Wildcats are able to avoid the Storm

Jacob Janousek, Sports Editor

On Friday, January 25th, the Millard West boys basketball team was in action against the 8-7 Elkhorn South Storm after a win versus Omaha Bryan 57-55.

With the Millard South game getting canceled the week prior due to a Snow Day the boys were anxious to get out on the floor. Coming into this game though, they knew this game would be tough.

This Elkhorn South squad was going to be a challenge, and they had a big 3. Led by their 6’4” senior Jace Piatkowski who averaged 17.3 points per game (ppg) coming in, along with sophomore Preston Murphy and junior Zach LaFave (who both averaged around 12 ppg), the Wildcats knew this was going to be a dog fight.

The game was about to start and both student sections were loud and rowdy. Millard West had one of their best crowds of the year so far, and Elkhorn South students made their way in the stadium and brought a large sized crowd as well.

Out of the gates the Wildcats jumped out to a 8-2 start. The lead would kind of stay good with the Cats as they had a 14-10 lead after a Piatkowski buzzer-beating three.

In the second quarter it was pretty competitive, until a three point basket by Elkhorn South guard Max Mosser causing coach Bill Morrison called a timeout. Out of the timeout, junior Nate Glantz came out of the timeout needing to give some good minutes for this young Wildcat team.

Glantz made his appearance worth while. As he was able to get a three and right after getting a steal on the defensive in and was able to get to the free throw line. After that Glantz got up close on the inbound and was able to get another steal and a basket.

This made the crowd go wild as Glantz went on a seven point spurt putting the Wildcats up 26-15 going into the break.

Millard West played surprising first half and played some of their best ball of the season but they knew Elkhorn South wouldn’t go down without a comeback.

To start out the second half, sophomore Evan Meyersick got a pair of buckets putting the Wildcats to their largest lead of 13 at the score of 30-17 and the Wildcats had separation throughout the third.

Then came the fourth and the Storm was coming for the Wildcats.

Elkhorn South never really went away in this game. Every score the Wildcats got Elkhorn South would keep on coming back with a answer and were capitalizing on Millard West mistakes.

Junior Tristan Gomes made a good layup towards the rim putting the Wildcats up by 10 and they were feeling good about themselves.

On the other end the Storm got a ‘and one’ and it felt has if the Wildcats kind of went in a “play not to lose mode”.

Junior Dayls Beanum came down with the ball and it felt as if he dribbled the ball up top for a eternity trying to milk that clock and was able to drain the clock a 90 seconds.

This would be kind of key because time was running out for the Storm.

After this though the Storm went on a 7-0 run and after a pair of Piatkowski free throws, the Millard West student section went silent

The Wildcats answered as Gomes, who finished with 8 points a team high, made a few baskets helping extend the lead to 44-37.

It was getting down to the end of the game and the Storm cut the lead to 45-42.

The Storm started to foul and brought junior Zach Olsen to the line. He made one of the two but the Storm quickly answered with a layup by Murphy.

It was now 46-44.

Beanum was the one fouled going to the line. Beanum was usually a reliable free throw shooter in late game situations as he did well against Omaha Bryan.

This time he had a rare two minutes and Piatkowski ran down the floor. With only ten second and ticking he drove in looking for a foul and missed the contested layup but no one boxed out and Mosser was able to get the ball right under the basket and what looked like a wide open lay in with one second to go.

The ball went up and it felt like in slow motion until u heard a *clink*. The ball bounced off back of the rim as the Storms come back fell short in the fourth and the Wildcats were able to prevail in the end.

Three Wildcats finished with 8 points and Piatkowski for the Storm got 16.

Coming up for the Cats is a 3 game road stretch including a game against the Millard South Patriots on Feb.1st. Make sure you get out to that game and be loud since it’s been a few years since the Wildcats beat them and It’s their best chance.

Hopefully they can play well and this young team can gain momentum as we are coming up on State.