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Boys basketball heads to state as 5-seed after OT thriller
March 7, 2023
The Westside boys basketball team is headed to the state tournament for the second year in a row. The Warriors beat Lincoln High 83-76 in an overtime thriller in the A-6 District finals to send them to the tournament. The Warriors were led by senior Tate Odvody, who put up a season-high 31 points. Odvody sealed the game in overtime with four free throws in the final minute.
“It’s a new game, it’s 0-0,” Odvody said. ”We’ve gotta start over. Everything that happened before, that’s in the past and we’ve gotta go to the next play.”
Odvody connected on five 3-pointers in his final home game and pulled down six rebounds. The Colorado Christian College commit picked the right time to have his best game of the season.
“Tate is as hardworking as any player I’ve ever coached.” Head Coach Jim Simons said. “I sent all of them a personal message last night, and in Tate’s, I said tomorrow’s the night where all your hard work pays off, and just trust what you’ve done. He deserves it. He’s a super hard working kid, he just keeps working. I’m proud of him and happy that his hard work paid off.”
The Warriors were tied with Lincoln High at 69-69 going into overtime. Senior Malik Crawford opened the overtime with a three-pointer and CJ Mitchell added a layup to take a 74-69 lead. The Warriors were able to outscore the Links 14-7 in the extra period to win the game 83-76.
“I’m just so happy and so proud of the kids,” Simons said, “They just battled so hard. It was a tremendous basketball game. Respect to Lincoln High, they’ve got a bunch of seniors who are super invested in their program and school. It seemed like four to five we were close to knocking them out and they just wouldn’t go away, they just battled. But to win the game in overtime after how regulation ended shows a lot about our kids’ resilience and character. Obviously, they had all the momentum in the world, it would have been easy for our guys to doubt themselves. But our kids showed a lot of heart and resilience and I’m unbelievably proud of them.”
The Warriors (18-7) will play as the No. 5 seed against No. 4 seed Lincoln East (19-5) in the opening game of the state tournament on Wednesday, March 8. The Warriors have already played Lincoln East this season and lost 66-50 on Westside’s home court.
“We’re gonna play Lincoln East,” Simons said, “They’re very good. They took care of us pretty good up here. So, hopefully they’ll have our guys’ full attention. We just gotta get our guys rested and focused, then ready to go for the state tournament. We have several days of preparation. I know our guys will be ready and excited to play.”
This is the second year in a row that the Warriors have made it to Pinnacle Bank Arena and they hope to make a run in the tournament.
“It means a lot,” Junior CJ Mitchell said. “We put in a lot of work the past 6-8 months and just seeing where we were in the middle of the season. We were struggling and getting to this point feels great, and making it back to PBA.”
The Warriors will tip off against Lincoln East at 3:15 on at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday, March 8.