Scottsbluff boys out battle Gering in district preview: Bearcat girls use early successes to roll past Bulldogs on SHS ‘Red-Out’ Night
     2015-02-26      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Angie Hernadez/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff junior Aly Camacho (No. 22) drives her way toward the basket against Gering sophomore Brianna Eckerberg (No. 42) Friday in the Bearcats’ 55-39 win over the Bulldogs at Scottsbluff. 
SCOTTSBLUFF – Although the District B-6 boys’ basketball pairings were not released until Tuesday, most of the near-sellout crowd Friday night for the Scottsbluff-Gering games at the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium were pretty sure the Bulldogs and Bearcats would be paired in the boys’ district semifinals come Monday.

While the Bulldogs played strong defense and had a solid first quarter against Scottsbluff, the Bearcats overcame poor shooting with its own defensive strategies and solid free-throw shooting and turned those elements into a 61-48 victory.
The win followed a 55-39 victory for the Scottsbluff girls.

In the boys’ game, Scottsbluff struggled offensively, hitting just 40.4 percent of its shots. But the Bearcats held Gering to just 37.7 percent shooting accuracy and got freshman Tyler Pszanka into early foul trouble that opened up opportunities for Scottsbluff after a tight first half.

“I think we did enough to get the win,” said Scottsbluff boys’ coach Tony Siske, whose team turned a 20-19 first-quarter lead into a 38-30 halftime advantage and then outscored the Bulldogs 10-5 in the third quarter.

“Our third-quarter defense was much better,” Siske added. “We held them to five points and stretched the lead a little bit, but we never really got clicking on offense.”

The Bearcats hit 24 of 28 free-throw attempts, with sophomore Landon Walker sinking 7 of 8 charity shots on his way to scoring a game-high 19 points. Senior Trent Harris was perfect on four free shots and followed Walker with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Sophomore Dru Kuxhausen hit 7 of 8 free throws on his way to a 10-point night. Otherwise, Kuxhausen was just 1-for-6 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

“We shot really well from the free-throw line, and it was a good thing we did,” said Siske, whose team held a 35-21 advantage in rebounds – led by Walker’s 12 boards.
“Our defense was OK. Our offense just never really got into a rhythm and we made things a little bit too tough on ourselves.”

Walker added three blocked shots to his double-double.

“Landon played well, especially early when he drew some fouls and made some easy baskets for us,” Siske said.
Gering (12-10) had a successful night at the free-throw line as well, hitting 11 of 15 shots. Junior Austin Hoffman hit all four of his charity shots on his way to scoring a team-high 14 points.

Senior Esai Hernandez was 3-for-3 at the stripe in scoring nine points. Pszanka followed with seven points and five rebounds.
“I was really proud of our guys,” Gering boys’ coach Randy Plummer said. “I like what we did tonight. We tried to take away their best options and kind of did that but they have too many options. That’s the problem. You take away two or three, and pretty soon they have another two or three to go.”

In the girls’ game, Scottsbluff had leads of 9-1 and 11-3 before Gering gained its footing and closed the first-quarter margin to 14-9.
“It was a good one,” Bearcat girls’ coach Rachel Larson said. “I think from the get-go, we were ready to play and we played tough. We started out a little bit slower than I’d like. We kind of went with their tempo, but I think for the most part we wore them down by going with our fast pace.”

Scottsbluff extended its first-half lead to 31-19 at halftime. The Bearcats led 45-24 late in the third quarter for their biggest lead of the night.
“I didn’t feel like we brought the energy to start the game,” Gering girls’ coach Adam Freeburg said. “I felt like after we got behind, then we brought energy. I feel if we can bring that energy in the first half, we’re in good shape. But for whatever reason, we didn’t bring it in to start the first half.

“I’m proud that we gave good effort after we got behind.”
Scottsbluff picked off seven steals in forcing 22 Gering turnovers, led by junior Zoe Holscher’s three thefts.

“They’re a good pressing team and they’re going to get some steals out of the press,” Freeburg said. “But like I said, if we come out in the first half with a little more juice, a little more effort, I think we’re in good shape.”
Junior Aly Camacho led the Bearcats with 16 points, with three of her four rebounds coming off the offensive glass. Holscher followed with 11 points and junior Chesney Walker added eight points with a team-high six rebounds.

“I thought we shot pretty well,” said Larson, whose team made 22 of 57 shots for 39 percent. “I thought we did a really good job of getting it inside to Aly and utilizing her size and strength. I thought she played awesome, and I thought we played really well as a team.”

Gering senior Kaylee Spreier led all scorers with 18 points and shared team rebounding honors with sophomores Kaylee Bohnsack and Mariah Conn with seven boards apiece.
“They definitely didn’t go away easy,” Larson said of the Bulldogs (5-18 in ending their regular season). “They always play really hard, especially against us. Spreier played really tough inside, but eventually we just wore them down and came out the victors.”

Friday night was the inaugural American Red Cross “Red-Out,” sponsored by the Scottsbluff Student Senate. Proceeds from T-shirts and ducks on lanyards, along with donations, were raised for the Heart Association.
Survivors of heart conditions and strokes were also honored at halftime of the boys’ game, and Student Senate members performed compression-only CPR demonstrations.

Bearcats split with Cobblers in Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Scottsbluff finished its regular-season schedules Saturday with a split at Rapid City Central.
The Bearcat boys were back on track offensively from Friday, hitting 46 percent of its shots in rolling to a 63-44 win over the host Cobblers.
“It was a good win against a pretty good team, as athletic team as we’ve seen all year,” Siske said of Central (8-11), which was held to 30.7 percent shooting. “I thought we moved the ball well. We ran it well from the inside out, but I thought our defense led to a lot of offense as well.”

For the third straight Saturday, Kuxhausen hit at least six 3-point shots. Following his school-record performance of 10 treys at McCook on Feb. 14, Kuxhausen rattled the Central rims for six 3-balls on nine attempts on his way to scoring a game-high 23 points.

Harris followed with 17 points, while Walker turned in another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Bearcats had a 35-22 advantage in rebounding.
Scottsbluff outscored Central in every quarter, starting with a 15-8 run that the Bearcats turned into a 30-22 halftime lead. A 20-11 third-quarter flurry put Scottsbluff ahead 50-33.

For Central, Ryan Clemmons was the lone Cobbler to crack double figures with 14 points.
The Scottsbluff girls held Central scoreless in the fourth quarter of their game, but the Cobbler girls had already built a 32-point lead after three frames on their way to completing a 55-27 victory.

Central broke the game open with a 24-4 run in the third quarter. The Bearcats held the Cobblers scoreless in the fourth quarter, but it was by just a 4-0 advantage.
“We have a pretty tough schedule compared with some teams, and we have a lot of Class A schools (or the equivalent) that we play,” said Larson, whose team (8-12 for the regular season) made just 9 of 44 shots for the game (20 percent).
“It’s really good experience for our girls and we played competitive in the first half, again like we normally do with those bigger-class schools that we play, so I was really pleased with the effort.”

Central, which made 38.6 percent of its shots, had a balanced scoring effort led by Maddison Sullivan with 11 points and five assists. Abby Johnson added 10 points and four steals.
“I thought we had a really good defensive effort, only giving up 55 points to a pretty good team,” Larson said. “That’s something to be proud of, but we just couldn’t score, which was tough.

“I’m really proud of how the kids played, I thought they worked hard and I thought our defense was better. We just couldn’t score.”
Central improved to 9-10 with the win. The Cobblers were due to play crosstown rival Stevens on Tuesday night.

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