Lewiston’s David Omasombo pushes past Oxord Hills’ Isaiah Oufiero during a game last month in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

David Omasombo wasn’t satisfied with his shooting during Lewiston’s 60-54 loss to Oxford Hills in the second game of the season.

So after the game, in which he scored eight points, Omasombo went to a local gym and put up more shots. 

The senior guard said he inherited his work ethic from his father, Omasombo Katuka, but he also is driven by the less-than-ideal start to his high school career.

“I think I’ve always just been hungry,” Omasombo said. “I get that from my dad, he’s a very hard worker and I’ve learned a lot from him. Ever since freshman year I didn’t like how I was playing and the player I was becoming, so I decided to change it. I’ve matured from then more and more each year and tried to stay disciplined and determined.”

Omasombo was placed on the junior varsity team his freshman year. That didn’t sit well with him. 

“I was playing JV for the whole first half of the year, and I was playing really well so I thought I should be given a chance to play varsity,” Omasombo said. “Playing JV only pushed me more and pushed me harder. I got up earlier, got more shots and worked on everything I needed to do to be a varsity player.”

Advertisement

Omasombo played on the varsity team for coach Ronnie Turner his sophomore and junior seasons. After Omasombo’s junior year, Turner left to become an assistant coach at Bates College, and Elgin Physic was hired as the new Lewiston High School boys basketball coach.

Physic, though new to the Blue Devils, is a long-time basketball coach in the Lewiston-Auburn area. That includes coaching Omasombo’s AAU teams since his seventh-grade season.

“He’s a hard-working guy, good character, and overall I haven’t heard anyone say any negative things about him,” Physic said.

Omasombo has shot the ball well since he joined the varsity squad his sophomore year. This season, he’s worked on becoming a better off-the-ball player.

“Playing without the ball is what I’ve improved on tremendously,” Omasombo said. “I used to be just a set shooter, but Elgin taught us more than just our role. Like how to back screen for your teammate to get open, which I think is important. Being smaller, you can’t just stand around and you need to affect the game in many different ways, and I feel like that’s something I really improved on.”

GETTING BUCKETS

Advertisement

Physic has developed a tight bond with Omasombo during the several years he’s been his AAU coach.

“I consider Dave family for me,” Physic said. “I’ve known him for quite a while. Good character, hard working.”

Lewiston guard David Omasombo goes for layup against Deering in December 2019. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

That prior experience made this season’s transition from Turner to Physic smooth for Omasombo.

“I didn’t know Ronnie before, but it was easy to connect with him because he was younger,” Omasombo said. “Because I’ve known Elgin for so long, it didn’t really feel like a big switch.”

Omasombo started the season slowly, with only seven points in the opening game against Portland and eight against Oxford Hills, but he has turned it around and is an offensive catalyst for the Blue Devils, who improved to 8-3 with their 57-38 win over Scarborough on Friday.

Omasombo scored 10 in the victory. Physic said the senior is averaging around 17 points per game. 

Advertisement

“I was comfortable, I just didn’t know how to handle how teams were guarding me,” Omasombo said of his start. “Obviously, my coaches trust me, my teammates trust me and we trust each other, so I don’t think it was comfort, I was just getting in the groove of everything. Especially with whatever last year was and having fans back in. I figured it out.”

Omasombo has turned up his scoring recently, scoring 21 points in a win against Deering on Jan. 17 and 18 last week against Bangor in a huge Class AA North victory.

“From the beginning of the season, I have encouraged him to shoot because he’s so unselfish …” Physic said. “What he’s afraid of is to shoot a bad shot. For a kid like that, with how hard he works, he’s given a little more of a green light. I think he’s done well the last four games being aggressive and finding his shot.”

‘HE’S THE GLUE’

Omasombo said that the Blue Devils are close and he considers every member of the team family. 

“There’s not one person that I haven’t known for five years, they’re … all my brothers,” Omasombo said. “I don’t have any trouble talking with anyone about everything.”

Advertisement

He is especially close with sophomore guard Yusuf Dakane, who grew up next to Omasombo in the Hillview neighborhood of Lewiston. When Omasombo returned from basketball camps, a training or an AAU game with Physic, he would go to their local basketball court and pass on his new knowledge to Dakane. 

“Everything I learned from Elgin, trainers, camps that I went to, I was teaching Yusuf at our basketball court,” Omasombo said. “He was kind of the guy that I was drawn to because he’s good, he has talent. I work a lot with him and his cousin. I would train him and teach him everything I learned.”

Dakane has had a breakout season as a sophomore, scoring 17 points in Lewiston’s win against Bangor and 15 in a win over Windham earlier in the season. He and senior Malik Foster have taken some of the scoring pressure off of Omasombo. 

“I’ve played with Malik since seventh grade. It’s pretty easy, all of these guys are like my brothers, like a whole family,” Omasombo said. “We are used to each other, we know each other’s game, and so it’s easy. Chemistry is definitely not a problem.”

Omasombo said fostering an open dialogue among the Blue Devils’ players is part of the leadership role he’s taken head on this season. 

“Just because I can go to them and see what they’re going through. They get on me about stuff, too,” Omasombo said. “They make sure that if I’m not doing something right then they’ll tell me. It’s that type of relationship and that’s what makes it so glued.”

Advertisement

Physic said that a lot is expected of Omasombo as a team leader.

“Like any other kid, you’re thrown into the leadership role,” Physic said. “It’s a spot where there’s no on and off switch, when you’re the leader then you’re the leader. I try to encourage him. And I am big on peer leadership. I tell him, ‘Hey, if you think we aren’t playing hard enough or practicing hard enough, you can call a timeout.’ Even when we are scrimmaging, I want him to call a timeout because if they can start doing those things then it’ll only help us.”

Lewiston is in the mix in a crowded Class AA North division with seven games remaining, and Physic said a lot of the credit goes to Omasombo.

“Dave is a big reason why we are where we’re at this year,” Physic said. “Their record his sophomore year was 10-8. Last year was (5-6), and obviously we are in a really good spot now. He’s the glue that holds us together. If someone’s not playing well, a lot of times I tell him to go talk to them and see where they’re at. I trust him tremendously.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: