After suffering a tough last-second loss to Mitchell on Thursday night, the Gering boys basketball team was looking to right the course and bounce back against the visiting Alliance Bulldogs on Friday.
They didn’t have to wait long.
Gering rose to the challenge and gained some redemption after rolling to a 56-43 win over Alliance on Friday night at Gering High School.
The win improved Gering to 3-2, while Alliance dropped to 2-2 on the season.
“We played a lot smarter tonight than we did last night,” Gering coach Randy Plummer said of the turnaround. “We played a lot smarter and that’s one thing I told them. We need to make better passes and play a lot smarter. Last night we kind of threw the ball around and made some stupid decisions. Tonight, they were a lot better. By and large, it was a good game all the way around.”
Gering jumped out to and early lead, staging a 13-4 run capped by a three-point play by senior Austin Ferguson, who was fouled at the 4:33 mark of the first frame.
Gering started the second stanza in the same fashion, igniting for a 10-2 run to extend the lead to 27-13. Alliance, though, picked up a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to eight, 27-19 going into the half.
Alliance coach Michael Baker attributed the loss to two key factors with the first being a sluggish start by his squad early in the contest.
“We were sluggish at the start and they weren’t,” Baker said. “They took it to us those first two minutes – we were in a hole right away.”
After holding Gering to just three points early in the third, Alliance mounted a 13-5 run to tie the game at 32-32 with 3:29 left to play in the frame. However, Gering grabbed the momentum back at the 2:55 with a nine-point run to finish out the quarter, holding the Alliance offense scoreless and taking a 41-32 lead into the final stanza, where Gering held on for the 13-point win.
Baker said the second key factor was his team’s inability to make plays on offense.
“The second big thing I think was when we tied it 32-32, they scored at least nine points, maybe more, and we were stuck on 32. We had a hard time making simple plays tonight.”
Baker added that you can’t make costly mistakes against a good Gering team.
“Against a good team like Gering, you can’t turn the ball over that many times,” he noted. “We just didn’t give ourselves a chance with some of our careless turnovers. The good think is that all of this is correctable, but we have to fix it soon. If we can eliminate turnovers and get good looks at the basket, we’ll be all right.”
Gering, who finished just 5 of 13 from the line on Thursday, improved dramatically in the free throw department after nailing 10 of 14 in last night’s contest against Alliance. Plummer said that he and his coaching staff challenged the players to play tougher mentally.
“Before the game we challenged them about being mentally tough and I think they got it. I think they figured out that sometimes it has nothing to do with the physical shot, it’s being mentally tough. Physically you’re probably good, it’s the mental thing that you have to overcome, and I think we challenged them to take a step up and be a little more mentally tough tonight because Alliance is always going to be tough. They’re always going to come at you, they’re always going to play man defense – get up in your face – and just like they did tonight. We withstood that. We kept our composure and made good decisions.”
Alliance finished 4 of 8 from the stripe.
Alliance was led in the contest by Burnham who tallied 18 points with two 3-pointers. Trevor Kamerzell finished with 13 points, while DuBray chipped in eight.
Gering was paced offensively by Christian Groskopf, who finished with 12 points in the contest. Zac Bibb added 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots; while Ferguson and Grant Olsson tallied eight points apiece.
Gering will next be in action today at Wheatland. Alliance will host Bayard.
Alliance (2-2).............................12 7 13 11 — 43
Gering (3-2)...........................17 10 14 15 — 56
Ryan Romick 3, Isaac Burnham 18, Trevor Kamerzell 13, Jordan Mills 1, Sage DuBray 8.
Joses Palomo 6, Walker Britsch 2, Christian Groskopf 12, Zac Bibb 10, Gage Winkler 4, Austin Ferguson 8, Grant Olsson 8, Taylor Nelson 6.