|McCook boys stampede Bearcats in Shoot-Out|
|February 16, 2012 Terry Gaston|
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen
Bearcat Michael Hadden (No. 32) goes in for a layup while Zach Clemens eyes the play during Saturday’s game against McCook at Scottsbluff. McCook prevailed 57-46.
Since the Scottsbluff boys’ basketball team earned the Class B No. 1 ranking from the Omaha World-Herald on Jan. 23, the Bearcats have lost two of their six games since, both at home.
After winning the first two games of the East/West Shoot-Out with relative ease at the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium, downing North Platte 65-55 on Thursday and Lexington 83-28 on Friday, the Bearcats ran into a defensive-packed McCook Bison herd Saturday and scored just 17 second-half points in losing a halftime lead and falling 57-46.
The Scottsbluff girls had their Shoot-Out action at the East teams’ sites this year and came home winless, falling to North Platte 47-28 on Thursday, 59-46 to Lexington on Friday and 66-49 Saturday at McCook.
The Bearcat boys are still a sparkling 18-3 on the season but may find themselves in quite a quagmire of heavy competition when the District B-6 brackets are announced Tuesday. Gering, where Scottsbluff plays Friday night, Sidney and now McCook are making Scottsbluff’s seemingly easy ticket into the Class B state tournament a few weeks ago now a tough chore.
Bearcats coach Tony Siske knows more than anyone else in Scottsbluff just how salty the district field will be, especially with the Bison having won six of their last eight games.
“McCook is right up there with everybody else,” said Siske, who saw the Bison at the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament. “I knew they were capable of beating us. They played well, and defensively they are very active.”
In beating North Platte, the Bearcats hit 47 percent of their shots, including 8 of 19 on 3-pointers, while holding the Bulldogs to 34 percent
Senior Rich Williams led Scottsbluff’s offensive charge with 20 points, with two 3-balls. Seniors Zach Clemens and Isaiah Castellaw followed respectively with 13 and 10 points and had six rebounds apiece. Castellaw also had three blocked shots.
In drubbing one-win Lexington, the Bearcats outshot the Minutemen 45 percent to 36 percent and had a 46-36 advantage in rebounds.
Castellaw led Scottsbluff with 21 points and seven rebounds, with Clemens adding 16 points while Williams led the Bearcats’ 15-steal attack with three thefts. Junior Michael Hadden dished out four assists.
“I thought we played well the first two nights and we expected that to carry over,” Siske said, “and it didn’t.”
Scottsbluff had an early 13-7 lead over McCook, but the Bison stormed back for a 23-21 lead before the Bearcats finished the first half strong and took a 29-25 halftime lead.
Junior Eric Moreno’s offensive play dictated Scottsbluff’s first-half success and its second-half downfall. Moreno was on fire in the first half hitting four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points. However, Moreno was blanked in the second half and so were the Bearcats from 3-point range, 0-for-10 after halftime.
McCook thus held Scottsbluff to 35 percent shooting for the game while hitting 49 percent of its shots and out-rebounded the Bearcats 34-25.
The Bison rode an early 8-0 run to start the second half to overtake the Bearcats for good and led early in the fourth quarter 43-35. Scottsbluff got within four but that was as close as the Bearcats got, and McCook left for home with a 2-1 Shoot-Out record and 14-8 on the year.
Clemens was held to 10 points with eight rebounds and Hadden added 10 points as well. Castellaw mustered only three points and four boards, while Williams was limited to only a 3-pointer.
The Scottsbluff girls fell to 4-19 with their three Shoot Out losses and a 59-33 setback at Sidney on Monday night.
Against North Platte, the Bearcats got 10 points from junior Zoey Rada.
In the loss to Lexington, Scottsbluff fell behind 22-2 after one quarter and watched sharpshooter Sydney Seberger rip 32 points for the Minutemaids.
For the Bearcats, Rada and Toni Rosado had 11 points apiece, while Rada grabbed six rebounds and Rosado made three steals. Junior Brayden Auer added 10 points, four rebounds and two assists, and senior Morgan Yost had five boards.
In falling to McCook, Scottsbluff lost for the seventh straight time by falling behind early but scrapped back to within seven points before coming up short.
Rada led the Bearcats’ good news by recording a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Alexus Pinedo added 13 points and seven rebounds, while senior Maddie Holscher had team-highs of three steals and two assists.
Against Sidney, which is 7-0 against District B-6 teams, the Bearcats got eight points apiece from Holscher and Rada. Sidney junior Karissa Segulke paced the Red Raiders (13-7) with 23 points.
Scottsbluff’s boys will be looking for its fourth win in as many tries against Gering when they visit the Bulldogs on Friday night. The Bearcats then complete the regular season Tuesday with a home game against Torrington.
After Friday’s regular-season finale at Gering, the Scottsbluff girls will head to Grant on Monday to face McCook again in the play-in game of the District B-6 playoffs.
Should the Bearcats avenge their loss from Saturday, they would face top-seeded Sidney again on Tuesday and force the action to be moved to Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.