Skutt scored the first basket against Gretna in top-five matchup Feb. 16 but that would be its only bucket one of the first quarter.
The top-ranked Dragon boys used a 13-1 run to end the first quarter on their way to a 57-50 win over the Class B No. 5 SkyHawks.
For the Dragon, the win avenged their only loss of the season, a 73-62 Skutt win Dec. 5. Since that game, Gretna has won 19 consecutive games.
While the Skutt game was a big one for the Dragons, there was no extra motivation due to early-season loss.
“Winning at Skutt is a big win for us and they were our only loss,” Dragon coach Brad Feeken said. “We didn’t have any extra motivation. It’s February, every game is going to be big.”
Skutt opened the game with a 2-0 lead but Gretna scored the next 10 points before taking a 13-3 lead into the second quarter. The Dragon defense held Skutt to just 1-of-9 shooting in the first quarter and forced six turnovers.
Feeken attributed the team’s defensive success to assistant coach Bill Heard, who had the team run a variation of the 3-2 zone.
“That’s all Bill,” Feeken said. “He did a good job preparing and keeping them off balance.”
Gretna and Skutt each scored 15 points in the second quarter to send it to the third with the Dragons leading 28-18. Skutt cut the lead to 42-33 entering the fourth quarter, where the SkyHawks hit a few big shots to get within four points. Five straight points by Skutt’s Alex Zajicek cut the Gretna lead to 54-50 with under 40 seconds left.
The Dragons clinched the win by making three of their final four free throw attempts.
Gretna’s leading scorer Jared Samuelson played while ill, but Feeken said other Dragons stepped up with their senior leader not at 100 percent. It’s been part of the growth by Gretna since senior Isaiah Workman went down with an injury that Feeken described as “devastating.”
“Jared was a little under the weather but he still helps us in so many ways,” Feeken said. “Guys have accepted new roles to fill, and that’s a credit to them, because it’s not always easy when you lose a major part of your team.”
Trey Brown led the Dragons over the SkyHawks with 15 points while Samuelson and Duin each added 12 and Joey Johnson chipped in with 10 points.
Gretna added a 63-27 win over EMC foe Norris Friday.