District B-6 tournament races wide open
     2014-02-27      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Gering senior Christian Groskopf flies to the hoop, with Bearcat defenders junior Trent Harris (No. 23), sophomores Dillon Hernandez (No. 24) and Austin Clarkson eyeing the play during the exciting battle of the cats and dogs at Gering on Friday. See full story on B2. 
Gering and Scottsbluff basketball coaches are in agreement about both divisions of the District B-6 Basketball Tournament, which is this week for girls and next week for boys at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.

Anybody, on any given night, can win.

The Gering girls are the No. 2 seed at 13-11 and play McCook (11-12) in the second semifinal today (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. The first semifinal, at 5 p.m., is between No. 1 seed Sidney (15-7) against No. 4 seed Alliance (5-16), which scored a 59-53, first-round victory Tuesday night over No. 5 Scottsbluff (2-20).

The district championship game will be Friday at 6:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Class B State Tournament on March 6-8 in Lincoln.

The boys' bracket, released Tuesday morning, has Gering (18-5) as the No. 1 seed. The Bulldogs will play in Monday's 5 p.m. semifinal against the winner of Saturday's first-round game matching No. 4 Alliance (7-13) and McCook (10-14). That game, moved to North Platte High School for travel purposes, will tip off at 2 p.m.

Scottsbluff (14-9) drew the No. 3 seed and will play No. 2 seed Sidney (16-6) at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The semifinal winners will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for the district championship and berth into the Class B State Tournament on March 13-15 in Lincoln.

Fourth-year Gering girls’ coach Adam Freeburg, who is enjoying his first winning season as the Bulldogs’ leader, said he hopes his team can carry some momentum from its 59-52, regular-season finale victory Friday night at home against Scottsbluff.

“I was excited for our seniors to play in front of that atmosphere,” Freeburg said. “Getting that win was huge for us, and I think that will give us some momentum going into this week.”

Gering owns a 47-45 victory at McCook from Feb. 14 in the East-West Shootout.

“It was a hard-fought battle all the way through from start to finish, so I would expect the same Thursday,” Freeburg said of playing the Bison again. “Coach Ellis will have them ready to go against, that’s for sure, and we’re going to do our best to be ready for them.”

With a win, the Bulldogs would play Friday night with little time to adjust to the opponent.

“We mostly focus on what we need to do to get better,” Freeburg said in preparing his team for this week. “We will talk some about what they (the Bison) do and make some adjustments on our defense and on our offense on what they do.

“But for the most part, we concentrate on what we do and we just try to get better at what we do.”

“I think it’s going to be fun for all five schools, really,” Freeburg said. “I think it’s great for all five schools involved and all the kids involved, and I think if any one of those five teams gets hot over this week, they can be the team representing us down at the state tournament.

“It seems like everybody has beaten everybody. We got beat by Sidney, then McCook beat Sidney and then we beat Mc Cook, so it’s up for grabs and I think it should be fun for all five schools involved.”

Sidney owns wins over Gering in both their meetings, 39-31 at Sidney on Jan. 10 and 52-45 at Gering on Feb. 7. The Bulldogs won at Alliance 40-30 on Dec. 13 and 48-39 in overtime at Gering on Jan. 31.

Gering boys’ coach Randy Plummer said having the No. 1 seed is good for his team, which has won eight straight games, but added that it offers no guarantees for success in the district tournament.

“It’s a lot easier road to go through when you’re No. 1,” Plummer said. “We still have a tough job ahead of us. We finished 18-5, which is a very, very good regular season, but the records are all now zero-and-zero and we have to play the winner between McCook and Alliance.”

Gering had a 64-48 win at Alliance on Dec. 13 and a 64-56 win in the Jan. 31 rematch at Gering. The bulldogs defeated McCook 65-39 at home on Feb. 14 in the East-West Shootout.

Gering is 2-1 against Scottsbluff, with both wins – including Friday’s 73-68 victory – coming on the Bulldogs’ home court.

