Dacey Nelson scores 33, including 19 in the fourth quarter, to lead Oakland-Craig to win in OT

Oakland-Craig's Kennedy Benne, left, and Gretna's Jenna Marshall go after a loose ball Saturday at the Nebraska Prep Classic.

It took the state’s leading scorer awhile to get untracked Saturday, but everything turned out just fine for Oakland-Craig.

Dacey Nelson poured in 33 points to lead the Knights to a 71-69 overtime win over Gretna in the Nebraska Prep Shootout at Sokol Arena. The senior guard scored 19 in the fourth quarter as Oakland-Craig erased a 16-point deficit.

“We played pretty bad in the third quarter and we were kind of bickering a little bit,’’ Nelson said. “Then we just said, ‘Let’s go play and see what happens.’’’

The Class C-2 No. 1 Knights trailed the Class A Dragons 57-41 early in the final period. But a full-court press and a strong finish by Nelson — held to 10 points over the first three quarters — helped Oakland-Craig rally for the victory.

“Dacey is our go-to girl, but you could tell she was pressing early on,’’ Knights coach Joe Anderson said. “But she can will you to victories, and she did that again today.’’

Oakland-Craig, which led by one after the first quarter, went on a 14-0 run in the second to grab a 30-22 halftime lead. Gretna fought back in the third quarter, sinking five 3-pointers to take a nine-point lead.

That advantage grew to 16 in the final period before the Knights started to chip away. Nelson had a three-point play and a pair of 3-pointers in the final 40 seconds as Oakland-Craig closed to 62-61.

Gretna’s Avery Kallman sank the second of two free throws with 6.4 seconds left to extend the lead to two. The Dragons then pressed on the inbounds pass, but Oakland-Craig broke it and Nelson shook free for the tying layup with two seconds left in regulation.

Nelson and Kennedy Benne combined for all eight Oakland-Craig points in overtime. Benne, who recently returned to the lineup following knee surgery, made two free throws with nine seconds remaining to put the game away.

“That was a wild one,’’ Gretna coach Jerome Skrdla said. “We probably made a mistake when we slowed the game down with four minutes left, but give them credit for battling back.’’

Skrdla also complimented Nelson, who entered the game averaging 26.5 points.

“She’s amazing,’’ he said. “Once she got going in that fourth quarter, we had a hard time stopping her.’’

Nelson stepped up after going 2 for 15 from the field in the first three quarters. She was 7 of 10 the rest of the way, including three 3-pointers.

“After that third quarter, we all played like our hair was on fire,’’ Nelson said. “This is a big win for us.’’

Nelson will play collegiately at NCAA Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan, coached by former Creighton assistant Matt Fritsche.

It was a nice bounce-back victory for the 15-1 Knights, who suffered their first loss Thursday night at North Bend.

“That loss kind of refocused us,’’ Anderson said. “This game got us back on track.’’

Benne added 23 points for Oakland-Craig.

Jaiden Albright led the Dragons with 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Madison Haddix chipped in 16 and Hanna Spearman added 11.

“This was some of our best basketball this season,’’ Skrdla said. “It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t finish.’’

Gretna (5-9)....................13 9 26 15 6—69

Oakland-Craig (15-1)........14 16 9 24 8—71

G: Madison Haddix 16, Jaiden Albright 21, Chelsea Anderson 6, Hanna Spearman 11, Grace Huntwork 5, Bailey Sullivan 4, Avery Kallman 6.

OC: Grace Pille 4, Natalia McNeill 3, Kennedy Benne 23, Mya Guzinski 2, Dacey Nelson 33, Jeannina Blahak 6.

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Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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