Scottsbluff edges North Platte, 70-65

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The first night of the East-West Shootout looked more like a tug-of-war than a basketball game as the two teams traded scoring runs. In the end, it was the Bearcat boys who had the final tug to grab a 70-65 win over North Platte.

The game was not unlike the first meeting between two teams in late December at the GNAC tournament in North Platte when the Cats prevailed, 46-44.

The win was especially sweet for the Bearcats who were coming off of a difficult 62-48 loss to district rival Sidney the week before.

“Both teams have improved a lot since the last time we played. We were healthier as a team this time around because last time Jasiya was hobbling on his ankle and he was a huge contributor tonight,” Head Coach Scott Gullion said. “We started out with a lead which was different than last time.”

The Bearcats started the night on fire, scoring 22 points in the first quarter with senior Devin Buderus and junior Conner McCracken leading the way with six points each.

At one point, the Cats lead 22-12 before North Platte countered with five points to trail only 22-17 at the quarter.

The second quarter was controlled by the Bulldogs who outscored Scottsbluff 20-10 to take a 37-32 halftime lead.

North Platte Head Coach Matt Kaminski said the Bulldogs used their rebounding advantage to take the lead.

“Our team has a great ability to rebound and win rebound battles. Not only that, but we have a great inside game and can score in the paint. We made some versatile shots too which is always important,” Kaminski said.

The Cats’ struggles continued early into the second half as North Platte took a 43-37 lead with four minutes remaining in the quarter.

The tide turned yet again when Scottsbluff turned up its defensive pressure resulting in a 14-3 run and a 50-46 at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Bearcats extended their lead to 57-46 before the Bulldogs answered with one final run, eventually tying the score at 61-61 on a three-point shot by Kiya Kramer.

Junior Conner McCracken quickly came to the rescue sinking a free throw to put the Cats up 62-51 with 2:15 left in the game.

The final two minutes of the game transpired into a free throw clinic as the Cats went 9 of 10 at the line to seal the 70-65 win.

Sophomore Jasiya DeOllos was the biggest contributor, going 6 for 6 from the line in the quarter.

“Our team plays really well together because they’re extremely close and we have a great combination of shooters. Our defense could improve and get stronger though,” Gullion said after the game.

The win raised the Bearcats’ record to 14-7.

“We’ve made huge strides since the beginning of the season. We battled a transfer midseason and multiple injuries but we’ve recovered well from those obstacles,” Gullion said.


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