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Thanks to an 11-2 advantage at the free throw line, the Sidney boys’ basketball team left Chadron last Thursday night with a 44-40 win over the Cardinals and a 15-7 record for the season.

The game had been postponed after winter weather prevented Sidney from making the trip on Feb. 9. The Cards’ game slated for the next night at Newcastle was cancelled.

Points were hard to come by in the first half vs. Sidney.

Chadron jumped out to a 7-2 lead and was ahead 9-8 at the end of the opening period. The Cardinals remained on top until the Red Raiders took a 17-16 advantage with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but Coy Bila answered with a late jumper to give the Cards an 18-17 intermission edge.

The Red Birds went ahead 23-19 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Joe Matt and a driving layup by Jeff Cerny. Sidney answered with an 11-point run that included a 3-pointer and a steal, layup and ensuing free throw, all by Arik Doty, and a trey by Mitch Porter to put the Raiders ahead 30-23 for the game’s biggest lead.

Showing lots of fight, the Cardinals battled back by scoring nine consecutive points. The surge include a layup by center Pat Rust, another trey by Bila, a jumper by Logan Tiensvold and Cerny’s basket off a fast-break layup. The Cards were ahead again, 32-30.

Sidney wasn’t finished in the period. Connor Dormann had a steal and layup and Doty swished a shot from well behind the arc to give the Raiders a 35-32 lead going into the fourth.

Matt opened the final frame with a heads-up play. When Chadron missed a shot and a Sidney player got the carom, Matt swiped the ball from the rebounder and scored, all in the twinkling of an eye.

Sidney’s only field goal in the last quarter came on Jake Burke’s layup with 6:33 to play. He was fouled on the shot and added a free throw. That started a long procession of trips to the line for the Raiders. They went there 10 times and made seven of the shots to take the victory.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals scored field goals on Bila’s follow shot and a layup by Rust, then got their only free throws of the game, two makes by Bila that put his team ahead 40-39 with 2:21 to play.

Unfortunately for the Cards, that ended their scoring and Sidney sewed things up at the line, mostly on four straight free throws by Porter, a 6-foot-3 senior who was born in Chadron.

Sidney was generally the most aggressive team on defense, but managed a couple of late steals and no foul calls while the Raiders went to the line after the hosts tried to swipe the ball.

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Bila was Chadron’s only double-figure scorer with 14 points. Doty paced Sidney with 12 and both Porter and Burke added 11.

The loss ended the Cardinals’ regular season with an 8-12 record.

Sidney—Arik Doty 12, Jake Burke 11, Mitch Porter 11, Alex Jallen 5, Connor Dormann 5. Totals: 14 (5) 11-15 44 points.

Chadron—Coy Bila 14, Joe Matt 7, Jeff Cerny 6, Pat Rust 6, Conner Huesman 5, Logan Tiensvold 2. Totals: 17 (4) 2-2 40 points.

Sidney    8   9   18   9 ----44

Chadron  9   9   14   8 ----40

3-pointers: Sid—Doty 3, Porter 2. Chad—Bila 2, Matt 1, Huesman 1.

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