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03/07/2014 - GIRLS STATE BASKETBALL: Benson's Third Run Halts Northeast Comeback

By Jeff Motz

Omaha Benson flexed their muscle in the third quarter and took control of their semifinal game with Lincoln Northeast Friday night.

The Bunnies used a 14-3 third quarter run to beat the Rockets 51-38 in the semifinals of the NSAA Class A Girls State Basketball Tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena.  The win puts Benson in the Class A championship game Saturday at 6:30pm against Bellevue West, who defeated Millard West in the other semifinal.

After leading 24-22 at halftime, Benson (25-2) got the run started on a three-pointer from Montrese Weller.  Once Northeast got a free throw from Tantashea Giger, the Bunnies went on a spurt that saw Tashiana Coffiel-Nelson, Kylee Askew and Abrieal Benson, who had five points in the quarter, along with another basket from Weller extend the lead to 38-23 with under a minute left.  

Shaneequah Watkins added two free throws for Northeast, but Benson led 38-25 heading to the fourth quarter.  Watkins and Giger combined for 11 points in the final quarter to help the Rockets rally to within nine at 43-34.  

Benson hit nine free throws late that kept the Rockets out of reach with under 2:00 left.

Weller finished with 14 points to lead Benson.  Giger led Northeast with 14 points and Watkins added 12.  Rocket center Toni Tupper scored all eight of her points in the first half.
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