The 2018 Metro Holiday Basketball Tournament kicked off this afternoon with two play-in games. After defeating 17th-seed Omaha Bryan 56-31, the 16th-seed Omaha South girls will play top-seed Millard South tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. On the boys side, 16th-seed Omaha Benson earned a game against Omaha Creighton Prep — on Saturday at 8:30 a.m — after beating 17th-seed Omaha Northwest 66-56. Catch the remaining matchups at the Ralston Arena. Click here for the full boys and girls brackets.
Here's some players to keep an eye on this week:
Akol Arop (Forward, Omaha Creighton Prep, Nebraska commit)
Arop is unarguably the glue to this defending state champ Junior Jay squad. Standing at 6-5, the senior Nebraska commit is averaging 22.5 points and 11 rebounds per game. In Prep’s last matchup with Omaha Benson — their first round opponent — Arop carried the Junior Jays to victory by cashing in 35 points and 12 rebounds. And we’ll likely see a similar performance the second time around.
Lök Wur (Forward, Papillion-La Vista South)
At 6-foot-8, Wur — a dominant force in the paint for the Titans — can size up just about anyone in Omaha. The senior is averaging a noteworthy 20.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks this season. He has an offer from Peru State, and more are likely on their way.
John Tonje (Guard, Omaha Central)
After losing some key players, Tonje — a 6-5 senior — stepped up to the plate this season for the Eagles. This year, he’s averaging an astonishing 25.3 points per game — up from last year’s 13.6.
Javen Udofia (Guard, Omaha Bryan)
Although being out in Bryan’s slim 56-50 win over Papillion-La Vista, Udofia should be available for the Metro Tournament — and will make a huge impact: the 6-foot-2 senior adds an average of 21.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Those numbers mean he leads the Bears in points, assists, steals, and blocks.
Chucky Hepburn (Guard, Bellevue West)
Only a sophomore, the 6-foot guard already adds 19.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 3.3 steals per game. Not to mention that he already has an offer from Nebraska. Enough said.
Chase Thompson (Forward, Omaha Westside)
Thompson leads the third-seeded Warriors in both points and rebounds — averaging 19.9 points and 8.3 rebounds, respectively. At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, the senior uses his unavoidable size and strength to assert dominance under the basket.
Brandon Nissen (Forward, Omaha North)
Averaging 11.5 points and 8.2 rebounds, the 6-5 senior is second in scoring and first in rebounding for the Vikings. He's been a huge reason why North has already equaled last year's win total of four.
Thomas Faber (Guard, Omaha Creighton Prep)
Faber is second in scoring for the Junior Jays, averaging 15.2 per game. And, oh boy, he can shoot! He's made 16 of 34 from behind the arc this season. The 6-foot-3 senior holds an array of Division II offers, including Rockhurst, Wayne State, Truman State, Fort Hayes State, Sioux Falls, Emporia State, and UNK.
Jay Saunders (Guard, Omaha South)
The 5-11 junior has helped skyrocket the Packers to a 7-1 start — and they're even ranked fifth in our power rankings. He leads South with 15.8 points and 2.5 assists per game.
Hunter Sallis (Guard, Millard North)
The 6-foot-4 sophomore generates a team-high 15.7 points per game, and he also averages 3.9 rebounds per game. Not only does Sallis have the numbers, but he also has the scholarships: his offers include Creighton, Nebraska, Iowa State, Drake, and Mississippi.
Jayme Horan (Forward, Millard South)
Horan holds a plethora of big-name Division I offers from schools like Creighton, UNO, Colorado State, and Wyoming — just to name a few. At 6-foot, the junior leads the top-seeded Patriots in scoring with 22 points per game. She's also averaging 8 rebounds per game going into the Metro Tournament.
Maddie Krull (Guard, Millard South, South Dakota commit)
Krull, a South Dakota commit, is hard to stop while teamed up with Horan. A junior standing at 5-11, Krull’s quickness and versatility has led her to average in the double digits this season. Expect big numbers out of Krull and the rest of the Patriots throughout the tourney.
Olivia Boudreau (Guard, Papillion-La Vista)
The 5-foot-9 junior is averaging 17.5 points per game, up over five points from last year’s 12.4. Boudreau also averages 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists, respectively.
Josey Ryan (Guard, Papillion-La Vista, Wayne State commit)
Alongside Boudreau, Ryan makes the Monarchs a force to be reckoned with. The 5-7, multi-sport standout is averaging 17.2 points, 4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 4.5 steals in her senior season for the fifth-seeded Monarchs.
Nicole Avila-Ambrosi (Guard, Millard North)
Avila-Ambrosi is averaging 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.9 steals, and a block per game in her junior season. It’ll be interesting to see how the 5-foot-8 guard bounces back from scoring only 6 points in North’s 45-43 loss to Millard West last Friday — her only single-digit scoring performance of the season. In that game, she had a season-low field goal percentage of 33%; Avila-Ambrosi's average field goal percentage is a much higher 53% going into Ralston Arena.
Chaise Pfanstiel (Guard, Millard West)
Not only is Pfanstiel averaging 12.6 points this season, but the 5-7 senior is peaking at just the right time: she scored a season-high 19 points in the Wildcats' 45-43 win over crosstown foe and then-undefeated Millard North.
Aryannah Harrison (Guard, Omaha Marian)
A 5-foot-7 sophomore averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 rebounds, Harrison looks to reignite the once-top 10 Crusaders after losing four of their last give games.
Jasmine McGinnis-Taylor (Forward, Omaha Westside)
Back from injury, the 6-3 junior has used her superior size, strength, and height to her advantage in the paint to put the defending state champ Warriors at a 5-2 record thus far.
Quenisha Lockett (Guard, Omaha Benson, Toledo commit)
The 5-9 senior is pacing 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, and is leading her Bunnies into the Metro Tournament with a 6-1 record. Tomorrow's matchup against 11th-seeded Omaha Burke should prove if Benson is the real deal, and Lockett is sure to influence the outcome of the game.
Aanaya Harris (Forward, Omaha Burke)
Harris, the 5-foot-nine sophomore, is generating 13.6 points, 3.9 assists, and 3 steals per game for the tenth-ranked and sixth-seeded Bulldogs.
Check out @OmahaHSHoops on Twitter for live updates throughout the entire Metro Tournament. ⛄🏀