The McCook girls claimed a pair of victories over two quality opponents to improve to 11-2 overall. The Bison girls topped Class C-2 powerhouse Hershey, 66-52, in action Friday. Jan. 4, at the McCook Senior High gym. McCook hit the road Saturday. Jan. 5, and rallied for a 45-39 win over Class B-6 District opponent Sidney.
Hershey and Sidney were both 7-2 entering the weekend action.
After a strong effort Friday against Hershey, the Bison got off to a sluggish start at Sidney Saturday. McCook fell behind 12-4 after one quarter, and Sidney led 23-16 at intermission.
The Bison slowly clawed their way back in the game, outscoring the Red Raiders 14-9 in the third period to narrow the gap to 32-30. Coach Ellis said his team used a "little adjustment to our mindset" at halftime and just hitting key shots to fuel the comeback.
The Raiders missed two shots, then McCook forced a jump ball to give the Bison possession with 23 seconds left. Rachel Goltl was fouled, and the senior missed the free throw with 20 seconds left.
Sidney then hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to two points. Trew was fouled, and she made up for the earlier miss by canning both charity shots to put McCook ahead, 43-39, with 14 seconds left. Sidney then threw the ball away, and Trew was fouled again. Again, the senior knocked down both free tosses for McCook's final victory margin.
The Bison had balanced scoring Saturday, led by Kassidy Gillen with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Brenleigh Daum had 8 points. Rachel Goltl and Megan Ruppert added 7 points each, with Molly Sughroue and Trew chipping in 6 each.
McCook outscored Sidney 29-16 in the second half. The Bison held a 40-26 rebound advantage.
Coach Ellis credited Gillen with two strong games over the weekend, with double-doubles in scoring and rebounding both nights. Gillen has 12 points Friday.
"Two nights in a row, against two quality opponents, Kassidy Gillen stepped her game up," Coach Ellis said.
RUPPERT was the big gun for McCook Friday. The senior guard tallied 24 points, including three shots from 3-point range and 7 of 8 free throws in the final period. Ruppert charity shots helped keep Hershey at bay after the Panthers rallied from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter to pull within single digits midway through the fourth period.
Brenleigh Daum and Molly Sughroue added 9 points each off the bench Friday, and Rachel Goltl had 8 points.
McCook sprinted to an 18-8 lead after one quarter in front of a strong home crowd Friday. Hershey cut the deficit to 31-26 at halftime, but McCook outscored the Panthers 22-13 in the third period to 53-39 entering the final eight minutes. The Bison grabbed their biggest lead of the night at 53-35 after Ruppert's 3-pointer later in the third quarter.
Hershey cut the lead to 56-47 with just over three minutes left. The Bison made 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch to help seal the win.
THE BISON GIRLS will enjoy a slower weekend upcoming, with just a single game Friday, Jan. 11, at Hastings. The Bison will face another three-game weekend Jan. 17-19 at the Orange & Black Tournament in Colby, Kan.