Brendan on Basketball – Week 3


Brendan Preisman, CP Sports Network

Something appears to have changed around the Creighton Prep basketball team.  Maybe it was just a change involving a flip of the calendar to 2022.  Maybe it was the schedule being slightly easier than the Metro quarterfinal game and the team capitalizing on that.  Maybe it was PJ Newbill finally tapping into his deep potential and suddenly becoming a top 5 guy on the team.  Or maybe, just maybe, it was the best player on the team becoming the best scorer on the team-and raising their ceiling considerably.  

Against Omaha South, the Junior Jays were expected to win fairly comfortably.  However, fan confidence wasn’t as high as it should have been, with the team’s last game a rough, ugly loss to Omaha Central.  Against Omaha South, there was a tight opening quarter, with 2 big three pointers from Joey Rieschl providing most of the difference.  With the score just 16-9 at the end of one frame, it was still anybody’s game.

Then two different things happened.  The first, which ended up providing the main margin of victory for the Junior Jays, was that Omaha South couldn’t make a shot.  They scored just 5 points in the quarter, and several shots were wild, ill-advised heaves.  The second, which was also wildly important-both for this game and the future-was that Luke Jungers started taking over.  Jungers scored 7 in the quarter (yes, more than the Packers team) en route to a 22 point performance in a 52-38 win.

After Jungers, however, it was mostly slim pickings in the scoring department for the Junior Jays.  Rieschl scored 12 points, but mostly in the first half.  Martel Evans, the team’s leading scorer prior to this week, cracked double digits, but barely.  Aside from Jungers, Rieschl, and Evans, the team as a whole scored 5 points.  

The next game, at Millard South, had a very similar story.  The Junior Jays started off slowly and were actually down 4 at the end of one quarter.  Then, as has happened often for Prep teams in the past, they clicked and went on a second quarter run.  They were up 2 at half, and then another Prep run made it a 10 point game, and the Junior Jays coasted to a 67-55 victory.

Jungers capped off his incredible New Year’s week with a new career high of 26 points.  Also joining the new career high club was Newbill, who scored 18 vital points.  Evans added 10 again, and the Junior Jays, thanks to a 2-0 weekend, were able to move up to #5 in the Omaha World Herald rankings.  

The Junior Jays are still a couple of weeks away from the real meat of their schedule.  The Westside game isn’t until the 21st, the Bell West game isn’t until the 29th, and Millard North isn’t until February 15th.  While this stretch of the schedule won’t be as difficult, if the Junior Jays have figured out this new Jungers-centric offense, then it won’t matter who they’re playing-they’ll be almost impossible to beat.

This Week: Prep faces Bellevue East at home on Friday, January 14 and Fremont at home on Saturday, January 15.