In front of a packed Gering High School gymnasium on Saturday, the Gering boys basketball team pulled off a feat only five other teams have accomplished since 2011.
Gering (9-6), which hadn’t beaten Scottsbluff (12-3) since February of 2011, cruised to a 55-33 upset win over the Class B No. 2 Bearcats (Omaha World-Herald).
Austin Ferguson, who joins Zac Bibb and Walker Britsch as Gering’s lone seniors, said the win means everything to him and his team.
Ferguson, Britsch and Bibb weren’t part of Gering’s last win over Scottsbluff in 2011, when the Bulldogs outlasted the Bearcats 51-44 at Western Nebraska Community College’s Cougar Palace.
“Our whole team played good,” Ferguson said. “Coach [Randy Plummer] just pushed us and pushed us and said, ‘Who cares if they’re ranked. We can beat them.’”
It was business as usual for the Bearcats in the first period as they capped off the stanza with a pair of 3-pointers by Tyler Mickey. That helped Scottsbluff come back from a three-point deficit to take the lead at 19-16.
Gering’s Joses Palomo, a sophomore whose late-game heroics lifted the Bulldogs to a 56-55 win over Chadron on Friday, took charge again on Saturday, igniting for 11 straight points to start the second period, giving Gering a 27-20 lead with 3:44 left in the half.
Scottsbluff’s Eric Moreno, though, hit his second 3-pointer of the night at the 3:18 mark to cut the deficit to four.
However, Walker Britsch nailed a trey 11 seconds later to push the advantage back to seven points before Zac Bibb hit a free throw to take the Bulldogs into the break with a 31-23 lead.
Scottsbluff’s Taylor Winkler and Moreno kicked off the second half with a pair of 3-pointers to slice the Bulldog lead to two, 31-29.
But Gering’s Grant Olsson wasn’t going to let another lead slip away. In a span of less than 3 minutes, Olsson tallied eight points, and Ferguson capped off a 10-0 run with a bucket at the 2:56 mark, giving Gering a 41-29 lead. Scottsbluff’s Michael Hadden hit Scottsbluff’s third field goal of the frame to bring the Bearcats to within 10, but Olsson and Bibb finished off the period with buckets to give Gering a 45-31 lead going into the final frame.
Gering outscored Scottsbluff 10-2 in the final stanza to secure the 22-point win.
“It was really good for my last home game here,” Ferguson said. “Walker and Zac, I wouldn’t trade those guys for anybody. I wouldn’t trade this whole team for anybody. I believe in everybody on this team, and we can beat anyone we play. Like Coach says everyday in practice, we can beat anybody.”
Scottsbluff was paced by Moreno, who finished with 11 points and nailed three 3-pointers. Hadden, who suffered a leg injury early in the second period but returned for the second half, chipped in 10 points. Mickey tallied six points on a pair of 3-pointers. The Bearcats were 3 of 5 from the free-throw line.
Gering got solid offensive performances from Olsson, who collected 14 points, and Ferguson poured in 11.
Gering will next be in action Friday at Alliance. Scottsbluff will try to bounce back Saturday at Sidney.
Scottsbluff (12-3).......................19 4 8 2 — 33
Gering (9-6).......................16 15 14 10 — 55
Taylor Winkler 4, Tyler Mickey 6, Matt Klein 2, Eric Moreno 11, Michael Hadden 10.
Joses Palomo 18, Walker Britsch 3, Christian Groskopf 3, Zac Bibb 3, Austin Ferguson 11, Grant Olsson 14, Taylor Nelson 3.