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Area Seniors Compete in Panhandle Prep All-Star Games

The annual Panhandle Prep Red/Blue All-Star Basketball games were held at Scottsbluff High School on Friday, May 26, and many of the area's graduated seniors got their last chance to play in high school basketball competitions.

Although the area senior stars for the girls and boys were both on the losing sides of each game, the contests were competitive and fun, and both high-scoring. The girls game started first, with Sidney's Reese Riddle and Rheagan Stanley playing for the Red team. All of the players seemed a bit rusty during the initial minutes of the contest, but then settled in and started to score frequently.

Scoring was at a premium for both contests, with the teams having little time to put together any complex defensive schemes, so the players just loosened up and fired away. Riddle did her best to drive through the defenses and score, but had trouble initially getting any shots to fall. Stanley also drove the lane quite a bit and fired off a few three point attempts with little success. The teams both played hard and had fun, which was the entire point of the games.

Riddle and Stanley's Red Team took an early lead and held off the blue team for most of the first half. The Red Team held a five point advantage over the Blue team at the end of the first quarter then increased the lead to eight points at the half. The Red Team expanded their lead in the third quarter, going up by as much as 16 points early in the fourth quarter. But halfway through the final period, the Red Team seemed to run out of gas while the Blue Team, led by Scottsbluff's Payton Burda, caught fire and narrowed the lead. The Blue Team went on a 19-to-0 run and took the lead with a little over one minute left, 75-to-74. Reese Riddle fouled out of the game with 24 seconds left, and the Red Team was forced to foul in the waning seconds of the contest. With a few seconds left, a desperation pass was made to Stanley for a final shot, but the long pass was stolen and the Red Team fell by a score of 78-to-76.

Although Catherine Bryner of Alliance led the scoring with 21 points, it was Scottsbluff's Payton Burda with 17 points who won MVP honors. Reese Riddle finished with 7 points, and Rheagan Stanley ended her night with 4 points.

In the boys contest, local All-Stars included Jacob Dowse, Micah Schneider and Jaeden Dillehay of Sidney on the Blue Team and Luke Kasten and Zach Rotert of Potter-Dix and Dillon Juelfs of Leyton on the Red Team. The Red Team quickly pulled ahead in the opening minutes, thanks to two three point hits by Alliance's Nick Waldron, and continued to build on their lead through the first half. Ogallala's Jeron Gager put on a show, gliding through the lane and making athletic layups and then burying three point shots from beyond the arc. There wasn't much defense played and both teams scored quickly and often. The Red Team put on a clinic behind the arc, burying 25 three pointers by games' end. The Blue Team fell too far behind and could not make up ground in the second half, and the Red Team walked away with a 125-to-109 win. Jeron Gager led the scoring with 35 points, including nine three-point shots, and secured the MVP award in the contest. Potter-Dix's Luke Kasten finished with 7 points and Zach Rotert finished with 4 points, and Leyton's Dillon Juelfs scored three in the contest. For the Blue Team, Micah Schneider scored 14 and Jacob Dowse and Jaeden Dillehay each had 10 points in the loss.


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