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03/13/2014 - BOYS STATE BASKETBALL: Athletic Bunnies Topple Rockets

By Jeff Motz

An 8-0 start in the first two minutes for Omaha Benson proved to be the ignition source the Bunnies needed against Lincoln Northeast.

Before anyone could blink the lead was at 18-7 and Benson cruised to a 73-58 victory over the Rockets in the Class A quarterfinals of the NSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament Thursday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Benson (24-3) advances to the semifinals Friday at 7pm against Omaha Westside.  Northeast concludes their season at 12-14.

Six of the Bunnies' 18 first quarter points came at the hands of all-state guard Khyri Thomas, who had a team-high 20 points.  Benson extended their lead to 33-21 at halftime and 50-35 after three quarters.

Benson guard Danny Barfield was called for a flagrant foul during the final period, after a tie up with Northeast's Connor Springman.  Barfield was ejected and because of NSAA rules, he will not be allowed to play in Friday's semifinal.

Northeast got as close as eight points in the second quarter before a 10-0 Benson run.  The Rockets got as close as 62-51 with 3:40 remaining in the game, before Thomas converted on a 3-point play and keep the game out of reach for Northeast.

Payton Helmstadter finished with a game-high 24 points for Northeast, while Springman added 21 for the Rockets, including three 3-pointers in the final quarter.

Benson got double-digit performances from Tyree Peter, who finished with 17 points and Thik Bol with 14.  Bol also had 10 rebounds and six blocks.
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