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Lady Raiders take second-place finish at Western Conference tournament

 


The Sidney Lady Raiders played to a spectacular second-place finish at the Western Conference Tournament last weekend.

The Lady Raiders defeated Omaha Gross, 67-54, on Friday night, and ultimately fell to Chadron’s Lady Cardinals on Saturday, 45-29, in the championship game.

The games, which were played at the Cougar Palace on the Western Nebraska Community College in Scottbluff, featured an outstanding level of play from seniors Emily Mahr, Abby Heller, Jasmine Jallen and Genessa Schilz, while also showcasing the skills of sophomore Kelsey Knight from beyond the arc and at point guard.

Semifinals

Sidney 67, Omaha Gross 54

Sidney never trailed as it rolled to a 67-54 win against Omaha Gross. The Lady Raiders went into the half with a 12 point advantage.

Knight led the Lady Raiders with 19 points in the game, which included a perfect five-for-five showing at the free throw line in the first half. It was in the second half, however, that Knight boomed for three treys in a row and made three of her four shots from the line.

After the game, Knight said the team’s focus was to play their style of basketball.

“My focus was just to play our style of basketball, our game,” Knight said. “We worked really hard to get it to our posts early and often. I think we ran hard against their defense as well and the entire team made opportunities to take some shots which went in our favor.”

Knight also said that the game changed for Sidney in the second half – after Gross began to lob up what seemed like enough bricks to build a new house.

“Coach (Tyler Shaw) told us not to do anything that might help bail them out while they were throwing those types of shots,” Knight added.

We put our hands up a lot against them in the second half and we worked really well together at getting under the basket and fighting for the rebounds.”

Although Knight had an outstanding game throughout all four periods, Maddi Porter, a junior for the Lady Raiders, also put together an outstanding offensive night totaling 14 points, which included eight points off two buckets and a four-of-five free-throw performance in the second half.

Another junior for the Lady Raiders, Annalise Lecher, compiled 12 points in the game off six field goals. She was also instrumental on defense with two steals and a handful of rebounds.

After the game, Shaw opined on what he thought was the key to winning against Gross.

“We had some kids hit some great shots at some key times and we defended well, even though we got handsy on a few and got called for it,” Shaw said. “We gave them some buckets we should not have, but we took a good stance and our ball movement and defending one of their best players. It was also about limiting them on the boards and out-rebounding them.”

One of the main keys to the game from a defensive standpoint for Sidney was stopping Gross’ points leader, senior Alex Homan.

“We did our best to slow (Homan) down, because she is the real deal and can make shots like it’s crazy,” Shaw said. “I think we did a job with her and stopped her when we had to.”

Other scorers for the Lady Raiders were: Mahr (7), Meaghan Ross (5), Heller (4), Abbey Mills (2), Schilz (2), Katelyn Sylvester (1) and Janay Brauer (1).

Championship

Chadron 47, Sidney 25

The Lady Raiders ended the tournament with a second place finish after falling to Chadron’s Lady Cardinals, 47-25, on Saturday.

The Chadron defense limited Sidney and prevented any Lady Raider from getting into double-digit scoring territory.

Knight, once again, led her squad offensively with six points.

Brauer had an outstanding showing in the game, adding five points off two goals and a free-throw, while Ross added three points on a trey late in the game.

Even though Sidney was lagging far behind at that point, the raucous crowd of Lady Raider fans cheered for Ross after she dropped the boomer in the fourth period.

Sylvester, Lecher and Jallen each added three points and Porter shot two free-throws for two points.

The Lady Raiders now sport a 2-1 record going into this Friday’s home game against Chase County.

 

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