Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Red Raiders Cruising Through Early Season

Big Wins and Stellar Play Highlight Talented Teams

SIDNEY-- Although it's no surprise for the Sidney Lady Raider Basketball team to start strong to begin a season, it has been a bit of time since both the boy's and girl's teams looked so good simultaneously. But that seems to be the case, as both Red Raider teams have opened with 4-and-0 starts. Sidney had their first home games of the season over the past week, with matchups against Chase County and Bayard, and both squads came away with convincing wins, indicating that this could be a special season for both teams.

On Friday, December 8, the Chase County Longhorn teams came to take on the Red Raider teams here in Sidney. The girls battled first, and it was quickly evident that the Lady Longhorns were overmatched by their Sidney counterparts. The aggressive Sidney pressure defense smothered the Lady Longhorns' offense, and the Lady Raiders did a great job rebounding. Junior Ryan Dillehay buried a three-pointer at the end of the first period to give Sidney a 16-to-5 lead. All five of Chase County's points came off of free throws. The domination continued for the rest of the contest, with Sidney having 12 players score in the victory. Head Coach Tyler Shaw substituted early and often, getting all of his players time, and all contributed to the 47-to-26 win. Sidney's talented juniors Jordan DeNovellis, Ryan Dillehay and Kayla Westby had seven points each in the victory, to lead the scoring.

In the boys game, the Red Raiders bolted out to a double-digit lead, but let the Longhorns hang around by committing far too many fouls. The aggressiveness was good, but perhaps a bit too much, as both junior Landon Riddle and senior Grant Smirnich fouled out of the game. Senior Isak Doty banged down three three-pointers in the first half to help Sidney take a 33-to-14 lead into the halftime break. Sidney settled down and dialed back the aggressiveness a bit in the second half, and although Chase County outscored the Red Raiders in the second half, the Sidney lead was too big for the visitors to overcome, and Sidney took the victory by a final score of 55-to-40. Doty led all scorers with 23 points and hit six three point attempts.

On Saturday, the Red Raider teams hosted the Bayard Tigers squads. The powerhouse undefeated C2 Lady Tigers were dealt their first loss of the season by the speedy and aggressive Lady Raiders. Although the Lady Tigers had a significant height advantage over the Lady Raiders, it was Sidney's speed and excellent passing game that enabled them to down the previously unbeaten Bayard squad. The first period was a fight, with both teams using pressure defenses to keep the scoring low, but junior Kayla Westby's three point hit at the end of the period gave Sidney an early 9-to-6 lead. Sidney's defense proved to be more effective and the fast and well-coached Lady Raiders were able to beat the Bayard pressure, and started to pull away. Sidney held a 23-to-14 lead at the halftime break, then the defense really shined in the third quarter, with steals and pressure keeping the Bayard girls from mounting a comeback. Leeling took over in the fourth quarter, knocking down three pointers and disrupting Bayard passing lanes with her length and leaping ability. Halfway through the fourth quarter the Lady Tigers looked beaten, and Sidney capped off the victory with a flurry of scoring at the end of the game to give them an 18 point 48-to-30 victory. Leeling led the scoring with 11 points, and senior Lexi Fiscus led the Lady Tigers with 8 points.

The boy's contest was a completely different story, with Sidney going on a tear to open the game, outhustling and shutting down the Tigers. Sidney opened a 14-to-0 lead before Bayard finally got on the board, and widened to the lead to 24-to-2 at the end of the first period. The romp continued with Sidney putting up 19 more points in the second period to take a 43-to-6 lead into the halftime break. Sidney put up 22 more points in the second half while substituting freely, and the game ended in a 65-to-17 win for the Red Raiders. Senior Matthew Danch led all scorers with 14 points. The Sidney teams are next scheduled to travel to Torrington for a match up with the Trailblazers on Friday.


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