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

By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Sidney Boys Down Twin City Opponents


February 7, 2018

Mike Motz

Sidney senior Jake Burke drives for two points against Scottsbluff

It was a successful weekend for the Sidney boy's basketball team as they rallied in the final moments of Friday's game on the road to stun the Gering Bulldogs 68-67, then handed the visiting Scottsbluff Bearcats a 62-48 loss on Saturday.

The wins improve the Red Raider's record to 14-7 (4-2 in district) and shows their ability to come back in a game when they lost a big lead, and to put away an opponent that has previously shown the ability to come back from a big deficit.

On Friday, the Red Raiders traveled to Gering to take on their rivals, the Gering Bulldogs (10-10, 1-6 in district). The teams had previously met this season, with the Red Raiders easily defeating the Bulldogs at Sidney, 69-36. But this time the game was in Gering, which is known to be a tough place for visitors to come away with a win.

"It's the loudest (building) in our conference, with the echoing on the walls-it's crazy," said Sidney head coach Austin Lewis.

Crazy loud, and a crazy finish made this a game both sides will be talking about for years to come. Sidney and Gering started the game trading scores, and about half way through the first period Gering led 9-8. But in the final half of the quarter, Sidney caught fire and went on an 8-1 run, and ended the first period leading the Bulldogs 21-12. Sidney's momentum continued into the second period, and a few minutes in they were leading the Bulldogs 29-15, and looked to be heading to a victory similar to their previous matchup with Gering.

But Gering didn't fold, and battled back by chipping away at the deficit until they narrowed the gap to six points, 34-28 at halftime. Sidney came out of the intermission determined to put the Bulldogs away, matching each Gering score with one of their own, and by the end of the third had increased their lead to eight points, 53-45. After opening up a 10 point lead in the fourth, Sidney's shooting went cold and the Bulldogs started a rally that turned into a 16-0 run that left the Red Raiders reeling. With 3:30 left to play, Gering had taken a 61-55 lead. Sidney started to come back, but Gering matched every score, maintaining their six point lead with 1:35 left in the game.

But Gering's ballhandling took a turn for the worse, and turnovers enabled the Red Raiders to rally in the closing moments. With 38 seconds remaining, Sidney junior Arik Doty drained a three-pointer that cut the Bulldog's lead to 67-64. Gering then turned the ball over while inbounding, and Sidney senior Jake Burke was able to quickly score, pulling the Red Raiders back to within one at 67-66. After another Gering turnover with 16 seconds remaining, Jake Burke drove the hoop and scored putting the Red Raiders back on top 68-67 with 9 seconds remaining. Sidney was then able to prevent Gering from getting a shot off in the final seconds, and escaped with incredible come from behind victory.

After the game, coach Lewis commented on the 16-0 run that gave Gering the lead in the fourth quarter, and how his team responded.

"I tried to stop the bleeding - it was so quick. I should have called a time out there. It was a mistake on my part," said coach Lewis.

"Some senior leadership happened for Sidney, to be honest. It takes some basketball IQ there to do what just happened. They overcame their coaching a little bit tonight and had a great win., he continued.

Jake Burke led the scoring for Sidney with 26 points on the night.

On Saturday, the Red Raiders had to quickly put the previous night's heroics behind them and focus on another rival, the Scottsbluff Bearcats (13-7, 4-1 in district),who traveled to Sidney hoping for a third victory against the Red Raiders this season.

The contest started with both teams playing well and trading scores for most of the quarter until Sidney was able to put together a run and end the first period up 20-16. This continued into the second, but by the last few minutes, Sidney's shooting had gone cold and the Bearcats were able to close in on Sidney, narrowing the score to 28-27. But unlike the previous night, the Red Raiders were able to stop Scottsbluff's run and in the final seconds of the half Sidney senior Jon Smith hit a three pointer, then senior Mitch Porter followed up with a three pointer of his own to widen the score. A free throw at the end of the half brought the score to 35-27 at the intermission.

There was no let down for the Red Raiders in the second half as they stayed consistent offensively, matching the Bearcat's scoring with points of their own, and never letting the visitors back into the game. Sidney played a well-balanced game offensively, with four players scoring in double figures for a final score of 62-48.

The Red Raiders next go on the road to face the Chadron Cardinals on Feb. 9.


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