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02/01/2014 - GIRLS BASKETBALL: Top-Ranked Benson Survives Third-Ranked Northeast

By Jeff Motz

Omaha Benson rolled into the Ed Johnson Gym Saturday night expecting a challenge and they survived it.

The Class A No. 1 Bunnies got 15 points and 12 rebounds from all-stater Kianna Ibis to earn a 40-37 girls basketball win over Class A third-ranked Lincoln Northeast.

Defensively, Benson (14-2) shut down Northeast's senior center and top scorer Toni Tupper, allowing just one point and one shot attempt from the field.  But Ibis got help on offense from Montrese Weller, who hit two big three-pointers and a layup to help the Bunnies outscore the Rockets 17-2 for a 25-17 halftime lead.  

Northeast freshman guard Nigeria Jones scored a basket right before halftime, which led to a 13-0 run in the third quarter for a 28-25 lead, keeping Benson scoreless until 1:09 left when Ibis scored on a layup.  Weller banked a three-pointer in at the end of the third quarter right before the buzzer to give the Bunnies a 30-28 lead.

After a Tantesha Giger scored for Northeast early into the final period, Benson went on an 8-0 run for a 38-31 lead.  The Rockets climbed back to within one, but Ibis hit a pair of free throws to give Benson a 40-36 lead.  Tupper's one free throw with four seconds to play put Northeast within three, marking the final score of the game.

Weller added 13 points for Benson, while Jones led all Northeast scorers with 10 points.

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