Kaylee Spreier hit a jumper with three seconds left in regulation, capping off a 9-0 run in the final minute to force overtime and lift Gering to a thrilling 44-43 double-overtime win over Alliance on Friday night at Gering High School.
“These girls just continue to fight,” Gering coach Adam Freeburg said. “We got down late in the fourth quarter, things looked pretty bleak and this group just continues to battle. The game’s never over until the zero’s on the clock in the fourth quarter. They fought, and they fought, and they fought and they found a way to get it tied, then found a way to get it done.”
Gering was trailing 35-26 with 1:33 left in the game when Nicole Michael drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six. With a little over a minute to play, senior Megan Upp drained a free throw to make it a 35-30 Alliance lead. Almost a minute ticked off the clock before Alexa Anderson hit another trey with 11.5 seconds left, setting up the final shot by Spreier. Freeburg said that he was proud of the sophomore’s grit in the clutch.
“It was a huge drive and a huge shot,” he said. “Kaylee didn’t get a lot of minutes, but you know what, she was in there in the clutch and she caught the ball and didn’t hesitate one bit. [She] caught the ball, drilled it, and got us into overtime and gave us a chance.”
Gering jumped out to a 38-35 lead in the first overtime after picking up a bucket from Jessica Rogers followed by a free throw by Santanna Mitchell. Alliance answered with free throws from Olivia Vogel and Morgan Anthony, cutting the deficit to one, 38-37. After Rogers tallied another free throw, Alliance sent the contest into the second overtime with a bucket from Vogel with 43 seconds left in the four-minute period.
In the second overtime, Upp put Gering back into the lead with a pair of free throws, keeping the visiting Bulldogs at arms length throughout the period. Alliance tied it back up with a free throw by Anthony with 51.2 seconds left, but Anderson nailed down the win with seven seconds left after nailing a free throw to ice the victory.
Freeburg said that he was proud of the poise shown by his team in the win.
“I though overall we handled the pressure really well, especially in both overtimes,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of these girls right now.”
Freeburg added that although his team didn’t shoot well overall from the line (10 of 26), they hit the shots they needed down the stretch.
“This was by far the worst night that we’ve had, but you know, we made big ones late,” he said. “We’d get one out of two, which is actually better than zero out of two, so we hit big ones late. We got big defensive stops when we needed it. What a fun game, I’m so proud of this group.”
Alliance finished 4 of 14 from the stripe.
Alliance was led by Vogel, who finished with 16 points. Rylee Trout added 10, while Danielle Brennan and Anthony chipped in six points apiece.
Gering was paced by Upp and Anderson, who finished with 10 points each. Nicole Michael hit a pair of 3-pointers for six points on the night.
Gering will next be in action on Tuesday at Wheatland, Wyo. Alliance will host Bayard today.
Alliance (2-2) 4 10 10 11 8 — 43
Gering (3-2) 6 9 4 16 9 — 44
Morgan Anthony 6, Danielle Brennan 6, Caitlyn Tritle 3, Andri Halouska 2, Rylee Trout 10, Olivia Vogel 16.
Allie Vacha 2, Megan Upp 10, Jessica Rogers 3, Alexa Anderson 10, Nicole Michael 6, Santanna Mitchell 4, Dakota Gellner 2, Kaylee Spreier 4, Katie O’Boyle 3.