David Wingett (50) of Winnebago backs Jokrol Pal of Omaha Central into the paint. Photo by James Giago Davies
Omaha Central wins shootout over Winnebago
Indians jump up two Classes to take on big city powerhouse
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent
OMAHA—Eager basketball fans anticipated a showdown between two of the more celebrated big men in the state of Nebraska, 6-7 scoring machine David Wingett of Winnebago, and 6-8, 240 lbs. king of the paint, Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler of Omaha Central.
What they got was a high scoring barn burner, Omaha Central prevailing 97-86, largely decided by the stellar guard play of Keondre Spivey and Roman Behrens. These two accounted for 61 points, and helped the Eagles shoot 66% from the field.
Nebraskahoops magazine rated this contest as the potential game of the year, and it took center stage at Ralston Arena on Thursday, December 22. Taking on a school with fifteen times their enrollment, the two-time defending Lakota Nation Invitational champion Indians showed no fear, matching the Eagles bucket-for-bucket for most of the opening period. But in the first minute of play, the pattern that would spell defeat for Winnebago revealed itself.
Behrens, Central’s skinny 6-0 point guard, doesn’t look like much of an athlete, and he moves with a casual, unimpressive style, which seems vulnerable, but produces stunning results. If you man-up defensively, he dishes the ball off for an assist, and if you lay off, he slices through the paint for an easy bucket. If you focus on Behrens, try to stop him from getting the 30 points he scored, shooting guard Keondre Spivey strikes for 31 points, hitting five of five threes, exposing the defensive play of Winnebago guards D’Von LaPointe and Drake Gorrin as needing some work.
To be fair, Winnebago never faces this caliber of guard play at their Class level, and if Head Coach Jeff Berridge had it to do over, he probably would have been more aggressive against the Eagles backcourt, but it wasn’t like Winnebago played badly, or that they were getting blown out by a bigger school.
“They had us scrambling,” Central Head Coach Ben Holling said. “And we had to figure things out, but they were tough to guard.”
Fittingly, scoring opened on a Behrens lay-up. He dribbled along the three-point line, saw he could penetrate the paint, and scored easily. Winnebago responded with their big weapon, Wingett, who hit a three from the top of the key.
Jokral Pal, a beanpole 6-6 junior forward then missed badly on a three attempt for Central, and the Winnebago coaches shouted, “Let him shoot!” Unfortunately, he didn’t take too many more shots.
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Omaha Central wins shootout
(Contact James Giago Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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