Scottsbluff, NE – The Bulldog basketball season is almost over. The Dawgs travel to the panhandle for a back to back to finish up their season. Last night (Feb 7th) was the first of the back to back against Scottsbluff.
The night started well for the Lady Bulldogs, even before the game began it was announced that they had the highest point total in the B-7 sub-district which meant that NPHS was going to host the Girls B-7 sub-district tournament, a first for the school since they dropped to Class B play this season. With that knowledge the ladies went into Scottsbluff looking to get back to .500 on the season with a win against the Bearcats.
The first quarter was flat for both teams, they looked disinterested from the tip and played sloppy basketball with turnovers and missed shots on both ends of the floor. Near the halfway mark Callie Haneborg started to get her shot to fall on a few transition opportunities, one a three point shot from the corner, and the Bulldog defense clamped down. At the end of the first it was 15-11 in favor of Scottsbluff. Gracie Haneborg lead the way for the Bulldogs with 6 points, Callie had the other five for North Platte.
Second quarter was much the same as the first with both teams struggling with turnovers and getting shots to fall. Scoring in the second was much more balanced for the Bulldogs with Gracie Haneborg, McKenna Little, Peyton Negley and Abby Orr all getting involved. Negley lead the way in the second with 4 of the Bulldogs 10 points. They would give up 11 to Scottsbluff and go into the half down 26-21.
Third quarter would feature a quick start by Scottsbluff. They would score the first six points prompting a time out by headcoach Tyson Hammond. The Bulldogs would struggle all quarter with the speed of the Scottsbluff guards who were getting into the paint. Offensively the Bulldogs started to make shots lead by Abbie Hedgecock who had 5 points in the quarter. Scottsbluff would outscore the Dawgs 17-14 in the third to take an eight point lead (43-35) into the final frame.
With momentum on their side Scottsbluff would come out and get a quick bucket to go up by double digits and a few sloppy turnovers by the Bulldogs looked to seal their fate. To the Dawgs credit they never stopped fighting and turned their hopes to the seniors: Negley and Hedgecock and their leading scorer Gracie Haneborg. Those three would not disappoint.
Hedgecock pulled the duty of shutting down Scottsbluff’s speedy guard Garcia and performed admirably. Behind a renewed defensive effort the Lady Dawgs started to claw their way back into the match. With four minutes remaining the Dawgs still found themselves down by 10 points. They collectively said that was not good enough. Scottsbluff would start to stumble down the end in the face of the Bulldogs defense which lead to easy fast break points for the Bulldogs. Gracie Haneborg would score 9 of her 19 points in the fourth, Abbie Hedgecock would add 8 (13 total) and with 27.7 seconds remaining Gracie would give the Dawgs their first lead on a pair of free throws.
The Dawgs would outscore Scottsbluff 26-14 in the fourth and end up the victors 61-57, moving back to .500 on the season (9-9). They wrap up the regular season on Feb 8th with a game against Gering in Gering before hosting the B-7 subdistricts on Monday and Tues (Feb 11-12). They open up play against Holdrege.
The nightcap featured an 8-10 Scottsbluff boys team welcoming in the 3-14 Bulldogs.
First quarter action started out quick for the Dawgs, they came out attacking the paint with Caleb Horne, who had 4 in the quarter, and good outside shooting from Steven Garcia and Jack Mohr. They had a 6-2 lead to start the game before Scottsbluff changed things up a bit and went small. After that it was a track meet for the rest of the first and the Bulldogs were down 18-10 headed into the second.
In the second the Dawgs found their rythm on offense and started to move the ball well opening up shots which in turn pulled Scottsbluff defense away from the paint and let the Bulldog guards drive inside. Garcie and Mohr would each put in 6 points in the quarter, Luke Zimbelman would add 5 and Kiya Kramer would hit a three late and the half would come to an end with the Bulldogs even with Scottsbluff 31-31.
The third is where both teams started to play defense and the officials got involved with quick whistles. Caleb Horne found room to go to work in the paint, he had 7 of his 14 points in the third and each teams defense was stellar. The teams would only score 13 points each and would once again be all tied up after three, 44-44.
Scottsbluff would pull away in the 4th quarter as they came out shooting lights out. The Bulldogs struggled to match the Inside out game of Scottsbluff which lead to easy points for the Bearcats. The Dawgs committed a few costly turnovers down the stretch and would get outscored in the quarter 27-12. The Dawgs fall to 3-15 on the season after the 71-56 loss with one game to play in Gering.
Caleb Horne lead the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jack Mohr dropped 12 points and Steven Garcia added 13.
The Bulldogs dont know where they will play the boys B-7 subdistricts, but if the standings stay the way they are now through the weekend, the boys will be headed to Lexington.