McCook loses opening SWC Tournament games

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Minden’s Janessa Madsen (22) attempts to block Liviya Wier’s jump shot during the third quarter of Tuesday’s first round Southwest Conference Tournament game at McCook Senior High. The Lady Bison fell to the Lady Whippets 50-36 and will play in a consolation game on Thursday.
Gabe Gauthier/McCook Gazette

McCOOK, Neb. -- McCook didn’t have a response when Minden swung back.

After jumping out to a 20-9 lead in the second quarter, McCook was outscored 33-5 over the next 16 minutes resulting to a 50-36 loss for the Lady Bison in Tuesday’s Southwest Conference Tournament game played at McCook Senior High.

“The last four minutes of the second quarter was the changing point of the game,” said Lady Bison head coach Amy Scheil. “We lost our intensity and, from that point on, we just didn’t have the intensity we had in the first quarter and a half.”

Tuesday’s first round game of the Southwest Conference Tournament saw McCook start strong, as the Lady Bison established a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We had intensity and we denied the ball,” Scheil said of the opening quarter. “We were doing a good job of getting stops and denying the person we had. We were overplaying and they were throwing the ball away.”

McCook kept clicking to start the second quarter, as the Lady Bison were up 20-9 with four minutes to go until halftime.

The visitors closed the half out strong with a 7-2 run to cut McCook’s lead to 22-16 heading into intermission.

Minden’s best stretch was the third quarter. The Lady Whippets erupted for 22 points in the period and limited McCook to a single point off an Erika Fisher free throw.

During that quarter, Minden hit four 3-pointers in one six-possession stretch.

“We were in man-to-man and we let them drive on us,” Scheil said. “When we went to our 2-3 zone, we were supposed to be an extended 2-3, but we didn’t get a hand in their faces.”

McCook’s first field goal of the second half didn’t come until the 5:01 mark of the fourth quarter, when Emily Arp hit a short-range shot to cut Minden’s lead to 42-25.

The Lady Bison cut the deficit to as small as 10 points in the final stanza. Mackenzie Smith’s put back with 53 seconds left made it 46-36 before Minden scored the game’s final four points.

McCook (7-11 record) was led in scoring by Smith’s 10 points. Liviya Wier had nine, while Arp and Bailey Honn were next in line with four points each.

Minden (6-9) got a game-high 17 points from Alex Bauer. Janessa Madsen also reached double figures with 11.

With the loss, No. 4 seed McCook drops to an SWC consolation game to be played tomorrow (Thursday) in Gothenburg. The Lady Bison will play No. 6 Valentine at 5:30 p.m. in the South Gym at Gothenburg High School.

Other SWC Tournament scores Tuesday were No. 1 Gothenburg beating No. 8 Ainsworth in overtime 48-46, No. 2 Ogallala beating No. 7 Cozad 46-27 and No. 3 Broken Bow beating No. 6 Valentine 51-29.

Ainsworth 58, McCook 54 (boys)

AINSWORTH, Neb. -- A 20-point fourth quarter helped No. 3 seed Ainsworth come back to defeat No. 6 McCook 58-54 in Tuesday’s Southwest Conference Tournament first round game in Brown County.

Trailing 29-28 at halftime, McCook started the second half with a strong defensive performance. Ainsworth was limited to nine third quarter points, as the Bison pulled ahead 41-38.

Lead changes were exchanged at the start of the fourth quarter. The host Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to edge ahead 46-43 before Gabe Sehnert’s ‘and 1’ helped McCook regain the lead at 47-46.

McCook’s final lead came when Clayton Stevens hit two free throws to make it 53-52 at the 3:21 mark.

A pair of Ainsworth free throws saw the Bulldogs take the final lead change at 53-52 with 2:21 left in the contest.

The hosts extended their lead to 57-52 in the final minute. McCook hit a basket to bring it back to 57-54, but Ainsworth would ice the game with one final free throw.

Stevens led McCook (6-10 record) with 20 points, including six 3-pointers. Morgan Fawver added eight, while Sehnert and Hunter Potthoff both had seven.

Ainsworth (8-8) was led by Gage Delimont’s game-high 21 points. Grant Stec also reached double figures with 12.

McCook will now play in an SWC consolation game tomorrow (Thursday) in Gothenburg. The Bison play No. 4 Minden at 7 p.m. in the North Gym of Gothenburg High School.

Other SWC Tournament results Tuesday were No. 2. Broken Bow defeating No. 7 Gothenburg 48-44 and No. 5 Ogallala upsetting No. 4 Minden 49-44 and No. 1 Cozad beating No. 8 Valentine 60-38.

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