TORRINGTON – The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team came up short in its bid for a top seed for this week’s Wyoming Class 1A State Basketball Tournament in Casper.
The Lady Cyclones went 2-1 with wins over Lingle-Fort Laramie and Hanna-Elk Mountain in the first two rounds before falling to Kaycee in the 1A East Regional Championship game on Saturday afternoon.
On Thursday, Southeast defeated the Lady Doggers 48-26.
The Lady Cyclones jumped out to a 19-4 lead and cruised to the 22-point win.
“That was a tough inner-conference, inner-county rivalry, and I have to hand it to my kids, they came out on fire,” Southeast coach Jennifer Scheer said. “We came out with some great intensity and played great defense – maybe the best defense we’ve played all year. The defense led us into our offense.”
In the second quarter, Lingle outscored Southeast 10-8, but in the second half, Southeast limited the Lady Doggers to only 12 points. During that same time span, the Lady Cyclones scored 21 to pull away for the win.
Sophomore Kealy Carson led the team with 15 points, while sophomore Brenna Herring and junior Grace Desmond had 10 points each.
The semifinal game against Hanna-Elk Mountain was a different story for Southeast in a 43-26 victory.
“We were flat in the first half,” Scheer said. “We didn’t move. It was a stand around and stare at one another for 16 minutes.”
The game was tied at six apiece at the end of the first eight minutes, but Southeast held a 17-14 lead at halftime.
“The next 16 minutes, when we decided it was time to play, the girls did a great job offensively and defensively against one of the better players around,” Scheer said. “(Amy) Campbell from Hanna is talented and our girls held her to only six points.”
Southeast scored 17 points in the third quarter and added nine points in the fourth, while limiting H-EM to only 12 points, including three in the third.
Sophomore Sydney Anderson led the Lady Cyclones with 18 points, while Herring had seven. Carson and Desmond had six apiece.
The win propelled Southeast to the 1A East Regional Championship game against the Kaycee Lady Buckaroos.
Through all 32 minutes, neither team held larger than a six-point advantage, but when the final horn sounded, it was Kaycee who was victorious 33-29.
Southeast looked to get off to a quick start, scoring the first points of the game only nine seconds in, but Kaycee scored the next six straight points.
The Lady Cyclones played from behind for the rest of the game with the exception of one minute of the third quarter.
“We didn’t do a very good job of scoring,” Scheer said. “We could have taken some easier shots at the free throw line, but we couldn’t convert there either. Like I told my kids after the game, if we are saving our baskets, we better be saving them for (state).”
Herring converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 3:49 left in the third quarter to tie the game at 19, and a few seconds later, Carson put Southeast back in front 20-19 with a free throw of her own.
The lead was short-lived as Kaycee went back in front on the very next possession and never trailed the remainder of the game.
Southeast had an opportunity late.
A layup by Carson with 10 seconds to go in the game drew the Lady Cyclones back within two at 31-29. On the ensuing inbounds play, Anderson stole the Kaycee pass and was fouled, sending her to the free-throw line.
Anderson missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Southeast was forced to foul. Kaycee hit both free throws with 7.3 left on the clock to secure the victory, earning the Lady Buckaroos the No. 1 seed for this week’s state tournament.
“I thought we did a great job defensively. (Tinley) Pierson is one of the better players in the state, and Kaycee uses a lot of other girls in a lot of opportunities,” Scheer said. “To hold them to 33 points, is playing pretty good defense. We did what we needed to do on the defense end of the floor. We just didn’t have things working for us on the offensive side of the floor.”
Anderson led the team with nine points, while Herring had seven. Desmond tossed in six.
Southeast (15-6) faces Farson-Eden (10-11) at 9 a.m. at Casper College’s Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.
“It’s one game at a time this time of the year, and all I’ve worried about is where we’ve been the last two days,” Scheer said. “We’ll take a look at them and get our reports going. We’ll have two days to do what we can to prepare for them and see what we can do with them.”