Freeburg ready for Bulldog girls' opener against Bearcats
     2013-12-05      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Roger Holsinger/for the Citizen - Gering senior Katie O’Boyle searches for a play while Crawford opponents turn up the defensive heat at last weekend’s holiday Hall of Fame Jamboree, a scrimmage tournament in which no scores or stats are kept, giving the teams preseason practice in a real-time setting. 
When the season-opening Western Conference Invitational Basketball Tournament schedule was released in September, Gering girls’ basketball coach Adam Freeburg was nothing short of excited.

Not only would the Bulldogs open the season and tournament at the Gering High School gymnasium, today (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m., but they would be playing Twin Cities arch-rival Scottsbluff in the process.

“I think it will be fun for both schools,” said Freeburg, beginning his fourth year as the Gering girls’ head coach. “That game is always pretty intense, and I think it’s going to really be fun for both teams to open up the season this way with a high-emotion game.

“We just need to see where we are and work on the things we need to do to get better, and we will only worry about ourselves, and hopefully the ball bounces our way Thursday night.”

Gering got its first workout against other teams Saturday in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame Jamboree, played at Gering High School against Mitchell and Crawford.

“I think things went well,” Freeburg said. “I think we got to work on some things, we got to see how certain offenses might work, how certain defenses might work. Overall, it was a positive day for us. We got to play in a game situation and be able to see, at the same time, what we need to work on still.

“I was really pleased with how our girls got the ball up the floor quickly and scored,” Freeburg said. This group has a lot of athletic ability, and they used it and were able push the ball up the floor and get some easy baskets. That was encouraging to see.”

The Bulldogs have just one returning starter in senior Katie O’Boyle, but she is well-seasoned as a third-year varsity player, Freeburg said.

“Katie is one of those girls that all the other girls look up to,” Freeburg said of O’Boyle. “They all know that this will be her third year playing varsity basketball. She is very positive with the girls, she is always there to pick up a girl who might make a mistake.

“It just really helps that she has played so much varsity, so she knows what to expect. She knows that things aren’t always going to go the way we want them to, but she’s always there to positively pick up everybody else.”

Freeburg said he doesn’t want to single out any other starters at this point.

“I hate to pick out just one girl, but as a whole, after our scrimmage on Saturday, I thought our varsity group looked good. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am really pleased with where we are as a team.

“And that is what is really neat about this group of girls is that they are a team. They’re always there for each other, they always push each other in practice. So I would say overall as a group, they all have a lot of potential and I think if we work hard, we can get some of that potential out.”

The Gering-Scottsbluff winner will play in Friday’s semifinals at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace at 5 p.m.; the loser will play in the consolation semis at Scottsbluff High School, also at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs and Bearcats are bracketed with Mitchell and Torrington, which play at Mitchell tonight.

The top bracket has Omaha Skutt Catholic opening at Sidney, and Chadron visits Alliance. Those teams’ semifinal games will be Friday at 3:30 p.m., with the losers at SHS and the winners at WNCC.

Saturday’s third-place game at Cougar Palace will be at 1:30 p.m. and the championship contest at 5 p.m. The fifth-place game will be at WNCC at 10 a.m., as will the seventh-place game at SHS.

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