The Gering girls basketball team had its season ended after dropping a 63-28 setback to McCook in the championship game of the Class B, District 6 Tournament on Friday night at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.
A night after pulling off a 37-35 upset over Sidney in the semifinals, the Bulldogs couldn’t carry over any of that momentum over against the top seeded Bison. McCook, rated No. 7 by the Omaha World-Herald, advances to the state tournament for the second straight year.
Gering ends its season with a record of 12-12.
“We had a phenomenal season. All of the credit goes to our senior group,” Gering coach Adam Freeburg said. “We’ve talked about them all year long. The way that they represented our school, our community, their families, and the way they have represented this program is unbelievable. They have done everything right and they will be a group that will be remembered for a long time.”
McCook’s Brooklyn Trew, who led all scorers in the game with 16 points, got the Bison rolling early when the senior tallied eight points in the first period with a pair of 3-pointers to give McCook an 18-6 advantage.
Trew kept the momentum going for the Bison in the second quarter by sparking a 13-1 run that gave McCook a commanding 31-7 lead. Gering’s Alexa Anderson tried to get something going for the Bulldogs, hitting four free throws in the period to cut the deficit to 35-11 at halftime.
“McCook was phenomenal tonight,” Freeburg said. “Their guards hit a lot of shots in the first half. They were on fire in the first half.”
McCook coach Jeff Ellis was pleased with his team’s defensive pressure from the very start, and said that he felt it would be a key factor coming into the contest.
“One of our huge keys tonight was to pressure the ball,” Ellis said. “Just watching Gering on film, and just knowing our game we had against them a couple of weeks ago in the East-West Shoot Out, we just knew that our defensive pressure could cause them fits. So, I was proud of the girls with just buying in and getting right back on track with our full-court pressure.”
That pressure held the Bulldogs to just four points in the third period. Both buckets were scored by Gering senior Dakota Gellner.
Gering mustered just four points through the first six minutes of the final period, but the Bulldogs’ never-say-die attitude came out in the final 1:41 when sophomore Allie Vacha hit a 3-pointer, followed by a steal that led to another bucket just seconds later. The Gering faithful roared in appreciation as the Bulldogs finished it out with the final nine points of the game.
Freeburg reminded his team in the final two periods of what they had accomplished throughout the season, and said that the determination of his bench in the final two minutes was a direct reflection of his senior starters.
“You don’t often get a chance to play in a championship game, so I let them know that no matter what the score is let’s have fun and let’s play hard to the buzzer. We obviously did that in the fourth quarter,” Freeburg said. “There were no seniors in there at the end and that’s a reflection of that group – of that never-say-die attitude that they brought to this program. I just couldn’t be prouder of our seniors and the year they had.”
The Bulldogs hit 9 of 19 from the free-throw line. McCook was 9 of 14.
Vacha paced Gering with seven points. Anderson was 4 of 4 from the stripe to finish with six points, while Gellner also chipped in six points.
Brenleigh Daum and Rachel Goltl both reached double figures for the Bison, finishing with 14 points apiece. Megan Ruppert tallied seven.
McCook ................. 18 17 15 13 — 68
Gering .................. 6 5 4 13 — 28
M: Brenleigh Daum 14, Rachel Goltl 14, Molly Sughroue 6, Brooklyn Trew 16, Kassidy Gillen 6, Megan Ruppert 7.
G: Allie Vacha 7, Megan Upp 3, Alexa Anderson 6, Dakota Gellner 6, Kaylee Spreier 5, Danyele Ysac 1.