Any traces of hope Omaha Gross harbored of upsetting Omaha Skutt on Saturday evaporated in the first four minutes.

By the time the District B-4 girls championship game reached halftime, the cause was lost as the SkyHawks were well on their way to a 71-36 rout of their River Cities Conference rivals.

Skutt raced to an 11-0 lead midway through the first quarter and stretched that advantage to 17-3 by the end of the period. The SkyHawks kept rolling through the second quarter, outscoring the Cougars 23-10 to build a 40-17 halftime lead.

“At the very beginning, we ran a couple of specials right out of the gate to try and get a couple of kids looks,” SkyHawks coach Kip Colony said. “We figured if they could score and we could get them hot early, it would build more confidence.”

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The SkyHawks (18-6) regained the confidence they lost after getting thumped 51-36 by Elkhorn South on Tuesday in the first round of subdistrict play.

Saturday’s offensive outburst continued through the second half. Skutt was paced by senior Sydney McDermott, who led all scorers with 21 points, including 17 in the tempo-setting first half. Sophomore CeCe Behrens finished with 18 points, and senior Hayley Weeder added 12.

McDermott scored nine of Skutt’s first 11  points, with the first three coming on a jumper from the left wing. The next six came on layups as the SkyHawks were able to consistently get off high-percentage shots in the lane.

The Cougars (16-10) were led by junior guard Mackenna Sidzyik, who finished with 15 points. Gross struggled the entire game to get much done offensively inside against the taller Skutt forwards.

“They made shots and we didn’t,” Gross coach RJ Kammandel said. “Off the tip, they hit a 3 right away, and we missed our first five shots. We’re not going to beat a team like Skutt shooting like that.”

Saturday’s win clinched Skutt’s first state tournament berth since 2011, when the SkyHawks’ core of six seniors were in fourth grade. The state tournament begins Feb. 28.

Five of those seniors were on the court for the final two minutes — the sixth, Peyton Rohlfs, fouled out with 2:39 remaining — to run out the clock and celebrate the achievement.

“I like to put some of the younger underclassmen in situations like this, but these guys for four years committed to this program,” Colony said. “It’s hard not to have them on the floor at the very end.”

Omaha Gross (16-10)….........3 10 11 12—36

At Omaha Skutt (18-6)….......17 23 13 18—71

OG-Emily Dropinski 3, Callie Billings 8, Mackenna Sidzyik 15, Jenna Skradski 1, Sophia Egermier 1, Achol Agau 3, Grace Pechar 3, Maria Mwita 2.

OS-Kaelyn Reeves 5, Peyton Rohlfs 4, Lindsay Krause 5, Hayley Weeder 12, Kate Drueke 6, Sydney McDermott 21, CeCe Behrens 18.

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