Unbeaten: Scottsbluff boys, Chadron girls score big
     2011-12-22      By Terry Gaston   
SCOTTSBLUFF — Two basketball teams entered Friday night’s doubleheader having opened their seasons with six consecutive victories.

By halftime of their respective contests, both the Scottsbluff boys and Chadron girls were in full command again and headed to the locker room with 23-point leads.

When the night was over, both the Bearcat boys and Cardinal girls were 7-0: Scottsbluff, with a 64-28 victory over the Cardinal boys; and Chadron, with a 97-59 triumph over the Bearcat girls.

In the boys’ contest, the Bearcats shook off an early slowdown control tactic by Chadron when senior center Isaiah Castellaw got rolling inside and classmate Rich Williams was unconscious from outside.

Williams hit 6 of 10 3-point attempts and one other shot for a game-high 20 points, while Castellaw was perfect on all seven of his shots in scoring 14 points and grabbed five rebounds.

“Isaiah played with a lot of energy,” Scottsbluff coach said of Castellaw. “Once Rich gets going, he gets to feeling good.”

Chadron (2-4) went nearly half of the first quarter, all of the second period and 1:20 into the second half without hitting a field goal. As a result, the Cardinals went from trailing 10-6 to 30-7 at halftime, with just one free throw to show for their offensive effort.

Scottsbluff got six points apiece from junior Eric Moreno – on two 3-pointers – and Castellaw during a 19-1 second-quarter flurry.

The Bearcats continued their offensive tear in the third quarter, at a torrid overall shooting pace of 52.8 percent (25-for-44, including 9 of 20 3-pointers for 45 percent), for a 51-19 advantage after three quarters that let Siske dive into his bench early of the final period.

The final margin of 36 points was the Bearcats’ biggest of the game. Two Cardinals had six points apiece in Chadron‘s 27.8 percent shooting effort.

“We had the opportunity to play a lot of kids,” said Siske, who had 10 players score on the Cards – a 74-31 loser to the Bearcats in the season-opening game of the Western Conference Invitational Tournament at Chadron.

“I’ve been so proud of these guys, they have come out and competed every night, and that was the challenge we gave them at the beginning of the year.”

Scottsbluff girls’ coach Mike Burda faced the challenge of rebuilding a team that lost all its starters from a state-qualifying team, but nevertheless he found reason to praise his young Bearcat team despite its lopsided loss to a youthful Chadron team that so far has dominated all but one of its seven victories.

In fact, one would not know by the final score that Scottsbluff began the game with a 22-17 lead after one quarter, led by sophomore Kylie Guerue’s eight points in the opening eight minutes.

“Our first quarter was our best quarter so far,” said Burda, whose team began the season with a 59-27 loss at Chadron on Dec. 1 in the Western Conference Invite.

Unfortunately for the Bearcats, the game still had three quarters remaining. And after Chadron sophomore Bailea Kerr scored 13 first-quarter points, her igniting twin Ashlea had not even scored.
But Ashlea Kerr hit a rare zone in the second quarter that left Chadron fans stunned in elation and Scottsbluff faithful numb. She scored an incredible 26 second-quarter points, including three 3-pointers, in leading the Cardinals on a 38-10 run that gave them a staggering 55-32 halftime advantage.

But the Bearcats (2-4) could only play out the second half, albeit with a gallant effort.

“Our rotation is so small, and we hit the wall and got run out of the game,” Burda said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in a girls’ game, even 50 at the half. But I felt we played great; for where we are is very impressive.”

Ashlea Kerr finished the game with 30 points and Bailea Kerr followed with 17 when Chadron coach Curt Holmquist pulled his starters midway through the third period and the Cardinals leading by 30. Chadron hit its biggest lead of 38 on five occasions during the final four minutes.

Scottsbluff junior Zoey Rada finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Morgan Yost added 10 points and eight rebounds. Junior Alexis Pinedo added 11 points and a team-high three assists, while junior Morgan Westphal had a team-leading five steals.

“Our girls are practicing hard and learning to get better,” Burda said. “We’re going to see some good results from their competitiveness.”

The Bearcats are off until Dec. 28, when they travel to Lexington for the three-day Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament. The boys will open against Columbus and the girls play North Platte in their opening-round games Wednesday.

A preview of Scottsbluff’s outlook for the GNAC Tournament, which continues through Dec. 30, will be in next week’s Gering Citizen.

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