Omaha Northwest's quest for its first girls basketball state tournament berth since 1980 came to an end Tuesday night against Papillion-La Vista.
Senior forward Alex Nelson scored 22 points to lead the Monarchs to a 57-50 win in the District A-3 semifinal at Bellevue West. Papio advanced to play the host Chieftains on Wednesday at 6 p.m. while the Huskies, who had their best season in several years, finished 14-9.
The game was tied at halftime but the Monarchs outscored the Northwest 11-6 in the third quarter to take the lead for good. The Huskies cut their deficit to a point late in the game but never could move ahead.
The victory was sweet revenge for Papio, which lost to Northwest twice during the season.
“We were really motivated to win this game,” Monarchs coach Dave Hubert said. “Northwest has come a long way and had a great season, so they deserve a lot of credit.”
The Huskies lost despite a 23-point, 11-rebound performance by sophomore center Simone Goods. She scored 14 points in the second half but it wasn't enough.
“We could have done some things better,” Northwest coach Kevin Vann said. “We missed some easy shots and didn't get some rebounds, but our girls fought really hard.”
A key play in the game came shortly after a layup by Deleyah Harris drew the Huskies within one, 47-46, with 2:17 left. On the Monarchs' next possession, Harris was whistled for her fourth foul and then was assessed a technical — her fifth personal foul.
Papio's Ali Kalal made one of two free throws for the foul and one of two for the technical. The Monarchs also maintained possession and boosted their lead to 51-46 following two free throws by Kate Oswald.
“The technical was huge,” Hubert said. “It helped us get a little breathing room.”
Vann said it was tough seeing that call made on his player.
“In a district game, they (the officials) should allow the teams to decide the game,” he said.
A pair of baskets by Goods helped cut the Huskies' deficit to 52-50 with 38 seconds left, but the Monarchs scored the final five points from the foul line. Nelson accounted for four of those late points as Papio moved on to the district final against the fifth-ranked Chieftains.
“It will be a big challenge for us,” Hubert said. “I know both teams will want it really bad.”
Papillion-La Vista (10-13).............12 14 11 20—57
Omaha Northwest (14-9)............13 13 6 18—50
PLV: Karolyn Cahill 2, Ashley Nelson 7, Alex Nelson 22, Ali Kalal 9, Kate Oswald 9, Raechel Meisinger 6, Ashten Arkfeld 2.
ONW: Deleyah Harris 10, Lavonzell Brown 4, Simone Goods 23, Nadia Donovan 6, Ti Rayah Cotton 4, Alexus Massey 3.
Bellevue East 77, Papillion-La Vista South 30
Amaun Frazier scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Chieftains to the district semifinal win.
Bellevue East scored seven points in the first quarter but stormed back with a 34-point second quarter. The Chieftains led 41-19 at halftime and 61-25 after the third quarter.
Jennifer Bolgar scored nine points to pace the Titans, who finished the season 2-21.
Papillion-La Vista South (2-21)..........13 6 6 5—30
At Bellevue East (18-5)............7 34 20 16—77
PLVS: Lindsey Gess 5, Kelsey Lang 2, Kiana Lemon 2, Alexa Digiacomo 6, Gabrielle Sefranek 4, Holly Nelson 2, Jennifer Bolgar 9.
BE: Viktoreea Cox 2, Peyton Hagen 9, Jessica Vernon 4, Sara Gengel 3, Roshawn Hollie 1, Haley Ourada 4, Taylor Silva 11, Rylie Cascio Jensen 4, Amaun Frazier 24, Sidni Trotter 7, Shelby Quinn 6, Jeana Mosley 2.
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