The Sidney girl’s basketball team put together a strong defense effort in rolling to a 50-11 first-round win in the Western Conference Tournament Thursday, Dec. 5 at Gering High School.
The Red Raiders, who lost to Mitchell in last year’s championship, held Mitchell scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the game as the Red Raiders led 16-0 after the first period and 20-0 before Mitchell scored its first points with 4:17 to play in the second quarter on a Makena Chambers bucket.
Sidney coach Tyler Shaw said his team played well defensively.
“I thought we played pretty good team defense,” Shaw said. “We did a good job of getting out and running the court and sharing the basketball, which I think was a big key. Early in the season you don’t know how that will go. Hopefully we can continue that for tomorrow.”
Sidney will play North Platte in the semifinals at 5 p.m. at Western Nebraska Community College. North Platte received 22 points from Gracie Haneborg and topped Sterling, Colorado, 72-36 in the first round.
The other semifinal will pit Scottsbluff against Chadron. Both teams had easy wins in the first round. Scottsbluff topped Alliance 63-23 behind 20 points from Aubry Krentz, while Chadron earned a 62-45 win over Gering. Scottsbluff and Chadron will battle at 3:30 p.m. at WNCC.
The consolation games at Scottsbluff High School will see Alliance taking on Gering at 3:30 p.m. while Sterling battles Mitchel at 5 p.m.
The Sidney and Mitchell game was the marque game of the tournament and Sidney showed plenty of talent despite graduating several players from a year ago.
Offensively, the Red Raiders had 10 different players hit the scoring column. MJ Johnstone led the way with 13 points followed by nine from Morgan Jaggers and seven from Kady Sylvester.
Defense was definitely playing well on Thursday for the Red Raiders.
“We played pretty good team defense and rebounded pretty well,” Shaw said. “I am really proud of all the girls for just buying in and doing a good job defensively.”
Sidney led 16-0 after the first period and 30-4 at halftime. Sidney then held Mitchell scoreless in the third period while putting up 15 points for a 45-4 lead. Mitchell did outscore Sidney 7-5 in the fourth period.
Shaw said he was surprised with the score that his team put up against a talented Mitchell squad that just couldn’t buy a bucket, while his team made shots.
“I was surprised a little bit but Shawn (Harvey) is a good coach and he is going to figure it out,” he said. “We have to play these guys again down the road and they will find some things to do better offensively.”
Sidney will face a North Platte team that had a tough first quarter with Sterling, Colorado, before opening the game. North Platte led 21-15 after one quarter and ran out to a 44-25 lead at halftime.
The other semifinal pits Scottsbluff against Chadron. Chadron ran out to a 10-0 lead over Gering before the Bulldogs came back to cut the deficit to 10-8. The Cardinals, with the inside play of Olivia Reed and Anika Burke went on to lead 18-8 after one period.
Both teams battled tough in the second period with Chadron outscoring the Bulldogs 17-13 to hold a 35-21 lead at intermission.
The third quarter was the eight minutes that changed the game as Chadron outscored Gering 25-8 to lead 60-29. Gering did outscore Chadron 16-2 in the final period, but it was a little too late.
The Cardinals will face a Scottsbluff team that had a big defensive effort against Alliance to pick up the win. The Bearcats had two players in double figures as Krentz led the way with 20 points and Yara Garcia had 17 in the 63-23 win that saw the Bearcats play a lot of younger players.
Mitchell 0 4 0 7 – 11
Sidney 16 14 15 5 – 50
Quincey Johnson 2, Jayden Kanno 5, Makena Chambers 2, Marjie Schmitt 2.
Jaylee Shaw 2, Brynna Ross 3, Morgan Jaggers 9, MJ Johnstone 13, Nicole Berner 4, Kendra Nesbitt 3, Reagan Biesecker 2, Mattie Johnson 6, Alecca Campbell 1, Karly Sylvester 7.
North Platte 21 23 21 7 – 72
Sterling 15 10 6 5 – 36
Gracie Haneborg 22, Callie Haneborg 9, Rylee Kurth 4, Carly Purdy 6, Sedina Hayes 9, Shelby Berglund 3, Abby Orr 15.
Emerie Rios 4, Hailey Fehringer 11, Aubree Long 2, Jaden Newson 7, Karleigh Baxter 2, Lakrisha Fehringer 2, Jasmine Cardona 4.
Gering 8 13 8 16 – 45
Chadron 18 17 25 2 – 62