The Gering girls basketball team held Scottsbluff to just 14 points in the first half en route to posting a 49-39 win in the first round of the Western Conference Invitational Tournament on Thursday night at Gering High School.
The Bulldogs (1-0) controlled the first half on both sides of the ball, taking a 25-14 lead into the half.
"It was nice to see us in a game atmosphere and see how we would react," Gering coach Adam Freeburg said. "It was fun to open up against them — it’s always a fun game. I thought overall defensively we played really, really well. Especially in the first half, I think we held them to 14 at halftime. That’s always been the key for us. We hit some shots early, which really helped us out of the gate, but I think overall it was our defensive effort that was really good tonight."
Gering extended the lead to 30-14, but with just over a minute to play in the third, Scottsbluff’s Chesney Walker and Aly Camacho scored on back-to-back buckets, each getting fouled and going to the line for one. Even though neither foul shot fell, the Bearcats seemed to gain momentum going into the final period.
Scottsbluff out-scored Gering 21-18 in the final frame, finishing the game on an 8-2 run, but couldn’t overcome the deficit to fall to 0-1 on the season.
"Unfortunately it was just too little too late," first-year Scottsbluff coach Rachel Larson said. "I think the kids showed a lot of heart after being down 15, 16 points I think it was at one point, and cutting it down to nine at one point. So they showed a lot of heart. But unfortunately we didn’t come out quick and so we dug a hole. Bottom line we just have to shoot better. We didn’t shoot very well tonight, so hopefully we can shoot better tomorrow night."
Gering junior Allie Vacha led all scorers in the contest, finishing the night with 16 points and three 3-pointers. Katie O’Boyle was 4 of 8 from the free throw line chipping in 10 points, while Kaylee Spreier added eight in the win. The Bulldogs were 9 of 22 from the charity stripe and ended the night with four 3-pointers.
Walker paced the Bearcats with 12 points, while Aubree Ford finished with six. Chloey Reifschneider added five points in the losing effort.
Scottsbluff (0-1)......................7 7 4 21 — 39
Gering (1-0)............................15 10 6 18 — 49
SCOTTSBLUFF: Chloey Reifschneider 5, Kelli Wentz 3, Aubree Ford 6, Zoe Holscher 4, Aly Camacho 4, Chesney Walker 12, Shaylee Roseberry 2, Kyra Willats 1.
GERING: Ashlyn Schultz 4, Allie Vacha 16, Savannah Walker 7, Kaylee Spreier 8, Katie O’Boyle 10, Dakota Wademan 3.