Scottsbluff boys take 2 hard losses, Bearcat girls fall on road
     2014-02-06      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff sophomore Chloey Reifschneider (No. 3) catches a pass while fending off defensive action from McCook’s Erika Medel recently against McCook. The Lady Bearcats fell on Saturday to Rapid City Stevens 76-35 in South Dakota.  
Tough competition got the best of the Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team last weekend, as the Bearcats saw their five-game winning streak wiped away with a pair of losses.

But while Scottsbluff dropped to 10-6 with the losses, a 67-45 defeat at Rapid City Stevens on Friday and a a 66-62 setback at home Saturday to Sidney, in no way does Bearcat coach Tony Siske think the time has come to panic.

“We’re not giving up on the season and we’re not pushing the panic button,” Siske said. “We’ve lost two in a row before, and we bounced back just fine and I expect the same.”

On Friday, the Bearcats traveled to Rapid City to face Stevens — the No. 2-ranked team in South Dakota’s largest class — which jumped out to a 16-2 first-quarter lead and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way in taking the 22-point victory.

Scottsbluff outscored the Raiders 12-10 in the second period, but Stevens gained the momentum back in the third period, going on a 20-12 run.

In the final period, the Raiders (12-2) outscored Scottsbluff 21-19.

“They’re a very good basketball team and their record shows that,” Siske said. “Their athleticism, their size (were big challenges).”

The Bearcats had eight players reach the scoring column, with only one – junior Trent Harris – scoring in double figures with 16 points.

Freshman Dru Kuxhausen added eight points, and sophomore Austin Clarkson had five points and eight rebounds. Jackson Hinze and Dillon Hernandez each made two steals.

Scottsbluff returned to action Saturday night at home against Sidney, a team the Bearcats beat by 22 in the season-opening Western Conference Invitational Tournament.

The Red Raiders, however, built an 18-point lead in the third quarter before needing some key shots and stops in the final minutes to hold on for the four-point win.

Scottsbluff (10-6) followed the big deficit by scoring six 3-pointers, including four by Hinze, to close the deficit to just 54-48 heading into the final period.

The Bearcats eventually whittled the Sidney’s lead to just 60-57 when Hinze ripped yet another 3-pointer with 4:36 to play.

The Red Raiders, however, stepped up and made enough plays down the stretch to stay in front, and with 11.3 seconds left Sidney had a 65-59 lead.

“I think Sidney played very well against us,” Siske said. “They executed their offense extremely well, they got really got good shots, and most importantly, they were knocking them down.”

Scottsbluff ended the first period with a 17-15 edge on Kuxhausen’s basket as time expired. The Raiders went on a 23-8 tear in the second quarter and led 38-25 at halftime.

“They were shooting almost 62 percent at halftime, and that’s a lot to overcome,” Siske said of the Red Raiders. “They’re playing really well.”

Sidney (13-4) had four players who scored in double figures. Logan Lewis led the way with 19 points and also had 11 rebounds. Lane Harvey, who connected on four 3-pointers, finished with 15 points, while Paxton Ehler scored 13 points and Tyler Wintholz added 11 points.

Scottsbluff, meanwhile, was led by Hinze, who ended the game with six 3-pointers and 18 points. He also had four assists. Sophomore Landon Walker tallied 15 points and six rebounds, and Kuxhausen had 11 points.

The teams will meet again in Sidney, after Scottsbluff travels to Alliance on Friday to face the Bulldogs.

“We try to challenge ourselves by playing a very tough schedule,” Siske said. “We look at getting better as the season goes on. You want to win along the way, but the most important thing is to be playing your best at the end of the season.”

The Scottsbluff girls had just one game last weekend, falling Saturday to Rapid City Stevens 76-35 in their own trip to South Dakota.

Scottsbluff fell behind 19-6 after the first quarter but played more evenly with the Raiders in the second period. Stevens, however, still entered halftime with a 36-18 advantage.

Rapid City then took command in the second half, outscoring the Bearcats 18-6 in the third quarter and 22-11 in the fourth.

Six girls scored for Scottsbluff (1-13), with sophomore Chloey Reifschneider leading the way with 13 points. Senior Chesney Walker finished with nine points, and sophomore Aly Camacho added six.

The Bearcats will play host to Alliance on Friday and Sidney on Saturday. Both varsity games will start at about 7 p.m.

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