ALLIANCE — A fast start, combined with a balanced offensive performance helped the Scottsbluff boys basketball team pick up a solid 66-50 road win over Alliance on Friday night in Alliance.
The victory lifted the Class B preseason top-ranked Bearcats to 9-2 on the season. It also snapped a two-game slide after Scottsbluff dropped back-to-back games to close out last week’s Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament in Columbus.
“At times we played really well,” Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske said. “Alliance is typically a tough place to play, and we went out and controlled the game from the get go.”
Scottsbluff ignited early by jumping out to a 19-11 lead after the opening quarter. The Bearcats then outscored the Bulldogs 20-14 in the second quarter to build their advantage to a comfortable 39-25 at halftime.
Unlike their previous two contests, the Bearcats received better offensive production from a number of players. Four different Bearcats scored in double figures.
“I thought that was one of the keys,” Siske said of his squad’s offensive performance. “Another thing is we forced 15 more turnovers than we committed. To have that many extra possessions was big as well.”
Eric Moreno led Scottsbluff offensively with 20 points. Also reaching the double-figure scoring column for the Bearcats were Taylor Winkler with 13, Michael Hadden with 12, and Matt Klein with 10.
Klein was making his season debut after missing the Bearcats’ first 10 games because of an injured wrist.
“It definitely helped having him back,” Siske said of Klein. “He just adds to our athleticism and experience, and makes us a little bit deeper.”
Alliance, which dropped to 4-6 on the season, was led in scoring by Trevor Kamerzell with 25 points. Ryan Romick added 11 and Isaac Burnham finished with 10.
Scottsbluff won’t have much time to celebrate Friday night’s victory as a talented Rapid City Stevens comes to town today. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.
Rapid City Stevens is in South Dakota’s highest class. It will mark the first meeting between the teams in a number of years.
“It should be a really good game,” Siske said. “They’re a good team with some nice individual players. They’re a big school — the kind of team we like to play against. We like to play a tough schedule and challenge ourselves as much as we can.”
Today’s game also marks the beginning of a three-game stretch against Class A-level opponents for the Bearcats. Scottsbluff will host Cheyenne East on Friday and travel to Cheyenne Central on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Scottsbluff (9-2)............................19 20 15 12 — 66
Alliance (4-6)...................11 14 12 13 — 50
Taylor Winkler 13, Jackson Hinze 5, Tyler Mickey 2, Matt Klein 10, Eric Moreno 20, Michael Hadden 12, Austin Clarkson 4.
Ryan Romick 11, Isaac Burnham 10, Josh Matulka 4, Trevor Kamerzell 25.