Published Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm / Updated at 1:57 am
BASKETBALL
Southeast can't solve dominant Eagles

LINCOLN — Omaha Central gave Lincoln Southeast one of the worst losses in Knights' history.

The No. 1 Eagles led by 49 points midway through the fourth quarter of their 38th consecutive victory. The 78-36 win came before a Prasch Activities Center crowd estimated at 1,200.

“We got a lot better from last night (a 68-49 win at Omaha Westside) to tonight,'' Central coach Eric Behrens said. “We closed out better, we weren't going for as many ball fakes.

“Last night we played hard. Tonight we played hard and smart.”

Louisville recruit Akoy Agau had game highs of 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Tra-Deon Hollins had 17 points, Tre'Shawn Thurman 13 and KJ Scott 12.

“They're a special team,'' Southeast coach Jeff Smith said. “There's a lot of basket protection.”

His team, which was ranked fifth in the preseason, lost its third consecutive game. Southeast was coming off a 57-35 loss at undefeated North Platte on Friday night.

“We're struggling on offense,'' Smith said.

Smith burned three timeouts in the second quarter in an attempt to slow the purple wave.

Central closed out the half with a 10-0 run in the final 2:20 for a 43-19 lead. Agau had one second-chance basket and Thurman two, including a power slam before the buzzer, with Hollins getting the other points on two free throws and a steal and basket.

What's the formula, Smith was asked, for an in-state team to beat the three-time defending Class A champions?

“You have to be able to handle the ball,'' he said. “It's still too early in the year and you want to work on your offense, so you're not wanting to make 20 passes a possession.”

Luke Gifford led the Knights with 12 points.

Omaha Central (2-0) ................. 17 26 26 9—78

At Lincoln Southeast (1-3) ................. 9 10 6 11—36

C: Akoy Agau 20, Tra-Deon Hollins 17, Tre'Shawn Thurman 13, KJ Scott 12, Nick Billingsley 13, Deandre Hollins-Johnson 5, Austin McGaugh 2, Reath Nyoach 1.

SE: Luke Gifford 12, Na-Jee Jackson 4, Aaron Walker 4, BJ Day 5, Jordan Ackerman 2, Zak Wormley 4, Jake Virus 5, Jake Potthoff 2.

Southeast girls 62, Central 51

All-Nebraska sophomore Jess Shepard's 27 points and 10 rebounds led the preseason No. 1 Knights (3-1) past No. 2 Central (3-1), which beat them twice last season on its way to winning the Class A title.

“The whole state knows she's going to get the ball, but we have to get the ball to her,” Southeast coach Kara Graham said.

Alexa Haas had 16 points and Alexa Kastanek 12 for Southeast, which won two weekend games after losing last week at Millard West.

“I felt we controlled the tempo better tonight,'' Graham said. “Our turnovers (21) didn't allow us to put away the game, which we need to fix, but our defense kept getting us additional possessions.”

Sylvia Smith-Gatson's 16 points in three quarters led Central. Coach Tom Lee kept her on the bench in the final quarter.

“We're struggling on offense,'' Lee said. “We thought we had to try to get our running game going if we were going to win.”

Omaha Central (3-1) ................. 12 11 14 14—51

At Lincoln Southeast (3-1) ................. 15 14 18 15—62

C: Sylvia Smith-Gatson 16, Megan Gamble 9, Paige Muhammad 8, Lia Mancuso 4, Elexis Martinez 5, Abigail Niebruegge 3, Taylor Gunter 4, Jackie Beaugard 2.

SE: Jess Shepard 27, Alexa Haas 16, Alexa Kastanek 12, McKenzie Anderson 4, Maddy Everett 2, Courtney Allen 1.

Friday

Central girls 62, Westside 59, 2 OT

Abigail Niebrugge's 3-pointer in the second overtime broke a 59-59 tie for the Eagles, who got 16 points from Sylvia Smith-Gatson and 11 from Sydney McGruder.

Omaha Central (2-1) ................. 18 7 15 9 6 7—62

At Westside (1-2) ................. 12 14 12 11 6 4—59

C: Gamble 9, Muhammad 8, Martinez 6, Niebrugge 8, Anderson 4, Smith-Gatson 16, McGruder 11.

WS: Thompson 7, Zabel 5, Matthews 7, Pickering 7, Curran 11, Kaup 4, Meyer 3, Bridgeman 13.

Contact the writer: Stu Pospisil

stu.pospisil@owh.com    |   402-444-1041    |  

Stu Pospisil has been The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports since 1990 and for golf since 1988. He primarily covers football in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter and track and field in the spring.

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