Gering drive ends on Red Raider 3-pointer
     2016-02-12      By Roger Holsinger    editor@geringcitizen.com
Roger Holsinger Photography Gering’s Christian Rogers goes up for two while Sidney’s Tyler Wintholz goes for the block last Friday night in Gering. Rogers ended the night with 21 points, but Sidney went home with the one-point win. 
With 5.3 seconds remaining, the Gering High School boys basketball team was ahead of the state-ranked Red Raiders of Sidney, 69-67.

Trey Winkler had just put his team ahead by two points after sinking two clutch free-throws.

Now all the Bulldogs had to do was play solid defense and not give up an easy shot.

As soon as Sidney got the ball across half court, Head Coach Erik Kohl called a time out, leaving three seconds.

The inbound pass went to senior Tyler Wintholz. Just as it appeared that Wintholz would drive to the key and try for the tie, he dished it back to senior Brady Radcliffe who shot the three-pointer as time expired.
“Swish.”

That sound silenced the Gering fans while pushed the Sidney fans to near pandemonium.

As excited as the Sidney fans were, the Gering fans were more disappointed especially the players and Head Coach Randy Plummer.

In the last two weeks, the Bulldogs have, as they say, left it all on the court with a double-overtime loss to Alliance and then last Friday a buzzer beater.

After two heartbreaking losses, what does a coach tell a team to keep them rolling, especially when the end of the season is drawing close?

“You tell them that basketball is a brutal sport. When it comes down to those types of games in two weeks, it’s just brutal. But you have to come back and play on Monday against Ogallala. So you cry your tears and get over it. The effort was there.”

Plummer said a win against Ogallala would get them back on track, but said it would be a tough game after such an emotional loss.

“Then we got Thursday, Friday, Saturday, (as part of the East-West Shootout) so it would have been nice to pick up the win.
That would have given us some confidence and when you lose you keep thinking about them and they come back to haunt you,” he said.

With less than three minutes to play Sidney came back strong, but not from where a person would expect. Proving any player on the team is deadly from the three-point line, Sidney struck with buckets from two forwards – 6-4 forwards Cutter O’Connell and Jake Heeren – to tie the game at 67.

“We were running a triangle and two and that means you man-to-man two guys and try to take their best two guys and leave the other ones open for a three. Then their big guy hits a three from the corner and I would have given him that anytime. Then the second guy (Heeren) hits and I think that was only the second shot he made all game. We were trying to pay attention to the guys that usually win the games,” he said.

“They have a nice bunch of guys that play with experience. They were runner-up at state last year so they weren’t going to panic when they got behind,” said Plummer.

He added that he didn’t think his players panicked, although there were a few shots down the stretch that might not have been the best, “but all in all I guess it was just their game to win.”

Plummer said he felt his players might have been a little nervous when they jumped out to an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

“You definitely clam up when you’re ahead. You look up and think, ‘Now what do we do,’ because we’re used to coming from behind. You just have to milk the clock and make good shots, which I thought we did a pretty good job of. With five seconds left we sink two free-throws and go up by two and that’s usually good enough at home for a win.

“It was just like last week. You watch both games . . . Geeze; it was like we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. All in all you can’t fault the effort. We have a lot of guys crying (in the locker room). And if they’re in there crying, you know it meant a lot to them because they wanted it bad,” said Plummer.

Sidney jumped out to an early lead as the game got underway and had a 21-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. Gering then outscored Sidney in the second quarter, 19-11 to take a 37-32 lead at the half. As the third quarter opened, the momentum began to swing to Gering. Winkler, Christian Rogers, and Austin Hoffman hit threes. Winkler and Rogers then added two more to give the Bulldogs a 59-48 lead.

In the final quarter, Gering worked the ball and played strong defense, but the tide turned in the last three minutes.

Sidney 21 11 16 22 – 70

Gering 18 19 22 10 – 69

Sidney: Yeager Price 5, Brady Radcliffe 7, Jake Heeren 10, Cutter O’Connell 23, Tyler Wintholz 19, Zack Means 6.

Gering: Trey Winkler 20, Brent Barge 2, Tanner Wengler 2, Christian Rogers 21, Austin Hoffman 17, Sonny Salazar 3, Tyler Pszanka 4.

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