Bearcat boys ride Moreno's 9 treys past Bulldogs - Gering girls score season-high 57 points in turning back Scottsbluff
     2013-02-21      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Bearcat senior Michael Hadden (No. 32) is ready to stuff the basket desptie defense from Gering senior Austin Ferguson while Gering junior Grant Olsson eyes the play. The Bearcats avenged their earlier loss to the Gering Bulldogs with a final score of 74-53. 
SCOTTSBLUFF -- While the Scottsbluff boys' basketball team blazed away on the offensive end Friday night in avenging a 22-point loss to Gering, Bearcat boys' coach Tony Siske credited his team's defense the most in rolling past the Bulldogs 74-53 at the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium.

"We came out and attacked their zone well and made shots, and Eric (Moreno) had the hot hand and that helps a lot," said Siske, whose team lost 55-33 at Gering on Jan. 19.

"We were much more aggressive. Last time they forced us so far out and away from the basket, and this time we did a much better job of getting the ball into spots where we could attack."

Moreno seemingly couldn't miss from 3-point range Friday night, with the senior hitting 9 of 16 3-point shots, and fellow senior Bearcat Michael Hadden was blazing inside the 3-point arc, with the two combining for 50 points.

Moreno was 9-for-17 overall from the floor on his way to scoring a game-high 27 points, while Hadden hit 10 of 18 shots, all inside the arc, en route to a 23-point outing.

"Hadden's had a great year and hopefully he can continue it for a few more games," Siske said." I'm just really happy with the way all the kids and the way we're playing."

The Bearcats were 30-for-55 from the floor (54.5 percent), including an 11-for-21 effort from 3-point range (52.3 percent). Sophomore Jackson Hinze had seven assists and four steals, and senior Matthew Klein made three picks and shared rebounding honors with Hadden at four apiece.

While Gering took a quick 8-3 lead, Scottsbluff reeled off 24 straight points that included four Moreno 3-pointers. The Bulldogs closed to within five at 32-27 with 3:27 left in the first half and trailed the Bearcats 35-29 at halftime.

"They shot the lights out, especially Eric Moreno, and other than that it was kind of an even game," Gering coach Randy Plummer said. "But those 3s are the dagger that just kind of takes the spirit out of you. We did get behind big and came back, and they had one run in the third quarter that just finished us off."
While Gering clinged to a 47-44 deficit, Scottsbluff indeed answered with a 13-0 run and led 60-44 late in the third quarter. The Bearcats opened the fourth quarter with an 11-3 run to lead 71-49 with 1:12 remaining.

"We tried to go to man and that hurt us worse, so we went back to the zone and that's when we got that little run," Plummer said.
For the Bulldogs, Grant Olsson had a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds, hitting 7 of 11 shots and a pair of free throws. Six of his rebounds were on the offensive end. Senior Zac Bibb followed Olsson with 15 points and junior Christian Groskopf added 10 points.

Gering was 20-for-45 (44.4 percent) from the floor and perfect on 10 free-throw attempts. Thanks to Olsson's work on the boards, the Bulldogs held a 27-24 edge in rebounding.

The Gering girls were 47-30 winners over Scottsbluff in the Bulldogs' regular-season finale.

After Gering led 8-6 following the first quarter and 15-7 three minutes into the second period, Scottsbluff closed the score to 17-15 and had several possessions to tie or take the lead.
"They came out really strong in the first quarter, which we talked about, and we knew that they would," Gering girls' coach Adam Freeburg said. "We knew that we just had to weather that storm in the first quarter, keep playing our game, stay the course and good things would happen for us."

And the Bulldogs held off the threat and finished the first half ahead 26-19.
Freeburg said the Bulldogs' 6-0 run to start the third quarter, after which Gering led 45-27, showed the Bulldogs' defensive strength the best.

"We did a really nice job on the defensive end, especially in the third quarter," Freeburg said. "We did a nice job of coming out of the locker room with lots of intensity to start the second half, and that was the difference in the game."

Seniors Alexa Anderson and Santanna Mitchell shared game-high scoring honors for the Bulldogs with 11 points apiece. Anderson was 3-fior-6 from the 3-point line and finished with 11 points, while Mitchell made 5 of 9 shots and a free throw.
Sophomore Kaylee Spreier led Gering's 51-28 dominance on the boards by grabbing 10 rebounds. Senior Dakota Gellner grabbed nine boards and Mitchell followed with seven. While Gering (11-11) was just 38 percent accurate from the floor, the Bulldogs held Scottsbluff (2-20) to 24 percent shooting.

Senior Alexus Pinedo led the Bearcats with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Freshman Chesney Walker followed in scoring with seven points.

District action for Bulldogs, Bearcats
District B-6 girls' tournament action began Tuesday night at Western Nebraska Community College's Cougar Palace, with Scottsbluff (2-20) facing Alliance(10-11). The winner meets top-seeded McCook (19-4) on Thursday at 6 p.m., while Gering (11-11) and Sidney (16-6) meet in the second semifinal at 7:30- p.m.
The semifinal winners play at 7 p.m. Friday for the district championship and automatic trip to the Class B State Tournament at Lincoln on Feb.28-March 2.

"This was a big win for us, and now is the fun part. We play a Sidney team on Thursday night that we feel good about playing them. We're going to give everything we have on Thursday."
In the boys' district bracket, Gering (13-9) plays Alliance (8-13) Saturday in first-round action B-6 tournament. The winner faces Top-seeded Scottsbluff (18-5 before Tuesday's season finale at Torrington) in Monday's first semifinal at 6 p.m.

The Bulldogs have beaten Alliance twice, 56-43 at home on Dec. 7 and 59-47 at Alliance on Jan. 25.
"I'm sure they will come and throw everything at us that they've got, because it's time for districts," Plummer said.
McCook (17-6) and Sidney (15-7) meet at 7:30 p.m. in Monday's second semifinal. The semifinal winners will play Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the district championship and automatic berth in the Class B State Tournament on March 7-9 in Lincoln.

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