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Omaha Central Girls, Omaha Bryan Boys Win OPS Jamboree Titles

by Dec 4, 2023Preps Boys Basketball, Preps Girls Basketball

Photo Credit: Mike Sautter

Omaha Bryan played host to the finals of the season-opening OPS Jamboree on Monday as Omaha Central won the girls championship while the host Bears took care of business for the boys.

GIRLS: Omaha Central 58, Omaha Westview 52

Story of the Game

The No. 5 Eagles opened the first and second quarters with runs of 9-0 and 8-0 and built up an 18-point lead at halftime, but the Wolverines eventually settled in and fought all the way back to take the lead on a three-point play from freshman Kalyn Bailey with two minutes to go.

Central tied it up at 51-51 and 52-52, then senior Inia Jones found senior Kiara Baptiste wide open in the corner for a go-ahead 3 with 40 seconds to go. The Eagles got a stop then Jones sealed the victory with a three-point play with 5 seconds remaining as Central improved to 3-0 to start the season.

Coach Speak

“It was a game of two halves, but I’m very proud that we didn’t quit or lose our composure, which in the past we would have,” Central coach Mike Kroupa said. “It shows a real maturity and I’m hoping this adversity teaches us even more so we can be even better the rest of the season. Westview is a really good team. I have been very impressed with them this year. They’re well coached and this is a very good, quality win for Central. I’m very proud of the seniors as this is the fourth year in a row they have won the OPS Jamboree.“

Standout Performers

Omaha Central junior Inia Jones brings the ball up for the Eagles. Photo by Mike Sautter.

Jones, a Bradley signee, finished with a game-high 22 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists. She accounted for all 10 of Central’s fourth quarter points, scoring seven and assisting Baptiste’s 3-pointer.

Baptiste added 11 points, shooting 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line.

Junior Marion Henderson, a Central transfer, sparked the comeback and led Westview with 14 points, shooting 3-of-6 from deep and corralling seven rebounds.

BOYS: Omaha Bryan 66, Omaha Westview 49

Story of the Game

The No. 7 Bears raced out to a 13-0 start and never really looked back, spending most of the night with a double-digit lead.

Bryan shot 8-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half while the Wolverines only managed to score seven total buckets, resulting in a 20-point gap at the break. Westview briefly made a push in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late to change the outcome.

The Bears used their on-ball activity and length at the rim to hold Westview under 35% shooting, recording 13 blocks as a team. All five starters had at least one block and seven different Bears joined the block party in all.

“It helps a lot when you’ve got freaking Rylan [Rodriguez] out there with arms that hang to his shoestrings, you’ve got A’mare [Bynum] out also, Amir [Martin] is freaking long as well, Tommy Alsup is long too,” Bryan coach Galen Gullie said. “We got ball pressure and we just made them throw it into the sharks right there, made them play over the top of us.”

Coach Speak

“I think we’d never done it before,” said Gullie, a Bryan alumnus. “When I was in high school we came close, but we weren’t good enough. It’s a good start to the season. It’s a good start. I told them to cherish the moment because wins are hard, but at the same time we still have some more work to do. It’s still the third game of the season. We’ve got another good South Omaha rival school on Friday and I feel like with our expectations that we’ve set for ourselves, we’re going to get everybody’s best punch and we can’t take any night off.”

Standout Performers

Bryan junior A’mare Bynum swats a Westview shot at the rim, one of 13 blocks for the Bears as a team. Photo by Mike Sautter.

Junior A’mare Bynum recorded his third straight double-double to open the season, finishing with 23 points, 13 rebounds (six offensive) and three blocks. He shot 50% from the field including 3-of-5 from deep at 6-foot-9. When Westview started to make a push in the fourth quarter, the Bears went to their star and he responded with a three-point play in the post then a 3 the other way on the following possession.

“He made a fantastic leap, just his confidence, just him understanding the game, just understanding the attention that he brings with him on the floor,” Gullie said. “Then everybody else supports him at a high level. I feel like this team this year is one of the most selfless that we’ve had in a long time.”

Junior Brandon Jarmon, an Omaha Benson transfer, scored 13 points of the bench while shooting 4-of-9 from deep. Senior Rylan Rodriguez added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (1-of-2 from 3) and 2-of-3 from the foul line with four blocks.

Junior Tayvin Zephier-Murphy scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds while sophomore Tzyon Patterson added 11 points off the bench for the Wolverines, shooting 4-of-8 from the field (1-of-2 from 3) and 2-of-4 from the line.

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