Scottsbluff boys score sweep over Cheyenne opponents
     2014-01-23      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Philip Eckerberg/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff sophomore Austin Clarkson (No. 55) aims for the hoop while Chadron opponent senior Matt Cerny (No. 15) gets ready to block during a recent match up in Bearcat territory. The young Bearcat team is on a 5-win streak and will next meet the Gering Bulldogs on home turf this Saturday. 
Playing two games in 24 hours, with one of them included in a round trip, can be a challenge to any basketball team.

For the Scottsbluff boys, the Bearcats’ trip to Cheyenne on Friday, followed by a home game Saturday, proved fruitful in the end.

After scoring a hard-fought-69-62 win Friday night at Cheyenne East, Scottsbluff returned home to face a scrappy Cheyenne Central team that had an advantage in rest and held the Bearcats to their lowest score of the season, but the 47-36 win was enough for Scottsbluff (9-4) to win its fifth straight game.

“It was a good weekend for us,” Bearcat coach Tony Siske said. “Every year, the Cheyenne schools are going to present some challenges as bigger schools. Cheyenne East is very athletic, has some good basketball players. We played really well that night to get that win.

In Friday’s weekend opener, Scottsbluff fell behind 12-4 but finished the first quarter strong and with a 15-12 lead. The Bearcats fended off the host Thunderbirds the rest of the way, leading 38-29 at halftime.

Junior guard Trent Harris led Scottsbluff with a game-high 23 points, and he also had seven rebounds and three assists. Sophomore post Austin Clarkson scored a double-double of 11 rebounds and 10 points.

Freshman guard Dru Kuxhausen scored 16 points, and junior guard Jackson Hinze had nine points and two steals.

Zach McCord led Cheyenne East (11-2) with 17 points.

Scottsbluff made 18 of 23 free throws for the night, led by Harris who went 7-for-7 and sophomore Dillon Hernandez who was 6-for-6.

Less than 24 hours later, the Bearcats were back on their home court facing Cheyenne Central.

“Cheyenne Central didn’t play the night before, so they might have had a little fresher legs because our game against Cheyenne East was kind of taxing,” Siske said. “It was up and down and physical. For us to bounce back after getting back late at night and with the game starting a little bit earlier, I was proud of them.”

While the visiting Indians (3-6) stayed within striking distance for most of the game, Scottsbluff did what it had to do on both ends of the floor to turn back Central.

“Cheyenne Central plays a different style. They try to really ‘ugly-up’ the game and did a pretty good job of it, and we still won by 11,” said Siske, whose team clinged to a 22-17 halftime lead.

Scottsbluff came up big at the free-throw line again, hitting all eight of its charity shots in the final 1:42 and going 16-for-18 at the line for the night.

Clarkson lifted the Bearcats to victory by scoring 14 points, making four of his five shots from the floor and going 6-for-7 on free throws. Clarkson also had four rebounds and two assists.

Hernandez added nine points for the Bearcats, and Hinze contributed eight points and two steals. Harris, while held to two points, led the team in both rebounding with seven and assists with four.

The Bearcats had this week off until they play host to Twin Cities arch-rival Gering at the SHS gym Saturday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs enter Friday’s home game against Chadron with a 9-4 record, which includes a season-opening, 67-44 win over Scottsbluff in the season-opening Western Conference Invitational Tournament at the Gering gym.

“It’s just like against any district team, if you lose to them you want to play them again,” Siske said of meeting the Bulldogs. “Now we have that opportunity, so hopefully we can perform a little better.”

“We’ve had a good crowd for every game this year, and I expect Saturday will be the same.”

Bearcat girls fall in pair to Cheyenne schools

The Scottsbluff girls found the going tough in their doubleheader against Cheyenne Central and East.

On Friday, visiting Central scored the game’s first 14 points and cruised to a 50-33 win over the Bearcats at the SHS gym.

Then on Saturday, Scottsbluff fell behind by 19 points early and suffered a 68-15 loss at Cheyenne East.

The losses dropped the Bearcats to 1-11 on the season, with 10 straight losses entering their Saturday afternoon game at Sidney.

Against Central, Scottsbluff scored just five points, all on free throws, in the first quarter and trailed the Indians 18-5 after eight minutes.

The Bearcats closed to within nine at 21-12 and stayed within striking distance after the first half by trailing 28-17 at the break.

But Central scored the first eight points of the third quarter and the last five of the period to build a 44-22 advantage.

Sophomore Chesney Walker led the Bearcats in scoring with 10 points. Sophomore Chloey Reifschneider added seven, while sophomore Kelli Wentz added six.

Madi Stumpf scored a game-high 12 points and Emily Evans finished with 11 for Central.

Cheyenne East jumped out quickly Saturday on Scottsbluff with a 22-3 run, and the Thunderbirds showed why they are the No. 3 ranked team in Wyoming Class 4A.

Walker led the Bearcats with five points.

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