Raiders outpace Alliance, 48-36

Sidney advances, will face Gering in district finals Friday


Stephen McKay

Sarah Mahr drives against the defense of Madison Reiber during Thursday night's district battle at Cougar Palace in Scottsbluff.

They were a little slow to get started, but the Red Raiders turned up the heat in the second quarter to bring themselves to the doorstep of the state tournament.

Top seeded Sidney ended No. 4 Alliance's season 48-36 at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff on Thursday night to advance to the finals of the Girls Basketball District B-6 finals. For the Raiders it was the fourth time this season they defeated the Bulldogs.

If the Raiders are to reach the promised land in Lincoln they will need to get past No. 2 Gering, which advanced by virtue of their 60-48 defeat of No. 3 McCook, 60-48 at WNCC.

Sidney has already beaten the Bulldogs twice this season. On Feb. 7, the Raiders topped the Bulldogs on the road, 52-45. On Jan. 10, at the Cabelas Athletic Facility the Raiders had the best of the 'Dogs by a 39-31 count.

But defeating such a familiar foe on multiple occassions often presents a unique challenge with each attempt.

"I was nervous all day today," said Katelin Cole after the Raiders advanced past Alliance. "It always seems too hard to beat a team three or four times in the same year."

Despite the nerves, it's one Bulldog down and one to go for Sidney.

The Alliance Bulldogs managed to stay with Sidney throughout the first quarter, which ultimately ended in an 8-8 deadlock. The Raiders helped the 'Dogs to some degree in the first quarter as they struggled to take care of the ball. But as the game wore on turnovers became less of an issue.

Despite the howl of a rabid Bulldogs student section just to her right, Cole drained a three pointer after just under three minutes elapsed in the first. She was joined by Sarah Mahr's four points and a free throw by Cody Rowley to wrap up Sidney's first quarter scoring.

But Alliance also dropped in a point-a-minute before the Raiders sent a message opening the second.

Sidney matched their entire first-quarter point total in the first 1:45 of the second. Maddie Stafford started the run with a pair of free throws and ended it with a layup, courtesy of a Cole pass.

In between Rowley benefitted from a sharp Mahr assist. Twenty seconds later Mahr dropped in her own layup.

Mahr scored most of her game-high 24 points driving hard to the basket. When she didn't get through she was often fouled in the attempt.

"Coach says it's better to be aggressive," said Mahr referring to Head Coach Tyler Shaw. "It's also a good thing to stop the clock on fouls. It gives us a chance to breathe."

After the 8-0 start to the second-frame, the Bulldogs' Rylee Trout finally interrupted the Raiders offense - but only briefly. Mahr and Abbi Porter turned in 4 points to compensate for the Trout bucket.

The most entertaining scoring play of the quarter was a long pass completion from Rowley to Mahr. When the halftime horn sounded Sidney held a 23-14 lead.

The Raiders increased their lead when Mahr opened the second-half with a couple of free throws for a 25-14 count. The best Alliance could manage in the third quarter was to make it a 6-point game, which happened on two occasions. A driving layup by Mahr just before the buzzer gave Sidney a 34-26 lead after 24 minutes.

Alliance's Emily Jensen opened the final eight with a jumper from the left side to again narrow the gap to 6. But the Raiders never let the game get that close again.

At one point Mahr went to the line three times in a span of 1:04 whereby she sank 5 of her 6 attempts. Stafford and Cole had the final say in the game with 2 points each in the last minute.

"It's district basketball," said Porter. "When I was a sophomore we lost in the first round when we were the top seed. We know what can happen and we've worked hard to see that it doesn't happen again."

The Raiders have already removed the first-round monkey from their back. Two years ago Gering edged the Raiders 37-35 in round one and McCook did the same last year 52-43.

Behind Mahr's 24 points was Rowley with 10. Stafford had 6 and Cole 5.

Friday's final is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff at WNCC.


Alliance 8 6 12 10 - 36

Sidney 8 15 11 14 - 48


Sarah Mahr 24

Cody Rowley 10

Maddie Stafford 6

Katelin Cole 5

Abbi Porter 2

Savanna Rosenbaum 1


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018