Scottsbluff boys corral Alliance for big victory
     2014-01-16      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
SCOTTSBLUFF – A 17-0 run early in a basketball game usually indicates that things were going well on both ends of the floor.

And Scottsbluff boys’ coach Tony Siske said strong defense ignited the resulting offensive success the Bearcats enjoyed early in taking command against Alliance and rolling to a 75-47 win over the visiting Bulldogs at the SHS gymnasium.

Alliance made just 4 of 17 first-quarter shots while Scottsbluff, which led 11-9 before its unanswered outburst that extended into the second period, was 9-for-14 (64.2 percent) in the first eight minutes.

Scottsbluff turned the 28-9 advantage into leads in the 20s for the final nine minutes after the Bearcats had a 36-21 halftime lead – and, Siske said, his team needed more work to do.

“We stressed at halftime that I thought our guards were trying to create too much at times,” Siske said. “If they’d let the offense work and if they’d get the ball into the post and make the other team defend the post, it’s just going to make it easier on our guards.”

The Bearcats were 51.6 percent good from the floor for the night (31-for-60), and as a result had three players among its youth movement score in the teens.

Scottsbluff’s insiders were hard to stop, with sophomore Austin Clarkson hitting 8 of 12 shots in scoring a game-high 19 points and freshman Landon Walker hitting 7 of 11 en route to a 16-point night.

Outside, junior guard Trent Harris was 7-for-10, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range, in scoring 17 points.

The Bearcats’ big men dominated in a 44-29 advantage in rebounds. Walker had a team-high nine boards while Clarkson pulled down seven rebounds.

“They’re learning to play together,” Siske said of his still young varsity team members. “They’re getting experience and you can’t simulate experience. And the more they play, I think the better they’ll get.”

The Bearcats (7-4) held Alliance’s leading scorers to a combined 21 points and the Bulldogs to 33.3 percent shooting for the night (21-for-63).

Senior Trevor Kamerzell, who a week earlier scored 25 points in the Bulldogs’ clinching victory over Mitchell in the Alliance Holiday Classic, hit just 5 of 14 shots against Scottsbuff and finished with a team-high 11 points.

Junior teammate Jordan Mills ran into early foul trouble and hit just 4 of 14 shots in scoring 10 points for Alliance (4-6 after a home loss Saturday to Sturgis Brown, S.D.), which had 14 turnovers to Scottsbluff’s 11. Mills led all rebounders with 10 for the Bulldogs.

“Our defense was really good tonight,” Siske said. “They have two kids who can really score in Mills and Kamerzell, and we did a good job on them. They’re very athletic and we weren’t comfortable with the lead we had in the first quarter.”

Scottsbluff, after enjoying about a week off, will have its annual Friday-Saturday double dip against Cheyenne competition, beginning Friday at Cheyenne East at 7 p.m. before taking on Cheyenne Central at home Saturday at 6 p.m.

“It will be a late night Friday getting home, then a quick turnaround Saturday with an earlier game,” Siske said.

Bearcat girls fall at Alliance

In their 56-44 loss Friday at Alliance, the Scottsbluff girls were held to 25 percent accuracy, both in field-goal shooting (19-for-76) and free throws (3 of 12). They committed just six turnovers, however, and had 12 steals and eight assists.

Sophomores Chloey Reifschneider and Chesney Walker scored 11 points each in leading the Bearcats, while sophomore Aly Camacho hit 5 of 10 shots for 10 points. Camacho led Scottsbluff’s defensive turnover effort with three steals.

Walker added 10 rebounds to score a double-double and Camacho followed with nine boards; each player had six offensive rebounds, where Scottsbluff had 21 of its 37 boards. The Bearcats did not make many mistakes in setting up their offense, committing just six turnovers.

“We got a lot of shots up but we just couldn’t make many of them,” Bearcat girls’ coach Rachel Larson said. “We could have defended them a little bit better, especially since we had such a good week of practice.”

After trailing Alliance by five following one quarter, Scottsbluff closed to within two at halftime, 27-25. The Bulldogs (3-7 after a home loss Saturday to Sturgis Brown, S.D.) outscored the Bearcats 16-9 in the third and 13-10 in the fourth to secure their 12-point win.

Alliance had four players – Kennedy Cyza, Mickenzie Brennan, Caitlyn Tritle and Brianna Ridenour – score 10 points apiece.

“I think maybe they played a little more confidently than we did,” Larson said of the Bulldogs. “We just didn’t play very well.”

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