Omaha Skutt played host to a Class A-Class B crossover clash on Tuesday night as Lincoln Pius X made the trip up I-80, and the SkyHawk girls and boys both defended home court to continue their undefeated seasons.
The Skutt girls beat the Thunderbolts 45-39, while the SkyHawk boys beat Pius 56-51. Here are five thoughts on the games.
Big Swings in Both Games
Both games featured some crazy swings.
In the girls game, Skutt led 9-7 after one and then Pius opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run, holding onto the lead the rest of the half. Skutt pulled ahead by the end of the third quarter, however, and then opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 start to push the lead to nine midway through the period, which was enough of a cushion to hold on for the win.
In the boys game, Pius closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 16-9 lead. Skutt turned the tables in the second quarter, however opening the period with a 12-2 run to surge ahead. Skutt led by two at halftime, but Brady Christiansen and Grant Dvorak went back and forth in the third quarter. Christiansen, a Washburn commit, scored the first five points of the quarter, then Dvorak answered with a 9-2 run with three triples. JJ Ferrin hit a crazy 3 at the buzzer to give Skutt a 36-31 lead after three. Pius cut the deficit to one possession multiple times throughout the fourth, but Skutt held on to win.
Both SkyHawks teams made things tougher than they needed to be in the fourth quarter, however, combining to shoot 16-of-29 from the foul line, which left the door open for the Thunderbolts but proved to be just enough to hold on.
Supporting Casts Step Up
The girls game featured a pair of stars in Skutt sophomore Peyton McCabe (the younger sister of Fremont senior and Iowa commit Taylor McCabe) and Pius junior Adison Markowski (the sister of Nebraska freshman Alexis Markowski), and they combined for seven points on 3-of-19 shooting as both sides defended the other really well.
However, others stepped up to make it a game. For the SkyHawks, senior Victoria Van Dyke led the way with 11 points including six in the fourth quarter. She hit a big 3-pointer and went 3-for-4 from the line to help the SkyHawks seal the victory. Junior forward Madison Livingston chipped in eight points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting as Skutt’s starting post dealt with foul trouble early.
For the Thunderbolts, senior Charlee Hagedorn led all scorers with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting (1-of-1 from 3) and 2-of-2 from the line plus four assists. Junior Makenna Lesiak added 11 points off the bench on 4-of-7 from the filed (2-of-3 from 3) and 1-of-2 from the line. Hagedorn and Lesiak combined to score 11 of Pius’ 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Bolts tried to rally.
Bombs Away for the Skutt Boys
On the boys side, Skutt has a physical advantage over most of the Class A teams it plays, let alone any Class B foes it might match up with. The Thunderbolts start a physical 6-foot-6 forward and two 6-foot-7 wings in Brady Christiansen and Jack and Sam Hastreiter, and their game plan is usually to pound it inside.
The Bolts did outscore the SkyHawks in the paint and at the free-throw line, but the SkyHawks — with their own big front line in 6-foot-8 junior Jake Brack, 6-foot-7 senior Nate Zuroske and 6-foot-9 junior Jack Healy — made things tough enough inside that the math worked out in their favor as the SkyHawks shot 10-of-23 from deep (compared to just 8-of-22 inside the arc and 10-of-16 from the charity stripe). Pius, on the other hand, went 2-for-11.
Junior JJ Ferrin is one of the better shooters in Class B and although Pius made his looks tough and forced him to be more a volume shooter, he still hit four triples and finished with a game-high 18 points. Senior Grant Dvorak went 3-for-4 from 3 in the third quarter (where Skutt scored all 12 of its points from the arc) and finished with 12 points. Junior Gabe Edstrand knocked down two bigs 3s (on three attempts) off the bench as well.
Young Bigs with Bright Futures
The boys game featured a pair of versatile big men with bright futures. Brack was one of four SkyHawks in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting including 1-of-2 from deep and he grabbed four boards as well before fouling out. Brack was matched up with Sam Hastreiter, Pius’ leading scorer and a North Dakota State signee, and he held his own pretty well for much of the game. However, Pius got the ball inside to Hastreiter on nearly every possession so he could go at the younger big man, eventually leading to two fouls in the first quarter.
Pius outscored Skutt 9-0 the rest of the quarter after Brack took a seat, illustrating his importance. Brack showed off the ability to stretch the floor out to the 3-point line and he finished in the post a couple of times as well. He’s attracting Division I interest at this point as a South Dakota State assistant was in the building to watch him on Tuesday.
On the other side, 6-foot-8 sophomore Treyson Anderson provided a big spark off the bench for the Bolts, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line, five rebounds (four offensive) and two blocks. Anderson offers an intriguing blend of size, length and touch and will be one to watch down the line as he continues to add strength.
Running the Table?
The Skutt boys improved to 14-0 on the season and have already played five of what might be their six toughest games of the regular season. Teams like Norris and Elkhorn could be a little frisky down the line, but the toughest challenge remaining for the SkyHawks is likely a road game at Bennington next Tuesday. If the SkyHawks get past the Badgers, we very well could be looking at a team that runs the table in Class B.
The girls are 15-0 as well including an upset win at reigning Class B champion Elkhorn North. The SkyHawks have one really tough game remaining in the regular season: a trip to a Norris team that is currently 14-1. Regardless of how that game goes, the Class B playoffs should be fun with the SkyHawks, Wolves and Titans all heading in feeling that they’ve got a great shot at winning the whole thing.
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.