BURNS – The Torrington High School girls’ basketball team opened the 2021-22 season with an undefeated record at the Burns Winter Classic over the weekend.
“That’s what we were kind of hoping for. We hoped we could get some minutes for different kids who have never played together. We had to see where our bench was,” coach Jeff Halley said. “We haven’t been 3-0 in a while, and it feels pretty good to start this way. Our bench was great [Saturday]. They had to be. With all the foul trouble. We overcame. Our young kids did a great job.”
The Lady Blazers opened the weekend against 3A East Regional foe Thermopolis.
Torrington came away with a 41-23 victory over the Lady Bobcats on Friday morning.
The Lady Blazers grabbed an early 8-2 lead after one quarter, but in the second quarter, the team outscored Thermopolis 16-3 to take a 24-5 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We held them to five points in a half,” Halley said. “Then we got lazy. We put it on cruise control and let them stick around. We still had a good enough lead to hold on by 20.”
The teams nearly played even in the second half, but the Lady Bobcats had the slight advantage, outscoring Torrington by one, 18-17.
Senior Reece Halley led the team with 12 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, while senior Avery West added 10 points and eight rebounds.
On Friday evening, the Lady Blazers capped off the evening with an 83-11 win over the Arvada, Colorado Lady Bulldogs.
Torrington won the opening tip and less than five seconds later, senior Lauren Orr laid in the game’s first two points.
It was the beginning of 17 straight points for the Lady Blazers to begin the game.
“I feel bad for their kids. They are really good kids, but they really don’t know how to play basketball. We were able to play everybody that we brought,” Halley said. “Even our kids felt bad how it was going. We wanted to get better, but if we would have, we might have put up 90 points in the first half.”
Arvada finally got on the scoreboard with 2:35 left in the opening quarter.
With a 25-4 lead after eight minutes, Torrington expanded its lead to 51-4 at halftime, holding the Lady Bulldogs scoreless.
In the second half, with the running clock rule in effect, Jeff Halley turned the game over to the junior varsity squad to finish off the evening.
Over the final 16 minutes, Torrington’s lead continued to grow, outscoring Arvada, 32-7.
The Lady Blazers had 13 players in the scoring column, led by senior Sierra Allen with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Halley had 12 points and seven boards. Sophomore Alyssa Albaugh had nine, and junior Marissa Moorehouse tossed in eight.
Torrington forced 36 turnovers, including tallying 24 steals in the win.
On Saturday, the Lady Blazers wrapped up the Winter Classic with a 66-44 win over the Pine Bluffs Lady Hornets in their first road game of the season.
Through the first quarter and a half, neither team held more than a three-point advantage.
That was until Torrington ended the second quarter on a 12-0 run over the final 4:40 of the half.
“[Pine Bluffs] had many of the same issues we did. Some of their better players were stuck in foul trouble,” Halley said. “I knew our bench was better than their bench. We made a good run on them, and we made a good run on them in the third quarter in the same way.”
The Lady Hornets cut a 13-point deficit to as few as six in the third quarter as Torrington had three starters on the bench with four fouls each, but junior Kayla Dreiling made the most of the playing time.
“Kayla Dreiling, once [Pine Bluffs’] really big girl was out of the game, we forced it down there, and she did a great job, and Taryn (Stokes) on the other side. Even with our two main senior posts on the bench, they couldn’t stop our little posts.”
She scored seven of her eight points in the third quarter, allowing Torrington to push the lead back to double-digits at 48-34 with eight minutes to play.
Over the final eight minutes the Lady Blazers outscored Pine Bluffs 18-10, giving Torrington its first road win of the season.
Halley led the team with 29 points and 12 rebounds, while West added 13 points and Moorehouse 10. Freshman Taryn Stokes tallied 11 rebounds.
Torrington (3-0) heads to the Flaming Gorge Classic Basketball Tournament this weekend. The Lady Blazers will face Class 4A Evanston (0-3) on Friday at 4:20 p.m., and Class 4A Green River (2-1) at 9:28 a.m. and Class 3A No. 1-ranked Lyman (3-0) at 4:20 p.m. on Saturday.
“We have to be better next week. The little things like the free throws, the layups, the bunnies, we have to convert those. We did a lot of good things (Saturday) and yesterday, but we could have scored 90 points today if we had made the easy ones,” Halley said. “Evanston isn’t the top end of 4A, but they are still a 4A team. Green River is probably the best team we’ll see this year. They were in the state semis last year. They like to press. They like to get up and down the floor. Then we play Lyman. We will have our hands full. Our goal all summer to now is to play up and see where we sit.”