Lady Blazers qualify for state tournament

BURNS – The Torrington High School girls’ basketball team qualified for this weekend’s Class 3A State Basketball Tournament at the No. 4 seed out of the East Regional Tournament.

Over the course of the weekend, the Lady Blazers went 2-2 with wins over Thermopolis and Burns to punch their ticket to state.

THS coach Jeff Halley said the team played well enough to get there but will need to play better this weekend.

“The good news is that we played well enough to continue on to the state tourney. We will have to play better this week to make a run at it however,” he said. “We never really felt the pressure of Regionals like it was do or die, and maybe that was why we didn’t have that sense of urgency that we needed.  I am hoping that it was just confidence and that will continue over this week.”

On Thursday, the Lady Blazers cruised to a 48-20 win over the Thermopolis Lady Bobcats.

Torrington raced out to an 11-0 lead before Thermopolis scored its first two points with 2:24 left in the first quarter.

On the next possession, freshman #11 Hurley dropped in her first points of the game, pushing the Torrington lead back to 11.

For the remainder of the game, Torrington’s lead never dropped back below double digits.

“We were never really challenged and could kind of pace ourselves,” Halley said. “Our girls knew that we had to win this one to stay on the good side of the bracket and we got it done.”

Senior Mattie Jones led the team with 15 points, while senior Reece Halley had eight points and 13 rebounds.

The win set up a third meeting between Torrington and Douglas.

Despite a 53-39 loss, Halley felt like it was his team’s best game of the weekend.

“We played our best game of the weekend against Douglas,” he said. “Once again, we had our chances with them, but couldn’t quite close the deal and let them get away.”

Torrington led 12-11 after one quarter but trailed 21-18 at halftime. Douglas extended its lead to 35-30 heading to the final quarter.

Over the final eight minutes, Douglas outscored Torrington 18-9 to pull away for the win.

Jones and Halley both ended up in early foul trouble.

“A little early foul trouble got Reece and Mattie a little timid and didn’t have their normal games, but our others stepped up and still gave us a chance,” Halley said.

Senior Sierra Allen led the team with 12 points and six rebounds, while AJ West added 10.

The loss dropped the Lady Blazers to a must-win game against Regional Tournament host Burns Lady Broncs.

Torrington pulled away late, securing its place in the state tournament.

“Burns gave us everything they had, and played a great ball game, but we kept our composure and slowly pulled away in the second half,” Halley said. “It was nice to finally be challenged where we had to play in control and make good decisions down the stretch.”

Burns led 7-5 at the end of the first quarter, but Torrington battled back to take a 20-18 lead into halftime. The Lady Blazers extended the lead to six by the end of the fourth quarter before outscoring Burns 15-8 over the final eight minutes en route to a 53-40 win.

Halley led the Lady Blazers with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Allen tallied a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Jones and junior Marissa Moorehouse tallied eight points each.

The win advanced the Lady Blazers to the third-place game against Newcastle.

The Lady Dogies handed Torrington a 44-34 loss.

“We came out a little flat on our second game of the day and just played tired,” Halley said. “I was proud of the girls for battling back in the fourth to make a run at them, but it was too little too late.”

Newcastle jumped out to a 15-5 lead after the first quarter. Late in the game, the Lady Blazers were able to cut into the deficit by five points to cut it to 10 by the end of the game.

Halley led Torrington with 15 points and six rebounds. Moorehouse and Allen added six points each.

As the No. 4 seed, the Lady Blazers will play the winner of the West Regional. Torrington will face the Lyman Eagles at 6 p.m., Thursday at the Wyoming Ford Center.

“Heading into state, I love our bracket,” Halley said. “We know a lot about Lyman and have played a couple good games with them the last two seasons. After that, Buffalo and Pinedale are both good teams, but they are not great teams. I think the other side is a little more loaded, but whoever gets through our side to the championship will have a good opportunity.”


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