CASPER – The Southeast High School boys’ basketball team won their opening round matchup on Thursday against Tongue River before falling to Sundance and Big Horn in the final two games of the Class 2A State Tournament.
On Thursday, the Cyclones opened the state tournament with a 50-47 win over the Tongue River Eagles.
Southeast led by as many as 22-5 in the second quarter before Tongue River mounted a comeback in the second half.
The Eagles outscored the Cyclones 19-8 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 37-35.
Over the final eight minutes, Southeast kept Tongue River at bay, not allowing them to take the lead, holding on for the three-point win.
Junior Sawyer Anderson led the Cyclones with 13 points, while junior Brant Fullmer added 11. Junior Bodie Herring grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.
The win advanced the Cyclones to the semifinal round, where Southeast fell 46-44 in double overtime.
The Cyclones got off to another hot start, racing out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter.
As a team, Southeast shot 50% from the floor in the first 16 minutes of play before Sundance began its comeback in the second quarter.
“We got a little lack luster in the second quarter on defense because it was going easy and they were struggling,” Cyclone coach Crockett Herring said. “We let them get one shot off that went in, and it sparked them.”
The Bulldogs chipped away at Southeast in the second, cutting it to 18-13 before Bodie Herring drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Southeast’s offensive woes began early in the second half. Sundance limited the Cyclones to only 10 points in the second half as Southeast slowed the pace of the game down.
“It was a slow-paced game to begin with, and we slowed it down even more,” Crockett Herring said. “Hayden Anderson had two fouls, and they were wanting to go back into the zone. We were up, and I was like, I’ll take eight minutes off the clock if we can get to the third quarter so he could play.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Sundance took its first lead of the game, and the teams traded the lead over the next several possessions.
With 14 seconds left, Sundance tied the game at 31 with a pair of free throws, ultimately forcing overtime.
The teams traded triples early in overtime, but Sundance held a 40-38 lead in the final minute of overtime.
Fullmer tied the game at 40 with a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation, forcing a second overtime.
Sawyer Anderson gave Southeast a 43-41 lead with a 3-pointer, but with 44 seconds left in the extra period, Southeast found itself down 45-44.
A turnover and a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer ended the Cyclones hopes of a playing in a state title game.
“We were pretty evenly matched tonight,” Crockett Herring said. “Missed free throw here and there. A missed 3-pointer that was in and out. We didn’t rebound like we should have. We gave up some offensive rebounds that killed us there late. (Gunner McLaughlin) got a couple late buckets. It’s just little things.”
Sawyer Anderson led the team with 15 points, while Bodie Herring had eight. Fullmer, Hayden Anderson and Cord Herring had seven apiece.
The loss dropped Southeast to the third-place game in a rematch of the East Regional championship game against Big Horn last week in Torrington.
Southeast looked to get off to another quick start behind triples from Sawyer Anderson and Bodie Herring.
The Cyclones led 6-1 two and a half minutes into the game.
Things quickly cooled off for Southeast as Big Horn tied the game with 2:34 left in the opening quarter.
The Rams countered with a 17-2 run spanning in the second quarter en route to handing Southeast a 49-36 loss.
“It’s hard to end the season with a loss, but we aren’t the only one who did,” Crockett Herring said. “I’m guessing we missed six layups in the first half.”
Big Horn’s lead reached as many as 41-19 late in the third quarter before Southeast ended the quarter with a 7-2 spurt.
“We got the lid open a little bit in the third, but we didn’t shoot very well.”
For the game, the Cyclones shot just 25.9% in the loss.
Bodie Herring led all scorers with 14 points, while Hayden Anderson added seven.
The Cyclones finished the season with an 18-9 record and return all but senior Patrick Swank next season.
“That group of juniors is getting better,” Crockett Herring said. “We just have to continue to work to get better and see what happens next season.”