The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Sidney sweeps through weekend

 

Stephen McKay

Leaving three Bearcats in her wake, Cody Rowley steals the ball and gets an easy two at the other end.

It was nearly quiet enough in the Scottsbluff High School Gym on Friday afternoon that, had somebody dropped a penny on the floor, anyone in the sparse crowd could have heard it. A similar scene took place at the Western Nebraska Junior College gym the following morning.

Despite uninspiring atmosphere of early tip times, the Sidney girls basketball team swept their final two games of the Western Conference Invitational over the weekend.

After a slow start, the Raiders (2-1) dispatched Alliance on Friday 47-43 in overtime. After another sluggish offensive start in their 10 a.m. contest on Saturday against Scottsbluff, Sidney caught fire in the second quarter and ran out to a 49-29 victory.

"It's 3:30 in the afternoon and their's like 10 people in the stands," said Raiders center Abbi Porter of the sparse crowd's effect on Friday. "It's hard to get going in such an atmosphere. But we had to stay with it and get more aggressive and we did."

Raiders start slow, win in OT

It would have been hard to start much slower than the Red Raiders did in their matinee with the Bulldogs. Sidney did not score their first point of the game until Emily Mahr dropped a foul shot nearly five minutes into the contest. When Ashley Stafford matched Mahr's feat, Sidney concluded the first eight minutes with a total of two points.

The Raiders saving grace was some solid defense and an equally lethargic Bulldogs team. Alliance could manage only four points after eight minutes, which included only one field goal by Kennedy Cyza.

When the Raiders finally scored their first points from the floor, 12 minutes and 58 seconds had elapsed. The bucket brought Sidney within three at 5-8. Again it was Mahr who broke the ice.

But once having broken through, the Raiders began to pour it on.

Emily Mahr's two pointer was followed by a pair of free throws from Sarah Mahr. Porter added to the run shortly thereafter by completing a three-point play after being fouled in the act of sinking a lay up.

Sidney went from scoring 3 points in nearly 13 minutes to registering 7 points in 59 seconds.

"We didn't come out alive but eventually we came around," said Maddie Stafford. "If we all play for the rest of our team we can be unstoppable."

Stafford took a nasty spill early in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the frame with ice on her head. She returned in the second quarter to resume her duties at point guard. As for the spill, all Stafford had to say was, "It hurt."

The Raiders 7-point run was finally stopped by a Caitlyn Tritle turn-around jumper. But Sidney finished the half on a 5-2 run started by Emily Mahr. She added a three pointer from the left side and Cody Rowley dropped a two-point jumper. When the horn sounded the Raiders took a 15-12 lead into the locker room.

"I normally don't shoot that well, but last night and today were confidence builders for sure," said Emily Mahr. "Today we just needed a few to get into the groove."

The previous night against Omaha Skutt, Mahr sank a three pointer in the fourth quarter.

While the Raiders began to hit shots with more regularity after the slow start, so too did the Bulldogs. Though Sidney managed their largest lead of the game at 6 points in the third, the quarter ended with just a 4-point edge.

Sarah Mahr began the Raiders second half by scoring her team's first 6 points. She also recorded Sidney's final points on a nice feed from Savanna Rosenbaum underneath the basket.

With a 5-0 run to open the fourth, Alliance took their first lead (29-28) since the second quarter. Though a pair of free throws by Porter and another by Katelin Cole gave Sidney back the edge, the final eight minutes of regulation proceded in see-saw fashion.

The game was forced into overtime with a pair of free throws by the Bulldogs' Mickenzie Brennan.

In the four minute extra session, Rowley drew first blood for Sidney. She grabbed an offensive rebound by following up her own shot and putting it back up for two. Cyza responded for Alliance by sinking a foul shot. It was the only scoring the Bulldogs would manage in overtime.

Sarah Mahr added a point and Cole two more free throws to ice it for the Raiders.

Sarah Mahr put in a solid all-around perfourmance with 12 points and 9 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. She also tied Porter for the team lead with 3 steals. Emily Mahr scored 9 points while Cole and Porter each added 5. Porter's defensive effort included 5 blocks.

Scottsbluff no match

When a high-arcing basketball shot storms untouched through the air past the round iron hole to finally slam head long into a honeycomb pattern of nylon netting, a loud swish sound is the result. It's a sound so pleasing some will practice for hours on end just for the pleasure of hearing its echo more often.

While Ashley Stafford was the first Raider to play this favorite symphony against the Bearcats, it was a song that ultimately many Raiders would hear over the final 24 minutes of the contest.

Sidney finished the night by going 6-11 from behind the arc

In front of another quiet building the Raiders were again off to a slow start on Saturday morning. Only a pair of foul shots by Rowley and a put-back lay up by Ashley Stafford registered on the scoreboard in the first quarter. But after eight minutes Sidney was only down by a couple.

Though Sarah Mahr and Porter each registered points in the early going of the second quarter, Sidney still seemed to be treading water.

With the score tied 8-8 and 5:42 left in the first half, the Raiders finally got the boost they needed. After taking quick aim, Stafford let fly the Raiders first three pointer of the morning.

"We started so slow maybe we just needed to wake up," said Stafford. "Once we got going we started talking to each other and we slowed down. I think that's when it began to come together."

Though the Bearcats' Chesney Walker answered Stafford's three with a two, the Raiders finished off the second period on a 9-4 run. Rowley dropped in the final bucket with two seconds left.

Cole opened the third quarter with a three and Sarah Mahr finished it with a three. For Cole it was the first of three treys she would score in the second half. Mahr, meanwhile, notched 10 points during the third stanza.

At the conclusion of 24 mintes the Raiders lead had ballooned to 14 points, at 34-20.

Thanks in large part to Cole two threes, the Raiders expanded their lead by 6 more points in the final quarter. Sidney also scored 5 points from the the foul line.

"It's really hard to get going in these early games when there aren't many fans in the stands," Cole said. "But once we got going we really got going. I think a lot of that has to do with getting a little confidence."

Sarah Mahr again paced the Raiders offensive attack with 18 points while Cole's three-for-three from behind the arc gave her 9 points. Rowley and Ashley Stafford added 7 and 6 points, respectively.

Porter proved again to be a tough defensive obstacle for the opposition as she collected 8 more blocks and 2 steals. Rowley added 4 assists and 4 steals to her morning's work.

The Raiders next challenge will be on Friday night at the Cabela's Athletic Facility when they take on Chase County at 5:30 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Sidney 47

Alliance 43

 

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