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Westside faces No. 1 Bellevue West on senior night

February 17, 2023


Emma Vondra

The Warriors are hoping to revenge the earlier season loss to Bellevue West.

The Westside boys varsity basketball squad will bring their regular season to a close this Saturday against top-ranked Bellevue West. This will be a rematch for the Warriors as they have already played them earlier in the season and lost 79-52 in the semi-finals of the Metro Holiday tournament. The Thunderbirds are undefeated this season with a 22-0 record and have beaten all of the opponents by at least 10 points. Westside’s record is 16-6 this season, which puts them sixth in the Class A wildcard standings. 

There will be several boys on the court to watch for on Saturday. Westside’s Tate Odvody has been a powerhouse on the court this year. The senior shooting guard has averaged 15 points a game and has been playing varsity since he was a freshman. Odvody hopes to continue their momentum against Bellevue West on Saturday.  

“It means a lot,” Odvody said. “It’s senior night. Obviously we want to win. We’re going to go out and put it out on the line and try to win. I mean we got a good chance. We’re playing better than we did at metros, so I like this game. They’re a great team.  They’re super deep. They are kind of like us last year in a way where we’re subbing out so they’re always sending new guys at you. So it’s a tough team to beat so we really just have to lock in.”

Bellevue West is nothing short of a basketball powerhouse. One of their leading scorers is Josiah Dotzler, who is committed to Creighton University to play college basketball. 

“We really have to focus on Dotzler,” Odvody said. “He’s a great point guard. Obviously he’s going to Creighton. We just got to stop him and he is the key player for them.” 

Both players and coaches alike are optimistic about their last regular season game. Westside head coach Jim Simons will take a three-game winning streak into the matchup, after an 86-61 win over Millard West on Tuesday.

“We haven’t really been preparing for that game specifically,” Simons said. “Considering we played on Saturday and just played on Tuesday so with that game coming up on Saturday we now have three days to get prepared. So far we have been trying to go game by game opposed to honing on one big game on the horizon.”

Equally important in coaching a highly ranked team through the end of a season are your values and morals as a mentor. 

“As a team and as a program, one thing that’s really important is making sure you have fun and get enjoyment out of it,” Simons said. “So we have talked to our group about enjoying each day, enjoying the process, and playing with joy. If there is something you spend that much time on you want to make sure it’s something you are happy with in your life. I think teams play better when players and coaches are enjoying the experience. That’s an important one for us, we want to make sure we are working hard and doing the things that are necessary to get better. But we’re also making sure to remember it’s a game and its something that everybody does because they enjoy doing.”

The sixth-ranked Warriors will host top-ranked Bellevue West at 5:15 p.m. on Senior night this Saturday.

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