Gering girls look to build off tough loss
     2011-01-06      By Terry Gaston   
Gering Lady Bulldog Morgan Greene fights for the ball against Mitchell in this recent file photo. 
While his Gering girls’ basketball team went winless last week in the Holdrege Holiday Tournament, Bulldogs coach Adam Freeburg said he expects to see improvement from his squad as it begins a stretch of five home games in its next six contests.

The young Bulldogs opened play last Tuesday with a 50-33 loss to Word of Life Traditional School (WOLTS) of Wichita, Kan., and had a late lead against Hershey in the third-place game before they fell to the Panthers, 43-40.

“I liked that we played two really good teams,” said Freeburg, whose youthful team fell to 3-6 on the still young season. “It was competition that will make us play better. And we improved on our free throws, with is a huge area where we needed to do better.”

Indeed, the Bulldogs were 63 percent (29-for-46) from the free throw line for the two days, nearly 15 percent better than their team average of 48 percent before the Christmas break.

Senior Jordan Plummer fueled that turnaround by hitting all eight of her free shots on her way to scoring 10 points against WOLTS. Junior Morgan Greene led the Bulldogs with 12 points, but the Fire from Wichita had two players combine for 39 points to score the big win.

“They were bigger and very athletic, but we hung in there,” said Freeburg, whose team trailed the Fire by just 35-31 after three quarters. “Their athleticism just got the best of us.”

Gering had a 38-36 advantage in rebounds, however, with Green, Plummer and junior Kerissa Mitchell each grabbing seven boards.

In what could have been a disastrous third-place game, Gering rallied from an early 12-0 deficit and had a five-point lead over Hershey late in the game.

“We were up late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t finish it,” Freeburg said. “But we were down right away and fought an uphill battle, and I liked how the girls fought back. They couldn’t have folded but didn’t.”

Greene was 6-for-8 at the line and hit two out of three 3-pointers to score a game-high 18 points for the Bulldogs. Junior Bryana Larsen led the Bulldogs’ 39-26 advantage in rebounds with 10 and Plummer added seven boards.

“We just need to keep believing in each other and good things will start to happen,” Freeburg said.

Gering has five of its next six games at home.

The Bulldogs open the 2011 portion of their schedule on Friday when they entertain Sidney, and then they welcome the Scottsbluff Bearcats to the GHS gym on Tuesday. After a Jan. 13 visit to Cheyenne East, Gering plays host to Gordon-Rushville two days later.

“It helps to play at home,” Freeburg said. “These are all tough teams coming in, but we just have to keep believing.”

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