Gering girls fall to Chadron in OT of tourney finale
     2011-12-08      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber for the Citizen. Gering’s Bryana Larsen (No. 40), makes a shot to tie the game against Chadron, putting them in overtime for the Western Conference finale.  
One more free throw made during the course of regulation play Saturday night, and the Gering girls’ basketball team would have been the Western Conference Invitational Tournament champions.
It was the fact that senior Brianna Larsen’s miss with no time remaining, after she scored off a rebound to tie the Chadron Cardinals at 48-all, was the most ominous miss.

Chadron, riding a 31-point effort of sophomore Ashlea Kerr, thus had new life and outscored the Bulldogs 6-0 in the final 1:26 of overtime to take a 58-53 victory in the tournament’s championship at Scottsbluff High School.

“By no means was it one person’s fault,” said Gering coach Adam Freeburg, whose team was jsut 6-for-20 from the free-throw line for the game. “If we had made our free throws in the first quarter, second quarter it wouldn’t have come down to that.”

Instead, Freeburg praised his team’s effort that kept the Bulldogs (2-1) ahead, and by as many as 14 in the second quarter, until Chadron (3-0) took a 44-42 lead with 4:15 remaining.

“It was incredible how the girls played late in the fourth quarter. We just kept battling and made a great effort,” said Freeburg, whose Bulldogs fell behind 47-44 but rallied to tie the score on Larsen’s back-door put-back of senior Morgan Hernandez’s miss as time expired.
Kerr, who had scored 10 third-quarter points to pull the Cardinals to within five at 40-35, added seven more in overtime to seal Chadron’s victory. Kerr had four 3-point baskets, including two in the third period.

Larsen led all Bulldogs with 12 points and 18 rebounds with one blocked shot. Hernandez had 11 points, four steals and three rebounds. Senior Megan Upp made nine points with four steals, while senior Morgan Broussard was next with eight points, four rebounds and three steals and senior Morgan Greene has six points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Gering advanced to the championship game with a 42-35 semifinal victory Friday over Alliance.

Greene had a team-leading 16 points , while Broussard added 13 oints and four rebounds. Larsen had six rebounds and one block to go with four points.

The Bulldogs opened tournament play Thursday with a 43-16 romp at home over Kimball.

Larsen hit 6 of 7 field goals in scoring 13 points and made nine rebounds with two steals. Greene had seven points and three steals, while Broussard had six points, three steals and three assists.
“It was a good weekend overall,” Freeburg said. “Our two wins were against really good competition. There were definitely a lot of positives and we’ll take those things and look forward to next weekend.”

The Bulldogs return to action with another three-game set in as many days, all on the road. Gering visits Mitchell on Thursday for a 5:30 game, then travels to Alliance on Friday for a 6 p.m. contest. The Bulldogs then head to Chadron on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game.
On Tuesday, Gering heads west to face Wheatland, Wyo., for a 7 p.m. game.

Scottsbluff’s all-new starting lineup struggled in its opening game, falling to eventual tournament Chadron 59-27 on Thursday.
Sophomore Kylie Guerue led the Bearcats with seven points. Junior Zoey Rada had six points and a team-high eight rebounds, while junior Brayden Auer pulled down six rebounds.

In the consolation semifinals, Scottsbluff rebounded to take a 51-43 win Friday over Mitchell. Guerue again led the Bearcats with 13 points, while junior Morgan Westphal had nine points and junior Alexus Pinedo and Rada added eight apiece. Auer had a team-high nine rebounds and Rada had eight boards.

The Bearcats had to settle for sixth place after falling to Torrington 60-54 in the consolation final Saturday. Senior Makayla Brower fueled the Blazers’ victory with a game-high 30 points.
Guerue set Scottsbluff’s scoring pace with 18 and also had five assists, while Westphal had five assists and three blocks, and senior Morgan Yost pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.

“We are happy with how the girls progressed in each of the three games, but we have a long ways to go,” Scottsbluff coach Mike Burda said. “We saw them improve in a lot of areas.”

The Bearcats return to action Friday when they travel to Wheatland, Wyo., for a 7 p.m. contest. Scottsbluff then plays Sterling, Colo., on Saturday at Bluffs Middle School, with the varsity game set for 7 p.m.

The Mitchell girls, with just two seniors on a young squad, had to settle for eighth place after taking three losses in the tournament, the first two to Class B teams.

The Tigers had Sidney at home in the opener Thursday but lost to the Red Raiders 54-37 to fall into the consolation bracket. Mitchell then gave Scottsbluff a competitive game but fell to the Bearcats 51-43. In the seventh-place game, the Tigers took a 44-32 loss to Kimball.

Against Sidney, senior Nicole Houston paced the Tigers with 12 points.

Scottsbluff defeats Mitchell (Friday) 51-43
Liz Cunningham- 9, Chalsey Grentz- 7, Havannah Newens- 7, Andee Grentz- 11, Taylor Peters- 3, Nicole Houston- 6,
Kimball defeats Mitchell (Saturday) 44-32
Liz Cunningham- 5, Chalsey Grentz- 2, Havannah Newens- 7, Andee Grentz- 13, Taylor Peters- 2, Mikaela Karpen- 2, Nicole Houston- 1
After Mitchell plays Gering at home Thursday, the Tigers travel to Hemingford on Saturday.

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