Tip-off of Skutt and Bennington Courtesy: Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) Twitter

The Omaha Skutt Skyhawks and Bennington Badgers got the Boys Class B State Tournament kicked off Thursday afternoon with a fun one-eight seed match-up. Bennington fought hard, but they could not get it done, as the Skyhawks won this first-round game 56-40.

Omaha Skutt entered the game as the tournament’s top seed with a 22-3 record. Skutt came up just short of a title last season, finishing as runners-up. They will try to avenge that loss and win their first state championship since 2020. Their first test would not be an easy one. Despite being the eighth seed, Bennington had some impressive wins earlier in the season, including Scottsbluff (three seed) and Elkhorn (fourth seed).

The game got off to a slow start as Skutt led just 9-4 after a quarter. Six of those points came off of two smooth, in-rhythm three-pointers by Justin Ferrin. Skutt big man Jack Healy also made a big impact with two monster blocks.

One of the themes of the first half was Bennington’s inability to overcome their height disadvantage. This was exemplified in the second-quarter battle between Bennington’s Trey Bird, a 6’2 guard, with Skutt’s Jacob Brack, a 6’8 forward. Bird fought valiantly, at one point skying over Brack for a nice mid-range basket. Despite the effort, the frontcourt duo of Brack and Jack Healey proved tough for Bennington to solve. Skutt took a 21-11 lead into the half after Justin Ferrin hit a tough floater at the buzzer.

This game looked like it could get out of hand at the start of the second half, as Skutt had extended their lead to as high as 19 at one point. However, Bennington was able to pull it back with an impressive run in the late third quarter. This stretch was led by Gunnar Lym, who had seven points in the quarter. Heading into the final quarter, the Skyhawks led 35-24.

Early in the fourth, it looked like the comeback may be possible for Bennington. They were building momentum and had cut the lead to single digits. Unfortunately for the Badgers, it would not come to pass. Skutt would eventually regain their footing and run away with it as they won it 56-40.

Jacob Ferrin led Skutt; he had 15 points, three assists, and three rebounds. The frontcourt duo of Jacob Brack and Jack Healey also played a huge part in the win. Both had 12 points and five rebounds. Gunnar Lym was a bright spot for Bennington in the loss. He finished with 11 points after a nice second half. 

Omaha Skutt will advance to the semi-finals and take on the winner of Elkhorn and Crete.

Noah Jones is a freshman Sports Media and Communications major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a first-year student from York, Nebraska. In his free time, he enjoys playing baseball, soccer, and basketball.