Dragons fall in EMC finals

Gretna’s Lauren Leapley eyes the rim Friday while Elkhorn South’s Paige Piatkowski defends.

Gretna fell to Elkhorn South 47-33 Friday night in an Eastern Midlands Conference championship game featuring two top-5 teams.

Elkhorn South beat Gretna for the first time in school history, breaking a 12-game losing streak to the Dragons.

Gretna fell into a hole early as the Storm built a 14-6 lead.

“We got kind of nervous, so we didn’t execute offensively very well,” Gretna coach Jerome Skrdla said. “You have to credit their defense a lot because when we were trying to do things they were up on us, they didn’t allow us to drive, they really played strong defense.”

The offensive struggles continued in the second and third quarters. The Dragons didn’t score until they made two free throws with 3:48 remaining in the second quarter and only scored four points in the first six minutes of the third.

Skrdla said Elkhorn South’s physical defense kept the Dragons from executing offensively.

“We’re a team that’s not as physical as some teams so we have to use the screens to get open and create, and I thought that hurt us early,” Skrdla said.

Faith Ross led the Dragons with 13 points while Jaisa Russell added 10.

The tough night offensively came after the Dragons got revenge against another top-5 team in Waverly in the EMC semifinals on Thursday. Waverly beat Gretna 58-35 on Dec. 18, but the Dragons won Thursday’s game 39-27.

“We executed pretty much everything we wanted to,” Skrdla said. “From the start of the game, we ran the court, we functioned defensively very well, we rebounded well.”

Skrdla said it was going to be tough for his team to beat highly-ranked teams on consecutive nights but said it will help his team prepare for tough environments later in the season.

“You have to get on this stage more often to really understand it,” Skrdla said.

The Dragons won their opening game of the EMC tournament 47-31 over Plattsmouth. Lauren Leapley led the Dragons with 14 points while Maddie Meadows added 10 and Ross had nine.

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