The Class B No. 8 Blair girls basketball team entered Thursday's home game 7-3.
Unranked Omaha Skutt was 4-9.
Still, the Bears don't beat the perennial contending Skyhawks — at least not since 2007, according to . That's, in part, what made BHS' 55-51victory so satisfying.
“I'm so happy right now,” junior Ella Ross said. “I'm so pumped I can't contain it.”
Maicy Lourens, another Blair junior, concurred.
“There's literally no better feeling than watching your team kick butt against a team we've really wanted to beat for a long time,” she said.
Coach Matt Aschoff's 8-3 Bears started fast with 3s from Sophia Grantham and Makayla Baughman, and finished strong a few more by Ross. Altogether, the shots added up to a rare win against Skutt even after the Skyhawks took a 42-37 fourth-quarter lead.
Blair led by as many as 14 points early on, but here it was, down in the fourth with just more than 5 minutes to go.
“We just had to believe in ourselves,” Lourens said. “This is the type of team we are this year. We can come back from pretty much anything.”
Sami Murray banked in a 3-pointer to cut Skutt's lead to two before, less than 2 minutes later, Ross banked in another to put the Bears back on top, 45-44.
“I was nervous because I wasn't doing so hot in the beginning,” Ross said. “But I was like, 'My team trusts me. They told me to shoot.' The only way to get out of a slump is to keep shooting.”
The junior — who finished with 13 points — hit a corner 3 to extend BHS' lead to four before Grantham's smooth, left-handed layup fell for a 50-44 advantage.
The Bears struggled from the foul line from there, but Ross' two makes with 2.5 seconds left clinched her squad's eighth win of the season.
“We kind of just had to go back to our fundamentals and know that every little thing counts,” Lourens said.
To Blair, a tight win against Skutt — with a player key to BHS' strong start, Avory French, out injured — counted. The Bears made it count as a win rather than a loss with a late display of poise.
“Aschoff puts us in these situations in practice all of the time,” Grantham said. “We're prepared for these types of situations.”
The senior scored a game-high 17 points, playing a majority of the game with the ball in her hands. Baughman added 10, Lourens had six, and Murray, Maggie Valasek and Kaitlyn Jonson combined nine.
“This team has a lot of heart,” Grantham said. “We play for each other. We're like one big happy family.”
That family celebrated Thursday's win with a gym full of people on their feet.