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

CLASS B, DISTRICT 6 TOURNAMENT: Lady Raiders move into title game

Sidney girls to meet Scottsbluff for berth in state tourney

 

Stephen McKay

Sidney High's Savanna Rosenbaum battles through traffic for possession of the ball in Thursday's semifinal win over Gering. Rosenbaum led all scorers with nine points.

McCOOK, Neb. – While the main event for Sidney Lady Raiders' fans was their team's District B-6 semifinal against Gering on Thursday at McCook Community College, there was a small side story too.

Though "it was ugly," said Raiders head coach Tyler Shaw afterward, once the top-seeded Raiders (17-7) secured their spot in the finals with a 26-19 win, who and where they would play became the next big question. With Friday's venue dependent upon the outcome of the second semifinal game, the Raiders and many of their fans in attendance brought with them a packed bag.

Had the No. 3 McCook Bison defeated the second-seeded Scottsbluff Bearcats, the final would have been held in McCook. But, when the Bearcats eliminated the Bison after a hard fought 48-39 contest, Raiders' fans, players and coaches could all return to Sidney for a little home cooking.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Cabela's Athletic Facility at Sidney High School, the Raiders will attempt to defend their district title against the Bearcats. While Scottsbluff (9-12) has a season record under .500, they have been outstanding in district play all season with a 9-1 mark.

With the Raiders having finished their district season at 7-1, they were responsible for the Bearcats only district loss this season. Sidney stunned Scottsbluff 47-27 in Sidney on Feb. 7, to earn a little revenge. It were the Bearcats that handed the Raiders their only district set back after a 68-57 final on Jan. 23 in Scottsbluff.

As for Shaw, however, he was less concerned about the "who" rather than the "how," after his team's unsteady offensive performance against Gering.

"We have to do a better job shifting gears whomever we play," Shaw said. "Maybe it's the stage or maybe it's because there are a lot of new kids out there who haven't been in this situation before.

"But there are a lot of little things we're going to have to clean up before tomorrow," he concluded.

The Raiders were forced to shift gears after the bulldogs shifted from a 2-3 zone defense in the first half, to a man-to-man in the second half.

"I don't know why we should have struggled against the man defense when we're better against a man – at least I think so," Annalise Lecher said.

Fortunately, the Raiders fared well enough against the first-half zone to establish a 5-0 lead after the first eight minutes and a 15-2 lead by halftime. Savanna Rosenbaum proved to be the Raiders only consistent offensive force as she scored six points in the opening half on her way to a team-high nine.

Rosenbaum and her teammates were also a defensive force. The Raiders contested every shot frustrating the Bulldogs even on the shortest of layup attempts. Erin Bown helped send the Raiders into the locker room with a more positive feeling when she shook the shook the strings from downtown to beat the halftime buzzer. But Bown's 3-pointer was the last field goal Sidney would hit for nearly nine minutes.

"We needed to come out in the second half and do the same as we did in the first," Ashley Stafford said. "We were a little off to start the second and that helped them catch up."

Though the Bulldogs never quite caught up completely and never led, they did manage to narrow the gap to 16-14 to open the final quarter. When the Raiders responded with a 6-0 run, Gering never again managed to get within five.

"Coach calmed us down and I think that helped us a lot," Maddie Stafford said. "We definitely weren't ready for them to get that close that's for sure. But I was happy that we all managed to keep our heads on straight."

Besides Rosenbaum's team-high nine points, Kelsey Knight added seven.

THURSDAY’S BOXSCORE

Girls’ District B-6 semifinal

Sidney 26, Gering 19

Gering 0 2 10 7 – 19

Sidney 7 8 1 10 – 26

GERING (19) – Kaylee Spreier 8, Ashlyn Schultz 5, Allie Boggs 2, Mariah Conn2, Kaylee Bohnsack 2.

SIDNEY (26) – Savanna Rosenbaum 9, Kelsey Knight 7, Erin Bown 3, Maddie Stafford 3, Ashley Stafford 2, Annalise Lecher 1.

 

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