CASPER – The Torrington High School girls’ basketball team capped off the season with an 0-2 weekend at the Class 3A State Tournament in Casper.
The Lady Blazers went into state as the No. 4 seed, drawing the top-seeded Lyman Lady Eagles in the opening round.
It took nearly six minutes for Torrington to knock down its first field goal of the game in a 58-36 loss to Lyman at the Casper Events Center.
“None of these kids have ever been here to play a basketball game,” THS coach Jeff Halley said. “It’s different if you haven’t been here.”
The opening lull lasted the entire first half as the Lady Blazers fell behind 29-9 heading into the locker room.
Torrington came out and had an 8-4 spurt, cutting the deficit to 33-17.
That’s when Lyman senior and University of Wyoming signee McKinley Bradshaw took over the game.
“You’d better keep track of her. I thought we did a great job defensively,” Halley said. “We worked hard, and we did some good stuff. We just so timid on offense, we couldn’t score.”
Bradshaw connected on three straight 3-pointers, blowing the game back open for Lyman.
“We made a little bit of a run then Bradshaw hits three in a row from NBA-range,” Halley said. “We can’t guard that. If you run out, she’s going to go dunk one.”
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Blazers managed to outscore the Lady Eagles 17-11.
“It helped they got out of their press. We’ve had trouble against a good press all year. Their press got after us, and we were shell-shocked,” Halley said. “We talked about it at halftime. Let’s do the stuff we know how to do. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They settled down and stopped playing timid.”
Freshman Reece Halley led the Lady Blazers with eight points and 12 rebounds. Senior Laura Halley added seven points, while sophomore Avery Fox and junior Sam Hill tossed in five each.
The loss dropped Torrington to the consolation side of the bracket, facing a familiar opponent against the Rawlins Lady Outlaws.
It was a game the team was hoping to get a week prior at the 3A East Regional Tournament following an overtime loss to end the regular season.
“We gave them a run. We thought we had them beat,” Halley said. “There’s enough confidence there that if Rawlins comes out flat after today, we’ll have a shot at them.”
For the first half, the Lady Blazers went toe-to-toe with their Southeast Quadrant foe.
Reece Halley put her team in front in the first minute of the game, and it was a lead Torrington held until two minutes into the second quarter.
“When we had Rawlins on the ropes, they weren’t shooting well,” Halley said. “Then they got on fire from three. No matter what defense we were in, they were finding open people and hitting shots.”
Rawlins took the lead early in the frame, and it was a lead they didn’t relinquish the remainder of the game.
The Lady Outlaws looked to put the game away early in the third quarter.
Five straight turnovers by the Lady Blazers aided an 8-2 spurt by Rawlins.
“They got a little bit of a lead on us. It almost got out of hand,” Halley said.
But Torrington found its groove again and by the end of the third quarter, the Fox’s basket in the closing seconds drew the Lady Blazers back within seven.
That proved as close as Torrington came to regaining the lead the rest of the morning.
“We played hard. They played well,” Halley said.
Reece Halley led the Lady Blazers with 11 points and six rebounds. Hill added nine points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Blazers concluded their season with a 9-16 record and wrapped up the careers of two seniors – Laura Halley and Brielle Bivens.
“I told them in the locker room, they have come so far,” Halley said. “I’ve watched them since they were fourth graders. Just this year, going from role players to leaders on the varsity, they did a great job vocally and with their efforts and actions. They’ve been good leaders for this young group.”