Bearcat boys undefeated after weekend wins
     2014-12-18      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Morrill senior Katie Howell gets around an Eagle defender during Thursday’s home opener against Garden County. The Lady Lions saw a 57-26 victory. 
After posting one blowout victory Thursday and two close wins Friday and Saturday in Gillette, Wyo., the Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team stands at a perfect 6-0 on the season.

After the Bearcats swept their way through the RE/MAX Professionals Camel Invitational, however, Scottsbluff boys’ coach Tony Siske said he still sees many elements on which the Bearcats need to improve despite their unbeaten success thus far.

On Thursday, Scottsbluff tipped off tournament play with an 85-50 rout over Rock Springs, Wyo.
On Friday, the Bearcats rallied from eight points down in the fourth quarter to post a 74-69 win over Cheyenne East.
On Saturday, Scottsbluff needed four extra minutes against host Campbell County before the Bearcats finished overtime with an 82-79 win over the Camels.

“It was a very good weekend for us,” Siske said. “The last two games, we really had to battle and find ways to win. They played us to the end of the game, so that was really good for us.”

Siske has taken the Bearcats to Gillette five straight seasons, playing in the second of three three-day tournaments that he likens to the pace and schedule of the Class B State Tournament in March. Even though Scottsbluff went just 1-2 in last season’s Camel Invitational, the Bearcats still made the first round of state.

A major key to its success this year, Siske said, is Scottsbluff’s overall returning experience; the Bearcats lost just one player to graduation from last season.

“We really haven’t changed anything with the way we prepared,” said Siske, whose team swept through the season-opening Western Conference Invitational Tournament field on Dec. 4-6. “We’re just a year older this year.”

The Bearcats averaged each of their Western Conference Tournament victories by 27 points, and they were off and running Thursday against Rock Springs, which was opening its own season with the contest.

Scottsbluff won each of the first three quarters by six points, leading 40-28 at halftime and 60-42 after three quarters, before the Bearcats finished the game with a 25-8 run in the fourth period for the decisive victory.

Scottsbluff shot a solid 45.7 percent for the game and also held a decisive advantage in rebounds, 46-20. The Bearcats had 14 turnovers to Rock Springs’ 16.

Sophomore Dru Kuxhausen hut four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 18 points, while sophomore Landon Walker followed with 14 points and had a team-high eight rebounds. Kuxhausen also had two steals and tied senior Trent Harris for team-leading honors with three apiece.
Senior Jackson Hinze and junior Blake Wilberger followed in scoring with nine points apiece, while Harris added seven points and seven rebounds, and junior Austin Clarkson had seven points and five rebounds. Junior Dillon Hernandez added six points and six rebounds.

On Friday, Scottsbluff trailed Cheyenne East 58-50 after three quarters before the Bearcats put their foot down defensively and fought their way into the lead late.

Walker finished with a team season-high in scoring with 26 points for
Scottsbluff, making 10 of 13 shots from the floor and 6 of 8 free throws. He also had a team-high eight rebounds.
Kuxhausen, who hit three key free throws down the stretch, had four more 3-pointers in scoring 16 points and added two assists. Harris followed with 13 points and six rebounds, while Clarkson had seven rebounds and seven assists to go with four points.

In Saturday’s finale, Kuxhausen hit three throws with no time remaining in regulation to force overtime against Campbell County after the Camels had led 53-45.

Scottsbluff rallied to within three, and Kuxhausen was fouled on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer in forcing him to hit all three ensuing free throws to extend the game by another four minutes.
The Bearcats outscored Campbell County 7-4 in overtime, with Harris denying the Camels a last-second shot attempt with a steal, to clinch the victory and their unbeaten record for the weekend and young season.

Kuxhausen and Harris tied for team-leading scoring honors with 15 points apiece, and Harris added nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Hernandez scored all 12 of his points in the first half, which ended in a 37-all deadlock. Walker finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Hinze added nine points and senior Ashley Jones followed with eight.

