Gering gets warmed up in jamboree triangular: Bulldogs to open basketball season tonight against Chadron in conference tourney
     2014-12-04      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Philip Eckerberg/for the Citizen - Gering junior Austin Hoffman puts up a layup over the watchful eyes of Bulldog junior Sonny Salazar during the Bulldogs’ practice Monday night at the Gering High School gymnasium. The Bulldogs open their season today at home against Chadron in the Western Conference Invitational Tournament. 
Both Gering boys’ basketball coach Randy Plummer and Bulldog girls’ coach Adam Freeburg said they saw good things and others on which their teams need to improve in their action Saturday against host Mitchell and Crawford in their Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame Jamboree triangulars.

For Plummer, who has just two returning varsity players, he said the otherwise young Bulldogs had their good moments in the scrimmages.
However, Plummer added that the Bulldogs also have a lot to do to get back to the level that Gering reached to go 19-6 last season.

“We’re pretty much rebuilding our whole team,” Plummer said.” We have a couple guys back who played last year in Joe Palomo and Austin Hoffman who played last year.
“We played probably seven guys the other night who had never seen the varsity court before. I think we had three sophomores and a freshman who played quite a bit of time, so we’re going to be a work in progress this year.”

“We did pretty well,” Plummer added. “I thought we battled pretty hard under the basket. I thought we stirred the ball around pretty well and passed really well and tried to include everybody in the offense.

“What we didn’t do was we didn’t execute our offense very well, and I don’t think we played very good defense. We let too many people drive the ball on us, and we can do better than that but that’s something that is going to take some time and some game experience to do.”
“We’re pretty physical but we’re not very tall. Our two starting post men are 6-2, so we’re not going to be the biggest team around.”

Freeburg, whose team went 14-12 last season, said he was glad to see two different defensive styles out of Crawford’s zone and Mitchell’s man-to-man set.
“It was nice to see two different defenses,” Freeburg said. “(Crawford) played 2-3 zone so we got to work on our zone offense, and then when we played Mitchell they played man, so we got to work on our man offense.”

Freeburg also said he saw a lot of positives from his Bulldogs, especially in trying to find depth from the younger players.
“I thought we played well,” he said. “The main thing about both the scrimmages was that we got to play a lot of girls. I brought 13 girls and all 13 played in every quarter. We’re trying to see where we are depth wise and see what girls mix in well with other girls. In the Mitchell scrimmage, they play fast paced, so we got to work on our defense, sprinting back to the basket.”

Freeburg said he didn’t play his seniors as much, “because I kind of know what I have from them already, so I could mix in some younger girls and gave them a chance to play.”

“From all 13 girls, there were positive things going on. It was nice to see them get out and play against somebody different. All 13 girls played really well.”
Freeburg said the Bulldogs need to work on the flow of their offense and getting back on defense and matching up.

“Just small things that, when you play against yourself every day, you don’t necessarily get better at,” he said. “So it’s nice to play against somebody else and we see where we need to make adjustments here and there. There were small things that we can fix that we were starting to work on at practice (Monday) evening, and we’ll just keep working to get better.”

The Bulldogs will play host to Chadron at the Gering High School gymnasium to open the season in the first round of the Western Conference Invitational Tournament, which starts today (Thursday) and continues through Saturday.
The girls’ game will start at 5:30 p.m., with the boys’ contest to follow at about 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs will match up against the respective winners and losers from Thursday’s games at Sidney between the host Red Raiders and tourney newcomer Greeley (Colo.) West. The winners play at Western Nebraska Community College and the losers fall into consolation action at Scottsbluff High School.
Friday’s girls’ games at both sites will start at 3:30 p.m. and the boys’ contests will begin at about 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule will begin at 10 a.m. at both sites. The seventh-place games will be at the SHS gym, and the fifth-place games will kick off a six-game schedule at WNCC. The girls’ championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m., and the boys’ title contest is set for a 6:45 p.m. start.

“Chadron is going to be tough,” Freeburg said of the Cardinal girls, who were 20-4 and made the Class C1 state tournament.
“Obviously they have great tradition and they’ve been good for a long time. They graduated a great senior class last year, but they have a lot of girls back who can play. They have a lot of athletic girls back who can play basketball, so we will definitely have our hands full.”

Plummer said the boys’ game against Chadron, 15-8 last season, will be a matchup of rebuilding teams.
“Chadron is a lot like us, losing Spencer Eliason and a couple other seniors,” Plummer said. “So they will be similar in size as us and they have a good shooter.
“We’re just practicing on basic stuff and trying to find out more where we’re at. By Saturday, I think we’ll probably know.”

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