A big first half helped pave the way to victory Saturday for Omaha Central at the girls Metro Conference Holiday Tournament.
The Eagles scored 41 points during the first two quarters and held on for a 67-60 win against Omaha Burke in a first-round game at Omaha Benson. The victory boosted the Eagles to 4-3 and dropped the Bulldogs to 2-6.
In other first-round games, Millard West defeated Omaha Bryan 57-6; Omaha Benson beat Omaha South 73-30; Bellevue East defeated Omaha Marian 74-40; Papillion-La Vista beat Omaha Westside 49-34; and Millard North defeated Millard South 62-36.
The first round will conclude Monday night with two games at Benson — Bellevue West vs. Papillion-La Vista South at 6:15 and Omaha North vs. Omaha Northwest at 8.
Central appeared to have its game well in hand, leading 41-23 at the half. But Burke battled back and whittled the deficit to four in the final minute.
The Eagles held on with the help of junior guard Megan Gamble, who sank four late free throws to help seal the win.
“Megan is a leader for us,” first-year Eagles coach Danielle Brandt said. “When the game is on the line, she puts the team on her back.”
Brandt also credited the Bulldogs for fighting back.
“They’re a very resilient team,” she said. “They made some adjustments in the second half, and we just couldn’t shake them.”
Jacquelyn Beaugard led Central with 22 points. She scored 12 in the first half and 10 in the second, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Elexis Martinez added 13 for the Eagles while Jasmin Pearson had 10 and Tiani White eight.
Central held an 11-point edge after three quarters, but seven fourth-quarter points from Alex Gill helped the Bulldogs cut their deficit to 63-59. Gill finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Central shot 52 percent from the field, but Burke sank 21 free throws to stay in the game.
Om. Burke (2-6) .......................... 6 17 22 15 — 60
Om. Central (4-3) ....................... 20 21 15 11 — 67
OB: Destany Matthews 9, Maddy McPhillips 7, Kara Grassau 1, Nya Thichot 3, Sydney Benson 2, Chy Jones 9, Jada Warner 12, Alex Gill 17.
OC: Megan Gamble 4, Tiani White 8, Elexis Martinez 13, Taylor Gunter 2, Jakia Vaughn-Taylor 2, Jacquelyn Beaugard 22, Jasmin Pearson 10, Yaasmyn Spivey 4, Johnae Allen 2.