added 18 points.
It was a tough loss for Mlnarik to swallow, but he also felt it will benefit his team in the coming weeks.
“It was a big-time game, a big-time atmosphere and a big-time performance by our kids,” he said. “Obviously we know we had two chances to win the game, but (South) made some great plays — a great play to send it to overtime. You always want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the year, and judging by this performance, we’re real close.”
Omaha South (21-3) ................. 10 13 14 22 6 10—75
Omaha North (13-9) ................. 12 17 17 13 6 6—71
OS: Marquise Collins 1-1 0-0 2, Bobby Lage 2-5 4-6 8, Tyler Hall 1-5 4-8 6, James Dumes 4-11 0-0 9, Cameron Williams 6-16 14-14 26, Buay Tuach 3-6 0-0 7, Lyle Hexom 4-11 3-4 11, Kevin Harkins 1-3 4-4 6. Totals 22-58 29-36 75.
ON: Justin Patton 0-2 2-4 2, Kameron Bradford 4-9 3-3 12, Zach Martin 5-9 1-5 11, Taidor Bichiok 0-1 0-0 0, Davion Reed 5-11 7-11 18, Brian Littlejohn 0-1 0-0 0, Aireon Porter 8-11 5-10 22, Brandon McGary 2-4 0-0 4, Howard Glass 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-49 18-33 71.
3-point goals: OS 2-9 (Tuach 1-2, Dumes 1-1, Lage 0-2, Hall 0-2, Williams 0-2); ON 3-8 (Bradford 1-2, Reed 1-2, Porter 1-1, McGary 0-1, Martin 0-2). Rebounds: OS 34 (Huxom 8); ON 32 (Porter 12). Turnovers: OS 18, ON 18. Total fouls: OS 29, ON 27. Fouled out: Lage, Hall, Tuach, Patton, Porter. Technicals: None. Att.: 1,200 (est.).
Omaha North girls 62, Omaha South 44
Omaha North led by double figures the entire second half and cruised to victory.
Imani White hit four 3-pointers and led the Vikings with 22 points. Ashley Collins added 15 points, all in the second half.
Chelsea Chapman led South with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Omaha South ................. 9 10 12 13—44
Omaha North ................. 15 14 13 20—62
OS: Adrianna Beck 7, Jayd Brinker 3, Shaunessy Phillips 2, Chelsea Chapman 11, Leara Blair 2, Jamilah Adams 11, Jayda Tiller 8.
ON: Tiani White 12, Makayla Aspegren 8, Imani White 22, Ashley Collins 15, Ashleigh Gildon 2, Danielle Bynum 3.
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