Westside players warm up before their 84-54 first-round win over Lincoln East on Wendesday.
Westside players warm up before their 84-54 first-round win over Lincoln East on Wendesday.


Omaha Westside beats Lincoln East 84-54 in the first round.

#5 Omaha Westside played like a #1 seed Wednesday afternoon, trouncing #4 Lincoln East by 30 points. Coming into this tournament, both teams were looking to recapture playoff glory. Lincoln East and Westside have state championships to their name, but neither has even made the championship game since Westside’s 2004 run. Lincoln East won the only regular-season matchup between these two, the Spartans coming away with a no-doubt 16-point win last month and putting the pressure on Warriors coach Jim Simons to avoid another big loss. 

Lincoln East won the tip but faced tight defense from the Warriors, especially senior Malik Crawford, who forced two steals in the first quarter. Westside struggled to get anything to fall, looking hesitant outside the paint and only getting on the board nearly three minutes into the game. Once the offense started to click, Westside feasted in the paint and got to the free throw line often, with four first-quarter Spartan fouls helping them take a 19-12 lead to end the quarter.

It was more of the same to start the second, with a quick 6-0 run by the Warriors, leaving Jeff Campbell’s team looking for answers. Westside spaced the floor well in the second quarter, making 3-pointer after 3-pointer and stretching the Lincoln East defense to the limit. The Spartan’s bench was unproductive, and the Warrior’s lead grew as high as 13 with 2:52 remaining in the first half. However, Lincoln East stopped the bleeding and headed to the locker room down 39-27. 

Westside looked to close out the upset in the second half but came out undisciplined, committing three fouls in just the first 30 seconds. Critically, Crawford got into foul trouble and spent the entire third quarter on the bench. The Warriors were unaffected by losing their defensive dynamo, as Westside’s offense was seemingly able to do whatever it wanted against an exhausted Spartans defense. Their balanced attack completely overwhelmed Lincoln East, who struggled to score apart from free throws and faced a 20-point deficit with one quarter to go.

Lincoln East needed a miracle in the fourth quarter to have any chance at advancing to the semifinals. That miracle didn’t come, as Westside calmly protected their lead in front of a subdued Lincoln crowd. The Spartans mailed it in late, showing no urgency as the lead grew to 28 with 2:28 left. By the time Simons called a timeout to put in his backups with 1:47 left, the Lincoln East crowd had started to head for the exits. Westside ran out the clock on an 84-54 win that never felt in doubt after the first quarter. 

Westside’s Kevin Stubblefield led all scorers with an efficient 20 points, with Tate Odvody contributing another 10 and dominating the boards for the Warriors. Carter Mick and Carter Tempelmeyer led Lincoln East with 19 and 12 points, respectively. 

After making a statement in their first-round matchup, Westside will face the #1 seed Bellevue West (25-0) in a tough semifinal game Friday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena as they chase a fourth state championship. Lincoln East returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence but couldn’t make a run. With six graduating seniors, it will be a very long offseason for the Spartans.