Gretna is well-rehearsed, be it getting to the rim, sinking free throws or standing in front of the mike.
The Dragons won their 30th consecutive game Tuesday night, beating Elkhorn South 73-58 to end the host’s undefeated start.
They attacked the basket from the start, scoring the game’s first 11 points.
“Their ability to get downhill on us, get to the paint, get to the rim, just hurt us early,” Storm coach Nolan Reilly said. “When they get that deep, you can get what you want.”
Gretna coach Brad Feeken said the Dragons heeded the call to “drive it, drive it again and then look for the outside shot. We did a good job with our ball-screen motion offense and following the game plan like we did.”
The Dragons’ aggressiveness got them to the line a lot. They were 28-of-31 while the Storm were 6-of-7.
“It was great to come out there and make them when they really counted,” said Zach Imig, who was 8-of-8 while leading the No. 2 team in the preseason state ratings with 21 points.
Trey Brown, Gretna’s 6-foot-6 senior, was 7-of-7. He scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half. Ty Duin was 6-of-7 and Joey Johnson 5-of-7 as each finished with 10 points.
Justin Costello led the Class B No. 4 Storm (4-1) with 19 points, but only counted two 3s.
No. 1 Gretna (5-0) had a 39-27 halftime lead, then was on the verge of a knockout. Seven points in the first 56 seconds of the third quarter forced a Storm timeout.
But Elkhorn South rallied. A 12-3 spurt cut Gretna’s lead to 10 and it was trailing only 58-49 after Connor Boyens came off the bench for eight points, including two 3s.
Once Sullivan closed the quarter with a layup, Gretna had a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
As for being well-rehearsed for interviews, Feeken has coached his players well. Asked what the win meant, Feeken said, “(Elkhorn South is) one of the best teams in the state. They’re well-coached, very athletic, very talented. It’s a good win for us, but we have a long way to go. We keep saying ‘we’re not good enough yet, guys, we’re not good enough.’ ”
Then Imig: “They’re a great team. Elkhorn South is just a couple miles down the road. It feels real good to beat them, but we’re not satisfied. We have a lot of work to do.”
How’s that for staying on message?
Gretna (5-0)....................18 21 21 13—73
At Elkhorn South (4-1).....10 17 22 9—58
G: Ty Duin 3-5 6-7 12, Tyler Sullivan 3-5 2-2 9, Zach Imig 5-12 8-8 21, Trey Brown 6-12 7-7 19, Joey Johnson 3-7 5-7 12, Tre Mikkelsen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-42 28-31 73.
ES: Mick Williams 5-7 0-0 11, Tyler Riggert 2-4 1-1 6, Zane Anderson 4-8 2-2 10, Alex Nelson 1-2 0-0 2, Justin Costello 7-14 3-4 19, Matt Slominski 1-2 0-0 2, Connor Boyens 3-7 0-0 8, Brett Graver 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Laible 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-46 6-7 58.
3-point goals: G 5-12 (Sullivan 1-2, Imig 3-8, Johnson 1-1, Mikkelsen 0-1), ES 6-20 (Williams 1-1, Riggert 1-2, Anderson 0-3, Costello 2-7, Boyens 2-6, Laible 0-1). Total fouls: G 11, ES 23. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. Turnovers: G 8, ES 7. Rebounds: G 31 (Johnson 9,), ES 16 (Williams, Riggert, Nelson, Slominski 3). Field-goal percentage: G .476, ES .500. Free-throw percentage: G .903, ES .857.
Storm girls stay undefeated
Top 10 No. 6 Elkhorn South, the top-ranked team in Class B, went at Gretna’s defense in the second half for a 49-40 win over Class B’s No. 5 team.
“Anytime we attack the basket, we’re a lot better off,” Storm coach Terry Graver said.
After leading 22-20 at halftime, the Storm (5-0) scored 18 points in the third quarter. Their 40-32 lead stood still for about five minutes.
“It was forever,” Graver said. “We were playing good defense and we really stressed rebounding, because they’re a great offensive rebounding team, but we were just a couple shots away from pulling away.”
Gretna coach Jerome Skrdla, whose team had only four players score, said it couldn’t afford to give up an 18-point quarter while forced out of its zone defense.
“The other quarters, we did all right,” he said.
Maddie Hayes had 14 points for the Storm, which was 16-of-20 at the line. Anna Stoltenberg’s 15 points for Gretna (4-2) led all scorers.
Gretna (4-2)........................11 9 12 8—40
At Elkhorn South (5-0)........10 12 18 9—49
G: Anna Stoltenberg 15, Lauren Leapley 12, Abbie Huffman 8, Faith Ross 5.
ES: Maddie Hayes 14, Brooke Rosener 10, Lindley Daubert 9, Cassie Gibbons 7, Jennae Patras 5, Katie Emsick 2, Liz Layne 2.
Metro Conference brackets
Omaha South’s boys and Millard South’s girls received the No. 1 seeds — and the 8:30 a.m. games — in the Metro Conference holiday tournament. All games will be at Ralston Arena, starting with the girls first round on Dec. 29. The boys first round is Dec. 30, then the tournament resumes with quarterfinals on Jan. 2, semifinals on Jan. 3 and the finals on Jan. 4.
Boys, Dec. 30: Omaha South vs. Omaha Westside, 8:30 a.m.; Omaha Northwest vs. Millard West, 10:15; Millard North vs. Bellevue East, noon; Papillion-La Vista South vs. Omaha North, 1:45 p.m.; Papillion-La Vista vs. Omaha Bryan, 3:30; Millard South vs. Omaha Central, 5:15; Bellevue West vs. Omaha Burke, 7; Omaha Benson vs. Omaha Creighton Prep, 8:45 p.m.
Girls, Dec. 29: Millard South vs. Central, 8:30 a.m.; Marian vs. Papio, 10:15; Northwest vs. Burke, noon; Omaha South vs. Millard West, 1:45 p.m.: Bellevue West vs. Bellevue East, 3:30; Benson vs. Millard North, 5:15; Papio South vs. Omaha North, 7; Bryan vs. Westside, 8:45.