TORRINGTON – The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team punched their ticket to the state tournament with a 2-2 weekend at the 2A East Regional Tournament at Willi Gym in Torrington.
The Lady Cyclones opened the weekend with a 39-30 win over the Big Horn Lady Rams on Thursday afternoon.
Southeast jumped out to a 6-0 lead and didn’t allow Big Horn to score for more than seven minutes into the game.
“I thought our defense looked really good,” Lady Cyclone coach Jennifer Scheer said. “I thought we did the things we needed to do and the things we talked about all week. It really looked like how our defense should look for 32 minutes.”
In the second quarter, the Lady Rams chipped away at the deficit, cutting the Southeast lead to 15-14 at the half.
“We got a little bit complacent,” Scheer said. “We weren’t looking for some of the shots we had. We missed a few of our cutters. We just didn’t get the passes inside.”
Big Horn briefly tied the game at 17 early in the third quarter, but Southeast responded with a 9-0 run over a three-minute span.
Lady Cyclone senior Morgan Ekwall pushed her team’s lead to 32-21.
Big Horn made one more late push, cutting to the Southeast lead to 34-29 with two minutes left in the game, but that proved to be as close as the Lady Rams came for the remainder of the game.
Senior Kadra Clark led the team with 16 points, while Kealy Carson added five. Freshman Brenna Herring grabbed a team-high five rebounds.
The win set up the third meeting of the season with 2A Southeast Quadrant foe Pine Bluffs on Friday in the semifinal round.
“That is a very talented team. They are big. They have a lot of weapons all over the floor,” Scheer said. “It seems like we play this team three and four times every year. We know each other better than anyone in the state.”
Pine Bluffs grabbed an early 11-5 lead through eight minutes of play, and the Lady Hornet lead only grew for the remainder of the game in a 45-18 win over the Lady Cyclones.
Ekwall led Southeast with six points and five rebounds, while Carson added four points and six rebounds.
The loss dropped the Lady Cyclones to a must-win situation on Saturday morning against the Sundance Lady Bulldogs.
After playing to an 8-8 draw in the first quarter, the Lady Cyclones pulled away over the next two quarters en route to a 48-32 win.
In the middle two frames, Southeast outscored Sundance, 30-9.
Carson led the Lady Cylones with 16 points, while Clark and freshman Sydney Anderson tossed in eight points each. Herring grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while Carson and Clark combined for nine steals.
The win punched Southeast’s ticket to state and the right to play the Niobrara County Lady Tigers for the third time this season for state tournament seeding purposes on Saturday afternoon.
Ultimately, the Lady Tigers handed Southeast a 30-28 loss.
NCHS held an 11-9 advantage after a quarter, but Southeast took a 13-12 lead into the locker room. The teams played to an 8-8 draw in the third, but the Lady Tigers outscored Southeast 10-7 in the fourth to secure the win.
Sophomore Grace Desmond led Southeast with eight points, while Carson had seven. Ekwall tossed in five.
As a result of the loss, Southeast heads to state as the No. 4 seed and will face Wyoming Indian in a rematch of last season’s state championship game. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Natrona County High School gym.