Gering split its two games with Sidney, with the Red Raiders winning at home 75-64 on Jan. 10 and the Bulldogs edging Sidney 71-69 at home Feb. 7 on junior Joses Palomo’s buzzer-beating 3-point basket.

“Between Sidney, Scottsbluff and us, we’ve beaten each other and been beaten by each other several times, and we still have to play either McCook or Alliance, and we beat Alliance twice and once for McCook, and that makes it even harder to beat them another time,” Plummer said.

“It becomes harder every time you play them, because they play that much harder to beat you. Your kids sometimes let up a little bit. These guys realize that you can’t coast through any games, and I think we have proven the last seven or eight games that we can play with anybody. The pressure has been on us and we have responded with the pressure on us, and so I am expecting the same thing next week.”

Scottsbluff avenged a 67-44, season-opening loss at Gering on Dec. 5 with a 65-52 home win Jan. 25. The Bearcats have lost two close games to Sidney, 66-62 on the road Feb. 1 and 56-54 at Scottsbluff seven days later.

“We hope it’s a game that goes right down to the wire, just like the last two have,” Scottsbluff boys’ coach Tony Siske said.

In looking at other possible championship opposition for the Bearcats, they won 75-47 at home Jan. 10 and 83-63 at Alliance on Feb. 7. Scottsbluff routed McCook 78-47 on Feb. 13 at home in the East-West Shootout.

“Any one of the five can win games,” Siske said. “Every team has some very special players.”

Share this story on Facebook
LOGIN or REGISTER for exclusive access to premium content

Good Morning friend!
Recently Read Sports
720District B-6 tournament races wide open
1045Bearcat golfers win at home
1099Bearcats finish third at McCook
997Westco Teams Sweep Gering
1037Gering opens against a tough G.I. Northwest
875Gering High School Wrestling results
1136Teen Voice: Take me out to the ball game
641Reaching new heights
1193T’town center set to expand: Financiers behind building Carpenter tumblers’ pavilion
935Minatare girls team solidifies with five returning juniors
2050Bearcat coach nears finish line
726Minatare Indians eye a return to playoffs
2606Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
1005Bearcats prey on struggling Bulldogs
763Congrats GGSA Champions
1347WNCC softball falls to Trinidad
1097Bearcat bunt
1180Morrill Lions golf team
775 Minatare Indian gridders headed to semifinals
1211Lake shines at state swim finals
Most Read Sports 2012
3930Mitchell track off to a strong start
3807Morrill baseball back in business
3213Rivals make good friends, better training partners
3000Mendoza spirit lives on in softball tournament
2932Gering wrestling builds on experience
2835Bulldogs basketball ready to run Class B gauntlet
2648Raising the bar high
2606Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
2598Gering resident lives his dream
2585Kizzire and Kautz take first place
2575All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
2486All Points West: We’ll miss 2016 seniors
2416Doing the heavy lifting
2373Basketball girls hungry for more wins
2322Cougars clench 18th straight Region IX title
2315Gering girls’ soccer team creating team first attitude
2273Beam to golf at Midland
2244Sterkel Colorado bound, inks with Rangers
2139Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
2087Mud Volleyball has another wildly successful year
Most Read Sports 2011
3930Mitchell track off to a strong start
3807Morrill baseball back in business
3213Rivals make good friends, better training partners
3000Mendoza spirit lives on in softball tournament
2932Gering wrestling builds on experience
2835Bulldogs basketball ready to run Class B gauntlet
2648Raising the bar high
2606Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
2598Gering resident lives his dream
2585Kizzire and Kautz take first place
2575All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
2486All Points West: We’ll miss 2016 seniors
2416Doing the heavy lifting
2373Basketball girls hungry for more wins
2322Cougars clench 18th straight Region IX title
2315Gering girls’ soccer team creating team first attitude
2273Beam to golf at Midland
2244Sterkel Colorado bound, inks with Rangers
2139Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
2087Mud Volleyball has another wildly successful year
Platte Valley Companies
Fresh Foods
American Legacy
Spectrum Photo
Kendell Henderson
= = = Platte Valley Companies' = = =
Sports Page

Check out the
Gering Bulldogs on