Scottsbluff teams get good warm-up against Kimball
     2012-11-29      By Terry Gaston   
Photos by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen
Senior Michael Hadden stuffs the basket Monday against the Kimball Longhorns. The final score was 85-47 during this season warm-up, which does not factor in the teams' season.
 
SCOTTSBLUFF – While the scores were unofficial Monday night, what was official was the chance for both Scottsbluff boys’ basketball coach Tony Siske and Bearcat girls’ coach Mike Burda to get a good look at their teams against competition after two weeks of practice.
Both coaches’ answers after emerging from the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame Jamboree event at the Scottsbluff High School with unofficial winning scores were that plenty of work remains before either team is at top level.

The Bearcat boys – who have some good returning experience from their Class B state championship season but many more newcomers otherwise – posted a convincing, 85-47 unofficial winning score against Kimball in a full-game scrimmage in which every Scottsbluff player scored.

“In spurts, we looked OK,” Siske said. “I know I didn’t like, we have to get a lot tougher defensively, rebounding-wise.

“Everything we’re doing this year is new and it’s going to take time. I’ve got to be patient and I have to keep reminding myself that 11 of the 16 guys who have been practicing are freshmen or sophomores.”

As they did last season, the Bearcats begin the year with a key returning starter sidelined because of a serious injury. Senior guard Matt Klein broke his right hand in the first day of practice on Nov. 12, and Siske said “it’s going to be a while” before Klein returns.

“Not much you can do,” Siske said of Klein’s injury, likened to last year’s foot injury that kept leading scorer and rebounder Zach Clemens sidelined largely until January.

“Like I told the team, it happened early and we’re going to take the positives out of it. The positives are that it was the first day and maybe we will get him back a little sooner. And then the other thing is we get to build more depth that way, someone’s going to play minutes that they wouldn’t hat gotten otherwise.”

Senior forward Eric Moreno score nine first-quarter points and had 14 at halftime before finishing with a team-high 16 points. Sophomore guard Trent Harris had two 3-pointers on his way to scoring 13 points, and freshman forward Austin Clarkson also scored 13 in a strong first varsity-like performance.

Senior guard Taylor Winkler also had two 3-pointers on his way to 10 points. Sophomore guard Jackson Hinze also had two 3-balls in scoring eight points. In all, the Bearcats hit on 11 treys.

In addition to Moreno and Klein when he is able to play, senior forward Michael Hadden – who had just four first-quarter points in limited action – also returns to the starting lineup.

Siske used 11 players Monday night – junior Beau Lofink is also out with an injury – and has many questions regarding personnel heading into Thursday’s season-opening game against Chadron in the Western Conference Tournament.

“I don’t think anything is set at this point, and it may take two weeks’ worth of games to really get it set,” Siske said. “I thought some guys did some good things tonight and probably exceeded expectations, (while) some guys didn’t live up to expectations and that’s kind of how it has been with this group, and we’re just looking for consistency.”

The Bearcat girls rode junior guard Kiley Guerue’s 15 points in outscoring Kimball 50-43. Guerue, a part-time starter last season, had seven of her points in the fourth quarter to keep the Longhorns at bay after Scottsbluff led 39-32 after three quarters.

“I thought we did a good job,” Burda said. “It was a pretty sloppy game, but for a first game-like situation, I thought we played fairly well on the offensive end. We shot fairly well, got a lot of buckets in transition.

“Defensively, we didn’t do a great job. We had a lot of fouls, didn’t move our feet and got ourselves in bad situations.

Senior returnee Alexus Pinedo followed with 11 points, igniting the Bearcats with nine second-quarter points on their way to a 30-24 halftime lead. Freshman newcomer Zoe Holscher added nine points.
Senior Brayden Auer also returns after seeing varsity action last season. Otherwise, the Bearcats are very young and will need time to mesh, Burda said.

“The majority of the girls who played tonight haven’t played varsity basketball, so it’s a young group and there is some potential there though,” Burda said.

Both Bearcat teams make their season and Western Conference Tournament opening action Thursday against Chadron at the SHS gym. The girls will meet at 5:30 p.m. and the boys will follow at about 7 p.m.

Both Scottsbluff teams will play either Gering or Torrington in Friday's semifinal action. The winners' bracket game will be at Western Nebraska Community College's Cougar Palace, with the girls' contest at 5 p.m. and the boys playing at about 8 p.m.

A loss to Chadron would put either Scottsbluff team in its own gym for Friday's consolation semifinals. The girls' game is set for a 5 p.m. start, with the boys tipping off at about 8 p.m.

Saturday's finals would have the girls' championship at WNCC at 5 p.m. and the boys' title game at 6:45 p.m.


Bearcat Liz Cunningham makes her way through Kimball defenders at Monday's warm up game against the Longhorns. The Bearcats outscored Kimball 50-43.

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