SIDNEY — Gering’s Megan Upp nailed two free throws with 11 seconds to play to give the Bulldogs a come-from-behind 41-39 victory over Gothenburg in the fifth-place game of the Cabela’s Holiday Shootout on Saturday in Sidney.
The Bulldogs never led in the contest until Upp’s free throws. Gering coach Adam Freeburg said this is a huge win for his squad, which has now won two straight after falling to Hershey in Thursday’s first round of the Holiday Classic.
“It was a really big win for our girls. Gothenburg is a tough team,” Freeburg said. “We never led the game until 11 seconds left, and it is a credit to our kids. We were behind pretty much the entire game and we just chipped away little by little. We got huge defensive stops when we needed them, and we had great offensive plays when we needed them.”
After trailing 11-3 after the first period, the Bulldogs stepped up on defense and outscored the Swedes 7-3 in the second stanza to trail just 14-10 at halftime.
Gering outscored Gothenburg 31-25 in the second half, including a great defensive stand in the fourth quarter where it outscored the Swedes 16-8. Gering finally tied the game at 39-39 with 1:20 left to play before Upp went to the line for the deciding free throws after getting fouled while driving to the basket.
Upp and Santanna Mitchell each finished with nine points, but lots of other Bulldogs stepped up in the contest. Sophomore Jessica Rogers had a second straight stellar game, pouring in eight points after scoring nine points in a win against Chase County on Friday. The Bulldogs also got five points from sophomore Allie Vacha and four points each from Katie O’Boyle and Dakota Gellner.
What makes Freeburg really proud is how this team excels throughout the entire game no matter the score.
“The motto of our team is about attitude and never say die. These girls don’t [let down] no matter what the score is,” he said. “Every game we played this year, no matter what the score is whether we are up or down, they continue to fight and battle. When teams do that, good things will happen.”
Freeburg said his team doesn’t have a star. What they have, he said, is a bunch of blue collar players who give it their all whether it is at the offensive end or defensive end.
“The scoring was pretty spread out and that has been the story of our team,” he said. “We really don’t have one big star and what is fun about this team is they all do it together. That is what is great about our team right know is that girls are finding different ways to contribute. It might not be scoring or on the offensive end, but everyone finds a way to contribute for us to be successful, which is very neat to see. All the girls that are contributing right now are factoring into these games.”
Gering (6-5) will have two straight home games beginning with Sidney on Friday before entertaining Scottsbluff on Jan. 8. Sidney suffered its second defeat of the season to Douglas, Wyo., in the title game of the Shootout, falling 51-32.
Gothenburg (3-7).............................11 3 17 8 — 39
Gering (6-5).......................3 7 15 16 — 41
Allie Vacha 5, Megan Upp 9, Jessica Rogers 8, Santanna Mitchell 9, Dakota Gellner 4, Katie O’Boyle 4, Danyele Ysac 2.