LINCOLN — The Wynot Blue Devils were unable to hold on to a big lead early as the Lincoln Parkview Christian Patriots came back and held on to win the Nebraska Class D2 boys state basketball championship game 52-49 on Saturday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
A 3-pointer from Dylan Heine put the Blue Devils ahead 20-11 with 1:17 left in the first quarter.
From there, the Patriots went on an 8-0 run to make it a one-point game with 3:39 left in the second quarter. Kasen Koch snapped the run after making the back end of two free throws.
On Parkview Christian’s ensuing possession, Keyan Simonson made a second-chance layup to tie the game. Not long after, Maurice Reide drove for a layup and put the Patriots ahead by two with 1:26 remaining.
It would be the final points for either team in the period, as the Patriots went into halftime up 23-21.
Wynot went from shooting 8 for 13 from the field in the first quarter to 0 for 16 in the second. That came largely due to Parkview Christian going from a man-to-man defense to a matchup zone defense.
“That pushed our offense out a little further,” Wynot coach Lee Heimes said. “We weren’t getting easy shots that we were getting in the first quarter with them.”
Just 19 seconds into the third quarter, Carson Wieseler got a 3-pointer to go and put Wynot back up by one. Terrance Pittman answered right back with one of his own on Parkview’s ensuing possession.
Heine made the back end of two free throws, then Reide made a layup on a fast break. Heine made a layup on the other end before Viktar Kachalouski hit a mid-range jumper in response. The basket was the first points of an 8-0 run by the Patriots to take a 36-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
Although the third quarter was more fruitful for the Blue Devils offensively than the second, it was still a suboptimal one. The team shot 2 for 12 in the period, including 1 for 8 on 3s. In a position like that, persistence was everything.
“At that point, it’s just one of the things where you try to get the ball moving,” Heimes said. “When you throw up a shot, you hope it’s a good shot. You’ve got to believe in what got you here.”
A 3 by Wieseler and a second-chance layup by Heine made it 36-32 with 5:57 remaining. Simonson drew a foul on the other end and made a free throw. Not long after, Reide got wide open in the corner and knocked down a trey for the Patriots.
Zack Foxhoven responded with his own 3, then Pittman got a three-point play off a turnover to make it 43-35 with 3:17 left.
Foxhoven got a layup to go before Reide hit two free throws on the other end. Reide then made a three-point play on a fast break and the Patriots went up 48-37 with 1:27 to go.
At that point, it became apparent that Wynot would need to send Parkview Christian to the line to hang around.
Even against increasingly steep odds, a mentality that’s lasted all season kept Wynot going.
“We believe in each other. We’ve got a ‘never quit’ attitude,” Heimes said. “There’s a lot of confidence on the team and it’s contagious to each other even when we’re down, we feel like we can come back and we can make a run at anybody.”
Heine got things going with a 3-pointer. After Wynot forced a turnover on the ensuing possession, Heine missed a 3 but got his own rebound and made a layup. He was fouled on the play and hit the free throw to make it 48-43 with 45 seconds left.
Kachalouski was fouled on the inbounds pass and made his first free throw but missed the second. Wynot stormed down the court and Heine hit another trey to make it a three-point game.
Brayden Ulrich was sent to the free-throw line and made one. As the next possession unfolded, Foxhoven was tasked with inbounding the ball on the baseline with 14 seconds left. He found Heine in the corner, but his 3 was blocked and recovered by Parkview Christian.
Pittman was sent to the line and made both free throws, but Wieseler got down the court and hit a 3 with five seconds left to make it a three-point game again.
As the clock continued to run, Reide inbounded the ball to Kachalouski, who was running down the court wide open. Kachalouski dribbled the ball around until time expired, securing Parkview Christian's second straight Class D2 championship.
Reide led the Patriots with 17 points. Heine led Wynot with 20.
Even in the win, the 52 points scored was the second fewest the team has had in a game all season. Kachalouski, who came into the tournament averaging 19.7 points per game, was held to a season-low five points.
Although it didn’t result in a title, Wynot’s effort helped it give Parkview Christian the best game it’s seen all season. Much as it has all year, that came from team basketball.
“All year we’ve played together as a team,” Heimes said. “I love how we share the basketball. I love how we compete defensively. I think we try to play hard and make them take tough shots.”
Parkview Christian turned the ball over three times in the first 21/2 minutes of play. In that same span, the Blue Devils got out to a 7-0 lead.
The Patriots then went on a 11-5 run to make it a one-point game with 2:58 left in the first quarter. Foxhoven hit a 3 to end it, then Heine followed with two more to put the black and blue up 20-11.
This was Wynot’s first championship game appearance since 2013, the same year it also last won a state championship.
Following the game, Heimes imparted on his players the importance of playing as a unit — something he hopes resonates with them in basketball and life.
“When we stay together, great things can happen. When you don’t stay together and you don’t work hard together, that's when you see things fall apart,” he said. “They believe in each other. They’ve got strong faith. They trust each other, and great things happen when you do that.”
CLASS D2 STATE FINAL
Parkview Christian 12 11 13 16 — 52
Wynot 20 1 6 22 — 49
PARKVIEW CHRISTIAN (26-3): Viktar Kachalouski, 2-9 1-2 5; Terrance Pittman, 4-9 4-4 13; Maurice Reide, 6-15 4-6 17; Brayden Ulrich, 2-3 1-2 6; Keyan Simonson, 5-7 1-2 11. Totals, 19-43 11-16 52.
WYNOT (24-5): Zack Foxhoven 5-17 0-0 12; Dylan Heine, 7-16 2-3 20; Carson Wieseler, 4-13 0-0 11; Joseph Sudbeck, 0-1 0-0 0; Kasen Koch, 0-1 1-4 1; Chase Schroeder, 2-8 1-3 5; Colin Wieseler 0-5 0-0 0. Totals, 18-61 4-10 49.