Three years ago, the players who made up HoopsOmaha.com’s Whoopers & Hoopers team won its second straight tournament title. But for the last two years, they’ve had to watch the UNK Alumni team claim the championship.
On Sunday, HoopsOmaha.com recaptured the men’s Whoopers & Hoopers Elite division championship, defeating UNK Alumni 57-49. HoopsOmaha.com’s Omar Bynum said it’s good to be back on top.
“It feels really good. Before they were back-to-back champs, we were back-to-back champs,” he said. “I guess it’s all equal. I can’t wait until next year. I’m looking forward to it.”
HoopsOmaha.com led by as many as 14 in the second half, but UNK Alumni was not going to go down quietly. Trailing 45-33 with 4:04 remaining, UNK’s Brian Dunagan drained his second 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to single digits. HoopsOmaha.com countered with a free throw from James Parrott and a bucket from Klaye Rowe, but Dunagan again answered.
With 3:19 left on the clock, Dunagan sunk another 3-pointer and drew a foul on the shot. He hit the free throw to make the score 48-40.
Drake Beranek, a former Hastings College men’s basketball assistant coach, connected on a jumper to pull UNK within six points, 48-42. But that was as close as the former two-time champions would get.
HoopsOmaha.com closed the game out making seven of its final eight free-throw attempts from Bynum, Rowe and Nick Reed.
Parrott, a former Midland University and Bellevue University basketball player, led HoopsOmaha.com with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Reed, who just finished his senior season at Doane, tallied 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He was also 5-of-5 from the line.
Bynum was a force inside for HoopsOmaha.com, grabbing rebounds and scoring nine points — seven of which came from the charity stripe.
Kyle Prohaska also poured in nine points for HoopsOmaha.com. He said the team’s post players were a key factor in the win.
“Me, Klaye and Omar love to rebound,” Prohaska said. “We just attacked the basket every chance we got, and it worked out for us.”
Dunagan led all scorers with 15 points and shot 4-for-7 from 3-point range. Nick Branting added 13 points, while Beranek scored 10 points.
HoopsOmaha.com went into halftime with a 30-19 lead after ending the first half on a 7-0 scoring run. Parrott led the way with eight points in the opening 20 minutes.
It’s been a busy few days for Parrott, who has been playing basketball professionally for the Saudi Arabian team Uhud Medina.
“I just got back from Saudi Arabia. I was over there for three weeks, and I got back Friday night at midnight and drove straight here,” Parrott said. “Now, I can get some rest.”
The two teams met in the semifinals, when HoopsOmaha.com won 70-66. Prohaska said both squads are very familiar with one another.
“We know those guys. I played against Dusty (Jura) in high school and Nick Branting in all kinds of tournaments,” he said. “We know each other pretty well, and it’s just a fun time getting together and having some good games.”
Parrott said he’d like to compete in next year’s event, but it will depend on how his career overseas unfolds. Bynum said the rest of the team will be back in hopes of defending their title.
“I think we’re going to put together the same team and try to get another back-to-back,” Bynum said.
Brent Heller 1-1 0-1 2, Jared Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Klaye Rowe 3-9 1-2 7, Scott Abels 0-2 0-0 0, Omar Bynum 1-5 7-9 9, Nick Reed 4-5 5-5 13, Derek Paber 1-3 0-0 3, Kyle Prohaska 3-3 3-4 9, James Parrott 5-8 3-7 14. Totals: 18-37 19-28 57.
UNK Alumni (49)
Joey Cochran 1-3 0-0 2, Chad Sheffield 0-6 0-0 0, Brian Dunagan 4-7 3-3 15, Jake Mohs 0-1 0-0 0, Drake Beranek 4-9 0-0 10, Nick Svehla 0-0 1-4 1, Mike Gitt 0-0 0-0 0, Dusty Jura 1-6 4-6 6, Chad Burger 1-3 0-0 2, Nick Branting 5-12 2-2 13. Totals: 16-47 10-15 49.
Halftime score — H 30, U 19. Three-point shooting — H 2-9 (Anderson 0-2, Rowe 0-2, Paber 1-2, Parrott 1-3), U 7-24 (Chochran 0-1, Sheffield 0-4, Dunagan 4-7, Mohs 0-1, Beranek 2-5, Jura 0-1, Burger 0-1, Branting 1-4).
Other championship games
Men’s B — Captown Ballers 55, Mike Trader’s BB Camps 44
Men’s C — Pirates 59, Unadillia Hardware 46
Men’s D1 — Betty’s Beauty Salon Mafia 62, Paradise Limo 49
Men’s D2 — Runcie’s Catering 57, Merkel Tile 55