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

Last-second shots lifts Sidney past Alliance


Donna Wiedeburg / For the Sun-Telegraph

Sidney's Cutter O'Connell hits the game-winning shot in the final seconds in Monday's District B6 semifinal against Alliance. The Raiders won, 54-53, to advance to tonight's 6 p.m. district final against Scottsbluff with a berth to the state tournament on the line.

It was Tyler Wintholz to Cutter O'Connell for the win Monday night.

O'Connell hit the game-winner with about a second left after receiving the pass off a Wintholz drive to lift Sidney to a 54-53 victory over Alliance in the District B6 semifinals in Ogallala. The Raiders (22-3) now face Scottsbluff, a 65-41 winner against Gering, in Tuesday's 6 p.m. district title game in Ogallala.

"We've had a lot of close games and games that have come down to the last possession, and we're really fortunate to be on the winning side in all of them," Sidney coach Erik Kohl said.

On Monday, the Raiders had just enough time on the clock for the final play. Wintholz took the ball with about 8 seconds left, drove in the lane and dished it to O'Connell, who hit the game-winner on a layup to give Sidney the win.

Donna Wiedeburg / For the Sun-Telegraph

Sidney's Jake Heeren (13) goes for the ball in Monday's win over Alliance.

It was the third last-second win for the Raiders this season, and the second last-second game-winning shot by O'Connell.

"Our guys are just really resilient," Kohl said. "Their willingness to keep fighting and do whatever it takes to win has paid off for us this year."

O'Connell led Sidney with 18 points in Monday's win, while Wintholz added 17.

The Raiders now face Scottsbluff on Tuesday night in the district title game. The two teams have split a pair of games this season, with each team winning at home. The Bearcats won 58-45 on Jan. 22, while the Raiders won 43-41 on Feb. 6.

Kohl said his team needs to play really good defense, contest shots, make good decisions and be aggressive on both sides of the ball to pick up another win over Scottsbluff.


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