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

Buzzer beater sinks Sidney


Only one game and seven days removed from a final-shot loss to Gering, the Sidney Red Raiders suffered another sudden disappointment at Chadron on Friday.

By sinking a short jumper from left of the hoop with just two seconds remaining, Cardinals junior Keenan Johnson all but erased a clutch three pointer by Paxton Ehler only seconds earlier for a dramatic 48-46 non-district win.

Despite the eruption of euphoric cheering that greeted the Johnson basket, a decibel level nearly as intense was created by the Ehler trey, as a large throng of the Raiders faithful made the long journey north.

In the final minute of the third, a short bank shot by Nick Castner and a free throw by Lane Harvey gave Sidney an edge of 2 points heading for home. But Chadron wasted little time tying the game back up to open the final quarter on a long two pointer by Vonsinh Sayaloune.

Shortly thereafter Castner struck again, converting on a Harvey feed. However, Spencer Eliason (1) and Jackson Dickerson (2) put three points on the board for Chadron.

For much of the final seven minutes, the pattern continued, with no team able to gain more than a three-point advantage. Lane Harvey struck from behind the arc with 3:21 left to forge a 41-41 tie. That deadlock stood for more than two minutes until a pair of foul shots by Ehler put Sidney 2 points on the good side, at 43-41.

Opening up the final minute, however, Chadron nailed 5 straight points on the board. The first came from Jake Bargen from behind the arc. Sayaloune then drained a pair from the line for a 46-43 lead.

When Ehler sank his three pointer to pull even with 24 seconds left the visitors side of the gym exploded in excitement. Moments later, after Eliason missed a short one from in close, it looked for an instant as though the game was headed for overtime. But Johnson corralled the Eliason error and pushed it through the hole.

Despite his miss the 6-8 Eliason was a menace all night.

“We were trying to adjust to him throughout the game,” said Tyler Wintholz. “But we really didn’t succeed the way we wanted to until the last quarter.”

As the final quarter was close, so too were the previous three. In fact at no point in the game did either team hold more than a 5-point lead. That advantage went to Sidney at the start of the contest. Logan Lewis converted on a pass from Lucas Rosenbaum and Ehler hit a three to establish a 5-0 lead from the tip.

After that opening advantage neither team ever led by more than 4. The first such instance came after a Harvey trey to make things 8-4 and the second at 10-6, following a Wintholz conversion. Dickerson scored the final four points of the opening period to knot the game at 10.

When Wintholz found himself unguarded early in the second stanza, Ehler fed the sophomore for two points. Though the Raiders had another 4-point lead in the quarter, Chadron came back, partly due to Eliason. On his 18th birthday he proved more troublesome for Sidney than he did the last time these two teams met.

“They kind of figured out that I was helping on Eliason so they had Dickerson cut a couple of times when I wasn’t there,” said Harvey.

Though Chadron managed to erase the deficit and take a 21-20 lead late in the second, Ehler struck again for three just before time expired in the half.

Sidney took a 23-21 lead into the second half.

The Cardinals jumped to their only four-point lead in the third quarter, after Eliason completed a three-point play to forge a 29-25 advantage. This was followed by an exchange of three net benders from beyond the arc. The Raiders got the better of the exchange as Cutter O’Connell and Ehler outnumbered the lone trey by Chadron’s Jake Danielson.

Shortly thereafter Castner stuffed an Eliason bid from in close to keep Sidney on the good side of a 33-32 score.

“At the senior dinner the seniors were talking about our last home game so we’re not going to let this one stick with us,” said Castner who was already thinking about beating Mitchell the following night in Sidney.

For Chadron the win over Sidney kept them perfect in their home building at 8-0.

With just one more regular season game left, Sidney finds themselves in 9th place on the NSAA Class B points list with an averge of 42.8571. District rival Gering holds down the 5th spot (43.3182) while Scottsbluff is in 6th at 43.0500.

Districts are scheduled to open on March 1, at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.

The Raiders will travel to Alliance on Friday to conclude their regular season. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Boys Basketball

Chadron 48

Sidney 46



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