Bearcat boys find their groove in winning district title
     2011-03-03      By Terry Gaston    editor@geringcitizen.com
Never mind the Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team’s late-season swoon of losing three of its last four games after having won six straight contests.

The Bearcats, who had been disabled by several players fighting illness in the season’s final two weeks, had their A-game flowing Monday and Tuesday nights to win the District B-6 tournament at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.

Top-seeded Scottsbluff overcame an early shaky start Tuesday night to beat No. 3 seeded McCook 58-46 after having beaten Alliance 68-56 in Monday night’s semifinal contest.
The Bearcats thus return to the Class B state tournament next week in Lincoln for the second time in three years under Tony Siske, the third time in the past five years and for the 34th time in school history.

“This is an awesome feeling and I’m really proud of those kids,” said Siske, whose team (18-7) was to learn its schedule for next week’s Class B state tournament early Wednesday. “This has been their goal since Day 1, and they just battled it out in there.
When it got to the point when you win or go home, we won and that’s what mattered.”
Scottsbluff shot 50 percent from the floor (23-for-46) and 33.3 percent (5-for-15) while holding McCook to 35.4 percent shooting.

The Bison (15-10) were still 8-for-21 from 3-point range, hitting two more treys than they had in their semifinal win over Gering. However, Bearcat junior Rich Williams shut down McCook senior sharpshooter Connor Larson from the arc after Larson hit four long bombs Monday against Gering.

“This was the third game Rich has guarded him, and he has guarded other teams’ best players all season,” Siske said of Larson, who managed just two lay-ups while missing all five 3-point attempts. Three other Bison found the goal from 3-point range in the first quarter to give McCook a 15-8 lead.

Scottsbluff sophomore Eric Moreno hit a trey of his own with five seconds left in the quarter, a basket that began a 10-2 Bearcat run and put SHS ahead 18-17 midway through the second period.

The Bearcats took a 29-27 lead into halftime on junior Isaiah Castellaw’s put-back with three seconds left, and Scottsbluff opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run and eventually led 44-31.

McCook closed to within six at 46-40 with 3:41 remaining before senior Zach Clemens and sophomore Michael Hadden teamed up for six points in 59 seconds to give the Bearcats a 52-40 lead with 2:13 left.

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