CASPER – The No. 2-seeded Lingle-Fort Laramie High School girls’ basketball team saw their season come to an end with less than a second left on the clock during Friday mornings consolation round matchup with the Kaycee Lady Buckaroos at the 1A State Basketball Tournament in Casper.
The Lady Doggers jumped out to a 6-1 lead behind four points from junior Savanah Mirich and two from senior Kaelyn Riley before Kaycee started its rally.
The Lady Buckaroos countered with an 8-0 run over the final four minutes of the quarter to take a 9-6 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter was much like the opening eight minutes.
L-FL scored the next six points before Kaycee returned the favor with another run of its own.
Over another four-minute span, the Lady Buckaroos went on an 11-2 run to grab a 21-16 lead with a minute to play in the second quarter.
“If you show up to the state tournament and can’t hit some shots, you are in some trouble,” L-FL coach Matt Cornelius said. “It’s not that our girls didn’t play hard, it’s just that shots didn’t hit. When you get to this point in the season, everyone is playing their best basketball and when you shoot the ball like that, it’s tough to win when you aren’t shooting well.”
The Lady Doggers cut the deficit to three by half but couldn’t get any closer until four straight points from junior Ashley Riley.
With 5:33 left in the game, Riley ended a field goal dry spell which spanned back into the middle stages of the third quarter. Her bucket tied the game at 34 apiece.
A minute later, Kaycee had a four-point possession, but this time, it was junior Kelcie Sargent tying the game at 39 with a free throw.
The game was tied at 42 and again at 44 with under a minute to play.
Both teams, in a span of six seconds, missed four free throws, but it was Kaycee who got a shot off with .8 left on the clock.
Coming out of a timeout, the Lady Dogger inbounds pass was tipped, ending the game without L-FL getting a shot off.
“Our girls hung right in there and gave them a chance to win,” Cornelius said. “Unfortunately, the young lady from Kaycee hit that last second shot, and we couldn’t make it back.”
The Lady Doggers shot 21.7 percent from the floor.
Mirich led L-FL with 17 points, while Ashely Riley added 15.
The day before, the Lady Doggers fell to the No. 3-seeded Farson-Eden Pronghorns 53-39.
L-FL came into the game knowing they would see a full-court press.
“That’s exactly what we got. They are extremely fast and extremely aggressive,” Cornelius said. “We contained them in the first half.”
Mirich brought her team within one with a buzzer-beating layup at halftime, but a pair of 11-0 runs in the second half by Farson-Eden pushed the Lady Pronghorn lead to 44-28.
“That was the beginning of the end of the second half,” Cornelius said. “We just could never make that back.”
In the second half, Farson-Eden outscored the Lady Doggers 32-19 to pull away for the win.
Mirich and Ashely Riley scored 11 points each, while Kaelyn Riley tossed in eight.
“Anytime you have 35 turnovers in a game, you are going to be hard-pressed to be in the win column,” Cornelius said. “Our girls never quit. They never gave up the whole way through.”
The Lady Doggers season came to a close with a 9-16 record.
“I am extremely proud of our young ladies,” Cornelius said. “Even though it didn’t shake out in the end like we had hoped, our girls showed character in wins and losses. I’m proud of the things we accomplished.”