GUERNSEY – The Southeast High School boys won a back-and-forth affair in a key 1A Southeast Quadrant showdown on Tuesday evening with regional playoff seeding implications.
Southeast and Guernsey traded the lead six times through the first three quarters, but the last lead change went to the Cyclones in a 73-68 road victory.
The final lead change came with 27 seconds left in the third quarter when junior Austin Short tallied a steal and layup to put the Cyclones in front 51-50. On the ensuing possession, Short had another steal turn into two points to give Southeast a three-point advantage with eight minutes to play.
“It did give us a spark,” Southeast coach Craig Leithead said. “Anytime you can get a steal like that and have a fast break and get the layup it will change the dynamic and momentum of the game.”
It proved to be the final lead change of the game as Cyclone sophomore Mason Sorenson pushed the Southeast lead to 62-53 with 3:51 left in the game. It was the fourth of his five 3-pointers in the game.
“Mason was on fire,” Leithead said. “That’s the thing about Mason, when he hits and has that confidence, he shoots really well.”
However, Guernsey had one more run in them, cutting the deficit to 69-68 with under a minute to play.
In a span of three seconds, the visitors went 0-for-3 at the free throw, but a Guernsey turnover and foul sent Southeast back to the charity stripe. Freshman Ayden Desmond ended a dry spell of five missed free throws by the team.
“It was awesome because they got to see that, and they got to feel what that kind of energy was like,” Leithead said of the loud Guernsey atmosphere. “Some of them fed off it, and a couple of our younger guys, it gave them a little bit of nerves.”
Desmond sank both attempts and capped off the game with two more points with only a few ticks left on the clock.
Desmond led the team with 21 points, while junior Cooper Larkin had 20. Sorenson tossed in 15.
“This conference game against Guernsey was huge,” Leithead said. “It was a must-win for us.”
Southeast (9-11) wraps up the regular season at home on Saturday against Glenrock (3-14). Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“With this win and if we beat Glenrock, it secures it. It’s a pretty big game,” Leithead said.
Lady Cyclones blows
The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team had its way with the Guernsey-Sunrise Lady Vikings Tuesday evening in a 56-12 victory.
The Lady Cyclones scored the first 29 points before the Lady Vikings scored their first points of the game midway through the second quarter.
Junior Kealy Carson led the Lady Cyclones with 14 points, while Sydney Anderson had 11. Senior Grace Desmond had nine.
The Lady Cyclones (18-2) wrap up the regular season at home against Glenrock (11-7) on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.