By Mike Patterson / World-Herald Staff Writer
Omaha Gross used a strong third-quarter run Thursday night to once again defeat Omaha Skutt.
The visiting Cougars outscored the SkyHawks 13-2 during that stretch and posted a 52-44 girls basketball victory. Gross moved to 13-5 while Skutt, which lost to the Cougars two weeks ago in the River Cities Conference tournament, fell to 11-7.
“It was kind of similar to the (57-45) game we played against them the first time,” Gross coach Fr. Steve Emanuel said. “This is always a big rivalry game and it’s a good win for wild-card points.”
The Cougars took control of the game shortly after Skutt, which trailed by five at half, grabbed a one-point lead in the third quarter on a layup by Alex Banker. Gross then turned a 26-25 deficit into a 38-28 lead and the SkyHawks could get no closer than six the rest of the way.
“We were able to get some points on transition baskets,” Emanuel said. “We got up and down the floor pretty well tonight.”
That key third-quarter stretch for Gross started after a layup by Alex Opperman gave the Cougars the lead for good. Five points by Julie Olechoski and two each from Kayla Johnk, Lynsey Matulka and Joelle Overkamp gave Gross a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The SkyHawks crept within six at 40-34 and again at 48-42, but they couldn’t sink the basket that would have brought them within a 3-pointer of tying it. Overkamp scored six of her game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter and Johnk finished with 11 as the Cougars netted the win.
“We did a poor job of boxing out Overkamp,” Skutt coach Marty Plum said. “We spent three days talking about it and then we just didn’t execute.”
The 5-foot-10 Overkamp pulled down eight rebounds while her teammate, 6-foot center Opperman, yanked down 13 boards. Gross held a 37-25 rebounding edge and shot 41 percent from the field, though the Cougars misfired on all seven 3-point attempts.
The win gives Gross momentum heading into its big game Saturday at Class B No. 1 Beatrice.
“That will be a great challenge for us,” Emanuel said. “Hopefully we’re ready for it.”
Banker and Savannah Adams scored 10 points each for the Skyhawks, who have lost four in a row — twice to Beatrice and twice to Gross. They’ll return to action Saturday, playing host to Hastings.
Photo by Katy Miller '15