Gering girls shake off early rust, roll past Scottsbluff
     2014-01-16      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff sophomore Chesney Walker (No. 24) eyes an opportunity, while teammate sophomore Aly Camacho (No. 22) remains open and Bulldogs Danyele Ysac and Tony Rosado defend and Savannay Walker (background) gets into position. 
SCOTTSBLUFF — Tuesday night’s latest installment of the Twin Cities arch-rivalry certainly won’t go down in the category of being a classic.

But the Gering girls’ basketball team, which fell behind by eight points to Scottsbluff midway through the first quarter, overcame its slow start and poor shooting night with a strong effort in rebounds and left the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium with a 57-49 victory.

Despite shooting just 31 percent (24-for-77) from the floor and 8-for-22 (36 percent) from the free-throw line on the night, Gering (8-5) proved dominant in rebounding.

The Bulldogs out-boarded the Bearcats 55-37, including a 25-10 advantage in offensive rebounds, scoring their fourth victory in five games since the beginning of the new year.

“We really pride ourselves on rebounding and defense,” Gering coach Adam Freeburg said, whose team scored its highest total of the season in the win.

“In the first half, things were a little shaky in both of those categories, but in the third quarter, we really came out and established ourselves on the boards.”

Scottsbluff (1-9) shot slightly better from the field, hitting 19 of 57 shots (33 percent), but likewise struggled at the free-throw line by hitting just 10 of 19 charity shots (53 percent).

“We’re working on that and it’s just a matter of being more physical down in there,“ Scottsbluff coach Rachel Larson said of the Bearcats’ rebounding.

“We have good size. We don’t have great size and it’s just a matter of getting into position and holding position. If we can do that, we’ll be able to get some people off the boards a little bit better.

Scottsbluff, bringing a seven-game losing streak into the game, had a strong start with a balanced attack in grabbing leads of 11-3 and 13-5 before Gering scored seven unanswered points to pull within one point, 13-12, in the first 18 seconds of the second quarter.

The Bulldogs fell behind by seven at 21-14 before they scored six straight points to take a 25-23 lead in the final 2:16 of the first half.

Gering led 27-25 at halftime and then held a pair of nine-point leads in the third quarter before Scottsbluff closed to within three at 41-38. The Bulldogs then turned a 49-44 lead with 5:12 remaining into a 55-44 advantage for their biggest lead of the night.

Senior Katie O’Boyle led Gering in scoring with 14 points, while junior Kaylee Spreier followed with 11 points. Senior Toni Rosado had a team-high 12 rebounds, with nine offensive boards, and added nine points.

“Anytime we beat them, it’s a big win for us and our program,” Freeburg said.

“Credit to Scottsbluff; they came out in the first half and played with a lot of emotion and a lot of heart. We kind of weathered the storm in the first half, and then we came out in the third quarter and established ourselves on defense and on the boards.“

Scottsbluff sophomore Zoe Holscher led all scorers with 20 points, with 13 coming in the first half. Sophomore Chesney Walker followed Holscher with 10 points and had seven rebounds. Bearcat senior Shaylee Roseberry had a team-high nine rebounds.

The win was Gering’s second over Scottsbluff in two games this season. The teams opened the season at Gering in the Western Conference Invitational Tournament on Dec. 5, a 49-39 victory for the Bulldogs.

“We had a lead on them for a little bit and we closed the gap, but we didn’t have enough in the tank,” Larson said. “That just comes with some conditioning.

“I’m still waiting for us to put together four good quarters, and we’re on the brink of that. I thought we played better than we did the first time we played them, and we played pretty tough, but we had some mental errors that got to us.”

Both the Bulldogs and Bearcats will continue action this week with a pair of games each against Wyoming competition.

Gering will be at home today (Thursday) for a 7 p.m. game against Cheyenne East and will play host to Casper Kelly Walsh on Saturday at 5 p.m. Scottsbluff will be at home Friday against Cheyenne Central in a 7 p.m. contest and will travel to Cheyenne on Saturday to take on East at 3:30 p.m.

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