Alliance outlasts Gering in double OT
The third time was a charm for the Alliance boys basketball team against Gering. It took two overtimes but Alliance got that first win of the season against Gering, 77-to-76, in the first round of the District B6 Tournament at Cougar Palace in Scottsbluff.
It looked like Alliance might make the game a rout. After Gering scored the first five points of the contest Alliance took control. They led 17-to-13 at the end of the first quarter. Michael Baker's crew was up 29-to-22 at halftime.
The Alliance lead grew to double figures in the third period when Gering coach Randy Plummer cleared the bench. And the bench brought Gering back. Freshman Austin Hoffman connected on three three-point field goals in the quarter and Gering got to within two, 41-to-39, by the end of the stanza.
Alliance extended the lead to seven, 53-to-46, with just over a minute to go, then Gering sophomore guard Joses Palomo took charge. He nailed a three-pointer with a minute to go to get Gering to within four at 53-to-49. That field goal was his first of the contest.
Three seconds later Alliance turned the ball over on an inbounds pass after a time out. Gering responded with a Grant Olsson field goal with :53 to go to get the fourth seeded Bulldogs to within two.
After two Ryan Romick free throws with :46 to go put Alliance back up by four at 55-to-51, Gering got another field goal from Palomo with :32 to go to get Randy Plummer's crew to within two.
Alliance then turned the ball over with :17 to go, giving Gering a chance to tie or win the game. They tied it up on an Olsson baseline jumper at the buzzer to send the game into its first overtime.
Alliance struck first in overtime with a field goal to go up 57-to-55, then Zac Bibb came up big for Gering, burying two straight three point field goals to give Gering a 61-to-57 lead.
A big play in the contest came with :51 to go in the first overtime. Olsson fouled out for Gering and Isaac Burnham tied the contest at 61-to-61 with two free throws on the play.
The second overtime period was like a heavyweight boxing title bout. Every time a team appeared to deliver a knockout punch the other team threw a counter punch.
Austin Ferguson scored Gering's first three points in the second extra period from the foul line. After hitting three in a row he missed the fourth but Gering got three offensive rebounds. Bibb scored on the third to put Gering up 66-to-64 with 2:08 to go.
But Alliance countered with a three point field goal from Jordan Mills to take a one point, 67-to-66 lead with 1:48 to go.
Gering came right back :15 later and retook a two point lead on another trey by Palomo. Burnham answered :10 later for Alliance. He tied the game at 69-to-69, but missed on a three point play opportunity from the foul line.
Palomo came right down the court for Gering and nailed another three point field goal to put Gering up 72-to-69 with 1:02 to go. But Burnham answered :!3 seconds later with a trey for Alliance to tie the game again.
The game still had plenty of fireworks left. Palomo connected on his third trey of the second overtime to put Gering back in front 75-to-72 with :38 to go.
Gering made it a two possession game with :22 to go when Bibb added one of two free throws.
Gaige Lehl of Alliance was fouled on the rebound of Bibb's missed second free throw and he hit the second of two free throws to get Alliance back to within three at 76-to-73.
Gering then turned the ball over on a five second call after that made free throw. Alliance promptly got to within 76-to-75 when Bibb was called for goaltending on a shot by Mills.
Another Gering turnover against Alliance pressure gave the ball back to Alliance and Burnham drove the lane to score the winning basket with just over :02 to go.
With the win Alliance moves to 9-13 on the season. Gering's campaign ends at 13-10. Alliance will return to Cougar Palace Monday night to tangle with top seeded and defending state champ Scottsbluff in a semifinal game at 6:00 p.m. You can hear the game on KNEB-AM and kneb.com.
Saturday's game was full of long bombs. The two teams combined to hit 25 three point field goals. Burnham had eight for Alliance and finished with a game high 32 points. Mills added 26 for the Bulldogs, who played without Trevor Kamerzell who was suspended for the game.
Gering had 19 points and 12 rebounds from Bibb. Palomo added 17 points, all coming in the final minute and later in the contest. Olsson added 14 points and 14 rebounds. Austin Ferguson also was in double figures in rebounds for Gering with 10. Hoffman added 12 points for Gering.
Monday's second district semifinal game will match second seeded McCook and number three Sidney. That game will follow 20-minutes following the Scottsbluff-Alliance contest.
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