Scottsbluff boys edge Gering in Western Conference final
     2011-12-08      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber. Scottsbluff’s Michael Hadden shoots for two as Gering’s Tyler Wallace tries to block during Saturday’s Western Conference final.  
In the end, the adage that defense wins championship did not follow through for the Gering boys’ basketball team in the finals of the Western Conference Invitational Tournament on Saturday.

But the Bulldogs’ tenacious defense kept the bigger and faster Scottsbluff Bearcats from expanding on two big early leads and got Gering back into the tournament’s championship game.

After the Bulldogs pulled to within one with 2:03 remaining, however, Scottsbluff finished with a 7-3 run to post a 69-67 victory.
Scottsbluff got five points each from senior Isaiah Castellaw and junior Matt Klein in the final quarter, with each scoring in the final minute to fend off the Bulldogs’ final rally.

“That is what we expect from Isaiah when he attacks inside instead of taking set jumpers,” Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske said.

Castellaw led the Bearcats with 20 points, with senior Zach Clemens coming off the bench, still nursing a sore foot, with 14 points. Senior Rich Williams followed with 11 points and Klein added 10.

“That’s a team that we will play as physically hard as anyone we will play all year,” Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske said of the Bulldogs. “Gering’s pressure affected us a lot. They are too strong and are going to dribble and penetrate the ball inside.”

Gering senior Zach Smith scored 14 of his game-high 27 points in the third quarter, helping the Bulldogs erase a 34-25 deficit early in the period to cut the Bearcats’ lead to 46-44 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“Eventually, height won out,” Gering coach Randy Plummer said. “But our guys are buying into our our defense, that it is the way to win games. Zach was unconscious. When he gets into a groove, he’s hard to stop.”

For Gering, Tyler Wallace grabbed a team-high six rebounds, senior Nate Marquez had five assists and four steals, and senior Danny O’Boyle and Smith also had four steals apiece.

The Bulldogs began their road to the championship game Thursday by posting a 73-31 romp over Kimball at Gering High School.

Senior Dillon Wademan led 10 Gering scorers with his 13-point effort. Smith followed with 10. Wallace had six rebounds, Marquez made five assists, and O’Boyle and Smith had five steals apiece.
Gering advanced to the championship game with a 54-51 win over Torrington.

Junior Zac Bibb led the Bulldogs with 15 points and Smith added 14. Torrington had senior Jason McManamen lead the Blazers with 17 points and senior Nick Brower had nine.

Wallace and Keller each had four rebounds for the Bulldogs, while Smith made four assists and steals in the victory.

Gering has three games in as many days, all on the road, starting Thursday at Mitchell at 7:30 p.m. The Bulldogs then travel to Alliance for a 7 p.m. game Friday, then to Chadron on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.

The Bulldogs will then face Wheatland, Wyo., at home Tuesday with the varsity game at 7 p.m.

Scottsbluff opened tournament play at Chadron and ripped the Cardinals 74-31, beginning the game with a 17-2 first-quarter run.
Williams led the Bearcats with 17 points, while Hadden added 13 and Moreno had 10.

In Friday’s semifinals at Scottsbluff High School, the Bearcats rode their home-court advantage to another lopsided win, 80-47 over Sidney.

Moreno 17 and Castellaw 10 Williams led Scottsbluff with 25 points.
The Bearcats will be in another three-day tournament at the Campbell County Classic in Casper, Wyo. Scottsbluff opens play Thursday against Casper-Natrona County then on Friday takes on Rock Springs, Wyo. The Bearcats play host Campbell County on Saturday.

Mitchell’s run in the Western Conference Invite will serve as building blocks for the rest of the season.

The Tigers finished eighth after losing all three of its games, although none in too lopsided a fashion. Mitchell lost its opener at home to Sidney 55-50, then in the consolation bracket Friday fell to Chadron 59-47 and in the seventh-place game Saturday took a 62-50 loss to Kimball.

In the loss to Sidney, Senior Randy Shields led the Tigers with 12 points. Seniors Alberto Alvizar and Joe Sanchez added 11 points apiece.

Friday’s game against Chadron, final score: 59-47, Chadron.
Joe Sanchez 3, Adam Schlotthauer 2, Bo McVay 6, Alberto Alvizar 17, Jamie Fegler 10, Robbie Burke 2, Randy Shields 7.

Saturday’s game against Kimball, final score: 62-50, Kimball. Sanchez 9, , McVay 6,, Alvizar 10, Fegler 12, Burke 2, Shields 11.
After the Tigers play Gering at home Thursday, they travel to Hemingford on Saturday.

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