Sophomore Justin Bubak scored 28 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead No. 6 Lincoln Christian to a 69-58 win over second-ranked Grand Island Central Catholic in a first-round game of the Class C-1 state boys basketball tournament Thursday morning at the Devaney Sports Center.
Bubak, with help from teammate Caleb Canfield, who added 18 points, took over the game in the second half as the Crusaders used an 18-0 run to erase a Central Catholic lead midway through the third quarter.
“Justin Bubak is a heck of a player and we didn’t have an answer for him,” Central Catholic coach Tino Martinez said. “He took the game over in the second half. Sometimes, players are like that and you do everything you can, but we couldn’t get him stopped. You tip your hat to him when he has a game like that.”
Christian’s momentum-shifting run started with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third quarter and closed with 4:19 left in the game. Bubak, the Crusaders’ scoring leader this season, had nine straight points, followed by four from Treyson Bigler at the end of the spree.
Central Catholic counted on the scoring of senior Mayra Almayra to rally from an early deficit and build its lead. Almayra scored 11 of his game-high 31 points in the third period, but Christian’s switch to a 1-3-1 zone helped shut down his scoring during the dominating run.
“Making some defensive switches helped us,” Christian coach Gary Nunnally said. “When No. 22 (Almayra) scores the first seven points of the second half we probably ought to do something. He’s a great player and GICC is a great team. We’re very thankful to get this win.”
There was no drama involved with top-ranked Wahoo’s 87-44 win over Ogallala. The Warriors (25-2) scored 33 points in the first period, led by 33 at halftime and three minutes into the second half rested starters for the rest of the game.
“We came out and executed and played pretty good ‘D’,” Wahoo coach Kevin Scheef said. “We looked a little quicker in the first couple minutes of the game and I felt like that would be an advantage for us.”
Brendan Lacey provided the offensive spark in the opening quarter, making his first six 3-pointers before rattling the rim with his seventh attempt. Lacey sat for much of the second quarter and played only the first few minutes of the third. He finished with 21 points and was 7-for-8 from beyond the arc.
“He’s a terrific shooter, a terrific offensive player,” Scheef said of Lacey. “When he gets in that zone, he’s pretty good, and he was in it today.”
Lacey was one of three Warriors in double figures. Cameron Quick added 15 points and Will Shanahan had 11. Cameron Raffaeli led Ogallala with 17 points while Adam Kroeger had 16.