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OMAHA — After moving from Des Moines, Iowa, to Omaha before his junior year, Thomas Faber had to sit 90 school days to become eligible to play in mid-January, then broke his wrist and wasn’t on the postseason roster last season when Creighton Prep won the Class A boys state basketball title.

On Saturday, the 6-foot-3 senior introduced himself to Lincoln Southwest in the finals of their season-opening four-team pod tournament. Faber netted 19 points to lead the No. 2 Junior Jays to a 57-45 home triumph over Southwest and a 2-0 start to the season.

Faber netted 10 of his points in the first quarter when Creighton Prep opened up an 18-7 advantage, a gap that never got closer than six points the rest of the way. Faber had a personal 7-0 run in the final 1:12 of the period after back-to-back three-pointers and 1 of 2 free throws after being fouled as time expired in the quarter.

“Faber was better in person than I thought he would be,” said Southwest coach Alex Bahe, whose 1-1 Silver Hawks knocked off No. 3 Millard North on Thursday night to advance to the finals. “He hits shots and handles the ball very well. You know what you’re going to get from (Akol) Arop, but Faber was also very good.”

Arop, the explosive 6-6 senior Super-Stater and Nebraska recruit, finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots as Southwest’s interior defense, led by 6-9 senior Mayuom Buom, made things difficult.

“I told coach (Josh Luedtke) that they (Southwest) weren’t guarding me at the top of the key. He said shoot it, so I pulled it,” said Faber, who was 6-of-9 from the field overall and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. “I hit a couple from the top and that put me in rhythm the rest of the game.”

Arop threw down a monster dunk with two seconds left to produce the final score after Prep struggled to score earlier in the fourth period. The Junior Jays led 49-28 one minute into the final quarter, but then went more than six minutes without scoring, missing nine straight shots and committing seven turnovers.

Prep graduated a pair of inside-outside threats in 6-5 all-stater Kyle Luedtke (the son of the Prep coach) and 6-7 Jayden Temme from last year. They also had to find new point guards as Spencer Moes graduated and standout Jaylin Hunter is in Connecticut for his senior year after his father, former NU assistant coach Kenya Hunter, took a similar position for the Huskies.

Robert Peters, a 5-8 senior, had eight points from his point guard spot, while 6-5 junior Spencer Schomers and 6-5 senior CJ Wolfe combined for 15 points, 12 rebounds and a trio of three-pointers, giving the Jays both length and shooting ability on the perimeter.

“I really love this team,” Josh Luedtke said. “These guys learned a lot from the seniors we had last year and they fit the mold of Creighton Prep basketball. We can play more than one way. We can get out and run and shoot threes or pound it inside in the half-court game if we need to.”

Senior Cam Frederick paced Southwest with 16 points, converting a trio of three-point plays while also knocking down a three-point basket.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or rpowell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @ronpowell_ljs.

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Sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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