Clemens leads Bearcat boys past Smith, Bulldogs
     2011-01-27      By Terry Gaston   
A well-rested Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team got the best of a Gering squad that was playing its fourth game in eight days, with the Bearcats taking a 68-51 victory Saturday night at the Gering High School gym.

In an offensive battle that turned into the Battle of the Zachs, Scottsbluff junior Zach Clemens outdueled Gering senior Zach Smith 29 points to 23.

“They really put on quite a show,” Bearcats coach Tony Siske said. “They are two really good players who stood out.”

Clemens made 14 of 19 shots from the floor and also had eight rebounds. The Bearcats' next-leading scorer was junior Rich Williams with nine points, while sophomore Michael Hadden and senior Shane Weyrich added seven apiece.

Smith connected on 9 of 14 shots in reaching the 23-point mark for the third straight game and the 20 mark for the fourth consecutive outing.

Junior Dillon Wademan followed Smith with eight points, while senior Gunnar Britsch had a team-high five rebounds along with seven points.

The Bearcats bolted to a 10-4 lead, built it to a 21-11 advantage after one quarter and answered an 8-4 Gering run in the second period to lead 36-27 at halftime.

“Scottsbluff just played well,” Gering coach Randy Plummer said. “They got off to a great start. We gave them too many inside shots and just let them catch and shoot inside. It was kind of a combination of having the wrong game plan and the wrong frame of mind.”

The Scottsbluff lead grew in the second half, with the Bearcats up 53-39 after three quarters before settling in with the 16-point victory margin.
“I thought the kids executed really well,” said Siske, whose team (11-4) had been off since Jan. 15. “We wanted to handle the press and we wanted to contain Smith. I felt he had to earn his points.”

Gering (9-5) had a busy week prior to the Twin Cities rivalry matchup, scoring comeback victories Tuesday and Friday.

“We made a couple efforts to come back, but we just got too far behind and couldn't come back,” Plummer said. “We'll learn from this one and get ready for the next game.”

The Bearcats (11-4) return to the court at Sidney on Saturday.

“Sidney is playing really well,” Siske said of the Red Raiders (7-7), who play Friday night at Chadron. “We'll have to come out and compete again and play well.”

Gering heads to Alliance on Friday for the first of six straight road games. The Bulldogs and Bearcats then meet at Cougar Palace at Western Nebraska Community College on Feb. 18.

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