The No. 3-seeded Gering girls basketball team outscored No. 2 Sidney 20-8 in the third period and then held off the Red Raiders’ fourth-quarter rally to escape with a 37-35 win in the semifinal round of the Class B, District 6 Tournament on Thursday night at WNCC’s Cougar Palace.
“It was huge,” Gering coach Adam Freeburg said. “I’m just so proud of our seniors and the effort they’ve given all season long. They’re just a bunch of fighters, and they fought one more time and got it done.”
Sidney was solid offensively early in the contest, overcoming a 5-2 deficit with a 12-2 run to take a 17-7 lead after the first. However, Gering held the Red Raiders to just four points in the second to cut the deficit to 18-13 at the half.
Gering started the third with a 14-5 run, capped off by a 3-pointer from Alexa Anderson and a traditional three-point play by Katie O’Boyle to take a 27-22 lead with 3:06 left to play in the frame. The Bulldogs finished the surge with six more points to take a 33-26 lead going into the final stanza.
“That run in the third quarter was huge for us,” Freeburg said. “We needed to get some momentum going. Sidney played really well in the first half, so we felt like we had to have a run there in the third quarter, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Gering struck first in the fourth period, getting back-to-back buckets from Santanna Mitchell and Megan Upp to extend its lead to 37-26. However, Sidney erupted starting with 5:52 left to play, going on a 9-0 run to cut Gering’s lead to 37-35.
Gering’s defense, though, came through in the final seconds to hold off the Red Raiders and advance to the championship game.
Freeburg, whose Bulldogs were 0-2 against Sidney this season before Thursday’s win, said the Bulldogs are excited to have a chance to play for the district championship tonight at 7 at Cougar Palace.
“Sidney’s a great team,” he said. “They had a phenomenal season and this is our biggest win of the season. I’m proud of our girls, and I’m excited for our girls for [today]. I know we’re going to come, we’re going to smile, we’re going to have fun, and we’re going to give it our best.”
The Red Raiders finished 5 of 16 from the stripe. Gering was 2 of 5.
Karissa Segelke paced Sidney in the contest, scoring 10 points to lead all scorers. Jenifer Heeren collected six, while Sarah Mahr and Sarah Krueger added four points apiece.
Gering was led by Anderson and Upp, who collected nine points each. Kaylee Spreier chipped in six.
Gering (12-11)..........................7 6 20 4 – 37
Sidney (16-7)............................14 4 8 9 – 35
Ashlyn Shultz 2, Allie Vacha 4, Megan Upp 9, Alexa Anderson 9, Santanna Mitchell 4, Kaylee Spreier 6, Katie O’Boyle 3.
Abbi Porter 2, Sarah Mahr 4, Madi Malzahn 3, Karissa Segelke 10, Katelin Cole 1, Kylee Price 3, Morgan Linneman 2, Jenifer Heeren 6.