Scottsbluff splits final games in GNAC tourney: Bearcat girls get first win, boys lose two straight
     2013-01-03      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff senior Liz Cunningham drives the action down the court during a recent game against Chadron. Cunningham was top scorer in for the Lady Bearcats’ first win of the season over the weekend against Hastings. 
The Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament in Columbus offered the Scottsbluff basketball teams a little bit of success – which was good for the winless Bearcat girls but not so good for the previously unbeaten SHS boys.

The Bearcat boys ran their season-starting winning streak to eight but then lost their next two games to finish fourth.
And, after starting the regular season plus the GNAC tournament with seven straight losses, the Scottsbluff girls finally broke into the win column with their 45-33, seventh-place victory over Hastings.

For the first time this season, the Bearcat girls not only won but broke the 40-point barrier in scoring, jumping out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
“The girls came out and played hard,” said Scottsbluff coach Mike Burda, whose team led the winless Tigers 23-11 at halftime. “We were pressing throughout the entire game and the girls were so excited to win. We had been searching for that complete game.”

Senior Liz Cunningham led the Bearcats in scoring with 10 points, while junior Kiley Guerue and freshman Zoey Holscher added nine points apiece. Guerue pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds, while junior Toni Rosado had eight boards and Roseberry grabbed seven.
The win followed Scottsbluff’s 63-23 loss to undefeated Norfolk in the first round Thursday and a 51-27 consolation semifinal defeat to Columbus on Friday.

Against Norfolk, Rosado led the Bearcats with six points. No leaders were available from the Columbus game.
The Scottsbluff boys got off to a good start in the GNAC tournament with a 65-45 win over Columbus, but then the Bearcats ran into a tough Kearney team in the semifinals and were dealt a 52-42 loss for their first setback in 15 games stretching back to last year.
In Saturday’s third-place game, a battle of teams that lost their first games of the season on Friday, Scottsbluff was upended 59-45 by District B-6 opponent McCook.

In their win over Columbus, the Bearcats bolted to a 25-9 lead after one quarter and a 43-19 halftime advantage, fueled by senior Eric Moreno’s four 3-pointers. Moreno and Tyler Mickey shared team-leading scoring honors with 14 points apiece, while junior Taylor Winkler added 11 points.

Freshman Austin Clarkson led Scottsbluff in rebounds with 11, while Jackson Hinze had team highs of eight assists and three steals.
While the Bearcats shot 48 percent in beating Columbus, they struggled from the floor in their subsequent losses.
Against Kearney, Scottsbluff was just 34 percent successful in shooting. However, the Bearcats remained close to Kearney after closing within a point after being down 20-11.

But the Kearney Bearcats, after pulling back ahead 36-29 at third quarter’s end, outscored Scottsbluff 18-15 in the fourth period for the final 10-point win.
Senior Michael Hadden led Scottsbluff with 17 points and Moreno followed with 14 points and nine rebounds.
In playing for third on Saturday, the Bearcats again struggled from the floor by shooting 33 percent and fell behind McCook 18-4 after the first quarter. It proved to be a margin the Bison (7-1) maintained the remainder of the game.

Hadden led Scottsbluff again with 12 points along with eight rebounds and three assists. Winkler followed with 12 points. McCook had three double-figure scorers, led by Mack Alspaugh’s 20 and Sean Backer’s 16.
Scottsbluff’s next action will be Friday, when the girls play host to Alliance and the boys travel to Alliance. Both varsity games are set for 7 p.m. tipoffs.

The Bearcat boys then play Rapid City Stevens on Saturday at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace at 5 p.m. The Scottsbluff girls will then play at Gering on Tuesday, with the varsity contest at about 7 p.m.

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