• Photo Showcase: Class A boys semifinals, March 9
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LINCOLN — Omaha South boys basketball coach Bruce Chubick has his team believing it can win a state championship.
On Saturday, the Packers will get a chance to do just that.
Chubick’s squad, seeded seventh in the eight-team tournament, defeated Papillion-La Vista 63-51 on Friday night in a Class A semifinal at the Devaney Center. South (20-9) advances to the 6:30 p.m. title game against Omaha Central in quest of its fifth state title and first since 1990.
“Our kids are so resilient,’’ Chubick said. “Even when we were down early, nobody panicked. Everybody stayed calm.’’
The Monarchs (22-4) led 16-8 at the end of the first quarter, but a 10-0 Packers run erased that deficit. South led by one at halftime and held a narrow lead for much of the second half before pulling away late by sinking 11 of 14 free throws.
Junior guard Cam Williams led the way with a game-high 25 points. He scored 21 in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter.
“I think Cam likes to take a break until everybody gets tired,’’ Chubick said. “And then he steps up.’’
Williams scored the first three baskets of the final period as the Packers maintained their slim advantage. South opened up a double-digit lead with about three minutes left, going on a 9-2 run capped by a James Dumes layup.
The Monarchs were unable to close the gap because the Packers knocked down most of their free throws during their 33-point fourth quarter. In addition to the nine made by Williams, Treston Mayo and Dumes were both 2 for 2.
“We had our chances early when we were up 16-8,’’ Papio coach Jason Ryan said. “But we missed some opportunities and got a little casual with the ball, and they took advantage of it.’’
The Monarchs also had trouble getting leading scorer Trey Moore untracked. The senior guard averages 16.3 points but had just three at halftime and five after the third quarter.
Moore did come on to score 14 in the final period, but it wasn’t enough to keep South from its chance at a state title. The Packers upset second seed Norfolk in overtime on Thursday before taking out the third-seeded Monarchs.
“I’m really excited to be playing in the championship,’’ Williams said. “It’s something we’ve worked for all season.’’
Dumes finished with 14 for South while Mayo added 12.
Brett Dougherty scored 14 points and Spencer Lewis added 10 for Papio, which will play in a consolation game at noon Saturday at Lincoln East.
Papillion-La Vista (22-4).............................16 5 8 22—51
Omaha South (20-9)................................... 8 14 8 33—63
PLV: Anthony Figueroa 3, Spencer Lewis 10, Bryce Sheard 2, Trey Moore 19, Brett Dougherty 14, Josh Abels 3.
OS: Bobby Lage 2, Tyler Hall 6, Treston Mayo 12, James Dumes 14, Cam Williams 25, Kevin Harkins 4.
Officials: Willie Beamon, Richard Buchmann, Zach Brost
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