Nebraska City improved its play on both ends of the court in a rematch with Gretna at the district tournament on Monday night at Lincoln Southeast. The Dragons (24-2), who are ranked No. 2 in Class B according to the Lincoln Journal Star, still found more than enough offense, unfortunately, to top the Pioneers (5-18) by the final score of 61-36, thus ending the Nebraska City’s season.
Brennen Bales provided a big spark to the Nebraska City team with outside shooting. And he started that right out of the gate, by nailing down six of the Pioneers’ first eight points on long range makes.
A Derek Riege steal and lay up had the Pioneers down 16-8 before Gretna responded with back-to-back conventional three-point plays to make the count 22-8 after one quarter.
Bales hit another three-point shot and Riege had another two-point basket. Tyler Levy added a pair of two-point buckets and the score was 35-17 in favor of the Dragons at half.
Nebraska City attempted to crawl back into the game during the third quarter. Jared Nemec hit a bucket, Riege went 2-for-2 at the free throw line and hit a bucket and Levy had a bucket to make it 40-26.
Bales hit 1-of-2 at the line at the end of the third quarter but, despite Bales hitting a trio of fourth quarter three-point shots, the Dragons never allowed Nebraska City to really get close.
A three-point basket by Gretna made it 61-36 and both teams subbed bench players who finished out the contest.
Although the final score was decisive for the No. 2 Dragons, the Pioneers improved their defensive outing, by nine points, and their offensive performance by 14 points.
That improvement was noted by Coach Scott Wissing.
“I thought we did a good job of staying within ourselves,” said Wissing. “All in all, I was extremely proud of them. They battled the entire game.”
In regards to Bales, who drilled six three-point shots and finished with 19 on the night, Coach Wissing said the Pioneer has played well here late in the campaign.
“He’s done a really good job at the end of the season in leading us offensively and defensively,” said Wissing.