Mitchell girls win Alliance Holiday Tourney title
     2015-01-08      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Banner County’s Tyson Dahlgrin (No. 21) sights three points against Minatare defenders juniors Dominic Longoria (No. 42), Yovan Perez (No. 4) and senior Javier Guerrero (No. 1), while senior teammates Dalton Jordan (No. 15) and Kadan Huber (No. 21) eye the action during a contest at Minatare High School on Dec. 9, 2014. The Wildcat boys earned their first win on Friday, defeating Crawford 48-37 in the first round of the Harrison Holiday Tournament. 
ALLIANCE — Any time a team can win a tournament title, excitement is bound to follow.
Mitchell girls’ basketball coach Brock Ehler said his Tigers, who began their second semester of play last week by winning the two-game Alliance Holiday Tournament, offered some encouraging play in the tournament and built some excitement heading into a busy, three-game road swing this week.

Mitchell turned back Gordon-Rushville 52-47 for the girls’ title after the Tigers dominated Alliance in scoring a 63-32 win over host Bulldogs in Monday’s first-round game.

“You never know how you’re going to play right out of the break,” said Ehler, whose girls were 3-3 before the Christmas break and have played just one home game thus far. “We challenged the girls to do the things they’ve been doing and the things they know they do well.

“We just tried to play our game, and go in there and beat a couple teams away from home. We felt we did some really good things and found some things we need to work on to improve our team game.”

In the championship game, Mitchell took early control with a 15-8 lead after the first quarter and a 27-17 advantage at halftime.
Gordon-Rushville made a late run to close within as few as three in the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers held strong by converting their free throws down the stretch to prevail.

Three Tiger seniors scored in double figures. McKenna Zulkoski led the way with a game-high 17 points. Kady Lower and Aspen Reifschneider followed with 13 points each.
Lower, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, pulled down five rebounds. Zulkoski also grabbed five boards. Freshman Jori Peters led Mitchell with six assists and five steals, while sophomore Celeste Cardona finished with four assists and four steals. Reifschneider had three assists.

Against Alliance (1-6), Mitchell jumped out to a 22-1 lead thanks to its smothering full-court man-to-man defense, and the Tigers maintained that 21-point lead at halftime, 36-15. Mitchell led 53-23 after three quarters.
Three Tigers scored in double figures, led by Lower with her 16 points along with six rebounds. Peters scored 15 points and Cardona added 12.

Peters also finished with six rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Cardona had five steals. Reifschneider finished with eight points and led Mitchell with eight boards and six steals. McKenna Zulkoski had four assists and senior Barbara Pieper had six rebounds.

The Tigers opened this week with action Tuesday at Bayard. Mitchell then travels to Kimball on Friday and to Chadron on Saturday.

“We’re pretty excited,” Ehler said. “We have three games this week, all on the road again. We’ve just been working on the things that we do well and what I think we need to be successful. All three of those teams are going to give us all we can handle. If we can be competitive, we’ll see what happens.”

The Mitchell boys (2-7) finished in third place after scoring a 56-45 win over Gordon-Rushville. The Tigers had lost their first-round game to Alliance, 66-56.
Junior Colby Eberspecher paced the Tigers’ consolation victory with 17 points and nine rebounds, while senior Antonio Barrios followed with 16 points and sophomore Joe Pieper added 10.

In Mitchell’s loss to Alliance, Bulldog senior Jordan Mills ripped the Tigers with his 33-point effort. Mills was 4-for-10 from 3-point range and was one of four Alliance players with five rebounds apiece.
Senior Alex Morales led Mitchell with 17 points, while Barrios followed with 16 and Eberspecher scored 12 while grabbing a game-high seven rebounds.
In the boys’ title game, a big second half powered Bridgeport past Alliance 49-38 in an all-Bulldog battle. Bridgeport trailed Alliance 17-15 at halftime, but outscored the hosts 34-21 in the second half to finish on top.

