TORRINGTON – The Southeast High School boys’ basketball team came up short 35-33 in the 2A East Regional championship game against the Big Horn Rams.
Leading up to the title game on Saturday, the Cyclones held on for a 50-47 overtime win over Moorcroft on Friday before blowing out Sundance 67-35 on Friday in the semifinal round.
In the opening round game, Southeast looked to put away the Wolves early, but the Cyclones had to hold in an extra frame to advance to the semifinal round.
“We shouldn’t have won that game. Moorcroft played better than us. We played well enough in the last 3.5 seconds to push it to overtime,” Cyclone coach Crockett Herring said. “We weren’t ready to play, and I told the kids that was my fault. I will make sure we are enthused and ready to play tomorrow.”
Scores from junior Bodie Herring and senior Patrick Swank gave Southeast an early 5-0 lead, pushing the lead to as many as 18-10 midway through the second quarter.
The momentum shifted in Moorcroft’s favor in the third quarter as Southeast saw its lead shrink to as few as 27-25.
A buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter and a uncontested layup in fourth quarter tied the game at 33 in the early in the final frame.
It wasn’t until the Wolves drained a 3-pointer with 3:15 remaining in the game in which Moorcroft took its first lead of the game.
Over the final three minutes of the game, the teams traded the lead three times and found themselves tied twice.
Down 43-41 with less than 30 seconds left in game, the Cyclones missed a pair of shots from within five feet of the basket, but Herring tied the game with 2.5 left on the clock with a pair of free throws.
Moorcroft’s final shot attempt at the buzzer was short.
In overtime, Southeast scored the first four points and held on despite going 1-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final 40 seconds of the game.
“It was the first round of regionals. The pressure. We left them short. That’s basketball,” Herring said. “That one’s over. You can’t live in the past. All we can do is drink some water, get a good night’s rest and tomorrow is a new day.”
Herring led Southeast with 12 points, while junior Sawyer Anderson added 10 points.
The next day, the Cyclones grabbed an early lead and cruised to a 32-point win over Sundance.
Southeast shot 62% from the floor and was led in scoring by junior Hayden Anderson with 23 points. Swank added 12.
In the championship game, Big Horn hit the go-ahead shot with 3.2 seconds left off an offensive rebound to hand Southeast a 35-33 loss.
The final seconds wasted a strong start by the Cyclones, who jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first quarter.
Big Horn chipped away at the lead for the remainder of the game, tying the contest at 25 heading to the final eight minutes.
The game was tied at 33 with less than 15 seconds remaining when Big Horn inbounded the ball in front of its bench. The Rams got a shot off, missing but scoring on the put back with 3.2 left on the clock.
Hayden Anderson scored a team-high 16 points, while Bodie Herring added eight.
As a result of the loss, Southeast will be the No. 2 seed for this weekend’s state tournament in Casper.
The Cyclones will face Tongue River at noon on Thursday, March 5.