“The thing is, the bickering is like brotherhood bickering because the four Omaha kids have known each other since like fifth grade,” Levinson added. “Nebraska doesn’t have a ton of Division I talent in it basketball-wise. These guys have all known each other. They have played pick-up games together all the time. I pretty much just let them have their own personality, let them hash it out, and it takes care of itself.”
Finding a remedy for the intra-squad arguments became even more crucial in the second half as John Wood hit four consecutive threes by Josh Baldridge (13 points) and Paxton Harmon. The shooting spree put confidence back into the Trail Blazers and gave them a 56-51 lead. But over 11 minutes remained on the clock, and Central Community College was able to keep pace.
“That’s been the tale of our season,” John Wood coach Brad Hoyt said. “They have been able to make shots like that at critical times. They did that at the region tournament and they’ve done it in the last month and a half. But for us, it’s always come down to getting stops and rebounding. They did a good job spreading us or iso-ing us a little bit. We were sort of on our heels all night long. We battled and our kids battled. That’s what they do. We shoot it pretty well. That’s what we do. We’ve always known that our ability to guard and rebound it could potentially be our Achilles heel, and I think that hurt us tonight.”
The Raiders outrebounded John Wood 41-23 behind Criswell’s 13 and 15 from Riak Bol (10 points).
Hollins-Johnson (15 points), Tra-Deon Hollins (16 points), and David Plain (10 points, five assists) all reached double figures for the Raiders.
T.J. Tisdale scored a team high 31 for John Wood in addition to his seven rebounds while Jordan Johnson (five assists, three steals) scored 16.