RECAP: Westside Boys Pick Up Third Top Ten Win of the Season

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Yamilett Ramirez

Westside senior guard PJ Ngambi drives on Omaha South's Skyler Wilson in Tuesday night's 82-76 win over the Packers.

This past Tuesday, the Westside boys varsity basketball team went up against their eighth-ranked opponent of the season in the second-ranked Omaha South Packers. Coming into the night, the Warriors were 2-5 in top ten games throughout the season and were standing just barely inside the last spot for district hosts. The Packers, although only going up against three ranked teams, pulled out a twenty-two point win versus the Bellevue West Thunderbirds in late December, something the Warriors hadn’t done in two attempts.

In the first quarter, that is exactly what happened. The two teams combined for 37 points in the first quarter of the ball game and the Warriors held a one point lead headed into the second quarter. In the second, the game would slow down to a halt as both teams kept the other’s offense at a slower pace, limiting the ability for good open shots. After seven points were scored by Westside, the Packers took a two point lead heading into half-time. 

With 26 points for the Warriors in the third quarter and as big of a lead as 15 early in the fourth quarter, the game looked to be going to the Warriors’ side. However, late in the fourth quarter, Jay Saunders and Tyrece Griggs helped the Packers get back in the game and keep it within a few scores. After a missed free throw from Jadin Booth, Tyrece Griggs put in a layup with just under one second to go to tie up the ball-game and send it to overtime. 

In overtime, Jay Saunders, with 33 points on the night, fouled out of the ballgame. With 12 points in OT ,Westside held on for the 82-76 win over the Packers. Alongside PJ Ngambi with 21, Reggie Thomas, Chandler Meeks and Jadin Booth would all end with double-digit points on the night with 21,19 and 10 respectively. 

Sophomore Chandler Meeks, who shot 80% from the field on the night, said he felt that the team worked really well on working to their strengths and doing what they had been doing all year.

“Our ball movement. We got it moving really well in the second half and I think that created the lead for us,” said Meeks.

With the win, the Warriors jump up to fifth in wild card points in Class A and have just five games left in the regular season before heading on to districts. Although there are still things to work on, head coach Jim Simons said he felt that the team’s experience in these big games and the ability to adapt, overcome and get better is something that will come in handy once the postseason comes around.

“The biggest thing is the tremendous amount of resilience, grit and competitive spirit that we showed at the end of regulation. I can’t imagine that during the break in between the end of regulation and overtime who were betting on the Warriors,” Simons said. “I just think we’ve gone through some tough things with this gauntlet of a schedule that we play but I kept saying ‘it’s gonna make us tougher. It’s gonna make us better’ and I think it has. To see the work pay off and to find a way to win in overtime was really gratifying.”

Next up the Warriors will play the SilverHawks of Lincoln Southwest on Saturday, February 8, at home at 5:15 PM.