Lady Blazers lock up No. 1 seed with sweep


WHEATLAND – The Torrington High School girls’ basketball team locked up the No. 1 seed from the 3A Southeast Quadrant for the upcoming 3A East Regional Tournament on March 3-5 with weekend wins over Wheatland and Burns.

On Friday, Torrington blew out rival Wheatland on the road with a 65-40 win over the Lady Bulldogs.

Clinging to a 10-9 lead, Lady Blazer senior Mattie Jones connected on the second of her four 3-pointers with 1:21 left in the opening quarter.

The triple sparked a 29-2 run spanning into early into the third quarter.

“If we have those kinds of runs, we can beat anybody,” THS coach Jeff Halley said. “The problem is, they are a lot easier against teams who struggle with the ball, but we didn’t let up. Usually we get a five, six-point run, and we let up.”

But Torrington didn’t let up this time.

“We just kept going and going,” Halley said. “Everybody out there did their job.”

During that time frame, Wheatland’s only bucket came with 5:26 left in the second quarter courtesy of Grace Battershell.

Wheatland didn’t score again until the 7:01 left in the third quarter with four straight points by Lady Bulldog Brinley Heimsoth, but by the end of the third quarter, the Lady Blazer lead reached 26 at 51-25.

“We played great defense, especially in the first half,” Halley said. “The nice thing is, we can mix it up. We played a little bit of man. We played a little bit of our half court zone. We ran a little trap. The kids are old enough and mature enough, we can adjust.”

Torrington’s lead capped out at 28 early in the fourth quarter before Wheatland made a brief run, closing the gap to as few as 20 midway through the final quarter.

Jones led the Lady Blazers with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. She also dished out four assists.

“We’ve been talking about this for four years,” Halley said. “She’s one of our best shooters if she’ll just let it rip. She let it rip. It was a nice game for her. That’s probably her best scoring performance, I’m sure.”

Senior Reece Halley added 19 points and 11 rebounds. As a team, Torrington shot 36% from the field.

The next day, Torrington looked to wrap up the No. 1 seed from the Southeast Quadrant with a win over Burns.

“Burns is one of those scary teams. We’ll have to focus on defense and taking care of Riley (Ward), just like we also do,” Halley said. “They are just like a lot of teams in our conference, they have about two good scorers, and if you can slow those two down and take care of the ball, you should be okay.”

The Lady Blazers did just that as they defeated Burns 46-17 on Senior Night.

“I was really happy with our defense,” Halley said. “We totally took them out of their game. We held one of the state’s leading scorers to three points – her first shot of the game.”

Burns turned to a press, but the Lady Blazers broke it easy, turning it into layups on the other end of the floor.

“We really didn’t do anything too fancy, but we played solid fundamental basketball and came out with a good win to wrap up that No. 1 quad seed heading into the final week,” Halley said.

Jones led the team in scoring for the second straight night. She had 11 points, five steals and three assists. Halley had 10 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Sierra Allen had nine points and five rebounds.

The Lady Blazers (11-9 overall and 5-0 in the 3A Southeast Quad) wraps up the regular season at Rawlins (3-16 and 1-4) on Friday, Feb. 25. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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