ALLIANCE – The Alliance boys basketball team used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to offset a Sidney 7-point lead and rolled to a 49-44 win in the Class B-8 sub-district at Alliance Tuesday night.
Alliance will, more than likely, be the top seed in Saturday’s district finals with a home game. Scottsbluff and Sidney are also predicted to be in the district finals with away games. It was Alliance’s 19th win of the year.
Chase King, who had a couple big buckets in that second-quarter 14-0 run, said the second quarter was the deciding factor in the game.
“Our second quarter run was huge for us,” King said. “We were running the court very well and that led to some easy transition buckets.”
Overall, King said they are playing well defensively and that defensive pressure was key Tuesday night against a Sidney team that defeated Scottsbluff on Monday night in the semifinals.
“We know as a team that we are not playing our best offensive basketball right now,” King said. “However, we are playing pretty good on the defensive side of the ball.”
King said it is a huge honor to be going into the district finals as potentially the top seed, but they know they still have to work to do to get to the state tournament.
“It shows that we worked really hard to get to where we are,” King said. “We are really excited that we get to play in our gym, too. I believe we need to get in a better rhythm on offense and continue to play great defense to get the chance to play in the state tournament.”
Pairings for the district finals will be out later this week and with three B-8 teams in the playoffs, the west will be well represented.
Sidney gave Alliance a run for their money in the title game, just like Gering did on Monday night before Alliance came back to earn the win over Gering.
Alliance opened with a 6-3 lead before Sidney tied the game at 8-8. Alliance went back on top at 10-8, but the Red Raiders led 13-10 after one quarter.
The second quarter saw Sidney’s Micah Schneider hit back-to-back treys for a 19-12 lead. That was when King got a couple of buckets and Jaden Kelley had a two and Caeson Clarke had an old-fashioned 3-point play to go on a 14-0 run to lead 26-19. Alliance led at halftime 28-21.
The third quarter saw both teams trade buckets as both teams scored 10 points before Alliance led 38-31 after 24 minutes of play.
Alliance scored early in the fourth before Sidney tried making a comeback as Sawyer Dickman hit a bucket and Jaeden Dillehay had a trey to cut the lead to 42-35 with 5:18 to play. Sidney kept trying to come back as Zack Burke had a trey to cut the lead to 44-38. Sidney, however, couldn’t score in a 2-minute period before Dylan Gunkel hit a bucket with 1:32 to play. Sidney did cut the lead to five with 26.9 to play at 47-42, but Clarke hit two free throws with 23.3 seconds to put the Bulldogs up by seven, 49-42.
Clarke led all scorers with 23 points. Alliance also received six points each from King, Kelley, and Matulka.
Sidney was led in scoring by Dickman with 17 points while Gunkel had 10 points.
King said they will be working hard in the gym to get ready for the district finals on Saturday. He gave a lot of credit to the season to the coaches, parents, and the fans for making this season possible.
“We are playing pretty good basketball. There are definitely some areas that we need to improve in to play at an even higher level that we will work on the next few days,” King said. “I believe we will be ready for whoever we may play in the district title game. I would like to thank first off our coaches for always pushing us to be our best, our parents for allowing us to play basketball and the fans and cheerleaders for cheering us on.”
Sidney (12-11) 14 8 10 13 – 44
Alliance (19-5) 10 18 10 11 נ49
Sawyer Dickman 17, Zack Burke 3, Jaeden Dillehay 8, Micah Schneider 6, Dylan Gunkel 10.
Jaden Kelley 6, Jaron Matulka 6, Kellen Muhr 5, Chase King 6, Caeson Clarke 23, Chase Boyer 3.