Casper Kelly Walsh sophomore Marcus Nolan nailed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to play Saturday, lifting the Trojans to a 49-47 win over Gering.
The loss dropped Gering's season record to 7-6.
Gering coach Randy Plummer said there wasn't much to say in the Bulldog locker room after the emotional defeat.
“I felt bad for them. They gave it everything they had; [we] just came up a little short,” he said.
Indeed, it was a heartbreaker for the Bulldogs, as they were in control of the contest for about 30 minutes. What kept the Bulldogs in the contest was timely rebounding.
The Trojans led just four times in the contest — 5-2 in the first quarter; 44-43 on a bucket by Nolan with 55 seconds to play; and then the final shot.
“We let it get away down the stretch, and we didn't have an answer for their defense,” Plummer said. “We missed a couple easy shots inside, but at the same time, we made our free throws, which I was proud of.”
Gering was a sizzling 18 of 27 from the free-throw line, while Casper was just 2 of 6.
Gering held a 34-26 lead after three periods and led by 11 points in the fourth period thanks to two Austin Ferguson free throws.
But that was when Casper lit up, out-scoring Gering 21-2 to cut the lead to one, 41-40, on a bucket by Kooper Adams with 1:33 to play. Gering went back up 43-40 on two free throws by Joses Palomo.
The Trojans then took their first lead since the early minutes of the first quarter on a Nolan bucket.
Gering answered when Zac Bibb made a bucket off a Ferguson assist with 42 seconds to play. Casper retook the lead with about 30 seconds to play on an Adams bucket.
Gering didn't fold, and Palomo, a sophomore, hit two clutch free throws to put the Bulldogs back in front 47-46 with 23 seconds to play. But Nolan hit the game-winner with 10 seconds to play, a 3-point shot that was a good foot from beyond the 3-point arc. Gering's last-second desperation shot was off the mark.
“They made some big shots in the last couple minutes,” Plummer said. “That one was a heartbreaker, and I feel bad for our kids because that was a tough team, and we played with them toe to toe. It was a really physical battle, and they made the last shot. That is pretty much the size of it.”
The Bulldogs had two players finish in double figures in scoring, led by Christian Groskopf with 14 points. Palomo had 11. Ferguson pitched in nine points.
Casper was paced by 6-foot-4 sophomore Ethan Applegate, who led all scorers with 26 points. Beecher Strube had 17, Adams had 15, and Nolan finished with 11.
Gering will look to get back on the winning track Friday when it hosts Chadron.
NOTE: Before the game, Walker Britsch and Dakota Gellner were crowned king and queen during Gering's Winter Royalty ceremonies.
Casper (6-5)...........................7 10 9 23 — 49
Gering (7-6)........................12 10 12 13 — 47
CASPER KELLY WALSH
Drew Petrie 3, Marcus Nolan 11, Bret Andrew 2, Kooper Adams 15, Beecher Strube 17, Ethan Applegate 26.
Joses Palomo 11, Christian Groskopf 14, Austin Ferguson 9, Grant Olsson 6, Zac Bibb 6, Taylor Nelson 3.