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Sidney Turns Over Subdistrict Championship to Bridgeport

SIDNEY--It was a much anticipated showdown Friday night between two undefeated powerhouse C1 teams as the Sidney Lady Raiders hosted the Bridgeport Lady Bulldogs in Sidney. A large crowd had to wait in line outside of Sidney High School until 5 p.m. to ensure there would be enough seating for the anticipated maximum-capacity crowd, but no one in line seemed to mind as they were going to see the area's two best girls basketball teams face-off for the C1-12 Subdistrict Championship.

Sidney entered the game as the number 1 seed, and Bridgeport as the number 3 seed, but those rankings did not mean much once the action started. Bridgeport showed why they have been at the top of the heap in C1 for many years as they started fast and their tough defense stifled Sidney throughout the first quarter. Although it was not an offensive display by any stretch, the Lady Bulldogs did a good job of working the ball inside and scoring, and opened a 10-to-0 lead midway through the first period. Sidney's fast offense and passing attack was stymied by the long and athletic Lady Bulldogs intercepting passes, and clogging up passing lanes, frustrating the Sidney scorers. Early on, it looked like the Lady Raiders' strategy of firing the ball around the court until they found an open shot, which had brought them all the way to a 23-and-0 record, was not going to be effective against such a disciplined and effective Bridgeport defense. Sidney senior Katie Ramsey drove the lane for two points with 3:00 left in the first quarter to finally get Sidney on the board, but the Lady Raiders would only add one more field goal in the period and go into the second quarter down 12-to-4.

The second quarter started with the Lady Raiders mounting a comeback, closing to within three points at 14-to-11 with about five and a half minutes left in the quarter. However, the Bridgeport girls again ramped up the defense, pressing and harassing the Sidney offense and causing turnovers and bad passes. Bridgeport junior Tracey From buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Bridgeport a 21-to-11 lead at the intermission.

Bridgeport continued to score and cause turnovers in the third quarter, and Sidney had scoring opportunities slip away, pressured by the relentless Bridgeport defense. It seemed that Sidney was going to go on a run when junior Kayla Westby drove the lane, missed a shot but then grabbed her own rebound and put it in for two points cutting the lead to 25-to-16. However, even after Sidney caused a string of Bridgeport turnovers, they would give the ball right back without scoring. Sidney continued to try to move the ball with long passes, but Bridgeport either intercepted them or swatted them away. As the quarter wound down, Bridgeport built a 32-to-18 lead, and the Sidney girls started to have the look of a defeated and frustrated team. However, a flurry of activity in the final seconds gave Sidney some momentum as Bridgeport was called for a charge, giving the ball to Sidney, and senior Karsyn Leeling buried a three point shot from ten feet beyond the arc to give Sidney a much-needed lift, cutting the Bridgeport lead to 33-to-21.

Sidney showed signs of turning the tide in the fourth quarter, but could not put together a run effective enough to overcome the Bridgeport lead. Sidney tried multiple times to close the gap with three-point shots, but could not connect. Sidney had a spark of life with about two minutes left when Bridgeport sophomore Ella Schulterbusch was hit with a technical for flagrantly fouling Karsyn Leeling going up for a layup on a fast break. Leeling made one of the two shots, then Sidney junior Carli Black put in two to narrow the lead to 10 points. Time was winding down and Bridgeport slowed the pace, burning the clock. Sidney was able to connect for a few field goals in the final seconds, but Bridgeport came away with the 40-to-33 victory, capturing the C1-12 Subdistrict title.

The game was decided by turnovers, as the usually sure-handed Lady Raiders turned the ball over unofficially a whopping 26 times in the loss. Sidney junior Carli Black led the Sidney scoring with 10 points. Sidney moves on for a District Final game at a neutral site, facing off against 12-and-10 Platteview at Kearney Catholic High School on Friday. Tip off is scheduled for 5:30 MT.


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