BURNS – The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team opened the 2021-22 season with a 3-1 record at the Burns Winter Classic.
The Lady Cyclones opened the season with a 70-8 win over the Arvada (Colorado) Lady Bulldogs.
Southeast raced out to a 17-0 lead before Arvada hit a 3-pointer with 1:01 left in the opening quarter.
Leading 34-8 at halftime, the Lady Cyclone defense held Arvada scoreless over the final 16 minutes, while Southeast poured on 18 more points in each quarter en route to the 62-point win.
Junior Brenna Herring led the Lady Cyclones with 15 points, while sophomore Harper Boche added 12. Junior Sydney Anderson had 11, while sophomore Baylie Booth had 10.
The next day, Southeast found itself in a battle with Class 3A foe Wheatland, and the Lady Cyclones came away with a 37-34 win.
After trailing much for the early moments of the first quarter, with 2:15 left in the opening quarter, Herring tied the game at nine apiece, but with 34 seconds left in the first, Booth put Southeast in front 11-9.
“I don’t know if we came out with the aggressiveness that we needed to to start the basketball game tonight,” coach Jennifer Scheer said. “We were a step slow, and it showed on both ends of the floor. It took us a moment to get started and start playing our type of basketball.”
Over the course of the second quarter, Southeast’s lead grew to double-digits as Boche’s score with 1:21 left before halftime pushed the lead to 22-12.
“We got some good looks early down low and inside, and we were able to capitalize,” Scheer said. “We were then able to go down to the other side of the floor and start playing defense like we were able to play defense.”
In the second half, Wheatland chipped away at the deficit, taking its first lead since the 2:30 mark in the first quarter.
Wheatland’s 34-33 lead with 2:05 left in the contest proved to be short-lived.
“We had some bad defensive lapses there for a while,” Scheer said. “Wheatland took advantage of it and went to scoring some points on us. It got us into trouble and put them back into a game which they shouldn’t have been in.”
Two Lady Bulldog turnovers out of two Wheatland timeouts put Southeast at the free-throw line in the closing moments of the game.
“It made a big difference,” Scheer said. “We have to play defense like that every night, and we can’t pick and choose and do it for two or three minutes at a time. We have to start learning how to put 32 minutes of that together. That’s our MO, and that’s how we score – off our defense.”
Booth tied the game less than 30 seconds later, but it wasn’t until 53 seconds were left on the scoreboard when junior Shelby Ekwall put Southeast back in front, 35-34. Anderson and sophomore Sasha Haines added one free throw each down the stretch to give Southeast the three-point victory.
In the end, Southeast went 4-of-9 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes of the game.
“Free throws are obviously going to be an important part of practice next week, but I was proud of our kids,” Scheer said. “We weren’t scoring from the foul line, but [Wheatland] wasn’t scoring either. Our defense the last four minutes of the game was the best it had been all night.”
Herring led the Lady Cyclones with 12 points, while Anderson and Booth added nine apiece.
On Saturday, Southeast was scheduled to wrap up the Burns Winter Classic against Moorcroft, but due to Newcastle being forced to miss the tournament, event organizers rearraigned the schedule, adding a fourth game to the schedule for the Lady Cyclones.
Southeast was now scheduled to face Douglas and Moorcroft back-to-back on the final day.
The Lady Cyclones suffered their first loss of the season to the Douglas Lady Bearcats, 70-28, but Southeast bounced back later in the afternoon with a 38-31 victory over the Moorcroft Wolves.
Southeast (3-1) will open its home portion of the schedule Friday and Saturday as part of the Lingle-Fort Laramie Dogger Classic. The Lady Cyclones host Kaycee (0-0) at 10 a.m. and Hulett (0-3) at 2:30 p.m. Friday. The next day, Encampment (1-0) and Rock River (0-0) come to Yoder for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. contests, respectively.