COLUMBUS — The second day of the GNAC Tournament in Columbus was a mixed bag of emotions for the Gering basketball teams.
The Gering girls started strong and then were outscored 19-11 in the fourth quarter to fall to Hastings 52-38.
The Gering boys and McCook hooked up in an offensive showcase with McCook hitting a bucket with five seconds left to give the Bison the come-from-behind 72-71 win.
Both teams will be in action at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Gering girls will face McCook while the boys will face North Platte.
The boys played well and came up just short. Gering had 12 3-pointers in the contest compared to just five for McCook.
Both teams made 19 free throws. The difference came in the final 20 seconds when Bryce Sherrell hit his sixth trey of the game to put the Bulldogs up 71-70. Cameryn Berry then hit a bucket from the paint with five seconds left to give McCook the lead and the 72-71 win.
“Offensively I thought we played well for the majority of the game,” Gering coach Kyle Cotton said. “Defensively we gave up too many straight-line drives and way too many shots under the basket. We didn’t make it difficult enough for them. They played really well and you have to give them a lot of credit.”
Cotton said there is plenty of positives the team can take from this game.
“There are always positives things you can look at in every game and offensively we moved the ball well and scored 71 points after last night only scoring 36,” he said. “For us to be successful, we have to continue to move the ball and make open shots. We did a lot better job of attacking the basket and we shot 25 free throws and we shot free throws well, too.”
The first quarter was back and forth with McCook holding a 15-13 lead after the first eight minutes.
Gering outscored McCook 16-10 in the second quarter. McCook had a 21-12 lead and led 22-17 before Gering went on a take a 25-22 lead behind back-to-back treys from Sherrell and Jack Franklin. Gering led 29-25 at halftime.
Gering kept the offense going in the third quarter, taking a 36-28 behind a 3-pointer by Brett Pszanka and five straight points from Kolton Ebbers. Gering led 47-40 on a Pszanka trey before McCook outscored Gering 8-2 to close out the third. Gering led 49-48 after three periods.
McCook opened the fourth on a 5-0 run to take a 53-49 lead and led 58-51 at one point. Trailing 67-61, Gering mounted a comeback, outscoring McCook 10-5 the rest of the quarter. Gering took its first lead since the end of the third on the trey by Sherrell with 20 seconds to play. After two timeouts, one from each team, McCook got the winning shot.
Gering had plenty of top performances. Sherrell led the way with 22 points with six 3-pointers while Pszanka had 20 points and five treys. Ebbers finished with 18 points, while Franklin had seven.
Gering girls fall to Hastings at GNAC
The Gering girls started strong but never led in the contest. Gering had plenty of positives they can take from the contest as well.
Gering coach Steve Land said his team didn’t make buckets like they needed.
“We didn’t shoot the ball real well and had another bad second quarter,” he said. “The second team all came into the game in the middle of the third quarter and gave us a much-needed boost, cutting the lead to six points. But we could not make it any closer as Hastings knocked down 14 of 17 free throws and we missed 13 free throws.
Hastings had an 8-2 early lead only to watch Gering slice the lead to two points twice in the first quarter, the second time on a bucket by Taylor Philbrick. Hastings led 15-10 after one quarter.
The second quarter saw Hastings outscore Gering 13-5 to bolt to a 28-15 halftime lead.
Hastings jumped out to a 33-19 third quarter lead before the Gering offense heated up, going on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 33-27 after the three. The run was highlighted by a Brylee Dean bucket and five points from Sydnee Winkler, including an old-fashioned 3-point play.
Gering’s run didn’t continue in the fourth quarter with Hastings opening the fourth with a 13-2 run to lead 46-29. Gering did outscore Hastings the rest of the way 9-6.
The big difference in the contest was 3-point shooting. Gering buried just one trey while Hastings had six 3-pointers.
Free throw shooting was also the difference. Hastings was 14 of 17 from the stripe while Gering was just 11 of 24 from the charity stripe. Winkler was their best free throw shooter, making four of five.
Gering was led in scoring by Cloey Fries with nine points followed by eight points each from Sydnee Winkler and Carleigh Pszanka.
Hastings was led by McKinsey Long with 14 points and two treys, while Kaitlyn Laux had 11 points and three 3-pointers.
Gering 10 5 12 11 – 38
Hastings 15 13 5 19 – 52
Kiara Aguallo 3, Cloey Fries 9, Sydnee Winkler 8, Brylee Dean 3, Taylor Philbrick 2, Emily Harrison 3, Carleigh Pszanka 8, Nickie Todd 2.
Gering 13 16 20 22 – 71
McCook 15 10 23 24 – 72
Kaleb Gonzales 2, Bryce Sherrell 22, Kolton Ebbers 18, Brett Pszanka 20, Jack Franklin 7, Zac Wilson 2.