Alliance outscored Gering 62-35 Saturday in the semifinal game of the Western Conference tournament at WNCC’s Cougar Palace to take third place.
The Alliance High School varsity boys basketball team finished 2-1 over the weekend to open the 2018-19 season. After winning handily over Sidney Thursday, 75-31, the Bulldogs could not prevail in a 54-36 loss against Scottsbluff Friday.
Alliance Head Coach Michael Baker said his team started out fast against Gering, 7-0. By the end of the opening quarter AHS led 15-9 and never let Gering come close. Baker said his team really distanced the rival Bulldogs in the middle two quarters.
AHS 15 15 25 7 -54
Gering 9 8 9 9 -36
While the players are just a few games into the season, there are few surprises even in initial matchups. With Gering, Baker said, for the most part, players have seen each other on the court since fourth or fifth grade.
Preparing for Saturday, Baker said coaches watch for a letdown after a loss like the night before to the Bearcats. He reminded the team all games count the same in the standings and at the end of the season for seeding at state.
Mason Hiemstra has been Alliance’s leading scorer all three game though the second highest contributor has changed each time, Baker said. “Guys understand the roles they have (which) will solidify as the season goes,” he added.
Teams within the district usually face off at least three times throughout the schedule, including Alliance and Scottsbluff. Baker said Scottsbluff had a size advantage with players 6’4” and bigger and played a physical game. He is unsure if his players were intimidated at all or not. “We can’t duplicate that in practice,” he said.
Alliance played well in the third quarter, Baker noted, outscoring Scottsbluff 14-12. Alliance trailed by six entering the final frame with an opportunity to continue the momentum. Instead the Bearcat defense posted its best quarter and held Alliance to four points.
SB 15 11 12 16 -54
AHS 9 9 14 4 -36
Basketball season sees a pause before the New Year over Christmas break, which Baker considers a positive. He said players come back “focused, rejuvenated and ready for the season.” Before then Baker said they will do things in practice to prepare for who they play in the next three weeks.
Alliance will travel to Gering Friday, Dec. 7, for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The JV team starts its season at Gering as well with a game at 4 p.m.on Friday.
Individual scoring vs. Scottsbluff
SB - Scott 2, Harsh 7, DeOllos 23, Baez 2, McCracken 16, Parker 4
Alliance - DuBray 3, Stark 4, Baker 5, Hiemstra 14, Farritor 2, Schrawyer 3, Palmer 5
Individual scoring vs. Gering
Alliance - Stark 7, Baker 13, Kindred 7, Hiemstra 21, Farritor 1, Schrawyer 5, Palmer 8
Gering - Horst 6, Sherell 4, Pszanka 5, Alvarez 5, Ganos 3, Ebbers 1, Schilz 11