20180220_spo_gene01

Elkhorn South’s Alex Nelson celebrates after dunking against Elkhorn Mount Michael in the second half.

In past years, rivals Gretna and Elkhorn South were used to squaring off with each other multiple times in boys basketball.

But their wins Monday in the Class B-3 subdistrict semifinals set up the first meeting between the Dragons and Storm this season.

Both teams put together convincing wins as Gretna downed Elkhorn 53-30 before Elkhorn South pulled away from Elkhorn Mount Michael 53-38.

Elkhorn South will play at Gretna at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“We’re going to have to take care of the ball better,” said Elkhorn South coach Nolan Reilly, whose team committed 19 turnovers Monday. “And obviously staying patient defensively and being locked in for long possessions. ... I think it will be a lower-possession game.”

Elkhorn South used its experience Monday to turn back Mount Michael, which starts four freshmen. The Storm start four seniors and a junior, and they played a Class A schedule this season after joining the Metro Conference.

“Our guys have played in multiple situations in games like this. We’re comfortable,” Reilly said. “Those freshmen, you can tell they’re going to be really, really good with this experience.”

Mount Michael coach Derrik Spooner said he doesn’t talk with his team about that age difference, but he knows experience played a role Monday.

“It’s more than they’re stronger than we are,” he said. “When we had our losses this year, it’s come down to the experience factor.”

Elkhorn South started to seize control midway through the second quarter. The game was tied 17-17 with five minutes left before halftime and a pair of Storm starters were sidelined with two fouls.

Elkhorn South, though, outscored Mount Michael 9-3 the rest of the half and pushed the lead to 13 in the third quarter.

“Our guys off the bench did a heck of a job keeping the lead the rest of the half,” Reilly said. “Second half, we were able to attack with balance.”

Ben Laible was the difference-maker on the offensive end for Elkhorn South. He scored all 21 of his points in the first three quarters.

“He did a great job attacking their zone,” Reilly said.

The Storm were 11 of 16 in the first half and finished shooting 59.3 percent from the field.

The Storm held Mount Michael to 28 percent shooting, including 23 percent (7 of 31) after the opening quarter.

“We just didn’t make enough shots,” Spooner said. “But credit to them, they make it tough.”

Freshman Brad Bennett, Mount Michael’s top scorer on the season, led the way with 13 points, but had only three after halftime.

In Gretna’s win, the Dragons scored the game’s first 10 points and never looked back.

Gretna also scored the first 12 points of the second half to stretch its lead to 39-12.

Tre Mikkelsen was the lone player in double figures with 13 points. He went 5 of 5 from the field as the Dragons shot 63 percent as a team.

Elkhorn Mount Michael (17-7).....13  7 10  8—38

Elkhorn South (11-12).....13 13 16 11—53

EMM: Johnathan Hudson 3-7 1-4 9, Joseph Chouinard 0-8 2-2 2, Bradley Bennett 4-12 4-6 13, Kaleb Brink 1-4 1-1 3, Parker Hottovy 1-2 0-0 2, Jacob Idra 0-2 4-4 4, Drew Thornton 0-1 0-0 0, Kyle Pelan 1-2 0-3 2, Henry Storbeck 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 11-39 12-20 38.

ES: Michael Williams 4-7 3-5 12, Ben Laible 9-11 1-2 21, Jace Piatkowski 0-1 5-7 5, Cade Berendes 1-1 0-0 2, Alex Nelson 1-3 0-0 2, Zach LaFave 2-5 0-0 4, Cole Hanafan 2-3 0-0 4, Tucker DeVries 0-1 1-2 1, Maxwell Mosser 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 19-32 12-18 53.

3-point goals: EMM 4-17 (Hudson 2-5, Storbeck 1-1, Bennett 1-6, Thornton 0-1, Brink 0-1, Chouinard 0-3); ES: 3-7 (Laible 2-3, Williams 1-2, Piatkowski 0-1, LaFave 0-1). Rebounds: EMM 17 (Brink 5); ES 30 (Berendes 6). Total fouls: EMM 19, ES 22. Fouled out: Willimas. Technicals: none. Turnovers: EMM 11, ES 19. A: 600 (est.)

Elkhorn (5-18).....5  7  6 12—30

Gretna (17-5).....17 10 15 11—53

E: Mitchell Kahre 8, Carter Mills 4, Jacob Pickering 5, Drew Christo 2, Kyler Beekman 6, Trey Williams 4, Lamonee Jackman 1.

G: Tre Mikkelsen 13, Tyler Sullivan 7, Chance Sterling 5, Joey Johnson 6, Noah Burghardt 4, Ely Doble 6, Max Spier 5, Morgan Bartman 3, Alan Anderson 2,Clayton Frost 2.

3-point goals: E 3 (Kahre 2, Mills); G Mikkelsen 2, Sullivan, Doble, Spier)

Gene covers a variety of sports beats for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @geneOWH. Phone: 402-444-1038.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.