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

Talking Sports: A tournament to welcome the new athletic year

 


Hopefully by now the effects of tryptofan, heavy gravy and overspending have worn off and we can all get back to some sports. Most of all I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and Happy New Year.

As for sports, the holiday period is somewhat extended by the Cabela’s Holiday Shootout, which begins Thursday afternoon. The venues are Cabela’s Athletic Facility and the Sidney Middle School gym. Sixteen teams, including eight boys and girls teams, will compete. The host teams take center stage at the High School Thursday night. The girls lead off against Central City at 5:30 p.m. while the boys will take to the court at 7:15 p.m. against that same school.

Handicapping an event such as this is somewhat complicated. Not only is the season still young, but two schools are coming in from Wyoming and four others play in Class C1. Even the school which should be the most familiar opponent, Gering, would only face Sidney in a championship game or consolation final. Gering is also one of two district teams (McCook) the Raiders have yet to face.

So rather than go through an extensive preview, I’ll use this space to throw out a few facts which may be helpful.

In addition to Gering and Sidney the other schools competing include Laramie, Hershey, Cheyenne South, Chase County and Gothenburg. Both the boys and girls are arranged in the brackets in identical fashion. For the complete picture of who plays who and when, check our area sports schedule in these pages.

Boys: The Red Raiders first opponent is the Central City Bison who travel from the Central Time Zone for the shootout. The Bison are one of the teams from Class C1 and the only one from District 9. The Bison look like a young team whose best days are ahead. The challengers come in with only two seniors and a record of 2-6.

Andrew Lee, a 5-9 junior, is the team’s leading scorer at 11.7 ppg. He’ll be wearing number 3. Another junior, Matt Gilg (5-9), averages 9 ppg and wears 0. While eight of the Bison’s 14 man roster are over 6 feet, the bulk of their offensive production seems to come from the back court.

Win or lose the Raiders Friday opponent will be either Laramie or Hershey. Hershey is another member of Class C1 (Distict 11) and is so far struggling with a 1-6 record. Laramie is still looking for their first win of the season (0-5) playing out of Wyoming’s Class 4A East. Laramie and Hershey will tussle this afternoon at the High School at 3:45 p.m.

In the boys lower bracket, Cheyenne South meets Chase County at 3:45 at the middle school. Like Laramie, Cheyenne South plays in Wyoming Class 4A East. South has fared only slightly better than Laramie with an overall record of 2-5. Chase County, meanwhile, is a familiar opponent to the Raiders. The only blemish on the Longhorns record thus far is the 56-49 defeat to host Sidney on Dec. 13. Chase County’s 4-1 record has it atop the C1 District 11 standings.

In the fourth boys game today, Gering meets Gothenburg at 7:15 in the middle school. Gothenburg is the third member of Class C1 District 11 in the shootout. The Swedes have struggled thus far to a 2-4 record. Their only wins have come against C2 opponent Perkins County and district foe Hershey. Perhaps there is some insight into the relative strength of the C1 teams as Gothenburg crushed the Hershey Panthers 52-25 on Dec. 6. Chase County would appear much the best of the C1 group.

Gering, along with Sidney, seems like a strong threat to win the tournament. The ‘Dogs have come out of the gate strong at 6-2 including a blowout win of Scottsbluff (67-44) in the Western Conference Tournament on Dec. 5. The Bearcats, in turn, blew out the Raiders 63-41 in the same tournament.

It’s a fools errand to try to measure the strength of one team versus another by relying too heavily on common opponents. One thing seems sure though. The battle for Class B District 6, in which Sidney and Gering both compete, should be closely contested all year.

Girls: Like the boys, the Sidney girls will meet the Bison of Central City in the opener. The girls, however, would seem to be facing the tougher task as their opponent comes in with a winning mark of 5-3. There are four seniors listed on the Bison roster, including 5-10 tri-captain Mamie Knight (#5). The two other listed captains are juniors Val Fousek (5-7) and Abby Maresh (5-6). Fousek wears number 11 and Maresh 3.

Fousek leads the Bison’s offense with by scoring an average of 15.1 ppg. Maresh (8.1) and junior Jill Gathie (7.6) are Central City’s other offensive threats.

The two potential opponents for the Raiders on Friday, Hershey and Laramie, meet at the High School this afternoon at 2. Unlike the struggling boys squad, the Hershey girls have so far proven to be a tough adversary. At 7-0 they sport two wins against opponents with better than .500 records. They have yet to meet a Class B team, however. Laramie is at the bottom of Wyoming’s District 4A East with an overall record of 2-3.

Also hailing from 4A East is Cheyenne South who will meet Chase County at 2 p.m. in the Middle School. South at 3-4 thus far, has fared only slightly better than than its district colleague Laramie and is listed fifth in their six-team league.

The Longhorns have not fared well so far with a record of 0-5 which includes a 49-27 loss to Sidney on Dec. 13.

Gering and Gothenburg will be the final two girls teams to square off when they take to the middle school court at 5:30. The Swedes sit one rung above Chase County in the C1 11 standings with a record of 3-3, including two losses against Class B opponents. Hershey handled them easily on Dec. 6, with a 37-15 win.

Fellow Sidney District B6 opponent, Gering comes in with a mark of 4-4. The Bulldogs record includes 10-point wins over district foes Alliance and Scottsbluff - two opponents the Raiders have easily defeated.

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Happy Birthday to Mom, who turned 90 on New Years Day. She has a brother with a birthday on Christmas and another born on Easter. Tough luck Grandma. If you wanted to enjoy your holidays more you should have planned better. Next year my birthday will fall on Presidents Day. Not your fault Mom. It was the government workers, bankers and librarians all colluding to get another day off.

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions since I can never keep them. For the record, however, I resolve in 2014 to eat more, drink more, swear more, gamble more and take up smoking.

 

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