Bearcat boys take two of three on road in Shoot-Out
     2011-02-17      By Terry Gaston    editor@geringcitizen.com
Scottsbluff boys' basketball coach Tony Siske watched his team win its sixth straight game last week in the opener of the three-day East-West Shoot-Out. After having the streak snapped on Friday at North Platte, the Bearcats began what they hope will be a streak that will take them through Class B district play and into the state tournament.

The Bearcats opened play Thursday with a 53-39 win at McCook but lost 58-53 on Friday at North Platte. Scottsbluff ended the Shoot-Out with a 58-48 victory at Lexington on Saturday.
“We would have liked to have gone 3-0, but we'll take the 2-1,” said Siske, whose team (16-5) won its sixth straight game and bagged its eighth victory in 10 games with the win over McCook. “We have two regular-season games left and just want to finish the season strong going into districts.”

The first quarter of the Shoot-Out was nothing short of streaky. Scottsbluff opened with a 7-0 lead before McCook responded with eight unanswered points to take a one-point lead into the second period.

The teams battled to a 17-all first-half draw before the Bearcats took over in the third, building a 36-28 lead and outscoring the Bison (13-8 after the weekend) in the final quarter 17-11.

“It was a long day of travel and we came out lackadaisical,” Siske said. “We started slow offensively but played great defensively. It took us about a half to get going, and then we made shots that count and that really was the difference.”

Junior Rich Williams hit three 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 15 points for Scottsbluff, while junior Zach Clemens followed with a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds and also highs of six steals and five assists. Sophomore Michael Hadden followed with nine points and four assists.

On Friday, the Bearcats traveled back up Highway 83 to face a North Platte team that began the game like the Bulldogs wanted to knock Scottsbluff out of the gym. North Platte (15-5 after the weekend) took advantage of another slow Bearcat start and led 38-22 at halftime.

“We didn't do a good job of things we wanted to do in the first half,” Siske said. “In the second half, we got shooting the shots that we wanted them to and we won the half (31-20).”

In a game with a limited number of turnovers, with just 14 for the Bearcats and nine for North Platte, two miscues late cost Scottsbluff a chance at a shot at erasing a 16-point halftime deficit and gaining a tie or possible victory.

Scotsbluff, still down by 14 after three quarters, closed to within two of the Bulldogs with just under 40 seconds remaining.

The Bearcats had the ball with a chance to tie or go ahead but turned the ball over. After North Platte increased its lead to three, Scottsbluff again turned the ball over, and the Bulldogs put the game away at the free-throw line.

Clemens had another double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Bearcats' 23-20 rebounding advantage in the game. Williams followed with 14 points and Hadden scored 11, while sophomore Matt Klein had a team-high four assists.

On Saturday, Scottsbluff found its first-half groove and had a 30-20 halftime lead before Lexington (4-19) rallied to lead by one midway through the third quarter.

The Bearcats responded by building as much as a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter to take the win and finish the Shoot-Out with a second victory.

“We had two good quarters, the second (19-10) and the end of the third quarter and part of the fourth,” Siske said. “We finished the third quarter very strong (leading 44-36).”

Clemens again fueled Scottsbluff with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Hadden had 12 points and six rebounds. Williams added 11 points, and Klein had 10 points and four assists.

Scottsbluff plays Gering at Western Nebraska Community College on Friday, looking to match its 68-51 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 22 in Gering.

In the week leading up to that first matchup, the Bearcats were rested and focused solely on Gering, while the Bulldogs had two tight victories, including a 50-49 win over Chadron the night before.
“They'll have more time to prepare for us so that gives them an advantage,” Siske said. “We just want to play better than last week. We always want to improve.”

The Bearcats complete regular-season play on Tuesday with a trip out Highway 26 to Torrington. District B-6 action begins Feb. 26 and continues Feb. 28 and March 1.


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