|Scottsbluff girls shake off Gering Bulldog girls|
|February 24, 2011 Terry Gaston Sheila Weber|
While the Scottsbluff girls’ basketball team walked out of Cougar Palace with a 56-43 victory over Gering on Friday night, the Bearcats again found the Bulldogs ready make the Bearcats battle for their 19th victory of the season.
Gering led 15-8 in the opening minute of the second quarter before Bearcat senior Gillian Harkins led a 15-3 rally with six points that put Scottsbluff ahead 23-18 and by four at halftime.
“We came out firing,” said Scottsbluff coach Mike Burda, whose team (19-4) defeated the Bulldogs 52-36 in Gering on Jan. 11. “It’s a game of runs: they had theirs and we were able to have one of our own.”
The Bearcats kept on rolling at the start of the third quarter, scoring nine unanswered points to take a 13-point lead. The rally was fueled by a pair of backcourt steals by senior Makayla Westphal, the first which she took all the way to the basket and the second that she dished off to senior Hattie Guzman for a 32-19 advantage.
“We made a couple mistakes in a row,” Gering coach Adam Freeburg said. “They’re a team that you can’t completely shut down. They made it tough for us to come back.”
The Bulldogs got as close as 10 twice in the fourth quarter, but Scottsbluff’s 15-for-19 free-throw night sealed the victory with 12 of 15 fourth-quarter free throws falling for the Bearcats.
“We had some good paint points and some good outside points,” Burda said. “These girls know how to play well together.”
Harkins finished the night as the game’s leading scorer with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting and 4 of 6 free throws. She also led the Bearcats on the boards with seven and had a blocked shot.
“Gillian Harkins is just a great versatile player. She does a lot for this team,” Burda said. “The fact that the bench did a great job of keeping the offensive production going was big.”
Westphal, who had 10 points in that big third quarter for Scottsbluff, finished with 15 points, knocking down three 3-pointers.
Guzman added 11 points, going 5-for-6 at the free-throw line, while sophomore Zoey Rada came off the bench to grab five rebounds. Senior Abby Zach added two assists and two steals and just two points, but she played a game visibly harder than her statistics might reflect.
Gering junior Morgan Greene had a team-high 13 points, while classmate Morgan Broussard added 10.
Junior Bryana Larsen led the Bulldogs’ 44-28 rebounding advantage with 10 boards and also had six blocks. Broussard had a team-high four steals and senior Jordan Plummer had two assists to go with her nine points.
“The girls came out and did an excellent job of executing our game plan,” Freeburg said. “I think in the second half we made some mental mistakes on defense and they had some girls step up for them.
“Overall it was a great effort by our girls,” said Freeburg , whose team (9-13) enters District B-6 action having won five of its last nine games. “What’s great about this game is it will prepare us for (this) week.”
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