COLUMBUS — The Scottsbluff boys basketball team shot a season-low 34 percent from the field Friday as the Bearcats fell to Kearney 52-42 in the semifinal round of the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament.
The loss was the first of the season for Scottsbluff, which is now 8-1 overall.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well and, ultimately, that was the difference in the game,” Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske said. “We took care of the ball – we had 10 turnovers to their 16, and we attempted eight more shots than they did – but they just made more shots than we did.
“In basketball, you can do a lot of things right, but if you don’t put the ball in the hoop, it really doesn’t matter.”
Despite Scottsbluff’s shooting woes, the Bearcats still were in a good position in the second half. Scottsbluff trailed by just one point on a couple occasions in the third period. Scottsbluff, which trailed 20-11 at halftime, outscored Kearney 16-14 in the third period. Scottsbluff then scored just three points fewer than Kearney in the final stanza.
“We made some nice runs at them, but they answered,” Siske said.
Michael Hadden led Scottsbluff in scoring with a game-high 17 points, and he also had two steals. Eric Moreno had 14 points and nine rebounds. Taylor Winkler had seven points, two assists, and two steals.
Siske said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“We played hard until the end,” he said. “We kept battling, and that’s what we want to do.”
Kearney had three players finish in double figures in scoring, led by Damien Austen’s 14 points. Ryan Cervantes and Ben Clark each had 11 points. Jake Weis led all rebounders with 10 boards.
“[Kearney] played extremely well,” Siske said. “They’re a good team. Their guards were extremely quick, and they did a nice job against us. So, they deserve a lot of credit.”
Scottsbluff will try to bounce back today in the final day of the GNAC Tournament when it takes on a talented McCook squad. Tipoff is set for 10:45 a.m. at Columbus. While the Bearcats were disappointed Friday by dropping their first game of the season, Siske said his team won’t dwell on the setback.
“We’ve just got to keep working on getting better and, hopefully, we’ll come out [today] and play better than we did [Friday],” he said.
Kearney...............................12 8 14 18—52
Scottsbluff............................5 6 16 15—42
Michael Hadden 17, Eric Moreno 14, Tyler Mickey 2, Jackson Hinze 2, Taylor Winkler 7.
Brady Johnson 6, Peyton Pocock 2, Ryan Cervantes 11, Jake Weis 8, Damien Austen 14, Ben Clark 11.
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Scottsbluff girls fall to Columbus
The Scottsbluff girls basketball team lost to Columbus 51-27 on Friday in the second day of the GNAC Tournament at Columbus.
The Bearcats will play Hastings today at 9 a.m. in the final day of the tournament. Hastings lost to Lexington 42-20 in overtime Friday.