A quick start helped Gretna on Friday night, but the Dragons needed a strong finish to finally put away host Elkhorn South.
Justice Ross sank a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left to help the Dragons post a 50-46 girls basketball win. Gretna, ranked fifth in Class B, boosted its record to 2-0 while the third-ranked Storm fell in their season opener.
“We got off to a strong start, and then we were kind of hanging on,” Dragons coach Jerome Skrdla said. “The game got a little closer than I had hoped.”
Gretna raced to a 21-8 lead after one quarter as Ross had 11 points — including three 3-pointers — and Mary Janovich had 10. The Dragons nursed that lead the rest of the way until the Storm finally went ahead 34-33 early in the fourth quarter.
Baskets by Janovich and Jamie Schuetz and a pair of free throws by Madison Miller allowed Gretna to reopen a five-point lead, but Elkhorn South moved back ahead by a point with 1:47 left on a pair of Jenn Wies free throws.
The Storm had a chance to pad that advantage, but a layup attempt by sophomore Lauren Maciejewski rolled off the rim. That opened the door for the Dragons, and Ross buried her 3-pointer in the final minute to put Gretna ahead to stay.
Schuetz and Megan Kruse each added a pair of free throws down the stretch to ice the victory.
“We let them get out to that quick start and it cost us,” Storm coach Terry Graver said. “We missed some easy shots early on, but then we settled down.”
Elkhorn South got a big game from Wies, who finished with 24 points — 12 in the first half and 12 in the second.
“I was proud of the way our girls battled back,” Graver said. “But Gretna's such a tough team to play because they exploit every little weakness.”
That lesson was pounded home at last year's state tournament when the Storm, making their first tourney appearance, lost to the Dragons by 42 points in a first-round game.
Ross scored 15 for Gretna while Janovich added 12.
“Our starting five is really strong,” Skrdla said, “but we've got some young players on the bench and it's just going to take a little time to get them used to things. I think we'll be a stronger team later in the season.”
Elkhorn South also will be stronger when 6-foot-1 junior center Maddie Simmons returns from a knee injury.
Both teams return to action Tuesday night. The Storm host Omaha Duchesne while the Dragons will host Omaha Gross.
Gretna (2-0) ................. 21 7 9 13—50
Elkhorn South (0-1) ................. 8 12 12 14—46
G: Jamie Schuetz 8, Megan Kruse 5, Isabella Arkfeld 2, Maren Soupir 2, Mary Janovich 12, Madison Miller 4, Justice Ross 15, Kelsey Skokan 2.
ES: Amanda Johnson 2, Lauren Maciejewski 3, Sarah Raymond 10, Elle Banghart 7, Jenn Wies 24.
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