CHADRON — The Scottsbluff boys and Chadron girls basketball teams both remained undefeated on the season by posting victories on Friday night in Chadron.
The wins improved both squads to 7-0.
Scottsbluff, ranked No. 1 in Class B by the Omaha World-Herald, rallied for a 52-49 win against a scrappy Cardinal club that gave the Bearcats everything they could handle. It marked the second time this season that the Bearcats were forced to come from behind in the second half to beat Chadron.
Scottsbluff played without senior guard Michael Hadden for the second straight game. Hadden is still recovering from a sprained ankle he suffered last weekend in a tournament in Gillette, Wyo.
After trailing in the third quarter, the Bearcats surged in front by as many as 11 in the final frame. With Chadron making a charge late in the game, Taylor Winkler drained four free throws in the last 40 seconds to preserve the victory for Scottsbluff. The Cardinals got a last-second tip in at the buzzer to close out the scoring.
“This game is really good for us,” Scottsbluff coach Tony Siske said. “To have to claw one out the way we did against a team that was playing us as well as Chadron was, it’s good that we were able to find a way to win. It should just make us stronger down the road.”
Siske lauded Chadron’s effort against his squad. He said the Cardinals really came out strongly in the first half, which caused the Bearcats to tighten down their defensive effort after intermission.
“They did a great job of getting the shots they wanted, especially in the first half,” Siske said of Chadron. “[Spencer] Eliason was 8-for-9 in the first half, and at halftime he had 18 points and 12 rebounds. He was really hurting us. In the second half we limited them to one shot and played much better interior defense.”
Winkler and Eric Moreno poured in 21 points each to lead Scottsbluff in scoring. Moreno canned six 3-pointers, including three in the third quarter. Winkler added a pair of treys. Just five Bearcats found the scoring column in the contest.
“We played pretty well in a lot of aspects,” Siske said. “We only turned the ball over four times and we forced 15 turnovers, so that’s obviously a plus. They shot 57 percent to our 36 percent. We feel fortunate to come away with a win when there’s that big of a discrepancy.”
An overpowering surge in the second quarter propelled Chadron to a 63-39 win in the girls game. Leading 16-7 after the opening eight minutes, the Cardinals ignited for 29 points in the second quarter to take total control.
The victory extended Chadron’s regular-season winning streak to 28 in a row.
“We had a scoring explosion right before halftime. That was big,” Chadron coach Curt Holmquist said. “The girls just caught fire there by getting steals off our pressure.”
Chadron junior guard Ashlea Kerr led all scorers in the contest with 23 points. Kerr also finished with nine rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Ashlyn Eitemiller totaled eight points, five steals and four assists for the Cardinals, while Maggie Earney had six points and five rebounds. Also for Chadron, Bailea Kerr grabbed five boards and Alia Brennan blocked three shots.
Freshman Zoe Holscher led Scottsbluff in scoring with 14 points. Holscher drained four treys. Kiley Guerue added eight points for the Bearcats, who dropped to 0-5.
“Scottsbluff did some nice things against our press,” Holmquist said. “They’re improving.”
Chadron shot 8 of 13 at the free-throw line, while Scottsbluff was 5 of 10.
Both Cardinal squads will host Gering tonight. The Scottsbluff boys and girls will next be in action at the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament Dec. 27-29 in Columbus.
Scottsbluff (0-5) ................. 7 13 6 13 — 39
Chadron (7-0) ................. 16 29 14 4 — 63
S: Liz Cunningham 2, Zoe Holscher 14, Brayden Auer 5, Kiley Guerue 8, Toni Rosado 6, Aysia Ensrud 4.
C: Peyton Hinn 6, Maggie Earney 6, Briley Hannaford 6, Ashlyn Eitemiller 8, Ashlea Kerr 23, Bailea Kerr 2, Cassie Hyatt 2, Alia Brennan 4, Carly Churchill 6.