Scottsbluff boys finish GNAC Tournament in 3rd: Young Bearcat girls go winless in tourney but show promise, host Gering on Tuesday
     2014-01-09      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/Gering Citizen - Scottsbluff junior Trent Harris (No. 23) flies to the basket amid McCook opponents as teammate sophomore Austin Clarkson eyes the play. The Bearcats finished third in last week’s GNAC tournament hosted at Scottsbluff last weekend. 
Both Scottsbluff varsity basketball teams’ rosters are dominated by underclassmen, so the strong competition provided in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference last week offered both Bearcat coaches measuring sticks on their respective team’s performance after a nearly two-week break.

The Scottsbluff boys — who have just one senior in Beau Lofink, and he is out with a foot injury — lived up to their No. 3 seed for the tournament and held off a Kearney team that proved much stronger than its 1-8 record indicates, scoring a 63-60 win at the Scottsbluff High School gym for third place Saturday.

The sophomore-dominant Scottsbluff girls, who have two juniors and two seniors, erased a 13-point, second-quarter deficit against Lexington to take a brief lead in Saturday’s seventh-place game at Bluffs Middle School.

But the Bearcats missed seven free throws, and those proved costly after the Minutemaids rallied back to take the 52-48 win.

The Scottsbluff boys (6-4) started tournament play Thursday with a 72-59 victory against McCook, but the Bearcats were short-cut by North Platte 69-65 in the semifinals.

“It was good for us to go 2-1 on the weekend,” Scottsbluff boys’ coach Tony Siske said. “We always want to win the tournaments we’re in. We weren’t able to do that, but we finished on a high note.”

In Scottsbluff’s win over Kearney, junior Trent Harris was clutch from the free-throw line in the final 66 seconds, including two free throws with 16 seconds remaining that provided the Bearcats’ winning margin of victory.

Harris also made three free shots after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, tying the score at 58 with 1:06 remaining. Harris hit all eight of his free-throw attempts on his way to scoring a game-high 24 points.

Freshman Dru Kuxhausen, who was good on three late free-throw attempts, was 5-for-6 from the charity stripe and finished with 16 points along with three rebounds and two assists. Freshman Landon Walker added eight points and five rebounds, and sophomore Austin Clarkson had seven rebounds.

“It was a good win for us,” Siske said. “Like I said, it’s much better to end on a win than with a loss and go 1-2 in the tournament.” “We just have to keep working and try to improve.”

The win followed a loss to North Platte in which Kade Erickson led the Bulldogs with 27 points, including 13 of 18 free throws.

Harris led Scottsbluff with 20 points and four rebounds, while Kuxhausen had five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 17 points. Clarkson scored eight points and Walker had a team-high six rebounds.

Erickson was followed by Drew Callaghan with 21 points and Shane Mauch with 11 for the Bulldogs, who lost to top-seeded Norfolk 49-45 in Saturday’s championship game.

“We had our opportunities but we didn’t convert,” said Siske, whose team closed to within three at 64-61 after trailing by 12 early in the fourth quarter. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to down the stretch to get that done.”

Against McCook, Walker led the Bearcats with 18 points, while Harrison was joined at the 11-point mark by fellow juniors Jackson Hinze and Matthew Mickey. Clarkson pulled down 10 rebounds, while Walker grabbed five.

The Scottsbluff girls (1-7) held the top-seeded and eventual tournament champion Norfolk Panthers (7-2) to under 50 points in their 44-23 first-round loss, just the second time Norfolk had not reached the half-century mark.

But the Panthers broke away from a three-point lead early in the second quarter and led 21-14 at halftime and outscored the Bearcats 23-9 in the second half.

“We didn’t have a good offensive output, but defensively we played really, really well against a very good team,” Scottsbluff girls’ coach Rachel Larson said.

Junior Jaycee Bradley led Norfolk with 11 points, while sophomore Zoe Holscher paced the Bearcats with eight points.

