Joe's Morning Sports-Monday, February 22, 2021

The New Orleans Pelicans rallied from a 24 point third quarter deficit to beat the Boston Celtics in overtime 120-115.  From the 6:29 mark of the third quarter through the end of overtime, the Pelicans held the Celtics to just 36 points on 32% shooting.  Brandon Ingram led four players in double figures for New Orleans with 33 points and six rebounds.  Teammate Zion Williamson added 28 points, ten rebounds, and four assists.  Jason Tatum led five players in double figures for Boston with 32 points and nine rebounds as they drop to 15-15.  New Orleans improves to 13-17.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are finalizing a multiyear deal today to make Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch the franchise's new coach, sources told ESPN.  Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas fired Ryan Saunders yesterday, clearing the way for Minnesota to eschew an interim coach and move quickly toward hiring a full-time replacement.  Rosas informed Saunders of the decision after a 103-99 loss at the New York Knicks that left the Timberwolves at 7-24, the worst record in the NBA.  Finch is expected to begin the job on Tuesday in Milwaukee with Saunders' coaching staff in place.

The fourth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team bounced back from its first loss of the season to hand fifth ranked Minnesota its first loss of the season in a 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 sweep yesterday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.  The Huskers rebounded from Friday's 3-1 loss by hitting .300 yesterday and holding the Golden Gophers to a .153 hitting percentage.  NU posted its first win over an AVCA top-five ranked team since the 2018 NCAA Semifinal win over third ranked Illinois.  After being blocked 20 times by Minnesota on Friday, the Huskers were blocked just five times yesterday.  Nebraska had 43 kills with a season-low ten attacking errors.  Lexi Sun led the way with twelve kills and a team-high 13 digs, and she hit .321 for the match.  Madi Kubik had ten kills and twelve digs.  Nicklin Hames had 33 assists and eight digs.  The Huskers improves to 7-1 while Minnesota is now 9-1.

The Omaha World Herald & Lincoln Journal Star has updated their high school boys basketball rankings.  In the Omaha World Herald, Bellevue West stays at number one in the ‘Nebraska Top 10’ & Class ‘A’ while Omaha Skutt remains first in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C-1’, Auburn stays at number one, Pierce enters the rankings at number ten, and Wayne falls out of the rankings.  In Class ‘C-2’, Grand Island Central Catholic remains at number one, BRLD stays at number three, Hartington Cedar Catholic is once again ninth, and Wakefield remains tenth.  In Class ‘D-1’, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family is once again first, Burwell remains second, Howells/Dodge stays at number five, and Osmond remains eighth.  In Class ‘D-2’, O’Neill St. Mary’s stays at number one, Humphrey St. Francis is once again fifth, and Wynot moves up from eighth to seventh.  In the Lincoln Journal Star, Bellevue West stays at number one in Class ‘A’ while Omaha Skutt is once again first in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C-1’, Auburn is once again first, Piece enters the rankings at number nine, Wayne slips from ninth to tenth, and Logan View/Scribner-Snyder falls out of the rankings.  In Class ‘C-2’, Grand Island Central Catholic remains at number one, BRLD stays at number three, Oakland/Craig is once again seventh, and Hartington Cedar Catholic remains tenth.  In Class ‘D-1’, Burwell stays at number one, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family remains second, Osmond is once again fifth, Howells/Dodge jumps from eighth to seventh, and Walthill moves up from tenth to ninth.  In Class ‘D-2’, Lincoln Parkview Christian stays at number one, O’Neill St. Mary’s remains second, Wynot is once again fifth, and Humphrey St. Francis stays at number six.

The Norfolk High wrestling team finished fourth with 107.5 points at the Class 'A' State Championships at CHI Health Center Omaha last Friday.  Millard South claimed the title with 220.5 points.  They won by 84.5 points.  The Panthers’ Jesse Lewis (106) was crowned the state champion after winning a 2-1 decision over Lincoln East’s Gabe Turman.  Josh Licking (160) & Austin Miller finished as runner-ups.  Jake Licking (145) placed fourth after a 3-2 mark.  Gavin Van Driel (113); Weston Godfrey (132); & Brayden Heffner (285) finished 2-2.  Calvin Empkey (120) & Jake Hoffman (138) went 1-2 and Dylan Busch (126) & Joel Mercado (220) were 0-2.  This year, Norfolk had two first place finishes, a second, a third place, and a fourth place finish along with a dual record of 17-4.

The Norfolk Catholic wrestling team has a state runner-up in 285 pound Isaac Wilcox.  Wilcox dropped the championship match to Carson Fehlhafer of Centennial via pin in 4:18 at the Class ‘C’ State Championships at CHI Health Center Omaha last Saturday.  The Knights had lost three of their four wrestlers on Friday.  Dominic Liess (106), Allan Olander (145), & Francisco Mendez (160) went 1-2.  Norfolk Catholic concludes this season with a second place, two third place finishes, two-fourths, two fifth place finishes, two seventh place finishes and a dual record of 7-11.

Checking out the local schedule for today, the Creighton women’s basketball team is at Marquette at 6:00, the Nebraska-Omaha baseball squad visits Oklahoma at 12:00, the Nebraska-Omaha volleyball team hosts North Dakota at 1:00, the Nebraska-Omaha men’s soccer team is at Missouri-Kansas City at 1:00, and the Nebraska-Omaha women’s soccer squad entertains North Dakota at 9:45 AM.

Local Scores: Nebraska 87 Penn St. 72 (WBB); Nebraska 25 Illinois 9 (WR Dual); Nebraska-Omaha 25-26-25 North Dakota 15-24-22 (VB); Nebraska-Omaha 6 Oklahoma 3 (Bsbl); Nebraska-Omaha 0 Minnesota 0 (Tie) (W. Socc.); WSC 82 Augustana 70 (MBB).

Tuesday Evening:  Pierce faces O’Neill at 6:00 and Norfolk Catholic tangles with Battle Creek at 7:45 in the Boys Basketball C-1-8 Sub-District semifinals from Pierce.  Pregame coverage at 5:40 on 106 KIX & 106KIX.com.  Also, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family takes on Cedar Bluffs at 6:00 and Howells/Dodge plays Stanton at 7:45 in the Boys Basketball D-1-3 Sub-District semifinals from Humphrey High.  Pregame coverage at 5:45 on 97.5 KEXL & KEXL.com.

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