Westside Boys Basketball Prepares for A-3 District Tournament


Zoe Gillespie

Senior guard Reggie Thomas drives in the right lane in Westside’s 73-69 win over Omaha Central. The Warriors will take on Columbus tonight

The 2021-2022 Westside boys basketball team is preparing to make their post-season debut as the No. 1 seed in the A-3 District Tournament. In the regular season, the Warriors went 22-2 with a seven-week run as the No. 1 team in the state. 

In addition to Westside, Lincoln East, Millard West, Columbus and Omaha Northwest round out he A-3 district bracket. The latter two teams, as the fourth and fifth seeds in the bracket, played Friday, Feb. 25. The Discoverers dominated on their home court to make it past the Huskies winning 53-35. They’ll play Westside on Monday, Feb. 28, while Lincoln East takes on Millard West in Lincoln. Both games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. tip-off.

Last year, the Warriors lost 55-54 to Millard West in the final five seconds of the A-7 District Tournament, failing to qualify for the state tournament. Because of Westside’s success this year, they’re likely to make a run at the state title.

“We just want to focus on preparing as best we can, playing each game possession by possession and giving it our best shot,” head coach Jim Simons said. “We’ve had a great season, winning the Metro Conference tournament and 22 games in the regular season are both things that have not happened at Westside in a long time, which should give us confidence that we are capable of competing with anyone if we control what we can control.”

Westside’s success this year has a lot to do with their depth. The Warriors often play up to nine guys in a game, and their “share the wealth” attitude makes them hard to defend. It’s important that the Warriors continue to be united as they narrow in on their goal of the NSAA Class A State Tournament. 

“We’re trying to stay together as a team and keep working hard, bringing energy to practice this entire week before the game on Monday,” senior Payson Gillespie said.

As the first seed in their district, all of Westside’s tournament games will be on their home court, including the A-3 District Finals. With the hope that they’ll punch their ticket to the state tournament, the six seniors of Westside are preparing to leave their court behind and head to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“We’ve all had great memories playing on that court so it’s sad to say goodbye but we are all ready to make a deep playoff run and it’s very important to us that everyone gives their all every time they are on the court,” senior Charlie Davis said. “We have had great support from our fan base and hopefully they bring that support into state.”

Westside will continue to improve their game, knowing that a loss in the district tournament might mean the end of their season. Because of their dominance during the regular season, the Warriors are ranked third in the NSAA wildcard standings; if they lose the A-3 District title, both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams have to win in order for Westside to earn the wildcard seed. With precision, focus and momentum, Westside has a great chance of punching their own ticket to state, eliminating any room for a missed opportunity.

“I know we’ll play very hard in the postseason, but attention to detail and execution become key factors in postseason play so our preparation has focused on locking into the details and valuing each possession,” Simons said.

If the Warriors can take down Columbus, they’ll meet the winner of the Lincoln East and Millard West matchup in the A-3 District Final. That game will take place on Wednesday, March 2, at Westside with tip-off at 7:00 p.m. The District final will be broadcast live on westsidewired.net and Warrior Television, including a pregame show at 6:45 p.m.