Scottsbluff boys win two, girls one in Shoot Out action
     2013-02-14      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff senior Alexis Pinedo drives to the net with opposition from McCook’s Megan Ruppert. While the Lady Bearcats were defeated by McCook 72-43, they realized their second season win against Lexington on Thursday night.  
Many a basketball fans’ eyes were drawn toward McCook last Friday night and the Bison boys’ second match-up of the season against the Scottsbluff Bearcats, teams that were ranked in the top three of state newspaper and the Class B power point ratings.

Those who saw the game, or viewed or listened to it via media and technology, certainly got their money and time’s worth from the game, which finished in the equivalent of five quarters.

Scottsbluff withstood McCook’s last-second attacks that put the Bison ahead at halftime then forced overtime and the second extra session before the Bearcats shut out McCook in the second overtime and escaped with a 60-57 victory.

The game was the second in the annual East-West Shoot-Out, a three-game series that this year saw the Scottsbluff boys go 2-1 on the road and the Bearcat girls win the first of their three home games before falling in the other two at the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium.

Friday’s Scottsbluff-McCook boys’ battle lived up to its hype of matching two 16-3 teams, with the top seed in the upcoming District B-6 Tournament likely at stake. McCook had beaten the Bearcats 59-45 in the third-place game of the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament on Dec. 29.

In Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske’s eyes, what was the biggest factor for the Bearcats in gaining the victory? “That we can get a win under some tough circumstances and in a fun environment,” he said.

Scottsbluff overcame three last-second baskets by the Bison, first at the halftime buzzer that put McCook ahead 30-27, and another buzzer-beater that put the Bison on top 42-39 after three quarters.

Senior Sean Backer’s 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime knotted the score at 57-all. But it would be the last points McCook would score after the Bearcats clamped down on defense and got a basket from senior Taylor Winkler and a free throw by senior Eric Moreno.

“To overcome the three buzzer-beaters that they took, those are big momentum plays,” Siske said. “Then you battle and take the lead in overtime and play tough defense, then they hit the tough three and send it into the second overtime.

“You come to the bench real quick and got to go back out there and compete again. Our kids did a good job of dealing with that kind of stuff.”

In the final 30 seconds, it was Scottsbluff’s defense that kept McCook from finding Backer, who missed an off-balance, last-second try, or some other Bison player open to force a third extra period.

“On the very last one we played good D,” Siske said. “The shooter got off a running fade-away on one foot, so we played good D and luckily it hit the rim and it bounced out. We got our hand on the ball once or twice and it just made things tough on them.”

The Bearcats and Bison were nearly tied on field-goal percentage, with Scottsbluff at 37.2 percent (19-for-51) and McCook at 37.7 percent (23-for-61). The Bearcats ripped 10 3-pointers (still at 37 percent) while McCook was just 6 of 23 from the arc (26 percent).

Moreno led Scottsbluff with 22 points, on 6 of 15 field goals that included five 3-pointers, and grabbed 14 rebounds. Senior Matthew Klein followed with a 5-for-7 performance from the 3-point arc on his way to a 6-for-10 night and 21 points. Klein also had eight rebounds, a category the Bearcats led 40-34. Senior Michael Hadden added 12 points and had three steals.

Backer led McCook (16-5 after losing Saturday to Gering) with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Cody Wudtke added 14 points and seven boards for the Bison.

That win followed Scottsbluff’s big 81-33 romp over Lexington, a game the Bearcats began with a 21-2 first-quarter run and scored 21 again in the second and fourth quarters.

“I thought we played really good Thursday night, especially defensively, and that’s the end where we’re certainly kicking it up and we’re getting after it,” said Siske, whose team held Lexington to just 29.7 percent shooting (11-for-37) while forcing 21 Minutemen turnovers and making 12 steals.

Scottsbluff ripped the nets at a 63.7 percent clip (32-for-51), including going 11-for-23 (47.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Bearcats held a slim 26-21 edge in rebounding.

Moreno hit 5 of 7 shots, including 4 of 6 from 3-point land, to score a game-high 16 points. Klein followed with 10 points that included two treys, and he made three steals.

