Lady Cyclones sweep Broncs, Panthers on historic weekend

Southeast takes part in first high school game in Arena-Auditorium in nearly 20 years

LARAMIE – On the heels of defeating Burns High School on Thursday evening in Yoder 51-32, the Southeast Lady Cyclones and the Saratoga Lady Panthers became the first two teams to take part in a high school basketball game inside the University of Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium in nearly 20 years.

The weekend games also marked the first time in 2023 where the Lady Cyclones were full strength with the return of senior Brenna Herring from a hand injury and junior Sasha Haines who was cleared out of concussion protocol.

“It’s hard to put into words the amount of confidence and understanding our kids have knowing she is behind them,” coach Jennifer Scheer said of Herring. “She is a calming factor for us once in a while. We look to her when we need something on one end of the floor or another. The other girls rally around that. Getting them both back means a lot, and it adds to our depth.”

On Thursday, Herring got the scoring going early for Southeast with three quick points. Junior Baylie Booth added a pair of free throws, while Anderson added a field goal as Southeast raced out to a 7-0 lead on Burns and cruised to the 19-point win.

By the end of the first quarter, the Lady Cyclone’s lead was 17-2.

Southeast never allowed Burns to get back into the game, keeping the lead between 15 and 20 for the remainder of the game.

“We are playing well at times. Then we are coasting at times,” Scheer said. “We obviously have some things to work on and clean up yet.”

The game against Burns was the first time in nearly two weeks since the Lady Cyclones had played a game.

“It showed a little bit. We weren’t crisp on the defensive end which isn’t how we play,” Scheer said. “Offensively, we aren’t shooting the best right now, but we are getting the looks we need.”

Senior Shelby Ekwall led Southeast in scoring with 12. Herring and Booth added 11 each.

The next day, the Lady Cyclones traveled to Laramie to face Saratoga in a neutral site game. It was a rescheduled contest from Jan. 26.

The teams agreed to meet in the middle, and things fell into place where the UW Cowboys and Cowgirls were on the road, leaving Arena-Auditorium the prime location for the game.

“How incredible is it to bring a high school basketball team to the University of Wyoming and play on their floor,” Scheer asked. “I don’t know if the gravity of the situation sat in until the girls actually stepped out on the floor and looked around, seeing the banners and seeing the seats.”

The teams traded baskets early, but a run late in the first quarter propelled the Lady Cyclones to a 49-29 victory.

With 1:41 left in the opening quarter, Southeast held to a 9-7, but 40 seconds later, Lady Cyclone sophomore Brooklyn Leithead’s bucket sparked a 12-1 run which spanned into the second quarter.

“They saw things well today. I was very impressed at times with our defense. We were able to jump in and out of a few different defenses,” Scheer said. “On the offensive side of the floor, we saw some really good looks. We didn’t always get to capitalize on them, but we can’t be perfect either.”

Leithead would bookend the run with another jump shot with 2:41 left before halftime, pushing the Southeast lead to 21-8.

By halftime, the Southeast advantage was 25-12, and over the course of the third quarter, the Lady Cyclones pushed their lead to 42-22.

The 20-point lead stayed the same over the final eight minutes of the game.

Booth led Southeast with 15 points, while Anderson had 12. Carson dropped in eight, including the team’s only 3-pointer of the game which came from the college 3-point line.

The game was important to Southeast as they don’t see many teams from the 1A West region.

“It’s really important,” Scheer said. “It’s nice to play people who don’t know everything we do day in and day out. We play each other nearly every year at some point, and it’s a good measuring stick too.”

The Lady Cyclones are now 17-2 on the season. The team returns to SEWAC play this weekend when they host Pine Bluffs on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and travel to Lusk to face Niobrara County at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“Like I told my kids, the second time through the conference is always tough,” Scheer said. “We are very familiar with one another. Everyone has made some adjustments now, and there is nothing easy about it.”