TORRINGTON – Tied at 35 with 10 seconds to play, Class 1As top-ranked Upton Lady Bobcats hit a put back shot to put them in front 37-35. Southeast drove the length of the court and a pass from sophomore Sasha Haines found teammate Baylie Booth, who swished a 3-pointer as time expired, gave the No. 2-ranked Southeast Lady Cyclones a 38-37 victory in the 1A East Regional Championship game on Saturday afternoon in Willi Gym.
The win gave the Lady Cyclones a No. 1 seed for this weekend’s state tournament in Casper.
Coming into the game, coach Jennifer Scheer said the game would come down to one word – composure.
“They are very aggressive, in your face, jump in passing lane type of team. If we can handle the pressure mentally and slow them down and play a half-court game, we’ll be right there with them,” she said after the semifinal win on Friday evening. “Like I told the girls, this is the first time in a long time, we are the underdog (Saturday). They are the ones with the target on their backs, not us. They are the ones who have been the top team in the state all year long.”
That’s exactly what they were able to do.
The championship game was tight throughout as Upton led 7-6 after one quarter, but Southeast led 14-13 at halftime.
Upton regained the lead in the third quarter, scoring 14 points and leading 27-24.
In the fourth quarter, Southeast outscored Upton 14-10, including the game-winning triple from Booth, to secure the win and the top seed for the state tournament.
Junior Brenna Herring led the Lady Cyclones with 11 points and nine rebounds, while Booth and junior Sydney Anderson had eight apiece. Herring and junior Kealy Carson had four steals each while senior Grace Desmond dished out six assists.
Leading up to the championship game, Southeast defeated Hulett and Kaycee en route to the matchup against Upton.
During Thursday’s first round, the Lady Cyclones held the Hulett Lady Red Devils to only one field goal in the first half and no points in the second quarter in a 51-14 victory.
Southeast scored the game’s first six points, including four from Anderson and two from Desmond.
Just past the midway point in the first quarter, Hulett scored its only points of the half as the Southeast defense didn’t give up another point unit the 6:02 mark in the third quarter.
By that time, the Lady Cyclones’ lead ballooned to 27-4.
Hulett’s big quarter came in the third when the Lady Red Devils scored half of their points.
In the end, the Southeast’s Quad No. 1 seed proved to be too much for the Hulett.
Herring led the team with 20 points, while Carson and Anderson had seven apiece.
The win advanced the Lady Cyclones into the semifinals against the Kaycee Lady Buckaroos, marking a rematch between the two teams which Southeast won back in December at the Dogger Classic.
The outcome of the game was the same as it was in December as Southeast girls came away victorious 34-17, punching the team’s ticket to state.
“It’s always in the back of your mind, but you can’t think of it that way,” Scheer said. “It’s a one game season every night this time of the year.”
Desmond put the Lady Cyclones in front 2-0 only 14 seconds into the game, and Southeast never trailed in the win.
Southeast gave up only five points in the second half to Kaycee en route to the 17-point victory.
“When you can hold a team to five points in a half and three of them come on a last-second heave,” Scheer said. “That’s tremendous defense. You can’t play better defense than that.”
Carson led the Lady Cyclones with nine points, while Anderson had six. Desmond tossed in five.
The win propelled Southeast into the championship game, pitting the top two ranked teams in Class 1A.
With the three weekend victories, Southeast (22-2) will face the Saratoga (11-8) at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.