With tough times happening in their city because of the sale of Cabela’s, the people of Sidney could use some good news.
The girls basketball team is trying to give it to them.
The Lady Raiders are 13-2 and ranked second in Class B. The team is seeking a return trip to the state tournament after coming up four points short in a first-round loss to Norris last season.
“So far, so good,” coach Tyler Shaw said. “I thought we’d have a decent team, but it’s still a long season.”
Shaw said all of the athletic teams at Sidney High School have done a good job of carrying on under difficult circumstances. The city that was the world headquarters of outdoor retailer Cabela’s has seen layoffs and an employee exodus since rumors began of a takeover by rival Bass Pro Shops.
Bass Pro completed its $5 billion purchase in late September.
“The boys (basketball) team has really been hit hard,” Shaw said. “They literally had three players 6-5 or taller, and those families all left last summer.”
Still, the boys squad is a respectable 10-5 while the girls team has been even more successful. The Lady Raiders’ only two losses have come against undefeated Mitchell, ranked second in Class C-1.
“We don’t have one player averaging a lot of points,” Shaw said. “We’ve had six different players lead us in scoring this season so it’s really been a team effort.”
A pair of juniors — Janay Brauer and Katelyn Sylvester — lead the way with scoring averages slightly over nine. Junior Meghan Ross isn’t far behind at 8.6 while several other players average about five per game.
Playing out west, Shaw said it’s difficult to gauge how his team ranks against competition from the eastern part of the state. The Lady Raiders did play a home game in late December against perennial state tourney contender Beatrice, and Sidney posted a 48-35 win.
“Defensively, we’ve been holding teams down pretty well,” Shaw said. “And beating Beatrice was definitely a good win for us.”
Shaw, in his 12th season as coach, added that a wide-open Class B should make for an interesting month of play leading up to districts.
“There’s so much parity,” he said. “I’d count about 18 teams that probably feel they have a pretty good chance of reaching state.”
Shaw hopes that Sidney, which has never won a girls basketball title, gets that opportunity to return to Lincoln. And he wants that to happen not just for his Lady Raiders.
“The whole community has done a good job of sticking together,” he said. “The people have rallied around these teams, and we hope to keep giving them something to cheer.”
Omaha Westside posted three wins last week and remains the overall No. 1 team.
The Warriors netted double-digit wins over Omaha Marian, Omaha Burke and Grand Island.
The only change in the overall Top 10 is Lincoln Northeast slipping past Papillion-La Vista into the No. 4 slot. The host Rockets defeated the Monarchs 56-53 after freshman Kaysia Woods sank a late 3-pointer.
There’s a new No. 1 team in Class D-1. Undefeated Pleasanton moves past Meridian, which suffered its first loss against Class D-2 No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart at the Mudecas tournament.
Top games this week
Class A — Friday: Omaha Marian at Millard North; Bellevue West at Omaha North; Kearney at Lincoln Pius X; Lincoln Southwest at Lincoln Northeast; Elkhorn South at Omaha Benson. Saturday: Lincoln East at Lincoln High.
Class B — Tuesday: York at Norris; Waverly at Lincoln Lutheran. Thursday: Wahoo Neumann at Blair; Platteview at Waverly. Friday: Seward at Aurora; Elkhorn at Blair; Grand Island Northwest at Hastings. Saturday: Elkhorn at Platteview.
Class C-1 — Tuesday: North Bend at Columbus Scotus; Grand Island Central Catholic at Wood River; Kearney Catholic at Doniphan-Trumbull. Thursday: Superior at Lincoln Christian. Friday: Lincoln Lutheran at Wahoo Neumann; North Bend at Oakland-Craig.
Class C-2 — Thursday: Cambridge at Dundy County-Stratton; Hartington-Newcastle at Crofton; Hastings St. Cecilia at Friend. Friday: Columbus Scotus at Fremont Bergan; Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family at BRLD; Doniphan-Trumbull at Superior. Saturday: BRLD at Stanton.
Class D-1 — Tuesday: Pleasanton at Ansley-Litchfield; Clarkson/Leigh at Elgin/Pope John. Thursday: South Loup at Ansley-Litchfield; Twin River at Clarkson/Leigh. Friday: Pleasanton at Elm Creek. Saturday: Boyd County at Elkhorn Valley.
Class D-2 — Tuesday: Exeter-Milligan at Meridian. Friday: BDS at Exeter-Milligan; Elgin/Pope John at Ewing; Wynot at Pender.