Against McCook, Scottsbluff led 26-24 at halftime but saw the Bison finish with a 27-19 run to take the 51-45 victory.

“The next two games, we increased our offensive output, but we just came up short on both games,” Larson said. “I was really proud of how hard the kids played and how they stayed close when they were down against McCook and Lexington.”

Holscher paced the Bearcats with 14 points, while sophomore Chesney Walker added 13 and sophomore Aly Camacho had nine. McCook hard three double-figure scorers, led by Molly Sughroue’s 15-point outing.

Against Lexington, Walker finished with 18 points for the Bearcats and Holscher added 14.

Sophomore Hannah Ostrom led Lexington with 21 points, while Mackenzie McKeone added 12 for the Minutemaids.

After many of the Scottsbluff players were to take place in the Scottsbluff Junior Varsity Tournament on Monday and Tuesday, the varsity returns to action Friday in Western Conference play against Alliance. the Bearcat boys will play host to the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. at the SHS gym, while the Bearcat girls will travel to Alliance.

The Scottsbluff girls will then play host to Gering on Tuesday, with the varsity game starting at about 7 p.m.

Mitchell girls win at Alliance

The Mitchell girls continued their winning ways following a 0-2 start and won their seventh straight game Friday by downing Alliance 49-42 in the championship game of the Alliance Holiday Tournament.

The Mitchell boys also played Alliance in their championship game but fell to the host Bulldogs 55-43.

The Tiger girls opened play Thursday with a 59-47 win over Gordon-Rushville, while the Mitchell boys rolled past the Mustangs 53-33.

For the Mitchell girls in their opener, junior Kady Lower led the Tigers with 20 points, while junior Aspen Reifschneider followed with 14 points and senior Taylor Peters added 11.

In the Tigers’ championship victory, Reifschneider scored a game-high 16 points while Lower followed with 13 and Peters added 12.

In the Mitchell boys’ action, the Tigers got a game-high 23 points from senior Jamie Fegler and 10 from classmate Adam Schlotthauer against Gordon-Rushville.

In the championship game, however, Alliance senior Trevor Kamerzell’s 25 points led the Bulldogs to victory. He gained support from Jordan Mills with 12 points.

Fegler led Mitchell ((4-5) with 21 points and senior Bo McVay followed with 13.

Guerue leads Morrill girls to Sioux County Tourney title

Morrill senior Kylie Guerue scored a combined 67 points in leading the Lions to two victories Friday and Saturday and the Sioux County Holiday Tournament championship in Harrison.Guerue scored a school-record 39 points Saturday in leading Morrill to a 70-63 win over Crawford in the girls' championship game. Lion junior Dylainee Peacock added 12 points and 17 rebounds and Madie Schafer grabbed 13 rebounds for Morrill (4-5). In first-round play Friday, Guerue scored 28 points, made four assists and grabbed seven rebounds in the Lions' 67-53 win over Sioux County. Peacock added 14 points and Megan Fish followed with 10.

In the girls' third-place game, Sioux County turned back Banner County 48-33. Senior Amanda Harrison led the Wildcats (1-6) with 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Junior Ashlynne Hanan added 12 points, while senior Dalle Rutledge had nine rebounds and sophomore Taylor Evans pulled down six boards.

Banner County had lost its opening game to Crawford, 58-16. Hanan and sophomore Paige Cross led the Wildcats with five points apiece, and Evans had eight rebounds in addition to four points.

In the boys' championship game, host Sioux County edged Banner County 45-42 despite the efforts of Wildcat junior Tyson Dahlgrin, who scored 15 points, grabbed nine rebounds and made two steals. Senior Ben Hostetler added 14 points and senior Brenton Soule had 12 points, while junior Mike McKown grabbed six rebounds for Banner County (1-6).

The Wildcats advanced to the championship game with a 44-31 victory over Crawford. Dahlgrin paced Banner County's first win by scoring 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds with six steals. Hostetler added eight points eight rebounds, and McKown had seven points.

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