The Chadron High School girls opened the 2021 portion of their basketball schedule with a hard-fought 34-32 win over a pesky Gering team on Tuesday, Jan. 5 in the Middle School Gym.
Both teams had .500 records after winning holiday classics to end the Old Year.The Cardinals were 4-4 after winning their Rotary Classic and the Bulldogs were 5-5 after claiming the title at the Hershey Classic.
Particularly in the second half, each teams scored in spurts. The Cardinals surged late in the third quarter, tallying 16 points to take what seemed like a comfortable 31-20 margin. However, the hosts managed just three points in the final frame, when the Bulldogs tallied a dozen, but only two of them in the last four minutes. Whew!
Gering led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter, but neither team scored more than three points until the final minute of the second period. That’s when the Cards got a layup by center Anika Burke off a pass from Macey Daniels and a 3-pointer by Daniels for a 15-11 intermission lead.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 16-16 early in the third, before the Cardinals rallied. The flurry saw them ring up six points in the last 80 seconds on another trey by Daniels, a free throw by Burke and a layup by the senior center after point guard Jacey Garrett fed her a pass in the paint.
The 11-point lead almost was not enough. But, by the skin of their teeth the Red Birds survived.
Gering’s ringleader, will-o-the-wisp Sydnee Winkler, tallied eight points in less than two minutes to open the fourth stanza. She stole the ball and turned it into a layup, nailed a high, arching 3-pointer and followed with a layup and a free throw to cut Chadron’s margin to 31-28 with 5:19 still showing.
Burke scored the Cards’ only field goal of the final quarter on her team’s next possession. Gering answered with a putback by Carliegh Pazanka with about four minutes left to make the count 33-30.
There was no scoring for the next 3 ½ minutes. The Bulldogs made it a one-point difference when Kiara Agualla sank two free throws with 36 seconds still showing for her only points of the game.
Garrett made a free shot 10 seconds later for the game’s final point. Gering could still tie it with a two or win it with a three.
But the Chadron defense prevailed and didn’t allow the Bulldogs to get off a good shot. When the Cards gained possession again, they were fouled. The ensuing free throw with 5.2 seconds left missed, but Makinley Fuller alertly picked off Gering’s pass to preserve the victory, much to the Chadron fans’ delight.
Winkler was the game’s top scorer with 15 points, nine of them on 3-pointers. Backcourt mate Cloey Fries added eight points, but none of the other Bulldogs had more than three.
Burke paced the Cards with 11 points on five of nine shooting from the field. Daniels chipped in with seven, including two treys. Demi Ferguson was among the Chadron players who had difficulty making their shots drop, but she collected nine rebounds.
Gering--Sydnee Winkler 15, Cloey Fries 8, Carleigh Pazanka 3, Kiaara Aguallo 2, Madison Seiler 2, Nickie Todd 2. Totals: 12 (3) 5-7 32 points.
Chadron--Anika Burke 11, Macey Daniels 7, Jacey Garrett 4, Jaleigh McCartney 4, Demi Ferguson 4, Laney Klemke 2, Makinley Fuller 2. Totals: 13 (3) 5-10 34 points.
Gering 8 3 9 12 ---32
Chadron 6 9 16 3 ---34
3-pointers: Gering--Winkler 3. Chadron--Daniels 2, Burke 1.