Lady Blazers fall twice at state in two close battles
CASPER – The Torrington High School girls’ basketball team went winless in the Wyoming Class 3A State Girls’ Basketball Tournament, but the Lady Blazers found themselves in both ballgames.
The Lady Blazers felt confident going into the weekend despite being the No. 4 seed.
“We felt pretty confident going into it. Even though we were the four seed, we knew Lyman was a team we could play with and had a good matchup with,” first-year coach Chris Strampe said. “I knew it would take us a little bit to get into the swing of things with not a lot of the girls having experience playing at state.”
On Thursday, Torrington held a 39-38 lead on Lyman in the final minute of the game only to see the game ripped away from them in the closing seconds in a 42-39 loss.
The East’s No. 4-seeded Lady Blazers jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the first two and a half minutes of the game behind four points from senior Marissa Moorehouse and two from sophomore Olive Osmera.
Lyman answered with a 15-2 run to end the opening quarter as Moorehouse added the only additional points of the quarter for the Lady Blazers.
Trailing 17-8 heading into the second quarter, Torrington cut the deficit to as few as seven on back-to-back buckets by senior Carleigh Dugger.
However, the Lady Eagles added two more points in the final seconds of the quarter, pushing the lead back to nine heading into halftime.
Torrington shot only 19.2% (5-of-26) in the first half, but that changed in the second half.
“They just kept going,” Strampe said. “They put their head down and finally made a few shots. It was pretty inspiring. They could have just laid down and let them get away with it, but they fought us back to the lead, gave us a pretty good shot to pull it out.”
Coming out of the locker room, the Lady Blazers went on a 9-2 run in the first three minutes of the third quarter.
A bucket by junior Marina Pastalle and a 3-pointer by Osmera sparked the run, and by the 5:07 mark in the third, Lyman’s lead was down to 26-24.
Lyman scored the next four points, putting a temporary end to the Torrington comeback.
The Lady Eagles led 34-28 heading into the final eight minutes of the game.
Sophomore Teyrn Stokes scored the first points of the fourth quarter, and by the 2:29 mark in the quarter, Moorehouse drew the Lady Blazers within one at 36-35.
On the ensuing possession, Pastalle knocked through two free throws to give Torrington a 37-36 advantage – its first lead since midway through the opening quarter.
Torrington’s lead reached as many as three with a field goal from Pastalle.
Unfortunately for the Lady Blazers, it also proved to be the final points of the game for the team.
In the final minute of the game, Lyman ended up with the basketball on back-to-back alternating possessions.
“The first alternating possession went to Lyman as it should. It looked like the possession was switched and then switched back to Lyman right away,” Strampe said. “Ultimately, we had plenty of chances to win, but it was a pretty huge thing to miss at the state tournament.”
The second alternating possession would have given the ball to Torrington with 11.3 seconds on the clock don 40-39, likely giving the Lady Blazers the game’s final shot attempt.
Pastalle led the Lady Blazers with 11 points, while Moorehouse added 10. Stokes added seven points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
For the game, Torrington shot 33.3% (15-of-45) for the game, including 52.6% in the second half.
Lyman went on to finish fourth in the state tournament after losing to Douglas in the semifinals and to Newcastle in the third-place contest.
On Friday morning, the Lady Blazers looked to extend their stay at state to Saturday against the Powell Lady Panthers. However, it was Powell coming out on top 35-28 to advance to the fifth-place consolation championship game.
“The game before, you burn a lot of emotional energy trying to take down the one seed,” Strampe said. “We had discussions with the girls about everything that went on, and I think it wore them down.”
Much like Thursday’s game, Torrington grabbed an early 5-2 courtesy of points from Osmera and Moorehouse.
It was a lead which the Lady Blazers held on to for much of the first half.
“They still came out and played well,” Strampe said. “They had the lead a few times and fought back. Powell is a great team. They have a shot blocker on the team which we hadn’t played against this year. With the size of our team, it was something they struggled with for sure.”
With 2:19 left in the second quarter, Stokes went 1-of-2 from the free throw line, giving Torrington a slim 8-6 lead.
Seconds later, Powell tied the game at eight. It was the first of five straight points by the Lady Panthers to take an 11-8 lead into halftime.
Powell’s lead reached as many as 14-10 early in the second quarter.
Back-to-back buckets within a span of 30 seconds by Stokes and Pastalle tied the game at 14.
The teams traded buckets for the next two minutes as the game was tied at 16 and 18 before Pastalle, an exchange student from Barcelona, Spain, put the Lady Blazers back in front 20-18 with 3:30 left in the third.
“With her being an exchange student. We knew she had a lot of talent right away. It was trying to get her acclimated and getting her some confidence playing with the other girls,” Strampe said. “The last month of the season, she started coming alive. She is such a skilled player and is confident in what she does. Without her, we wouldn’t have been in any of these conditions.”
Unfortunately, it was the final point Torrington scored in the quarter.
Powell went on a 11-1 run, spanning into the middle stages in the fourth quarter.
Torrington didn’t score another field goal until the 2:55 remained in the game, and by that point, the Lady Panther lead was 29-21.
Moorehouse slowed the run with four straight points, and the Lady Blazers got no closer than five in the closing seconds.
Moorehouse led the team with 11 points, while Stokes grabbed 15 rebounds. Stokes and Pastalle had six points each.
Both teams shot under 30% for the game, including 21.4% (12-of-56) by Torrington.
The Lady Blazer season ended with a 11-14 record.
“We had three seniors who were guiding us along, then a ton of sophomores and freshmen,” Strampe said. “For them to get this experience and have more confidence the next time they get to state will pay off huge down the road. I’m super excited for the girls we have and the program moving forward. We anticipate not having any seniors next year, so I told the girls, the sophomores will have two senior years to give it all they got.”