Lady Raiders Romp, Raiders Avenge Scottsbluff Loss
Sidney's Red Raider Basketball teams chalked up two wins over the past weekend, with the Lady Raiders gutting out a win against Gering and then breezing past Scottsbluff, and the Red Raiders winning two close games, the second avenging last week's loss in the finals of the Western Conference Tournament.
On Friday, the teams traveled to Gering for matchups with the Bulldog teams. The Lady Raiders started the action and had to lean hard on their defense to get the win. The Lady Bulldogs did a great job under the hoop, out-rebounding the Lady Raiders, and relying on their sharp shooting to stay close to the Class C-1, number 1 ranked Sidney team.
The Gering girls kept it close in the first half, entering the halftime intermission only down by five points, which was a surprising turn of events from their first meeting of the season, a blowout 74-to-16 win by Sidney and their second meeting, a 15 point 56-to-41 win for the Lady Raiders. However, the tide turned for Sidney in the third quarter as the Lady Raiders forced 11 Gering turnovers and outscored the home team 21-to-11 to extend their lead. Sidney was able to hold off any Gering rally in the final frame and earned the 56-to-44 win, their third of the season over their Western Conference rivals. Senior Karsyn Leeling led the scoring for Sidney with 18 points in the victory.
For the boys, it was a much more challenging contest against the Bulldogs. Back in mid-December, the Red Raiders had little trouble against the Bulldogs in a 73-to-59 win, but this contest was much closer. Sidney held a 13-to-11 edge at the end of the first quarter, but Gering's offense went on a tear in the second quarter, knocking down 10 of their 14 shots and taking a 35-to-32 lead into the halftime break. Sidney ramped up the defense in the third quarter, cooling off the Bulldog's hot shooting, and battled back to take a 48-to-46 lead into the fourth quarter. Sidney was able to outpace Gering in the final frame to come away with the 66-to-60 victory. Junior Landon Riddle led the Sidney scoring with 21 points in the victory.
On Saturday, the Sidney teams returned to Cabela's Athletic Center for a Senior Night matchup with the Scottsbluff Bearcat teams. The Lady Raiders almost let a Western Conference Tournament finals win slip away from them last weekend at WNCC in Scottsbluff, as their shooting went cold in the fourth quarter, allowing the Lady Bearcats to rally and make the final score closer than anticipated. The Lady Raiders suffered no fourth-quarter swoon in this contest. In fact, their defense held the Lady Bearcats to seven points or less in each frame, and the Lady Raider offense hummed throughout the game for a big, 33-point, 59-to-26 win. Senior Chloe Ahrens was sharp from beyond the arc in the first quarter, knocking down four three-point shots to account for her game-high 12 points in the victory. Leeling scored 11, and senior Payton Schrotberger and junior Jordan DeNovellis added 10 points each to put four Lady Raiders in double figures in scoring for the game.
In the boy's contest, Sidney was looking to avenge a WCT Finals loss where a few key mistakes, and a slew of missed free throws, were the difference in the outcome. In this contest, the Bearcats and their outstanding sophomore Nathan Kelly, came out strong and had a fast start, building a 19-to-13 lead at the end of the first period. Sidney chipped away at the lead in the second quarter, with a three-pointer by senior Isak Doty and a two-and-one play by sophomore Keian Kaiser edging Sidney closer to Scottsbluff. Sidney had the last possession and Isak Doty tried two three-point shots but missed on both, and Sidney trailed 29-to-26 at the halftime intermission.
After a sloppy start to the third quarter with back-to-back turnovers, Sidney found their groove and started to chip away again. Riddle hit a three-point shot to edge closer, and then a steal by Kaiser ending in a fast-break layup tied the score at 31-to-31. The teams traded scores for most of the quarter, but a three-point hit by sophomore Alek Doty put Sidney ahead, 42-to-41 at the end of the third period.
Scottsbluff recaptured the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Isak Doty nailed a three-point attempt and junior Reid Fiscus put in two free throws to give Sidney a 47-to-44 lead. The scoring pace slowed and the Raiders did a good job of burning time off the clock. The last two minutes of the game saw a flurry of activity, but Sidney did a great job of methodically moving the ball around and finding the open man under the basket to cash in on their offensive sets. Scottsbluff continued to battle, but Sidney scored when they needed to, and converted on their free throws down the stretch, to give them the 58-to-51 win. Isak Doty and Reid Fiscus each had 14 points in the victory. The wins move the Lady Raiders to 20-and-0 on the season and the Red Raiders to 18-and-2 on the year. The Lady Raiders were scheduled to travel up to Alliance on Tuesday, and both teams are scheduled to take on the Chadron teams at home on Friday.