Bearcat girls climb elusive victory hill in routing Alliance: Scottsbluff boys beat Bulldogs on road; Bearcat teams get swept by Red Raiders
     2014-02-13      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Bearcat sophomore Shayleigh James (No. 23) cuts around her Norfolk opponent earlier this season at home. The Scottsbluff girls won a sweet 74-48 victory last week over the Lady Bulldogs in Alliance. 
Scottsbluff girls’ basketball coach Rachel Larson has believed that her young Bearcat team was a solid, 32-minute effort away from snapping a losing streak that, before last week, had reached 12 and more than two months.

On Friday night at the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium, the Bearcats got an early jump on Alliance thanks to a 17-0 run over six minutes, and Scottsbluff rode the double-digit margin to a 74-48 victory over the Bulldogs.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” said Larson, whose team had not won since its second game on Dec. 6. “Finally, they put some stuff together and they actually did what we asked them to do. If they start doing more what we’re asking them to do, I think they’ll do a really good job and I think they’re starting to see that.”

The Bearcats’ 74 points was by far their highest total of the season. Their previous high score was 53, which came in Scottsbluff’s only other win, against Mitchell on Dec. 6.

Five players, all sophomores, scored in double figures for Scottsbluff, led by Zoe Holscher’s game-high 18 points. Chesney Walker followed with 16, Kelli Wentz had 14, Aly Camacho finished with 12 and Chloey Reifschneider added 10.

“It was great for them to have such a great offensive output for sure,” Larson said. “Even if someone didn’t get in the scorebook, just getting a rebound and pushing the basketball, it was totally a team effort.”

Camacho pulled down seven rebounds to lead Scottsbluff on the glass. Walker grabbed six boards and senior Shaylee Roseberry had five.

Walker led the Bearcats defensively with four steals.

Alliance got a team-high 12 points from Mickenzie Brennan, while Rylee Trout followed with 11. Trout led the Bulldogs on the glass with eight rebounds. Brennan added five boards.

Scottsbluff got started early, building a 23-7 lead after the opening quarter. The Bearcats increased their lead to as many as 24 in the second quarter after Walker scored six straight points.

Rylee Trout scored Alliance’s last seven points of the half to pull the Bulldogs back within 14 at halftime.

Another basket by Trout to open the third quarter helped Alliance close to within 12, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get. Reifschneider’s 3-pointer extended the Bearcats into a 54-39 lead after three quarters of play.

There was no let up by the Bearcats in the final eight minutes. Scottsbluff’s advantage ballooned to as many as 30 in the quarter, 74-44, and the Bearcats put together another 20-point quarter to match the one they scored in the first period.

On Saturday, Scottsbluff had a home-court crack against Sidney, which escaped with a mere 44-41 home win over the Bearcats on Jan. 25.

The Red Raiders, however, rode a quick start to a 54-44 victory, Sidney’s third straight win and its seventh in its last eight contests.

Sidney outscored the Bearcats 20-12 in the opening quarter. The Raiders then outscored Scottsbluff 12-9 in the second frame to enter halftime with a 32-21 advantage.

Senior Sarah Mahr came up big for Sidney, scoring a game-high 22 points. She scored half of her points from the free-throw line, connecting on 11 of 13 attempts. Mahr had scored 30 points Friday in Sidney’s 52-45 road victory over Gering.

Mahr did most of her scoring in the opening frame. She tallied 12 points, including seven on free throws, as the Red Raiders grabbed the early momentum.

Although Sidney (13-6) enjoyed a double-digit lead at halftime, Scottsbluff did not go away in the second half. The Raiders outscored the Bearcats just 10-8 in the third quarter, and Scottsbluff outscored Sidney in the final stanza 15-12.

Scottsbluff was led offensively by Zoe Holscher with 14 points. She scored eight of her points in the fourth quarter, including six on two 3-pointers. Reifschneider added nine points and Walker had seven.

The Bearcats (2-14) will compete in the annual East-West Shootout beginning Thursday, with the girls taking to the road this year. Scottsbluff will play at District B-6 rival McCook on Thursday, Class A North Platte on Frdiay and Class B Lexington on Saturday afternoon.

The Bearcats then complete the regular season with a visit to Gering on Feb. 21 and a home contest Feb. 22 against Rapid City Central. District B-6 play then begins Feb. 25 and continues through Feb. 28.

“Our district is wide open this year,” Larson said. “I just keep thinking, as long as we are playing our best basketball at the end, we should be able to be in the mix. But I really think they’re starting to get it, and so hopefully we’ll be in the mix there at the end.”

Bearcat boys win at Alliance, held off at Sidney

After enduring a two-game losing streak the week before, the Scottsbluff boys got back on the winning track Friday night by winning at district foe Alliance 83-63.

The game was tight early, with Scottsbluff holding just a 16-12 edge after the first period. The Bearcats outscored the Bulldogs 14-8 in the second quarter to enter halftime with a 10-point advantage.

Scottsbluff continued to move further ahead in the second half, outscoring Alliance 25-19 in the third period and 28-24 in the final quarter.

Scottsbluff enjoyed a balanced scoring attack, with four players scoring in double figures. Freshman Dru Kuxhausen led all scorers with 21 points, while junior Trent Harris collected 13 points and nine rebounds.

Dillon Hernandez added 11 points and Landon Walker finished with 10. Austin Clarkson added nine points, and Jackson Hinze recorded a team-best five assists to go along with his eight points.

Alliance (6-10) had three players hit double digits in scoring, led by Trevor Kamerzell with 18. Jordan Mills tallied 16 points, and Brody Brennan had 11.

Scottsbluff went to Sidney on Saturday, looking to avenge a 66-62 home loss to the Red Raiders on Feb. 1.

But the Red Raiders turned back the hungry Bearcats again, this time scoring a 56-54 win on their home court.

The win improved Sidney to 14-5 on the season., while Scottsbluff fell to 11-7.

Sidney held on a 37-35 lead after the third quarter. The game remained tight through the first part of the fourth period, but the Red Raiders jumped out to a seven-point lead with about three minutes left in the game.

Scottsbluff eventually closed the deficit down to just one point with about a minute and a half left. However, Sidney responded with a couple of scores to go back up by five with about a minute remaining.

Scottsbluff’s Harris nailed two 3-pointers to help close the gap back to one point. The teams then traded scores before a free throw put Sidney ahead 56-54. Scottsbluff had one last chance to tie or win the game, but the Bearcats’ last shot was off the mark as time expired, allowing Sidney to escape with the win.

The Bearcats will be at home for the East-West Shootout this year, starting Thursday at 7 p.m. against McCook. Scottsbluff then entertains North Platte on Friday at 7 p.m. before Lexington visits the SHS gym Saturday at 2 p.m.

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