The Omaha Skutt SkyHawks swept the Bennington Badgers on Tuesday night in a varsity double-header. The boys dominated the second half to pull away while the girls raced out to a big lead early and never looked back.
Here are four thoughts on the boys game and a bonus fifth thought on the win for the short-handed girls squad.
Skutt Seniors Lead the Way
Skutt returned just two starters from the 2020 Class B state champion. That duo has led the way for the SkyHawks all season and Tuesday was no different.
Senior guard Charlie Fletcher led all scorers with 20 points and also added six rebounds, three assists and three steals to his stat line. He struggled with his shot from the perimeter, but the 6-foot-1 slasher is so tough to stop when he gets downhill. He’s a terrific finisher and has great touch on in-between shots as well.
Luke Skar, a 6-foot-4 senior center, set a school record for field goal percentage at over 70% last season, and the Badgers had no answer for him in the first half. Skar scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half, shooting 7-of-11 overall and pulling down eight rebounds, five of which were on the offensive end. The lefty is a big body with a soft touch around the rim and a motor that doesn’t stop.
Fletcher and Skar form one of the best one-two punches in Class B.
One of the biggest compliments a defense can pay to an opponent is to face-guard him all game long, and that’s exactly what Skutt did with Bennington junior Austin Holtz.
The 5-foot-10 guard is one of the top scorers in Class B, averaging better than 18 points while shooting 38% on more than nine 3-point attempts per game heading into Tuesday’s game. He’d scored in single digits just once all season — Bennington’s loss to Elkhorn the first week of the season.
On Tuesday, he finished with just two points on 1-of-4 shooting. He didn’t attempt a shot in the second half. He fired up just one 3-pointer. Even the one bucket he made was an incredibly difficult shot.
Skutt junior Grant Dvorak drew the primary assignment and did a great job of staying disciplined and not relaxing. Holtz has an incredibly quick release and doesn’t need much space to get a shot off and make it, but he didn’t have any space at all most of the game.
In addition to his work on defense, Dvorak chipped in eight points on 3-of-4 shooting including 2-of-2 from deep in the third quarter.
Seth the Super Sub
Bennington’s starting five combined to score 15 points against Skutt. The only reason the Badgers were in the game into the third quarter was junior guard Seth Wempen. He came off the bench to score a season-high 17 points on 7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3 and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.
Wempen scored at all three levels with a. Couple of tough finishes, a nice floater, a pull-up jumper and a couple of 3s. He’s scored in double figures in three of Bennington’s last four games and is now averaging 7.6 points per game in eight games (he didn’t play until Bennington’s seventh game of the season). As teams continue to key in on Holtz, Bennington is going to need Wempen to keep producing offensively.
Skutt jumped out to a 22-11 lead early in the second quarter, but the Badgers showed some resiliency to cut the deficit down to four before a three-point play by Fletcher sent the SkyHawks into halftime with a 31-24 lead.
Tyler LeClair scored the first five points of the third quarter to make it a two-point game. Then Skutt locked in on defense, Bennington went cold on offense and it got out of hand in a hurry. Skutt outscored the Badgers 22-4 over the next 11 or so minutes, turning a two-point game into a 20-point blowout.
Bennington shot 7-of-23 from the filed including 2-of-11 from 3 in the second half. The SkyHawks scored more points in the fourth quarter (18) than the Badgers did in the entire second half (17).
Seven different SkyHawks scored in the second half as Skutt shot 12-of-21 from the field including 3-of-6 from deep.
No Krause, No Problem
The SkyHawks are one of the top teams in Class B, but they’re going to be without a key piece moving forward as 6-foot-4 senior post Lindsay Krause suffered a knee injury playing club volleyball over the weekend. The future Husker hopes to return before the end of the season, but it won’t be any time soon.
The SkyHawks showed they still have plenty of firepower and defensive chops without Krause in their first game post-injury as Skutt blew out Bennington 67-45. The SkyHawks hit their first six shots from the field and raced out to a 15-0 lead, and the Badgers trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
Senior guard Cece Behrens, an Omaha soccer commit, exploded for 22 points in the first half before finishing with 26 points and nine rebounds (six offensive). Freshman guard Peyton McCabe, the younger sister of Fremont star and 2022 Iowa commit Taylor McCabe, scored 11 points and shot 3-of-5 from deep. Freshman Addison Burt added nine points on 3-of-6 shooting, four assists and three boards.
Even without Krause protecting the rim, Skutt held Bennington to 9-of-26 (34.6%) inside the arc. Hopefully Krause can return in time for the postseason, but in the meantime the SkyHawks should still have enough talent to remain near the top of the Class B standings.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.