A cold shooting night resulted in a fourth straight loss for the Scottsbluff girls basketball team on Friday night at Bluffs Middle School against visiting Wheatland, Wyo.
The Bulldogs picked up a 35-26 win to send the Bearcats to a 0-4 record to start the season.
Despite the tough loss, Scottsbluff showed plenty of signs of improvement and remained upbeat with lots of games ahead.
“We definitely keep improving, and I think that’s just going to continue as we get more into the season,” said Scottsbluff junior guard Kiley Guerue, who led the Bearcats in scoring with nine points in the game. “We know the things we need to work on, and I see us coming together to do that.”
A couple scoring droughts by Scottsbluff proved pivotal to the outcome of the contest. The Bearcats went a stretch of eight minutes without a point in the first half, which Wheatland took advantage of in building a 15-4 lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Muira Bunker sparked the Bulldogs on a 9-0 run during that span.
Senior Alexus Pinedo finally stopped the streak for Scottsbluff. Guerue then added a bucket and a pair of free throws to help the Bearcats pull back within just seven at intermission.
Brayden Auer gave Scottsbluff the spark it needed to open the second half of play. The senior accounted for five straight points, including a 3-pointer.
With the Bearcats trailing 23-19 late in the third quarter, Wheatland held Scottsbluff without a field goal for over eight minutes in stretching its lead to as many as 12 with just under two minutes to play.
Guerue and Toni Rosado scored four quick points in the final minutes, but the Bulldogs’ advantage proved to be too much to overcome.
The 35 points allowed was a season-low tally for the Bearcat defense, which proved to be a positive point emphasized following the game.
“Our defense is getting better,” Guerue said. “We’re communicating better and our team chemistry is getting stronger. I just think it’s going to keep coming along the more we play together.”
Wheatland put two players in the double-figure scoring column. Marisa Peterson led all scorers in the contest with 14 points, while Bunker netted 10.
Guerue said the Bulldogs proved to be a tough challenge.
“They executed their offense really well,” Guerue said. “They’re a good team and they gave us some tough competition. Our shots just weren’t falling for us. I think if they had been we would have been right there closer with them at the end.”
Behind Guerue’s team-high nine points, Auer added seven for the Bearcats. Liz Cunningham and Toni Rosado both finished with four.
Auer and Rosado led Scottsbluff on the glass with six rebounds each. Guerue, Cunningham and Zoe Holscher all tracked down four rebounds.
Rosado totaled two steals to lead the Bearcats defensively.
Bunker led Wheatland in rebounding with nine boards. She also recorded a pair of steals.
The Bearcats shot 5 of 9 at the free-throw line, while the Bulldogs were 5 of 10.
Wheatland has now won two in a row to even its record at 2-2.
Scottsbluff will next be in action on Friday at undefeated Chadron.
Wheatland (2-2)..................................9 8 9 9 — 35
Scottsbluff (0-4).............................4 6 9 7 — 26
Tori Hageman 2, Muira Bunker 10, Logen Irvine 7, Kelsey Vaughn 2, Marisa Peterson 14.
Liz Cunningham 4, Alexus Pinedo 2, Brayden Auer 7, Kiley Guerue 9, Toni Rosado 4.