Bridgeport’s leading scorer, Quentin Baxter, overcame early foul trouble to score a team-leading 16 points, returned to spark a solid second-half performance that helped Bridgeport win the tournament title for the second time in three years. Teammate Wyatt Pankowski followed with 14 points.

In the girls’ consolation game, the Bridgeport girls grabbed third place with a 53-32 win over Alliance. Ashley Weborg paced Bridgeport in scoring with 12 points and Kassidy Kildow added 10 points for the victorious Bulldogs.
Olga Aguilar led Bridgeport (4-4) with six rebounds. Cassidy Mitchell dished out a team-high four assists and Megan Dudden picked off six steals. Kildow finished with three assists and four steals, while Mitchell had five steals.

Morrill teams split in Harrison tourney; Banner County boys get first win

HARRISON — The Banner County boys won its first game of the season Friday, defeating Crawford 48-37 in the first round of the Harrison Holiday Tournament.
Banner County seniors Mike McKown led the Wildcats with 15 points and senior Tyson Dahlgrin added 14 in the Wildcats’ victory. Dahlgrin scored a double-double effort with 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats (1-6) then lost to Sioux County (7-1) in a close championship game, 50-47. Dahlgrin and senior Kaden Huber had double-doubles in the Wildcats’ loss. Dahlgrin had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Huber added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Morrill boys (5-4) had the same results but in reverse fashion. The Lions lost to Sioux County 67-45 in the first round but then defeated Crawford 65-58 for third place.

Morrill senior Jorge Lara had 16 points and junior Josh Harvey added 15 in the loss to Sioux County. Harvey also had a team-high nine rebounds.
In the girls’ bracket, Crawford won the championship with a 63-46 win over Morrill after the Rams (9-1) had beaten Banner County 61-15 on Friday.
In defeating Morrill (5-4), four Rams scored in double figures. Kaitlin Rudloff led the way with 13 points.

Statistics for the Lions were unavailable.

In the Rams’ first-round win Banner County, Haley Hanks and Lacie Lietka led Crawford with 11 points each.
Wildcat freshman MaKenna Dahlgrin and junior Paige Cross led Banner County with six points each. Dahlgrin grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, while Savannah Jordan led the Wildcats defensively with two steals.

Also in the first round Friday, Morrill earned a 44-17 win over Sioux County. Sophomore Shayln Lackey scored 12 points and classmate Jessica Harvey had 11 for the Lions. Kate Kling led Sioux County with five points.
In Saturday’s third-place game, Sioux County (4-5) scored a 45-31 win over Banner County (1-7).

Dahlgrin finished with eight points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats. Junior Shaylee White grabbed 11 rebounds and had a team-high three assists. Defensively for the Wildcats, senior Ashlynne Hanan had three steals and junior Taylor Evans blocked four shots.

Morrill played at Hemingford on Tuesday to open this week’s play, which continues Friday when the Lions play host to Guernsey-Sunrise, Wyo. Morrill then plays host to Bayard on Tuesday.

Banner County is back in action this weekend, playing host to Hay Springs on Friday and traveling to Hemingford on Saturday.

Teams return to action

Minatare resumes its schedule Saturday with a trip to Chappell to face Creek Valley. The Storm will enter Saturday’s action after playing a doubleheader Tuesday at Peetz, Colo.
The Minatare boys are 5-0 on the season while the Storm boys were 3-3 entering their Tuesday action. The Creek Valley girls were 2-4 before Tuesday and the Minatare girls are 0-5.

Minatare then plays host to Garden County on Tuesday and Morrill on Jan. 16 before the Indians travel to Harrisburg on Jan. 17 to play Banner County.
Bayard returned to the court on Tuesday when the Tigers played host to Mitchell. The Bayard boys entered the New Year with a 4-2 record, while the Tiger girls were 3-4.
Bayard then travels to Potter on Friday to take on Potter-Dix and goes to Gordon on Saturday to face Gordon-Rushville. The Tigers then travel to Morrill on Tuesday.

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