The basket seemed a lot wider Friday night for Millard West’s outside shooters.
They made 14 3-pointers — a school record and only one short of tying the state record — in a 65-57 home win over preseason No. 2 Omaha Central. A night earlier, the Wildcats had gone 3 of 18 on 3s in a loss at No. 3 Bellevue East
“We went up against two totally different teams,’’ Wildcats coach Kip Colony said. “Central has big girls whom you have to shoot over. Bellevue East puts pressure on the perimeter.
“We felt we left a lot of points on the court last night. We had good looks, and they rushed us.”
In shooting 45 percent (14 of 33) on Friday, the Wildcats got six 3s from 6-foot sophomore Marisa Lowe, five from 5-11 junior Samantha Waldron and four from Dani Saenz.
Waldron had a game-high 23 points. Lowe had 22 and Saenz 12.
Ten of the 14 treys came in the first half, when No. 8 Millard West (5-1) built a double-digit lead in the second quarter.
The state record of 15 has been made four times, twice by Lincoln Southeast and twice by Class C-1 Minden.
Central made four 3s. The teams’ combined 18 3s were No. 2 in Class A history behind the 22 by Lincoln Northeast (12) and Southeast (10) in 2011.
The Eagles (3-2), who were coming off a loss to No. 1 Southeast, never led during the final three quarters but made a run in the third quarter that brought them within a point.
They outscored West 15-4 to start the second half, with six players contributing. Paige Muhammad’s basket off an Abigail Niebrugge assist made it 38-37 West with 4:37 left in the quarter.
“We were a little disappointed,’’ Colony said. “We believe we’re pretty good in the first four minutes of the third quarter of any game, and Tom Lee (Central’s coach) did a nice job of adjusting.
Lowe cut off the run with a follow shot, and senior center Kasia Hood scored the next three points for a six-point lead.
Central was within three points twice more in the quarter, which ended with the Wildcats leading 52-42, but never got closer again than five.
Millard West went to its delay game with five minutes left and Sylvia Smith-Gatson, who led Central with 21 points, scored off a steal to make it 56-51. It wasn’t enough to scare the Wildcats out of their strategy.
The Wildcats ran off more than 90 seconds before Central fouled with 1:32 left. Brooke Savage made two free throws after another foul five seconds later.
That was the start of 8-of-10 free-throw shooting that finished off the Wildcats’ win.
They now are 2-1 against the top three teams in the preseason rankings, including a win two weeks ago over Southeast.
Omaha Central (3-2) ................. 11 11 20 15—57
At Millard West (5-1) ................. 15 19 18 13—65
C: Megan Gamble 7, Paige Muhammad 14, Abigail Niebrugge 5, Jackie Beaugard 4, Sylvia Smith-Gatson 21, Sydney McGruder 6.
MW: Samantha Waldron 23, Brooke Savage 3, Dani Saenz 12, Marisa Lowe 22, Madi Severson 2, Kasia Hood 3.
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