Omaha Skutt hangs on to edge Aurora in battle of Class B’s best

Omaha Skutt hangs on to edge Aurora in battle of Class B\'s best
Omaha Skutt hangs on to edge Aurora in battle of Class B\’s best
nin a battle between two of the top teams in Class B, Omaha Skutt made a statement with postseason basketball right around the corner.

The No. 2 Skyhawks defeated No. 1 Aurora 73-68 Saturday at the Heartland Hoops Classic at the Heartland Event Center in Grand Island.

3-point field goals—OS 7-14 (Merfield 1-1, Bertucci 0-1, J. Gordan 0-1, T. Gordon 0-2, Kudron 2-4, Ash 4-5). A 8-25 (Reichardt 2-3, Herzberg 1-1, N. Boerkircher 1-1, I. Boerkircher 0-1, Pohlmann 2-5, Scheierman 2-8, Penner 0-1). Fouled out—T. Gordon. Rebounds—OS 18 (Skradski 7), A 22 (Penner 12). Assists—OS 14 (J. Gordon 5), A 11 (Scheierman 5). Turnovers—OS 12, A 14. Technicals—None

Skutt (18-3) maintained a double-digit lead for the majority of the game and held on when the Huskies (18-3)got hot from the 3-point line late to earn their 10th consecutive victory.

3-point field goals—OS 7-14 (Merfield 1-1, Bertucci 0-1, J. Gordan 0-1, T. Gordon 0-2, Kudron 2-4, Ash 4-5). A 8-25 (Reichardt 2-3, Herzberg 1-1, N. Boerkircher 1-1, I. Boerkircher 0-1, Pohlmann 2-5, Scheierman 2-8, Penner 0-1). Fouled out—T. Gordon. Rebounds—OS 18 (Skradski 7), A 22 (Penner 12). Assists—OS 14 (J. Gordon 5), A 11 (Scheierman 5). Turnovers—OS 12, A 14. Technicals—None

“Our kids are used to (the competition) now. They like the challenge, they except the challenge,” Skutt head coach Kyle Jurgens said. “We’ve played good teams with good players and they kind of like the challenge of guarding good players. I think you saw it tonight.”

Trailing 63-49 with 1:46 remaining in the game, Baylor Scheierman drilled two 3-pointers to give the Huskies life. Also in the fourth, Lukas Pohlman hit two triples and Nathan Boerkircher added another, but the Skyhawks shot 11 of 13 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to help seal it.

“I thought we did a really good job on (Scheierman). A couple times he got to the free-throw line. Other than those shots late, I thought we were real good,” Jurgens said. “Penner, too. Austin is a really good defender, he just gives up 50 pounds on (Penner), so a couple times around the rim he didn’t have the led in his pencil to move him but it wasn’t from lack of effort.”

“It is a team that they just don’t think that they’re ever going to lose. They have confidence all the way,” Aurora head coach Tom Leininger said. “Even late, they still thought they were going to come back and win it. Like I told them, they always think that they’re going to win it and I love that. Most of the time, they’ve been right the last three or four years.”

“It is a team that they just don’t think that they’re ever going to lose. They have confidence all the way,” Aurora head coach Tom Leininger said. “Even late, they still thought they were going to come back and win it. Like I told them, they always think that they’re going to win it and I love that. Most of the time, they’ve been right the last three or four years.”

Trailing 71-65 with 20 seconds remaining, Aurora gave the ball away for the 14th time in the game and the fourth time in the fourth quarter, effectively ending the game.

Trailing 63-49 with 1:46 remaining in the game, Baylor Scheierman drilled two 3-pointers to give the Huskies life. Also in the fourth, Lukas Pohlman hit two triples and Nathan Boerkircher added another, but the Skyhawks shot 11 of 13 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to help seal it.

Aurora employed a full-court press that was effective at times during the late run.

“Our kids are used to (the competition) now. They like the challenge, they except the challenge,” Skutt head coach Kyle Jurgens said. “We’ve played good teams with good players and they kind of like the challenge of guarding good players. I think you saw it tonight.”

“I was pretty happy with the full-court pressure at the end of the game. It turned them over. Unfortunately, we didn’t convert every time,” Leininger said. “We had a big one where we had another foul after we got turnover and another time where we turned it right back over to them. If we had been able to convert both of those, it could have been an even more of an interesting game.”

“(Skutt) is very athletic and they’ve got a lot of guys that can put it on the floor and a lot of guys that can shoot it and bigs inside,” Leininger said. “They’re tough and they make life difficult on you. We’ll have to get better to beat them.”

