Published Monday, February 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm / Updated at 12:15 am
Agau, No. 1 Eagles headed back to state

Omaha Central heads back to the Class A boys state tournament coming off an efficient performance.

The top-ranked Eagles shot 61 percent from the field and never trailed as they defeated Omaha Burke 66-51 in the A-1 District final Monday at Omaha Central High School.

“We’re playing well, as well as we have in a long time,” said Central coach Eric Behrens, whose team will look for its fourth consecutive state title next week in Lincoln. “I thought our energy was high. We were focused and ready to go.”

Central’s efficient offense was led by 6-foot-9 senior center Akoy Agau, who had game highs of 22 points and seven rebounds. Agau scored nine points in the first five minutes of the third quarter to help the Eagles stretch their 11-point halftime lead to 51-32.

“He was great tonight. He plays his best in big games,” Behrens said.

Added Agau: “I played decent, but I still didn’t play my best. That’s next week.”

Agau said he knew Monday’s district final wouldn’t be easy after Burke pushed the Eagles during the regular season. On Dec. 15, Central jumped to a 15-point lead in the first quarter, but the Eagles had to hold off the Bulldogs in the final minute as Burke got within two before losing 73-67.

Central, 23-4 and a winner of seven straight, didn’t allow any game-turning runs Monday.

The Eagles once again got off to a quick start, racing to an 8-0 lead on its first four possessions. Burke, meanwhile, turned it over twice on its first three possessions and never got closer than six the rest of the way.

The opening minutes were “very similar to the last game,” Burke coach Ben Holling said. “It’s hard to come back on a team like that.”

Central’s lead stayed between seven and 12 throughout the second quarter. But behind Agau, the Eagles scored 10 unanswered midway through the third quarter to put the game out of reach.

Through three quarters, Central was 19 of 29 (65.5 percent) from the field.

“When they’re shooting like that, it’s darn near impossible to beat them,” Holling said.

“I was happy with the shots we took,” Behrens said. “The reason we shot so well was our shot selection.”

Besides Agau’s 22, Tra-Deon Hollins added 15 points and six rebounds for the Eagles, while Deandre Hollins-Johnson had 10.

Trey Carr led Burke with 16 points — all in the second half. Central’s defense also held Rashad McCoy to four points after he hit four 3-pointers and scored 25 points during their Dec. 15 matchup.

Omaha Burke (12-12) ................. 6 17 16 12—51

Omaha Central (23-4) ................. 16 18 20 12—66

OB: Trey Carr 5-11 4-5 16, Jack Dresslar 2-4 0-0 4, Kevin Clayton 1-2 1-2 3, Dartan Henderson 0-1 0-0 0, Seth Curran 0-1 0-0 0, Rashad McCoy 1-5 2-2 4, Ryan Poppen 3-7 2-3 11, Calisto Kamoro 5-5 1-3 11, Nicholas McCulloch 0-2 0-0 0, Noah Fant 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-40 10-15 51.

OC: Akoy Agau 7-12 8-9 22, Kevin Scott 2-2 0-0 5, Tra-Deon Hollins 4-7 7-7 15, Deandre Hollins-Johnson 4-5 0-1 10, Nick Billingsley 2-6 1-2 5, Austin McGaugh 2-2 0-0 5, Tre’Shawn Thurman 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 23-38 16-19 66.

3-point goals: OB 5-18 (Poppen 3-6, Carr 2-4, Dresslar 0-1, Henderson 0-1, Curran 0-1, McCulloch 0-2, McCoy 0-3); OC 4-7 (Hollins-Johnson 2-2, Scott 1-1, McGaugh 1-1, Thurman 0-1, Billingsley 0-2). Rebounds: OB 16 (Kamoro, Carr 4); OC 24 (Agau 7). Turnovers: OB 16, OC 14. Total fouls: OB 13, OC 14. Fouled out: None. Technicals: None. Att.: 1,300 (est.)

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Contact the writer: Gene Schinzel    |   402-444-1038    |  

Gene Schinzel is a copy editor and staff writer for The World-Herald.

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