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

By Mike Motz
Sports Reporter 

Lady Raiders Struggle on Offense


January 6, 2021 | View PDF

Sidney’s Lady Raider Basketball team had a busy week with three games in the Sidney Holiday Tournament December 28-30 followed by hosting the Holdrege Dusters on Saturday afternoon.

The week ended up with the Lady Raiders looking for answers on offense to compliment their strong defensive play.

The Lady Raiders started on Monday matching up with Gordon-Rushville, and the C2 Lady Mustangs jammed up the Sidney offense and built a seven point lead at the half. But Sidney went on a tear in the third quarter, outscoring Gordon-Rushville 24-to-6 in the period on their way to a 50-to-43 victory. It would be the last high-scoring quarter of the week for Sidney.

Junior Alecca Campbell led the Sidney offense with 16 points in the win.

On Tuesday, Sidney next had a semi-final matchup with Mitchell, and the Lady Tigers had struggled early in the season against the top teams in the area. The Lady Raiders opened a quick lead, but Mitchell came back to narrow it with a buzzer-beater for two at the end of the first period giving Sidney an 11-to-10 lead.

Both teams ramped up the defensive pressure in the second quarter to slow down the scoring, and a series of costly Sidney turnovers put the Lady Raiders down 23-to-18 at the half. This time there was no offensive explosion in the third quarter as Alecca Campbell finally broke the scoreless streak at 5:03 left in the third with a layup. Sidney continued to have trouble inside and grabbing rebounds, but Mitchell could not capitalize and score. But with under two minutes left in the quarter, Mitchell senior Jayden Kanno finally snapped the Lady Tiger’s scoreless drought, draining the first of two three pointers to put Mitchell ahead 36-to-21 going into the fourth quarter.

Sidney battled through the final frame slowly closing ground with inside shots and free throws until at just under three minutes left, Campbell drove the lane for two points to tie the score 37-to-37. Both teams played physical defense, drawing lots of fouls and free throw attempts.

With just under a minute left, Sidney junior Brynna Ross hit a three point shot to start a burst of scoring between the teams that Sidney won, and the Lady Raiders pulled out the 46-to-42 victory to advance to the championship round of the tournament.  On Wednesday the Lady Raiders were matched against the Ord Lady Chanticleers and started hot, but their shooting cooled midway through the first period and Ord took a 14-to-8 lead after one quarter. Sidney continued to try to force fast breaks with long and wild passes, but struggled to score.

Sidney’s tough defense kept them close, and finally the Lady Raiders were able to gain a 19-to-17 lead with two minutes left in the half. Senior Morgan Jaggers led a Sidney scoring burst in the final minutes that gave the Lady Raiders a 24-to-17 lead at the half.

Both teams started slowly in the third quarter, but Ord started closing the gap. Only a late scoring burst by Sidney at the end of the period kept the Lady Raiders ahead, 30-to-25. With just under five minutes left, Ord caught up and tied the score 37-to-37. But led by a Jaggers three point hit, Sidney opened a five point lead with just about three minutes left to play. But Sidney continued to play aggressive offense, opting not to run down the clock, and their shooting went cold again. Ord’s offense, powered by senior Kloe Severance, started hitting and pulled away past the stalled Sidney team.

Sidney was forced to foul to try to come back in the final seconds, but Ord would not be denied as they took the tournament championship with a 50-to-41 victory. Jaggers led the Sidney offense with 18 points in the loss where Sidney’s passing troubles contributed to 22 turnovers in the game.

Sidney regrouped and hosted the Holdrege Dusters on Saturday, and the game started with both teams unable to hold or pass the ball without turning it over. A sloppy first quarter featured more turnovers than scoring, with Sidney holding a 6-to-5 lead at the end of the first period.

Both teams struggled to score and not turn the ball over through the second period, but a late run by Holdrege narrowed the Sidney lead to 18-to-16 at the half. The Lady Raiders offense continued to stall, with Sidney struggling to make close shots and hurrying second-chance opportunities. Sidney fell behind, only scoring five points in the period to give Holdrege a 29-to-23 lead going into the final period.

Holdrege had an even tougher time with turnovers than Sidney, stopping the Dusters from pulling away through the fourth quarter. Sidney eventually tied the game at 33-to-33, but continued their cold shooting and missed multiple opportunities to take the lead. Missed second chance shots and free throws cost the Lady Raiders, and Holdrege was able to hang on for the 36-to-34 win.

Senior Karly Sylvester had 12 points to lead the Lady Raiders in the loss. Sidney had 23 turnovers in the game, but Holdrege had 30 and were still able to earn the win. At 7-and-3 on the season, the Lady Raiders need to minimize the turnovers get their offensive struggles corrected as they start a tough schedule of games in January.


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