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

Rowley steal secures win


Stephen McKay

Kyra Willats, left, and Cody Rowley battle for a loose ball.

The Red Raiders continued their solid run of district play by upending the Scottsbluff Bearcats 44-41 on Saturday to up their record to 5-1 in Class B District 6 competition.

The win also gives the Raiders their fourth consecutive overall, which leaves them at 10-5 mark overall. Saturday marked the second time this season that Sidney has defeated Scottsbluff (1-13).

Depite the Bearcats record of struggles this season, they came in hungry to Cabela's Athletic Facility. In a game that was close most of the way, Scottsbluff still had a chance to pull out a win in the final seconds.

Though Sidney trailed by as many as 9 points in the first half and led by as many as 11 in the final quarter, the matter wasn't settled until 4.9 seconds remained on the clock.

At that point the visitors trailed by 3 with an upcoming inbounds pass from the far baseline. Sidney's Cody Rowley intercepted the pass, however, and the Raiders were able to hold on.

"Actually, I was a little surprised because I was expecting a better pass," said Rowley of the final play.

The Raiders, who erased the Bearcats 49-29 at the Western Conference Tournament in December, may have been expected to handle the young Bearcats a little easier. But Scottsbluff had Sidney on their heels early with an 8-3 first-quarter lead.

The Raiders helped their guests cause by hitting just 1 of 6 free throw attempts in the first eight minutes. Rowley made the lone free throw while Sarah Mahr's court-length drive for a layup accounted for the other two points.

With a 4-0 run opening the second quarter Scottsbluff took their biggest lead of the game at 12-3, with buckets from Kelli Wentz and Aubree Ford. But Mahr began the Sidney change of fortune by making both ends of a one-and-one to start a 10-2 counter strike.

Abbi Porter and Katelin Cole provided the biggest highlight of the stretch. Porter started the scoring play after controlling a rebound in the defensive zone. The effort brought her to the Cabela's floor after which she fired a pass to Cole from a sitting position. Cole drove it home for a layup. The 10-2 exchange brought the Raiders to within one at 13-14 which was ultimately the final margin of the first quarter.

After 16 minutes Sidney trailed 22-21.

"They're an improved team, they only lost to McCook by six points," said Porter of the effort from Scottsbluff.

McCook, a team that edged Sidney earlier this month by two points, topped the Bearcats 51-45 on Jan. 3.

Three Mahr free throws helped Sidney twice tie the game in the early going of the third quarter. Neither team, however could gain much of an advantage as the frame ended with a 30-28 edge for Sidney.

A long pass from Cole to Mahr midway through the frame gave Sidney their first lead since it was 3-2 early in the first.

In the final period, the Raiders looked like they would put the game away for good. Cole sent a message by draining an early three pointer which started a Raiders 9-0 run. Porter followed with consecutive baskets and Sidney was suddenly up 39-28. The Bearcats slowly began to nudge their way back. With 15 seconds to go the Bearcats' Chloey Reifschneider hit a jumper to get within 3 points.

After a pair of missed free throws from Sidney the Bearcats had a chance in the final seconds before Rowley capitalized on the sloppy inbounds pass.

The Raiders face a stiff challenge when they host Chadron on Friday. The Class C1 Cardinals have impressed so far this year with a 12-4 mark.


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