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

By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Sidney Boys Settle For 4th


January 3, 2018

Mike Motz

The Sidney Red Raiders basketball team overcame a tough opponent in the first round, but were unable to follow that success in the semi-finals and consolation game to end the Cabela's Holiday Shootout with a fourth place showing. But head coach Austin Lewis focused on the positives of participating in the tournament, which features teams Sidney normally does not play.

"It's good for a team's psyche-they get to see a wider range of teams", Lewis said.

Although disappointed with the results, coach Lewis was still happy with his team's performance.

"The guys always played hard. We just didn't make the shots", said Lewis.

Sidney started the tournament on Thursday against the Buffalo, WY team that was ready to knock off the Red Raiders. After a very slow start and a tough defensive scheme stopping them cold, Sidney went into halftime down by 15 points, 25-10. Adjustsment were made at halftime, and the results were quickly apparent.

As the game wore on, Sidney took control with its outside shooting and started to pull away from Buffalo. By the end of the game, Sidney had prevailed 52-44, in a much closer come from behind victory that sent the Raider faithful home delighted, ready for the next opponent. Jon Smith led the scoring for the Red Raiders with 18 points.

On Friday, the Raiders knew they were going to have a big challenge going against the Beatrice Orangemen, and were ready to take on the tough defensive-oriented team.

The Beatrice Orangemen made the long journey to Sidney hoping to take home the tournament crown, and handled the Sidney boys team with a convincing win during a raucous game that saw Sidney start fast, but ultimately fail to handle the pressure defense and sharp offense of the visitors.

The first quarter started well for Sidney, making some fast points out of the gate and leading Beatrice 16-10 at the end of the quarter. But as the quarter progressed, Beatrice's defense began to adjust, and standout Dillon Buss started to establish his presence under the net, becoming a constant scoring threat for the Orange.

As the second quarter continued, Beatrice's defense became more effective against the Sidney scheme, forcing turnovers and poor shots. Beatrice's offense worked their opportunities, and scored effectively, closing the gap then pulling away by the end of the half, 26-18.

Sidney opened the third quarter with a patient offensive set, working the ball closer to the hoop to get good shots. That pace continued for most of the quarter, with Sidney scoring well, but unable to make up significant ground as the Orangemen also matched Sidney's scores with a patient, ball control offense.

Sidney ratcheted up their aggressiveness, drawing fouls and scoring at the line, but were unable to contain the Orangemen defensively. With Beatrice in foul trouble, Sidney started to make up ground, coming within 4 points during the 3rd period, but the Orangemen were able to keep pace with Sidney's scoring, and by the end of the period, Beatrice's Caleb Wallman drained a three pointer that put the Orangemen back on top by 9 points.

Throughout the 4th period, every Sidney rally was met by a Beatrice answer, and the Orangemen started to pull away. Although Sidney was able to score, the Raiders were unable to hold defensively, and the Orangemen finished the game on top with a final score of 58-45. Jake Burke led the Red Raiders in scoring with twelve points, and Arik Doty added eleven points in the losing effort.

In the consolation game on Saturday, the Red Raiders hoped to end the tournament with a win against Cheyenne South, and secure a 3rd place showing for the tournament.

Cheyenne South took advantage of a couple of streaks of cold shooting and turnovers, clipping Sidney's Raiders 42-47. Sidney raced out to a 15-7 lead in the first quarter, but for two minutes in the middle of the quarter couldn't keep control of the ball and South worked to within two points, 15-13, with two minutes left.

Playing nearly even through the second quarter, the teams gave fans their admissions' worth at the end of the first half when they went on a three-point-fest. In the half's final two minutes, each team scored three three-point shots, with Arik Doty, Jake Burke and Mitch Porter hitting from outside, with the half ending in a tie at 32.

South's Tanner Weinberger had the hot hand to lead Cheyenne through the game, and his three-pointer with just more than five minutes remaining in the game gave South a 43-36 lead. Sidney couldn't come closer than three points back when South went into a spread offense with two minutes left. Sidney was forced to foul, and Cheyenne's last four points came from the free throw line. Mitch Porter led the Red Raiders with eleven points in the loss.


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