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

Lady Raiders beat Alliance by 10 in season opener


ALLIANCE – The Sidney Lady Raiders put a smackdown on Alliance Thursday night, beating back the Lady Bulldogs, 48-38, in the first round of the Western Conference Tournament.

Most of the heavy lifting in the game came from forward Maddi Porter. The junior led the team offensively with 15 points off six buckets and a nearly effortless three-of-five showing at the line. Porter was also a strong force on defense, drawing three fouls against the Lady Bulldogs.

Another big offensive producer for Sidney was junior Annalise Lecher, who put up nine points on four field goals and a free throw.

The duo of Janay and Emily Mahr also added a lot of offense, penciling in eight points each. Kelsey Knight added three points, with Abby Heller and Jasmine Jallen each adding two. Abbey Mills recorded a free-throw.

Head coach Tyler Shaw said that the game was a battle from start to finish – and that Alliance always provides good competition throughout the season.

“Every time we play Alliance we know it’s going to be a battle and it’s always going to be five against five, especially when they have the legendary coach Dave Sautter on the floor,” Shaw said. “When we play them you can see things he does that epitomize they way he prepares them. It gets tougher and tougher as the season goes on, but we put together some stretches throughout the game offensively and managed to get a win. It was a solid victory with a group of kids that had to grow into their game pretty quickly.”

After the game, Jallen added that team cohesion and energy were the most important factor in taking the victory.

“The key to winning the game tonight was keeping up the intensity and work as a team,” Jallen said. “Coach Shaw has been working with all this week on passing and rebounding, so it paid off.”

Knight, a junior for the Lady Raiders, said that Shaw’s coaching technique over the past week, in relation to how she dribbles around defenders, was a major influence on how she played the game.

“In practice, coach kept pushing me a lot, all week it seemed, to work with my left hand as opposed to my right one,” Knight said. “It really helped when I was on the floor tonight and helped get around a lot of the Alliance players when it mattered. Alliance always plays better in their own house, but tonight we proved that we were better and we made the shots we had to.”

The biggest shot of the night, however, came from a freshman as Janay Brauer dropped a three-point bomb from well beyond the arc in the opening seconds of the second quarter, with the Raiders up by five.

“Team defense was a big part of our game, beyond playing offense and scoring points,” Brauer said. “Making that shot was big and it felt great when it dropped, but, as a team, we talked a lot and did a lot of little things right. That felt even better.”

The win over Alliance sends Sidney to the next round of the tournament today against Omaha Gross at 3:30 p.m. at Cougar Palace on the campus of Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.

A win for Sidney today will send them to the championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m. against either Chadron or Scottsbluff.


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