Red Raiders C1-6 District Champs
Defeat Aurora 34-31 for State Bid
March 9, 2023
Mike Motz, Sidney Sun-Telegraph
Sidney's Red Raider Boys Basketball team recovered from their Subdistrict loss to Ogallala and traveled to neutral site Cozad to match up with with the 15-and-7 Aurora Huskies for the C1-6 District Championship.
After securing the tip-off, Sidney scored first but then had trouble scoring, especially short shots and put backs, and Aurora was able to open a lead. But as the first quarter progressed, Sidney climbed back into the game and after Jaeden Dillehay drained a three pointer, the score was tied at 7-to-7. The teams battled for the last minute of the quarter, with each adding two points to end the quarter knotted at 9-to-9.
The second quarter started with Aurora opening a 13-to-9 lead before Sidney fired back and took a 16-to-15 lead when Dillehay drove the lane and put up two points. Junior Isak Doty extended the lead with a three point hit, followed by a three point conversion by Aurora to narrow the score to 19-to-18. Sophomore Landon Riddle then put in another three point shot, and the teams went into the halftime break with Sidney up 22-to-18. Despite a height disadvantage, the Red Raiders did a great job under the boards, outrebounding the Huskies and getting many second chance opportunities.
The third quarter had Aurora narrow the lead at two points at 26-to-24 and Sidney Head Coach Austin Lewis get warned by the officials over a coaching box violation. Lewis' frustration was probably due to the three missed shots in a row the Raiders had right underneath the basket. Both defenses played well and the third quarter ended with Sidney hanging on to their two point lead at 26-to-24.
Sidney started the final period with a turnover that Aurora was able to capitalize on and tie the game. Sidney then took a four point lead at 31-to-27 at 5:20 in the fourth, and both teams struggled to score for the rest of the way. Sidney was clinging to a 34-to-31 lead with about 40 seconds left. With a three point lead, usually the strategy would be to foul the offense, as only two points could be scored and the offense would then get the ball back. But coach Lewis trusted his defense, and for the final 30 seconds, the Raiders manned up against the Huskies, forcing them to continuously pass the ball to get an open look. With just seconds remaining, Aurora's Carlos Collazo fired a three point attempt, but it was short. The ball was rebounded by Aurora's Booker Scheierman, but before he could go up for a basket, Sidney senior Jacob Dowse slapped the ball out of his hands directly to Isak Doty, who then went up the court and ran out the final two seconds on the clock, securing Sidney's 34-to-31 victory. Senior Jaeden Dillehay led the offense with 11 points while Dowse scored 10 and was a force on defense for the Red Raiders.
Sidney, at 19-and-6, faces off against 24-and-2 Ashland-Greenwood on Wednesday in the first round of the Class C1 NSAA State Basketball Tournament in Lincoln.