Bearcat girls fall short of Alliance in first round district action
     2014-02-27      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/Sheila Weber Photography - The Bearcats’ lone senior, Shaylee Roseberry made a strong effort Tuesday night with eight points and seven rebounds but it was not enough to defeat Alliance in the first round of the District B-6 girls’ tournament. 
SCOTTSBLUFF -- Shaylee Roseberry is the Scottsbluff girls' lone senior on a Bearcat team dominated by sophomores.

On Tuesday night, with Scottsbluff's tough, two-win season on the line, Roseberry stepped up for the Bearcats in her best effort to extend her basketball career and her team's season one more game.
Despite Roseberry's eight-point, seven-rebound effort, Scottsbluff – rallying from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter – could not overtake Alliance and its 25 made free throws in the Bulldogs' 59-53 win in the teams' first-round game of the District B-6 girls' tournament at WNCC.

"I've never seen Shay play better," Bearcat girls' coach Rachel Larson said of Roseberry, who fouled out with 38 seconds left . "In four years I've never seen that kiddo play better and she left it all out there. A lot of people can't say they played their best game in their last game, but she definitely did."

No. 4 seed Alliance advanced into Thursday's semifinal game against No. 1 seed Sidney largely because of its 25-for-39 effort at the free-throw line. Scottsbluff was allowed just 14 attempts and made only five in the process.

"I've been saying all season long, it comes down to free throws and rebounding," Larson said. "There were some times where they out-rebounded us, but ultimately our free throws got us again. Quite a few of our losses this year have come at the free-throw line."
The Bulldogs had won the teams' first meeting 56-44 on Jan. 10 at Alliance and the Bearcats avenged that loss with a 74-48 win at Scottsbluff on Feb. 7. From the outset of Tuesday's rubber match and season-survival game, all indications that this match-up was going to be different.

Alliance jumped ahead 7-3 before Scottsbluff scored seven unanswered points to take a 10-7 lead. The teams were deadlocked at 14 points apiece after the first quarter.

The Bearcats, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by sophomore Chloey Reifschneider, held a 20-16 lead before the teams traded leads. Bulldogs junior Kennedy Cyza scored six unanswered points, giving Alliance a 27-22 lead with 43 seconds left before halftime.
After leading 29-24 at the break, the Bulldogs built a lead as large as eight, at 38-30 with 3:20 left in the third quarter.

But Scottsbluff answered, with Reifschneider scoring seven points and sophomore point guard Zoe Holscher adding a bucket in her return from an ankle injury, pulling the Bearcats to within a point at 40-39. Reifschneider ended the third quarter by stealing an in-bounds pass and laying in the basket at the buzzer.

Holscher, who had missed Scottsbluff's last four games after he suffered the ankle injury on Feb. 13, made 3 of 5 free throws in giving the Bearcats their first lead -- at 46-45 with 4:17 remaining -- since they were ahead 22-21 in the second quarter.

Alliance scored two unanswered baskets to retake the lead at 49-46. Sophomore Chesney Walker's bucket with 1:27 left pulled the Bearcats into a 51-all tie, but then Alliance followed by hitting 8 of 12 free-throw attempts to seal the victory.

Alliance junior Kenzie Brennan hit 11 of 14 free throws on her way to scoring a game-high 19 points. Cyza made 7 of 10 free throws in her 15-point outing, and senior Rylee Trout hit both of the Bulldogs' 3-points on her way to scoring 14 points.

Reifschneider hit three 3-pointers on her way to scoring a team-high 15 points. Walker followed with 11 points, while sophomore Aly Camacho led the Bearcats with 13 rebounds and added seven points. Holscher also had seven points, and sophomore Kelli Wentz dished out five assists.

"Our kids played with a lot of heart; that's never been in question," Larson said. "Our kids play hard every single game. I'm so proud of them just how far they have come, as basketball players this year but also as people and it's a privilege to coach them."

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