CASPER – The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team came up short in a comeback bid on Saturday morning against Rocky Mountain in the consolation championship at the Casper Events Center to finish the Class 2A State Basketball Tournament with a 1-2 record.
On Thursday, the Lady Cyclones opened the tournament against the defending state champion, Wyoming Indian Lady Chiefs.
Southeast kept things close through the first eight minutes, trailing 9-8, but Wyoming Indian turned up the pressure in the second quarter. The Lady Chiefs pulled away over the final three quarters to hand Southeast a 56-19 loss.
In the second quarter, Wyoming Indian held the Lady Cyclones scoreless as the Lady Chiefs outscored Southeast 43-4 in the second and third quarters.
Senior Kadra Clark and freshman Kealy Carson led Southeast with five points each.
The loss dropped the Lady Cyclones to the consolation side of the bracket to face the Riverside Lady Rebels in an elimination game.
Southeast scored the first five points behind a pair of free throws by senior Morgan Ekwall and a triple by Clark en route to a 49-33 win to stay alive and play for fifth place Saturday morning.
“Every day is a new day. I tell my kids that all the time. Every possession is a new possession. What happened yesterday is in the past and today’s the present,” Southeast coach Jennifer Scheer said. “The kids handled it well. They want to keep playing.”
It took Riverside nearly six minutes to score their first field goal of the game, but it didn’t take long for the Rebels to chip their way back into the game.
Riverside ended the first quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to draw within one.
With Southeast leading 11-10 after one, that proved as close as the Rebels came to seeing the lead for the remainder of the game.
“I thought we were a little bit stagnant in the first half,” Scheer said. “We were wanting to reach instead of moving our feet. I was hard on my girls at halftime. I asked them to step up and do the things they were taught to do. They responded and did a tremendous job of that.”
By the end of the third quarter, Southeast led 34-20, including surrendering only two points in the third quarter.
With 2:02 left in the game, the Lady Cyclone lead reached as many as 22 at 47-25.
Clark and freshman Sydney Anderson led the team with 12 points each, while Ekwall tossed in nine. Anderson also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
“Kadra hit some tremendous outside shots,” Scheer said. “She was in rhythm, and Sydney was working her tail off under the basket.”
The win advanced the Lady Cyclones to the fifth-place game Saturday morning against Rocky Mountain.
Southeast never led in the game, but the Lady Cyclones gave the Lady Grizzlies all they could handle in the second half, ultimately falling 52-44.
Southeast fell behind 7-2 in the early moments of the game and trailed 23-14 at the half.
That’s when things began to chance for the Lady Cyclones.
“I challenged our kids at halftime, and I have a smile on my face and can say, boy, did they respond. I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Scheer said. “We just ran out of time. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in that second half.”
Southeast came out of the locker room and went on a 7-0 run, cutting the deficit to 23-21.
Anderson drew the Lady Cyclones withinone, 29-28, with a pair of free throws with one quarter
Southeast kept things close until the final minute of the game.
Down 42-40, the Lady Cyclones were forced to foul, sending the Lady Grizzlies to the free throw line.
In the end, Rocky Mountain finished the game 26-of-36 from the charity stripe.
“Late in the game, we had to put them at the foul line,” Scheer said. “Hats off to Rocky Mountain. They hit their foul shots, and we couldn’t convert when we needed to.”
Freshman Brenna Herring led the team with 13 points, while Carson added 10.
“We’ve never relied on one person. Anyone on any given night can score,” Scheer said. “We had three seniors that gave us everything they had this year. They provided the tutelage that these young kids needed.”
The Lady Cyclones finished the season with a 16-12 record.