Minatare boys enter MAC Tournament unbeaten
     2014-01-23      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen
Photo by Roger Holsinger/for the Citizen - Minatare junior Javier Guerrero pulls up for the jumper last Friday night in Morrill against defense from Morrill Lions juniors Victor Valles (No. 21), Riley DeBoer and sophomore Jordan Rohde. Minatare teammate senior Tylor Grumbles eyes the play. 
MINATARE – Three more wins last week still have the Minatare boys’ basketball team undefeated on the season, and the Indians enter this week as the No. 1 seed for the annual Minuteman Activities Conference Tournament.

As a result, the 9-0 Indians received a first-round bye and will their first game in Thursday’s semifinals against Potter-Dix (6-5), which scored a 67-42 win over Banner County (3-10) in Tuesday night’s first-round action at Potter. The 3 p.m. semifinal game will be at Sidney Middle School.

“All the boys are ready and they can’t wait to play Potter-Dix or Banner County, whichever one wins,” Minatare coach Kyle Cotton said Monday. “We have a lot of respect for both. We’ll focus on that first game, and then whatever happens from there, they’re excited to play and they’re getting hungry for it.”

The Indians are coming off a 59-43 home win Saturday over Banner County, which followed their 53-42 victory Friday at Morrill and a 48-44 edging of Garden County last Tuesday at Oshkosh.

“It’s always nice to win,” Cotton said. “We played particularly well throughout the week. We did some good things, but defensively we played kind of lax.

“But giving credit to the other teams, they really pushed us and I thought that was good for our boys to have some close games. They pushed through toward the end of the games and played better in crunch time.”

Cotton said the Indians want to be the MAC Tournament champs more so than being 11-0 after Saturday’s championship game.

Tuesday’s other first-round games had No. 2 seed and defending champion Leyton (7-3) playing host to No. 7 South Platte (0-9), while No. 3 Garden County beat No. 6 Creek Valley 61-42 at Oshkosh.

Those winners will play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the other semifinal, and Saturday’s championship game is set for 6:30 p.m., with the third-place game at 3 p.m.

“We didn’t play very well in the championship game,” Cotton said of the Indians’ 64-33 loss to Leyton in last year’s title game.

“We’re not too big on motivation for being undefeated, and I think every team could beat us and has shown that time and time again this year. We have respect for every opponent, and we’re just going to come out and play as hard as we can every night.”

In its 16-point win Saturday over Banner County, Minatare led 28-22 at halftime and 44-34 after three quarters before sealing the win. Sophomore Yovan Perez had 19 points in leading Minatare, while junior Javier Guerrero added 11 points and junior Chance McAllister followed with 10.

Junior Tyson Dahlgrin had 17 points in leading Banner County.

In their win over Morrill on Friday, the Indians again took over in the second half after leading 27-23 at halftime. Perez led Minatare with 20 points, with McAllister adding 10, junior Juan Garfio scoring eight and Guerrero netting seven.

The Minatare girls, who have five juniors and three freshmen composing their varsity roster, entered the MAC Tournament as the girls’ No. 7 seed. The Indians (0-11), however, fell 44-31 to No. 2 seed Garden County. A week earlier, the Eagles upended Minatare 40-29.

On Friday, Morrill held Minatare to no more than four points in each of three quarters and rolled to a 60-14 win over the Indians. Junior Angelica Longoria led Minatare with nine points.

Senior Kylie Guerue led the Lions with 22 points and four steals, while freshman Jessica Harvey had 10 points and four steals. Morrill led 19-4 after one quarter and 33-8 at halftime.

On Saturday, junior Kaitlin Craig led Minatare with six points, but Banner County took the 27-19 win after the Wildcats got eight points and 13 rebounds from senior Dalle Rutledge. Senior Amanda Harrison had five points, six rebounds, six steals and three assists for Banner County.

The Wildcats (2-11) were the No. 6 seed for the MAC Tournament and lost 46-29 at Potter-Dix on Tuesday in the first round. The Coyotes (6-5) will play Garden County (5-5) on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Sidney.

The other bracket has top-seeded Creek Valley (7-3) playing No. 4 seed Leyton on Thursday at 4:45 p.m. The Warriors (6-5) advanced with a 44-37 first-round win Tuesday over South Platte (3-7). Saturday’s third-place game will be at 4:45 p.m., with the girls’ championship contest at 8 p.m.

Morrill girls keep on winning path

The Morrill girls cruised to a 64-40 win Monday night over Edgemont, S.D., in first-round play of the Panhandle Athletic Conference Tournament, with the Lions earning their sixth straight victory.

The Lions (8-5) bolted to a 21-8 first-quarter lead and cruised to the win, which put Morrill into Friday’s 2:30 p.m. semifinal against Crawford in Edgemont.

Guerue scored a game-high 26 points with five steals and two blocked shots, while Harvey had 14 points, six assists and four steals. Senior Dylainee Peacock added 10 points and six boards for the Lions.

Banner splits at Crawford

In boys’ action Friday, Crawford rallied from a 14-7 first-quarter deficit to take a 27-20 halftime lead on the Rams’ way to scoring a 56-39 home win over Banner County.

Senior Ben Hostetler led the Wildcats in defeat with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Junior Mike McKown added 11 points and four steals, while Dahlgrin had nine points and nine rebounds.

In the girls’ game, Crawford downed Banner County 63-20. The Wildcats got nine points and six rebounds from Rutledge.

Mitchell splits at Bridgeport

The Mitchell girls led by nine at halftime and held on for a 52-46 win Saturday at Bridgeport. Kady Lower led the Tigers (9-4) with 14 points and McKenna Zulkoski followed with 13. Kassidy Kildow led Bridgeport (1-12) with 13 points.

The Mitchell boys slipped to 6-6 on the season after taking a 51-33 loss to Bridgeport, which improved to 11-2.

Senior Bo McVay led Mitchell with 12 points and classmate Jamie Fegler added 11, while Kaleb deCora led Bridgeport with 15 points and Jaime Gonzalez followed with 12.

Bayard splits with Morrill, gets swept by Hemingford

Last Tuesday, the Morrill girls escaped Bayard with a 53-49 win after the teams were tied entering the fourth quarter.

Guerue fueled the Lions’ win with 22 points and also had four steals. Harvey followed with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals. Senior Madie Schaefer had a game-high 10 rebounds and added nine points.

For Bayard, senior Haley Sauer scored a team-high 19 points and senior Megan Stuart added 14 points.

The Bayard boys scored a 75-34 win against Morrill. The Tigers (4-8) got 16 points from junior Tyler Fiscus, 12 from senior David Schuler and 10 from junior Bryce Hargens.

Bayard led 23-16 after one quarter, blanked the Lions 23-0 in the second quarter and allowed Morrill just 18 second-half points in gaining the easy victory.

Junior Riley DeBoer led Morrill (2-10 entering this week) with 11 points.

The Hemingford Bobcats scored a sweep over the host Bayard Tigers on Friday, with the boys winning 57-32 and the girls taking a 50-43 victory.

The Bobcat girls were down 14-8 after the first quarter but led 23-22 at halftime and pulled away from the Tigers in the second half, sealing the win with a 12-7 fourth-quarter run.

Brooke Turek led Hemingford (10-2) with 15 points. Sophomore Kaylie Fiscus led the Bayard girls (4-7) with 14 points, while Sauer followed with 12 and Stuart added 11.

Colt Foster led the Hemingford boys (8-3) with 23 points and Matthew Wood added 11 for the Bobcats.

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