Gretna lost an early 11-point lead and trailed Class B No. 1 Elkhorn South with 3:21 left.
The Dragons were not to be denied, however, going on an 11-2 run that sealed a 55-50 win Monday night in the District B-2 semifinals at Omaha Northwest.
“We didn't look good there for a while,” Gretna coach Brad Feekin said. “But we fought through adversity, and we didn't go run and hide. Earlier (this season), sometimes we did.
“This was a nice sign of growth for us.”
No. 7 Gretna (16-7) will meet No. 3 Ralston (19-5), a 49-40 winner over No. 8 Omaha Skutt, at 7 p.m. Tuesday to settle matters in the strongest Class B district in the state.
Ralston-Gretna also matches college roommates Feekin and Bill Heard, the Rams coach.
Heard said playing his buddy's team never gets easier.
“My daughter cried this morning at breakfast when she figured out this could happen,” Heard said.
Gretna, which had gone scoreless for seven minutes in the middle of the game after taking a 23-12 lead, was down 45-44 after the Storm's Johnny Trueblood scored on two free throws and then got a steal at halfcourt and threw up a layup that crept over the rim. Trueblood came off the bench to lead his team with 16 points.
Gretna answered with five points in a row — a basket by Trevor Leiting, two free throws from Jordan Batenhorst and one by Mitch Drey after he got the fifth foul on Cal Rutherford — to lead 49-45 with 1:40 left.
Drey and Rutherford battled throughout the second half, when Drey scored 15 of his game-high 17 points and Rutherford had all 11 of his. But Drey drew the final four fouls on Rutherford, all in the final quarter.
After John Wehling scored for the Storm with 1:33 left, Leiting made the second of two free throws for a three-point lead. Elkhorn South missed on a pair of 3-point tries on the same possession, and then Gretna got two free throws from Mitch Johnson, one from Drey and two from Leiting.
Leiting finished with 16 points, half in the fourth quarter. Johnson added 10 points.
Gretna (16-7) ................. 17 6 12 20—55
Elkhorn South (18-5) ................. 9 13 15 13—50
G: Trevor Leiting 16, Mitch Drey 17, Nathan Skrdla 3, Michael Johnson 10, Jackson Kallman 4, Jordan Batenhorst 5.
ES: Matt Thomas 4, Jonathan Zumbrennen 11, Ben Green 5, Cal Rutherford 11, Johnny Trueblood 16, John Wehling 2.
Ralston 49, Omaha Skutt 40
In the teams' second meeting in less than a week, they slogged through the middle two quarters by combining for 10 points in the second and 11 in the third.
Ralston won both quarters, however, holding the SkyHawks (15-9) to three points in the third for a 29-21 lead.
“They junk-defensed us, ran a triangle-and-two to take away Jake Goltl and Andy Chleborad,” Heard said. “It was just a grinder of a game.”
Ralston led by 12 before the SkyHawks tried to rally. They were within four points three times, the last at 41-37 on two free throws from Luke Maass with 1:49 left.
Goltl, who had 12 points, scored with 1:25 left and Chleborad, who matched Josh Belling for team high with 14 points, made two free throws for an eight-point lead.
After Tynan O'Brien's 3 for Skutt, Ralston sealed the win by making 4 of its last 6 free throws.
Brian Schwetschenau had 14 points to lead Skutt.
Ralston (19-5) ................. 15 6 8 20—49
Omaha Skutt (15-9) ................. 14 4 3 19—40
R: Andy Chleborad 14, Josh Belling 14, Jake Goltl 12, Zach Flott 4, Tonio Fidegnon 4, Daniel Moore 1.
OS: Brian Schwetschenau 14, Tynan O'Brien 8, Luke Maass 6, Ryan Bouda 4, Zach Legband 8.
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