An eight-day layoff between games gave the Gering boys’ basketball team plenty of time to make some changes that the Bulldogs hoped would wipe away a three-game losing streak.
Well, almost plenty of time – first, the Bulldogs needed a few extra minutes to try out their new game plan. Once all gears kicked in, Gering was on its way to a 63-47 victory last Saturday night over Gordon-Rushville at the Gering High School gym.
“It was good to get a win,” said Gering coach Randy Plummer, whose 7-4 Bulldogs last won on Dec. 14. “When you start losing, you start to question yourself as a coach and the players start to question themselves.”
So Plummer and Co. spent much of last week working on a new offensive philosophy. The Bulldogs' defense might have needed a little fine-tuning as well after Gering's 68-58 loss to Sidney at home on Jan. 8.
“Last week we put in more of a motion offense, where we don't have as much of a pattern,” Plummer said. “The more you play in a pattern, the more the opponents understand how it's going to be and can take you out of your offense. I thought the guys did much better after the first quarter.”
Indeed, Gordon-Rushville charged out to a 9-2 lead, but Gering scored unanswered points to lead 11-9 after the opening period. Then the Bulldogs erupted in the second quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 24-16 to lead 35-25 at halftime.
Gering still led by 10 after three quarters and then finished the game with the final 16-point margin of victory.
“We played pretty well,” Plummer said. “We out-rebounded them 39-22 and forced 21 turnovers. We had a lot of steals out of our press. We were a lot more active on defense.”
Junior Zach Smith not only led the Bulldogs with 20 points but he had three of Gering's 11 steals. Senior Lee Salas followed Smith in scoring with 14 points, hitting two 3-pointers while going 4-for-4 inside the arc.
Senior Gunnar Britsch, while held to just one point, led the Gering rebounding attack with eight boards, while junior Dillon Wademan and Tyler Wallace had seven points and seven rebounds apiece. Junior Danny O'Boyle added six points and rebounds each.
The win over Gordon-Rushville (4-5) began a stretch of four games in eight days for Gering, which entertained Torrington on Tuesday. The Bulldogs play host to Chadron on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Scottsbluff on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Bearcats will enter Saturday's Twin Cities rival bout with an 11-3 record and a week of rest.