Bearcat boys improve to 13-2 with win over rival Bulldogs
     2016-01-29      By Roger Holsinger    editor@geringcitizen.com
Roger Holsinger Photography Scottsbluff’s Landon Walker tries to prevent Gering’s Tyler Pszanka from heading to the basket during the Bearcat-Bulldog brawl last Saturday in Scottsbluff. 
It had a feel of a David versus Goliath story as a much taller and bigger Scottsbluff boys basketball team protected its winning streak from a smaller but quicker Gering team.

Unfortunately for the Gering Bulldogs, the giant won this battle as the Bearcats beat the Bulldogs, 64-46 last Saturday night in Scottsbluff.

Gering played tough in the first half, but something changed in the second half and Head Coach Randy Plummer said it was a matter of defensive coverage.

“You can only cover three so many times and pretty soon they are going to start hitting them,” he said. “They have so many guys and if you cover the inside they kick it out. They are a heck of a team, but our guys didn’t back down and I’m really proud of them.”

Plummer added the Scottsbluff squad was taller, “but our guys fought hard (Saturday).”

Another factor was offense for the Bulldogs as Scottsbluff’s height stopped any kind of inside game for Gering. Almost every time Gering went into the paint, shots were blocked by Landon Walker (6-8), Austin Clarkson (6-6) or Blake Wilberger (6-4).

“We had trouble scoring. They would sit in a zone and we had trouble getting the ball inside,” said Plummer. “We don’t have a dominating six foot eight guy that can get the ball inside so we resort to passing the ball around. But we still put up 46 points and that’s not too bad when we average about 50.

“We have guys that can shoot it but they aren’t very big guys and they have trouble seeing over the outstretched hands,” he said.

Plummer said his team would be “OK” as the Bulldogs were in action Tuesday night in Torrington and will play at home Friday hosting Alliance.

On a positive note, the Bulldogs picked up a win Friday night at home with a decisive win over Chadron, 51-42. Austin Hoffman led the Bulldogs Friday night with 15 points.

Scottsbluff Head Coach Tony Siske said Gering threw a lot of different looks on both sides of the ball at his team.

“They add a lot as the season goes on and we saw a few new wrinkles (Saturday),” he said.

After an even score at the end of the first quarter, Siske said they anticipated that Gering might slow things down the second quarter.

“During one possession we had to get out of our zone and go man and I thought we played pretty well in our man (man-to-man defense). I was worried about them breaking us down on the dribble and not getting our rotations but we did a good job,” Siske said.

Dru Kuxhausen led the Bearcats with 30 points, half of those from the three-point stripe. Three of those came in the second quarter, which Siske said really gave the Bearcats a bump as they outscored the Bulldogs, 20-9, in the second quarter.

After knocking off Sidney Friday night and Gering Saturday, Siske said he was pleased but there were areas that still need to be worked on.

“We weren’t really crisp either night, but it’s two good wins against two good teams and you’re always going to take that. Playing the district opponents out here we are so familiar with each other that you just have to grind out wins sometimes and I thought we did that both nights,” he said.

Siske said his team needs to work on its defense and ball movement.

“Our player movement and ball movement has got to improve on the offensive end,” he said.

Next up for Scottsbluff will be this Friday as the Bearcats host Rapid City Stevens.

The two teams opened the contest scoring as Austen Hoffman hit the three but Jonah Wright answered back for Bearcats with a three of his own. Alex Duncan added to the “three-forall” with one and then Kuxhausen jumped in as well.

Tyler Pszanka added a bucket and Hoffman scored another three and Gering was up by two late in the first quarter. But Kuxhausen tied it up with a pair of free-throws as the quarter ended.

Gering took the lead as Hoffman sunk a pair of free-throws, but Scottsbluff came back with Kuxhausen hitting eight straight points to give his team a 21-15 lead with 2:09 remaining in the half.

Wright and Kuxhausen added six more late in the quarter to give the Bearcats an 11 point advantage at halftime.

As the second half opened, Scottsbluff continued to score and Gering struggled and after Clarkson scored from inside, Scottsbluff had a commanding, 41-27 lead with 4:05 left in the third. But Gering fired back late with Christian Rogers added the try and Sonny Salazar connected to cut the lead to 13. Then Hoffman sunk three free-throws to end the quarter.

It was much the same in the fourth quarter as Scottsbluff’s height stopped any chance for Gering to score inside or even grab the offensive rebound, and Scottsbluff improved to 13-2 with the 64-46 win.

Scottsbluff – Dru Kuxhausen 30, Evan Hughes 2, Jonah Wright 9, Dillon Hernandez 7, Landon Walker 6, Blake Wilberger 2, Austin Clarkson 8.

Gering – Trey Winkler 3, Brent Barge 5, Alex Duncan 3, Christian Rogers8, Austin Hoffman 16, Sonny Salazar 9, Tyler Pszanka 2.

Gering 11 9 19 7 – 46

Scottsbluff 11 20 20 13 – 64

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