Hadden, while held to six points on 3 of 5 shooting, had a team-high five rebounds. Sophomore Jackson Hinze dished out six assists and tied Klein in steals with three.

In a battle of state-ranked teams on Saturday, however, the combination of playing a tough Class A North Platte Bulldogs squad and perhaps some road weariness caught up with the Bearcats in a 65-45 loss.

North Platte (15-5), which is sixth in the Class A power points, shot a staggering 58.1 percent while holding Scottsbluff – second in Class B power points – to 41 percent shooting. The Bearcats had a 21-15 lead after one quarter but were outscored 18-5 by the Bulldogs, who led 33-26 at halftime.

North Platte peppered Scottsbluff inside behind Kade Erickson’s 24 points that included four 3-pointers and 10-for-16 shooting overall. Jack Kenny was good on all three of his 3-point attempts and made 6 of 8 shots on his way to a 16-point afternoon.

Hadden paced the Bearcats (17-4) with 17 points, hitting all seven of his free throws and 5 of 11 field shots, while Moreno also was 5-for-11 and hit all three free throws – the two combined for Scottsbluff’s 100 percent free-throw shooting effort – on his way to 14 points.

Hadden and Moreno shared team-high rebounding honors with five apiece – the Bearcats were out-rebounded 25-17 – and Hadden had a team-high three assists.

“I think that we’re getting back to full strength and getting everyone practicing and getting everyone on the same page,” Siske said. “I think we’re just starting to play the way you need to be playing at the end of the season.”

Bearcat girls score breakthrough victory
Just because the Scottsbluff girls’ basketball team went through January and the first weekend of February without a win doesn’t mean the Bearcats haven’t put forth the effort needed to gain a scoreboard victory.

The Bearcats’ determination was rewarded Thursday night with a 46-29 win over Lexington in the first of three games in the annual East-West Shoot-Out.

“The girls did a good job,” said Scottsbluff girls’ coach Mike Burda, whose team jumped out to an 11-2 lead, which was whittled back to 11-8, before the Bearcats shut out the Minutemaids for more than nine minutes and went on an 18-0 run to lead 29-8 at halftime.

“The girls came out and played hard on defense and they were able to get some points in transition. The biggest positive is that the girls haven’t given up. It’s been a rough season, and to get a win is a good thing for them.”

Scottsbluff was led by junior Toni Rosado, who finished with of 12 points and eight rebounds. Junior Kiley Guerue led all scorers with 14 points and four steals, while senior Alexus Pinedo added seven points.

The Minutemaids (7-16 after a 0-3 weekend in the Panhandle) were paced by Molly Woockman, who finished with six points on the two 3-pointers.

Both teams were solid from the free-throw line, with Scottsbluff going 10-for-15 from the charity stripe while Lexington was 11-for-16. Eight of Lexington’s free throws came in the final period.

“They rebounded well, ran the transition well,” Burda said. “I’m just proud of the girls for the effort they have put in this season. It paid off with the win. A lot of girls got to play and that’s what we need so they get that experience.”

Scottsbluff (2-18) was stopped short of another victory the rest of the weekend, losing Friday to McCook 72-43 and Saturday to North Platte 61-39.

Against McCook, which improved to 19-3 after an undefeated weekend, Scottsbluff jumped out to a 14-12 lead before the Bison finished the first quarter with an 11-2 run for a 23-16 lead after the opening eight minutes. McCook then caught fire in the second quarter and led 45-24 at halftime.

Brooklyn Trew fueled four McCook double-figure scorers with 17 points, while Guerue and Rosado led the Bearcats with 10 points apiece.

Against North Platte (10-10), the visiting Bulldogs led 36-22 at halftime and put the game away with a 15-3 run in the third quarter.

North Platte had four girls score in double figures, led by Allison Sawyer’s 14 points. Guerue led Scottsbluff with 13 points.

The Bearcats will play host to Gering on Friday at the SHS gym, with the girls’ game starting at 5:30 and the boys following at about 7 p.m. The doors will open for admission at 4:30 p.m.

The Scottsbluff teams then travel to Rapid City on Saturday to face Central. The Scottsbluff boys will close out regular-season action Tuesday at Torrington, while the girls begin District B-6 action Tuesday at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.

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