Tyler Dougherty gave Papillion-La Vista a boost when he returned after missing seven games due to a back injury.
But it was a balanced attack that pushed the Monarchs to a 46-40 road win over Bryan.
“We had guys who were forced to step in for Tyler while he was out,” Papio coach Dan Moore said. “We had to adjust to not having him, but it'll definitely help to have him back.”
After the Bears took a 1-0 lead to start the game, the Monarchs would lead the rest of the contest. Bryan battled back to tie it at 9-all with a 6-0 run, but Papio still managed a 13-11 lead after one. The Monarchs added three more to its lead in the second and took a 28-23 lead into halftime.
The Bears only scored six points in the third quarter when the Monarch defense stiffened. Dougherty had five in the third to help extend the lead to 10 after three quarters of play.
The Bears scrapped back to get within four at 44-40 with about 30 seconds left, but two Monarch free throws by Caleb Piatkowski ended the Bryan run.
Dougherty led Papio with 11 points. Piatkowski added nine with Ayo Baker and Jack Kalina adding eight apiece.
Bryan's Akot Riak scored 15 to lead the Bears with Deon Parker adding nine.
Along with the balanced scoring, the defensive effort is what Moore was most proud of in the win.
“Overall, we made some huge strides in this game, especially defensively, and that's what we need.”
On the Bryan side, first-year coach Terrence O`Donnell thinks his team was defeat before they opening tip.
“The mental approach we had going into this game had us beat before it started,” he said.
“If they play the right way, we can beat anybody we play, but our margin of error is zero against most teams we play.”
The Bears, who have played a tough schedule of late, have showed the ability to hang with some of the top teams in the state. They just haven't been able to steal a win.
“We need to do little things offensively to make scoring easier,” O`Donnell said. “The little things are the difference between getting a clean look and not getting off a shot.”
For the Monarchs, this game is one that can propel them into a hot stretch, especially with Dougherty back and healthy.
“Hopefully, we can take this momentum into next week and build on it,” Moore said. “We need to progress every week to be at our best by district time.”
Westside topped the Monarchs 53-38 Friday.
Kalina's 11 led Papio in scoring with Piatkowski adding nine.
Bryan was also defeated Friday night, falling 56-46 to Omaha South.
The Bears kept it close with the Class A No. 2 Packers but 19 turnovers were too much to overcome. Riak notched 10 points to lead the Bears and Warol Gatdit added eight.