Bearcat boys redeemed with win on the road
     2011-01-20      By Terry Gaston   
The Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team and coach Tony Siske found themselves in a hard-court version of “A Tale of Two Cities” last Friday and Saturday.
The Bearcats first played host to Cheyenne East on Friday and found the worst of times against the visiting Thunderbirds, who rolled out of the Scottsbluff High School gym with a 69-45 victory.
Scottsbluff then headed to Cheyenne on Saturday to face Central High, and this time the Bearcats found the best of times in beating the host Indians 56-50.
The Bearcats (10-4) used a 12-for-15 effort at the free-throw line en route to Saturday's victory, led by sophomore Michael Hadden's 8-of-9 effort, while Central struggled at the line with just 5 of 16 free throws falling.
Scottsbluff capped the win by rallying from a six-point deficit with 1:12 remaining. Junior Zach Clemens first made two free throws, then Hadden converted on a three-point play before Clemens scored the go-ahead basket. The Bearcats then completed the game-ending 12-0 run with five more points.
“We stepped up and made some big plays,” Siske said. “We got the win, but we still need to play better. We need to play a lot better by the timedistricts come around.”
Clemens led the Scottsbluff charge with 25 points and eight rebounds, while junior Rich Williams followed with 15 points and Hadden added 10.
“We just weren't quitting,” Siske said. “We had the lead the entire game, they they got a basket with three minutes to to ahead and got it up to six, and not quitting was the big thing.”
And the win was badly needed after the Bearcats were blown out of their own gym by Cheyenne East, a game that left Siske looking for badly needed answers.
East reeled off the last seven points of the first quarter to take a 15-11 lead away from Scottsbluff. The Bearcats drew to within a point at 21-20 in the first 2:10 of the second quarter, but the Thunderbirds went on a 13-4 run capped by junior Travis Hinder's back-breaking 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer for a 34-24 advantage.
Another 3-ball, of which East had six for the night, put the T-birds up 54-39 after three quarters, and East outscored the Bearcats 15-6 in the final quarter, ending the game with six unanswered points.
Clemens led all scorers with 17 points for Scottsbluff while Williams added 14. Senior Garrett Bradley paced East with 16 points, while Hinder hit three 3-pointers on his way to 15 points.
“They were a 27 percent 3-point shooting team, so we wanted to make them go outside,” Siske said of the Bearcats' ill-fated strategy. “That 3 at the end of the half, I think really gave them momentum.
“We turned the ball over 25 times. It wasn't even their pressure that hurt us. They had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds.”
Scottsbluff looks for more results like the Bearcats had at Cheyenne when they take on Twin Cities arch-rival Gering on Saturday. Action at the Gering High School gym begins at 4 with the sophomore game, followed by the junior varsity contest with the varsity battle starting at about 7 p.m.
The Bearcats will be off for another seven days before they return to the court at Sidney on Jan. 29.


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