Scottsbluff finishes its first-semester schedule Friday at Chadron before the Bearcats will be in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament in Hastings on Dec. 29-31. The boys’ first home game of 2015 will be Jan. 16 against Cheyenne East.

Morrill sweeps Garden County

In county-area games last week, Morrill won its home-opening doubleheader over Garden County. The Lion boys edged the visiting Eagles 50-47, and the Morrill girls were 57-26 victors.

In the boys’ game, senior Jorge Lara scored 20 points for the Lions and junior Ryan McMackin followed with 14 in a game Morrill led 29-21 at halftime.

In the girls’ contest, Jesssica Harvey led Morrill with 23 points and had eight steals to pace the Lions on both ends of the floor. Leanne Sherrod followed with 12 points and Bailee Steiner had a team-high seven rebounds for the Lions.

In another home doubleheader Saturday, Morrill split with Kimball. The Lion boys handed the Longhorns their first loss with a 64-55 win, while the Kimball girls downed Morrill 77-65.

In the boys’ game, both teams were left at 3-1 after Morrill rallied with a 20-9, fourth-quarter run to take the victory. McMackin led all scorers with 26 points and Lara followed with 21, and both players ripped four 3-pointers apiece.

In the girls’ game, the Longhorns (3-1) set the pace with a 20-10 run in the first quarter and led 36-26 at halftime. Danika Daum led Kimball with a game-high 24 points and Madison Biesecker added 20 for the Longhorns.

Harvey set the pace for Morrill (2-2) with 21 points, while Kaitlyn Margheim followed with 14, and Shaylin Lackey and Sherrod added 10 apiece.

Morrill took to the road Tuesday night to face Hay Springs and will travel to Edgemont, S.D., on Friday. The Lions then close out their pre-Christmas schedule on Saturday against Mitchell.

Bulldogs sweep Tigers

The host Bridgeport Bulldogs scored a convincing sweep Friday night over Morrill County rival Bayard.

The Bridgeport boys led 28-11 at halftime on their way to scoring a 63-41 win over the Tigers.
Quentin Baxter of Bridgeport and Bayard senior Justin Baird shared game-high scoring honors with 14 points each, while Baxter got offensive support from Isaias Mancias, Andrew Nelson and John Pappas with nine points apiece.

In the girls’ game, Bridgeport had 11 players score on their way to a 64-44 win. Megan Dudden set the Bulldogs’ pace with 11 points, while Cassidy Mitchell and Riley Hall added nine points apiece.
Kaylie Fiscus led Bayard with eight points.

The Bayard boys are 2-2 and the Tiger girls are 2-3 heading into Friday’s home games against Garden County. Bayard completes its pre-holiday schedule Saturday at Kimball.

Minatare splits at Sioux County

The Minatare boys improved to 3-0 Friday with a 51-37 win over Sioux County at Harrison, while the host Warrior girls downed winless Minatare 51-27.

In the boys’ game, Minatare junior Jovan Perez hit two 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 19 points, while Indians senior Tyler Koke followed with 12 points. Kate King scored 21 points in leading the Sioux County girls (2-1). Individual statistics for Minatare (0-3) were unavailable.

Minatare was to play at Crawford on Tuesday night before the Indians play Arthur County at home on Friday.

Mitchell girls win at Hemingford

The Mitchell girls, fresh off their 63-18 win Thursday at Gering, scored a 47-45 win Saturday at Hemingford. The win improved the Tiger girls to 2-3.

The Mitchell boys fell to 0-5 with a 48-34 loss at Hemingford.
The Tigers will travel to Yoder, Wyo., to face Southeast on Friday and will close out their pre-Christmas schedules on Saturday at Morrill.

Tiger girls roll past Wildcats

The Bayard girls jumped out to a 13-4 lead after the first quarter and held host Banner County to no more than four points scored in any period in taking a 55-15 win Thursday at Harrisburg.
Amber Willey led all scorers with 18 points for Bayard and Miah Vera added 13 for the Tigers. Ashlynne Hanan led Banner County (1-3) with five points.

Banner County plays host to Leyton on Friday and travels to Chappell on Saturday to play Creek Valley.

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