LINCOLN – It’s been 13 years since Bellevue West and Creighton Prep met in the State Championship, and the Jays were looking to avenge that 2005 loss on Saturday.
Creighton got on a hot streak in the opening minutes, thanks to Jayden Temme, who knocked home a couple of 3-pointers. The Thunderbirds played some stingy defense, including a steal at half court that turned into a slam-dunk for Tevin Tanner roughly midway through the quarter.
The lead was at 6 points going into the 2nd Quarter, with the Jays up 17-11, and shooting over 33 percent from the perimeter.
In the 2nd Quarter the Thunderbirds brought the score to as close as 1 point, 19-20, but Bellevue West went the entire 1st half without making a 3-pointer. Creighton Prep extended their lead back to 4 just in time for the halftime break, including a two-handed slam from Akol Arop.
In the second half, TBird Senior Cedric Johnson helped get the offense back on track, knocking down a 3 early in the 3rd Quarter. Down 32-36, Chucky Hepburn knocked down a short jumper and Johnson quickly stole the inbounds pass to giver Bellevue West the 36-34 lead with 2:38 to go before the 4th.
The Jays tied the game up 36-36 to end the Quarter, after getting outscored by the Thunderbirds 13-9.
The 4th Quarter continued to be a tight battle between the two teams, but Prep hit stride and went on a 15-0 run, in order to take a 13 point lead with 1:50 to play in the game.
Bellevue West made an effort to comeback, including a 4-point play from Chucky Hepburn, but the effort would fall short, as Prep snags the 56-46 win.
Bellevue West Head Coach Doug Woodward said down the stretch Creighton Prep found a rhythm they couldn’t quite match.
Johnson led Bellevue West offensive attack putting up 16 points with 8 rebounds.
Creighton Prep Head Coach Josh Luedtke said this year’s State Championship meant a lot, after getting knocked out by Norfolk in round 1 just a year ago.
Kyle Luedtke hit a big 3-point shot late for the Jays to help spark the 15-0 run, while Jaylin Hunter provided a continuous threat driving in the paint.
Luedtke led all scorers with 24 points, while Hunter added 11 with 3 assists and 2 steals.
This marks the 13th State Championship for Creighton Prep since 1924, and Bellevue West finishes as State Runner-up for the 5th time since 1991.
CP 17 10 9 20 56
BW 11 12 13 10 46
CP: Arop 6, Luedtke 24, Temme 11, Hunter 11, Matthies 4
BW: Tanner 10, Felici 8, Hepburn 8, Johnson 16, Shanklin 4
Last time they met in the State Championship
2005-Bellevue West (27-1) 67, Creighton Preparatory (17-7) 49
Champion-A/1924, A/1935, A/1936, A/1940, A/1945, A/1964, A/1969, A/1976, A/1981, A/1994, A/2009, A/2015, A/2018
Runner-up-AA/1955, A/1961, A/1963, A/1975, A/2005
Champion-A/2000, A/2004, A/2005, A/2014
Runner-up-A/1991, A/1999, A/2006, A/2007