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Sidney captures Cabela's Holiday title

Red Raider boys down Chase County in finals


Stephen McKay

Sidney High's Jake Heeren battles Chase County's Kelton Fisher under the basket in Saturday's title game. Hereen scored 13 points in the Raiders' 64-57 win.

When Sidney High's Cutter O'Connell shook the twine from three-point range midway through the fourth quarter of the Cabela's Holiday Tournament championship game on Saturday afternoon, a 28-minute struggle suddenly morphed into a four-minute romp.

After a long battle, the Red Raiders pulled away from Chase County, 64-57, to win the Angler's Division of the Cabela's tournament. It was the first time Sidney had claimed a Cabela's crown since 2012.

On Friday night, the Raiders smothered Gothenburg 63-40 in the tournament opener.

Because New Year's Day fell on a Thursday, the normal eight-team, three-game affair was reduced to two days played in two four-team divisions.

With two closely contested games against the Raiders this season, the Longhorns (5-2) are likely glad to be rid of Sidney. Chase County's only two losses during the 2014-15 campaign have come at the hands of the Raiders, who improved to 7-2. On Dec. 12, Sidney won 63-54 after holding a just a two-point edge at halftime.

Sidney was aided in its championship triumph by the play of its middle men, Jared Ross and Jake Heeren.

The Longhorns had no answers for the big duo as Ross led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points, while Heeren added 13 – including seven in the fourth quarter. Three other Raiders scored in double figures including Lane Harvey (14), Tyler Wintholz (12) and O'Connell (10).

"In the first half, we were playing alright but we were struggling to help each other out," Ross said. "But we were patient with our offense. We passed really well and eventually it all clicked."

Though O'Connell's hoop sent the Raiders on a 16-3 run to settle the affair, the bulk of the game was a tight see-saw battle. Until the halfway point of the final quarter, there were 15 lead changes and nine ties.

No team ever had an advantage of greater than five points. But the Longhorns' brief 25-20 lead quickly evaporated giving Sidney a 27-25 halftime lead. Before their final push, the Raiders' first-quarter advantage at 5-2 was the largest edge they had.

"We've talked about mental toughness a lot," Wintholz said. "Late in the game is when mental toughness counts the most."

After O'Connell set the wheels in motion, Harvey, Wintholz and Heeren finished the job offensively. During the final run, Heeren and Harvey worked the inside and were rewarded with three trips each to the foul line. Both sank five of six freebies. Heeren drained six foul shots in seven attempts over the final six minutes. The Raiders upped their advantage to 64-53 with 14 seconds left.

Less than two minutes into the contest, Ross gave a glimpse of what his night would be like when he drained a three-pointer from the top of the key. Three other Raider treys followed in the period. O'Connell's first of three on the night erased a two-point deficit. Harvey twice put Sidney ahead from beyond the arc. His second bomb came at the buzzer to give Sidney an 18-17 edge.

Ross was the key to the second quarter as he scored six of the Raiders' final seven points. His work helped turn around a Longhorns five-point lead. After the opening bucket, neither team could gain an advantage of greater than three points. A driving layup by Heeren to beat the buzzer brought Sidney to within one, 40-39.

"My teammates really set me up a lot tonight," Ross said. "This was another good team win where everybody was involved."

Friday's first round

Sidney 63, Gothenburg 40

With a 20-point night, Harvey ignited a strong Raiders' effort in a 63-40 triumph over the Gothenburg Swedes in the tournament's opening round.

The Swedes featured a 6-9, 270-pound center in Tanner Borchardt, but Heeren and Ross kept his offensive production to single digits with just nine points. For the Raiders, Wintholz was also strong with 14 points.

Sidney broke out of the gate with a 19-5 lead after one quarter and never looked back. Cody Frerichs put a final stamp on the opening eight minutes with a three-point buzzer beater. Harvey flexed the net from downtown to open the second quarter as the Raiders finished the first half with a 27-13 lead.

"It was a lot of good teamwork tonight," O'Connell said. "I'm really having fun this season with a bunch of guys that play so well together."

Sidney extended its lead to 21 points after three quarters and added an additional field goal to the final margin of victory. Though Ross and Heeren played strong defense against Borchardt, they even got help from a flying Harvey on numerous occasions.

"They do a lot of lobs up to (Borchardt) so I was jumping in with some backside help," Harvey said.

Sidney returns to action on Thursday when they travel to meet Kimball at 5 p.m.


Friday’s game

Sidney 63, Gothenburg 40

Gothenburg 5 8 12 15 – 40

Sidney 19 8 19 17 – 63

GOTHENBURG (40) – Colin Hahn 13, Tanner Borchardt 9, Ty Clement 6, Connor Schwanz 5, Dawson Graham 5, Jake Peterson 2.

SIDNEY (63) – Lane Harvey 20, Tyler Wintholtz 14, Cutter O’Connell 7, Jake Heeren 5, Hayden Graham 3, Mitch Porter 3, Jared Ross 3, Alex Linneman 3, Cody Frerichs 3, Ryan Birner 2.

Saturday’s game

Sidney 63, Chase County 57

Chase County 17 8 15 17 – 57

Sidney 18 9 12 25 – 64

CHASE COUNTY (57) – Jeffery Dickey 25, Kelton Fisher 14, Ryan Moline 6, Isaac Sorensen 6, Michael Musgrove 4, Travis Luhrs 2.

SIDNEY (64) – Jared Ross 15, Lane Harvey 14, Jake Heeren 13, Tyler Wintholz 12, Cutter O’Connell 10.

Cabela’s Tournament Results

Boys’ Division

Friday, Jan. 2

At Sidney High School

Angler’s Division

Chase County 53, Wheatland (Wyo.) 42

Sidney 63, Gothenburg 40

At Sidney Middle School

Hunter’s Division

Gering 62, Hershey 22

Laramie (Wyo.) 65, vs. Central City 46

Saturday, Jan. 3

At Sidney High School

Consolation: Wheatland (Wyo.) 54, Gothenburg 52

Championship: Sidney 64, Chase County 57

At Sidney Middle School

Consolation: Central City 58, Hershey 35

Championship: Laramie (Wyo.) 74, Gering 55


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