Omaha Skutt shot 54 percent from the field (24-44) and 50 percent from the 3-point line (7-14). Four first-half 3-pointers from Austin Ash helped Skutt get going.

In the second half, the Skyhawks were able to get to the rim with Tyson Gordon coming up with back-to-back key drives in the third quarter after Aurora briefly cut the deficit to six points.

Cade Reichart 4-8 3-3 13, Caden Schuster 0-1 0-0 0, Jayden Herzberg 4-6 0-0 9, Nathan Boerkircher 0-2 0-0 0, Lukas Pohlmann 3-6 0-0 8, Baylor Scheierman 6-16 5-5 19, Henry Penner 4-11 4-4 12, Jordan Stevenson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 24-53 12-12 68.

Center TJ Skradski scored three buckets in the fourth coming off drives and dump offs in the lane.

“The second half just killed us. They had middle drive after middle drive,” Leininger said. “We can’t do that. We can’t be successful doing that.”

Scheierman had 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Huskies on 6-of-16 shooting. Henry Penner added 12 points and 12 rebounds. The duo, who are the top two scorers on the team, had six combined points in the first half.

Andrew Merfield 2-3 3-4 8, Grant Bertucci 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson Gordon 5-10 4-5 14, Tyson Gordon 3-8 0-0 6, Jake Kudron 3-7 2-2 10, Austin Ash 5-8 4-4 18, Ryan McCormick 1-1 2-2 4, TJ Skradski 5-6 1-3 11. Totlas 24-44 16-20 73.

“I thought we did a really good job on (Scheierman). A couple times he got to the free-throw line. Other than those shots late, I thought we were real good,” Jurgens said. “Penner, too. Austin is a really good defender, he just gives up 50 pounds on (Penner), so a couple times around the rim he didn’t have the led in his pencil to move him but it wasn’t from lack of effort.”

In the second half, the Skyhawks were able to get to the rim with Tyson Gordon coming up with back-to-back key drives in the third quarter after Aurora briefly cut the deficit to six points.

The Huskies, who had won 13 straight entering the game, will finish the regular season against Beatrice (10-10) Monday then Holdrege Thursday.

Grand Island Central Catholic senior Mayra Almayra scores on his way to the basket during a Heartland Hoops Classic basketball game against Winnebago Saturday. (Independent/Andrew Carpenean)

“(Skutt) is very athletic and they’ve got a lot of guys that can put it on the floor and a lot of guys that can shoot it and bigs inside,” Leininger said. “They’re tough and they make life difficult on you. We’ll have to get better to beat them.”

OS: Andrew Merfield 2-3 3-4 8, Grant Bertucci 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson Gordon 5-10 4-5 14, Tyson Gordon 3-8 0-0 6, Jake Kudron 3-7 2-2 10, Austin Ash 5-8 4-4 18, Ryan McCormick 1-1 2-2 4, TJ Skradski 5-6 1-3 11. Totlas 24-44 16-20 73.

A: Cade Reichart 4-8 3-3 13, Caden Schuster 0-1 0-0 0, Jayden Herzberg 4-6 0-0 9, Nathan Boerkircher 0-2 0-0 0, Lukas Pohlmann 3-6 0-0 8, Baylor Scheierman 6-16 5-5 19, Henry Penner 4-11 4-4 12, Jordan Stevenson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 24-53 12-12 68.

Trailing 71-65 with 20 seconds remaining, Aurora gave the ball away for the 14th time in the game and the fourth time in the fourth quarter, effectively ending the game.

3-point field goals: OS 7-14 (Merfield 1-1, Bertucci 0-1, J. Gordan 0-1, T. Gordon 0-2, Kudron 2-4, Ash 4-5). A 8-25 (Reichardt 2-3, Herzberg 1-1, N. Boerkircher 1-1, I. Boerkircher 0-1, Pohlmann 2-5, Scheierman 2-8, Penner 0-1). Fouled out—T. Gordon. Rebounds—OS 18 (Skradski 7), A 22 (Penner 12). Assists—OS 14 (J. Gordon 5), A 11 (Scheierman 5). Turnovers—OS 12, A 14. Technicals—None

Aurora junior Cade Reichardt puts up a shot against Omaha Skutt Catholic junior TJ Skradski during the Heartland Hoops Classic Saturday. (Independent/Andrew Carpenean)

When Oak Hill and Sunrise Christian had been to the Heartland Hoops Classic, they played Goliath to the local underdogs, Omaha and Papillion kids with the same first two numbers in their zip codes.

Omaha Skutt shot 54 percent from the field (24-44) and 50 percent from the 3-point line (7-14). Four first-half 3-pointers from Austin Ash helped Skutt get going.

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