Gering basketball back in the winning groove
     2015-02-05      By Philip Eckerberg   
Photos by Philip Eckerberg/for the Citizen - Gering junior Austin Hoffman (No. 22) leaps toward the basket for an easy layup while freshman Bulldog teammate Tyler Pszanka follows from behind during first-half action of Gering’s 63-41 victory Saturday night over Burns, Wyo., at the Gering High School gymnasium. Hoffman scored a game-high 18 points. 
Last Friday the Gering basketball teams travelled to Alliance to take on the Alliance Bulldogs. The girls came away with an exciting 1-point 38-37 win. G-Town and Alliance were dead even after the first quarter at 13 each. Gering edged Alliance in the second frame 7-4 and hit the locker room with a 3-point 20-17 lead.

Gering and Alliance tied again in the third period at 10 apiece. Alliance bested Gering 10-8 in the final quarter but Gering held on for the 1 point 38-37 win ending a nine game losing streak that went back to Dec. 20.

“It felt really good to walk in the locker room and see smiles,” Gering Coach Adam Freeburg said. “We enjoyed that win, that’s a credit to these kids, they keep working hard. They haven’t given up on the season. I thought that our bench energy was tremendous it carried us through the game. The kids keep working hard, and if they keep working hard good things are going to happen.”

Senior Kaylee Sprier was once again the top point earner with 19. Senior Sam Rahmig was next with 7 points. Junior Allie Boggs and freshman Victoria Schwartz each had 3 points. Senior Ashlyn Schultz and sophomore Mariah Conn each had 2 points. Every point was critical in this win.

The boys had an exciting game of their own with a 7-point 60-53 win that was decided by the free throws as Gering made 26 of 29 from the charity stripe. Alliance started with a slight 1-point 8-7 edge over Gering at the end of the first period but Gering shot back in the second frame with a 16-12 performance over Alliance. The halftime buzzer saw Gering with a 23-20 lead, but it wasn’t enough to relax.

The third quarter saw an explosion of offense as Gering and Alliance both scored more than half their points with Gering coming out on top 31-29. The high scoring third quarter was followed up with a low scoring fourth quarter Gering leading 6-4. The final buzzer put Gering in the win column with a 60-53 victory.

“Going to Alliance is always a risky proposition,” Coach Randy Plummer said. “It’s always hard to win there because they are a good team. They make it difficult, just the style of basketball they play. They got a little bit ahead of us to start the game, they have some size. Then we kind of chipped in and started playing really well. We made our free throws down the stretch and won the game.”

Senior Joses Palomo was the top basket maker with 21 points. Junior Austin Hoffman was second with 11. Senior Kraiger Ebbers, senior Esai Hernandez and junior Brent Barge tied with 8 points. Junior Sonny Salazar and freshman Tyler Pszanka tied with 2 points.

The excitement continued on Saturday as the Gering Bulldogs took on the Broncs of Burns, Wyo. The G-Town girls had their work cut out for them as Burns are second in their class and had been 13-1 with their only loss coming to the first team in their class. Gering prevailed with a 64-60 win, but it was not easy.

Burns opened the game with a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Broncs three pointers and full court press kept The Dawgs in the hole. The second frame Gering fell a little bit further behind as Burns led 16-14. The halftime break saw Gering facing a 6-point deficit with Burns leading 32-26.

The Broncs increased the lead in the third period with an 18-12 lead over Gering and the Dawgs were now down by 12. Burns continued to press and shoot threes. It would take a miracle for G-Town to pull this one out.

But miracles still happen. The Broncs appeared to be fatigued after three quarters of full court press. G-Town suddenly became energized. Gering seemed to not be able to miss as they scored 26 points (as many as they did in the first half) against Burns 10 point (their worst frame). The 16 points were more than enough to win the game by 4, 64-60.

Freeburg was ecstatic after the game “That was fun! It was all heart from our kids,” he said. “I don’t know what their biggest lead was 15 or 18 whatever it was. Energy on the bench for the second night in a row spurred us on to the victory. We talked about finding a role, even if you don’t play one second in the game you can be just as important as the girl on the floor scoring 20 points. Find a role, be enthusiastic, look for mismatches, help me out, whatever it is. Girls are finding roles on the bench and the energy and enthusiasm on the bench is what led us to the win tonight.”

Spreier took the top scoring honors with 21 points. Mariah Conn was next with an impressive 18. Rahmig had 8, Boggs had 7, sophomore Kaylee Bohnsack had 5, and senior Dakota Wademan had 4 points.

The Bulldogs boys got a less exciting but just as important 63-41 win over the Burns boys. The Dawgs started strong with a commanding 19-7 lead over the Broncs after the first 8 minutes. G-Town let up on Burns but maintained the lead with a 9-8 second quarter giving Gering a 28-15 lead at the half.

Burns stepped up the offense in the third frame but Gering matched them and the teams tied at 18. Gering poured on the defense in the final period and took it 17-8 for the 63-41 win.

“That was an awkward game for us,” Plummer said. “They are a smaller class school and sometimes you can’t win no matter what. We played alright and they played pretty well. I thought they were a decent team. They gave us a good jolt and are pretty physical, which is what we need inside. After a big win last week maybe it was a little lackluster performance but all in all a win is a win and we move on to the next game.”

Hoffman took the top scorer spot for Gering with 18 points. Close behind him was Hernandez with 15 points. Hernandez said of his performance “it was pretty good, we all played good tonight. It was good to get in a three game win streak.” Palomo was third with 11 points. Kraiger Ebbers and Pszanka tied at 6. Sophomore Tanner Wengler and Salazar had 3 points.

On Tuesday the Bulldog teams traveled to Ogallala to face the Indians.

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