Gering girls, Scottsbluff boys win in doubleheader
     2012-02-24      By Terry Gaston    news@geringcitizen.com
Gering senior Morgan Broussard launches a play while teammates Alexa Anderson (No. 22) and Megan Upp (No. 10) observe the action and Bearcat junior Amy Colburn works defense. 
Both basketball games Friday night between Twin Cities rivals Gering and Scottsbluff at the Gering High School gymnasium featured early leads by the Bulldog teams followed by go-ahead rallies by the visiting Bearcats.

The Gering girls were able to overcome Scottsbluff’s rally with a turnaround of their own to post a dramatic, 45-40 victory over the Bearcats.

The Bulldog boys temporarily recovered after Scottsbluff erased a first-quarter deficit to take two one-point leads early in the third period, but the Bearcats answered with a big run and went on to capture a 65-55 win, their third over Gering this season in as many meetings.

Girls
On a night when eight Gering senior girls were recognized during a between-games ceremony, the play of one of those seniors, forward Kerissa Mitchell, led the Bulldogs (8-14) to their dramatic comeback victory.

Mitchell stayed busy on the boards, snagging seven of her game-high 14 rebounds in the fourth quarter to keep Scottsbluff (4-20) from gaining possession or second-shot chances.

Mitchell, just 1 of 3 from the free throw line, got her final rebound on what could have been the best — or, at the least, the most dramatic — missed free throw of her prep career.

With her other four teammates set up behind the mid-court line in an attempt to deny the Bearcats a possible game-tying score while trailing the Bulldogs 43-40, Mitchell — surrounded only by four Scottsbluff defenders on the free-throw lane, missed the front end of a one-and-one.

But when none of the Scottsbluff players went for the rebound — perhaps thinking it was a double-bonus situation and Mitchell had another free shot coming — Mitchell swooped into the lane and put up a shot to give the Bulldogs a 45-40 advantage that would prove to be the final score.

“I just thought first to try to make it,” Mitchell said of the free throw. “If not, then try to get the rebound.”

Gering jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first seven minutes and still led by 10 in the second quarter before Scottsbluff finished the half on a 10-2 run, finishing on junior Alexus Pinedo’s breakaway, buzzer-beating lay-up, pulling the Bearcats to within a pair at 23-21.

Scottsbluff took the lead on seven points by senior Maddie Holscher and built a 37-27 advantage late in the third quarter.

“With a Mike Burda-coached team, we knew they would find a way to come back and they did,” Gering coach Adam Freeburg said.

Before the period ended, however, Gering scored three points, the first on a rebounded put-back by Mitchell, and then tied the game at 37-all on another Mitchell put-back with 4:20 left in the game.

“ I looked to pull everyone back up and I wasn’t going to quit,” said Mitchell, who added 11 points to her 14 rebounds.

Scottsbluff took a brief lead with 4:05 left on junior Zoey Rada’s basket, but tied the game on a Mitchell layup, fed from junior Megan Upp.

Two free throws by senior Morgan Broussard put the Bulldogs back ahead 41-39, and Broussard scored with 32 seconds left for a 43-40 Gering lead, setting up Mitchell’s dramatic rebound and score with 15 seconds left.

“When we were down by 10, that was a credit to the girls, especially for the seniors for battling back,” Freeburg said. “We didn’t give up. They thought they had it and we swooped down and took it back. I believed in them and that’s why I love this group. They stuck together and found a way to get it done.”

Broussard’s late scores gave her a game-high 12 points along with seven rebounds. Rada led the Bearcats with 10 points and 13 rebounds with two blocks and two steals.

Bearcat senior Isaiah Castelaw goes for two, while Bulldog senior Danny O’Boyle (No. 22) tries to block, and Gering teammates Tyler Wallace (No. 30) and Zach Smith (No. 21) eye the play.


Boys
The Bearcat boys had four players score in double figures and erased an early 18-10 deficit with a 13-7 run in the second quarter to take a 39-26 halftime lead.

“Zach Smith made some tough shots in the first quarter,” Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske said of the Bulldogs’ game-leading scorer, who had 12 of his 22 points in the opening 6:15. “Then we toughened up a little bit and played great defense the rest of the way.”

Gering regained the lead twice early in the third quarter, but Scottsbluff outscored the Bulldogs 18-4 in the final 5:31 of the period to lead 50-37 after three quarters.

Gering got as close as four with 1:36 remaining, but six straight free throws lifted the Bearcats to their final 10-point victory margin.

Senior Zach Clemens led the Bearcats’ balanced scoring attack with 16 points and had four rebounds. Junior Eric Moreno followed with 14 points, junior Michael Hadden added 12 and senior Rich Williams netted 10.

Junior Matt Klein added nine points and led the Bearcats in steals with five and assists with seven. Senior Isaiah Castellaw led Scottsbluff in rebounds with seven.

“It was a great team effort and we did what it takes,” Siske said.
Smith added four steals to his 22 points, while senior Danny O’Boyle added 14 points. The Bulldogs had a 28-21 rebounding advantage, led by senior Tyler Wallace with six and senior Dillon Wademan with five.

“It was disappointing to lose, but they are a good team,” Gering coach Randy Plummer said. “We might not have played our best, but hopefully we’ll get another shot at them (in districts).”

Both Scottsbluff teams were in action Tuesday, with the Bearcat boys completing their regular season at home against Torrington. The SHS girls were in opening-round play of the District B-6 tournament against McCook in Grant.

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