Scottsbluff cagers off to strong starts, seek big years
     2014-12-18      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy photo - The Scottsbluff 2014/15 boys’ basketball team, front row from left, include: Braden Lofink, Dillon Hernandez, Trent Harris, Jackson Hinze, Kishon Contreras, Hever Morales, Keiichi Miyagoshi; middle row: Brady Sindt, Dru Kuxhausen, Noah Brunner, Miguel Rodriuez, Matt Richardson, Traceten Halley, company manager Decker Heithold (in gray sweatshirt), Ashley Jones, AJ Powell; back row, Matt Holloway, Evan Huges, Austin Clarkson, Landon Walker, Blake Wilberger, Matt Mickey and Jonah Wright. Head coach is Tony Siske and assistant coach is Mike Burda.photo -  
Bearcat boys stand at 6-0 after sweeping through season-opening tournaments
When the Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team graduated just one senior off the Bearcats’ fourth consecutive District B-6 championship last winter and made its sixth Class B State Tournament appearances out of seven seasons, optimism for another big year from Scottsbluff this season was in no doubt very high.

So far, the Bearcats have won all six of their games, which have come in three-day tournaments: the season-opening Western Conference Invitational Tournament and the RE/MAX Professional Camel Classic in Gillette, Wyo.

Along the way, Scottsbluff has averaged a victory margin of more than 20 points, ranging from a three-point overtime win and a five-point comeback decision over a pair of Wyoming Class A top-five teams to lopsided wins of 71-23 over Mitchell and 85-50 over Rock Springs, Wyo.

Pacing the Bearcats thus far are a pair of sophomores, with post man Landon Walker averaging 15.7 points per game – and scoring a team season-high of 26 – and 3-point sharpshooter Dru Kuxhausen with his average of 14.7-point average.
Returning senior guard Trent Harris is averaging 12.8 points per game, including a 23-point effort against Sidney in the Bearcats’ 67-54 Western Conference tourney championship win.

Senior guard Jackson Hinze is back to run the offense, and so is junior post man Austin Ferguson. Joining an already deep set of returnees is a senior newcomer in guard Ashley Jones.

“We’re off to a great start,” Siske said. “Record wise, we couldn’t be any better. I really like that we had to compete in these last two games really hard to win and we found a way.”

Siske said the Bearcats still are working on their offensive motion in finding if their inside or perimeter game is proving more effective on whichever given night.
“We’re doing something a little bit different on the offense this year,” he said. “We’re just continuing to work and hopefully get better.”

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.

How far can this Bearcat team go?

“It’s too early to tell,” Siske said.

Bearcat girls still young but progress already reflected in early season games
The Scottsbluff girls have just two seniors this winter after last season’s team had only one graduate and finished the year with a 2-20 record under first-year coach Rachel Larson.

But those two seniors and a host of underclassmen are already working hard to make sure that this season progresses and ends with much more success.
Scottsbluff started the season with a 2-1 record that included two victories to earn the consolation title of their Western Conference Tournament bracket.
The Bearcats had last week off and finishes their pre-holiday schedule Friday at Chadron. Then they will play in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament on Dec. 29-31 at Hastings before resuming their regular schedule at home Jan. 9 against Alliance.

“The girls are coming along nicely,” Larson said of their time of practice since the Western Conference Tournament.

“We haven’t had to spend a lot of time going over things from last year because the girls are used to the system. We’ve been able to progress faster because of this.”
Junior Chesney Walker has a team-leading scoring average of 12.3 points per game, while junior Zoe Holscher has bagged a team season-high 20-point effort.

Other juniors who are making scoring impacts early are Aly Camacho and Chloey Reifschneider, who are averaging about 10 points apiece, as is Holscher.
Seniors Kyra Willats and Aubree Ford are back to lead the younger Bearcats, whose experienced varsity members also include juniors Shayleigh James and Christiana Villarreal along with sophomores Avery Krentz, Rudi Salazar and Sally Welsh.

“The rest of the season is wide open,” Larson said. “As long as we continue to play hard, play together, and play our style of basketball, I will be pleased.”
“I hope to see a few more wins come our way as well. I’m really excited to get our second part of the season under way.”

Scottsbluff schedules

Dec. 19 at Chadron, girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7p.m.
Dec. 29-31 at GNAC Tournament at Hastings, TBA
Jan. 9 Girls vs. Alliance, boys at Alliance, 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 Girls at Gering, 7 p.m.
Jan. 16 Boys vs. Cheyenne East, girls at Cheyenne Central, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17 Girls vs. Cheyenne East, 3:30 p.m.; boys at Cheyenne Central, 5 p.m.
Jan. 23 Girls vs. Sidney, boys at Sidney, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 Boys at Gering, 7 p.m.
Jan. 31 vs. Rapid City Stevens, girls at 3:30 p.m., boys at 5 p.m.
Feb. 6 Boys vs. Alliance, girls at Alliance, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 Boys vs. Sidney, girls at Sidney, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 Girls vs. North Platte, boys at North Platte, 7 p.m.
Feb. 13 Girls vs. Lexington, boys at Lexington, 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 Girls vs. McCook, boys at McCook, 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 vs. Gering, girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Feb. 21 at Rapid City Central, girls at 3:30 p.m., boys at 5 p.m.

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