TORRINGTON – The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team never trailed during Thursday’s 42-30 victory over cross-county rival Lingle-Fort Laramie.
The Lady Cyclones raced out to a 6-0 lead courtesy of scores from seniors Macie Murphy, Hailey Anderson and Ellie Schmitt midway through the opening frame.
After four straight points from Lady Doggers junior Shelby Heilbrun to close the gap to two, Southeast managed to pull away the rest of the first quarter.
“We had a tough go right out of the block,” L-FL coach Matt Cornelius said. “We couldn’t hit a shot. The girls played hard the entire game, but the ball didn’t fall early.”
Over the next seven minutes, the Lady Cyclones used a 14-1 run to extend their lead to 20-5.
However, in the closing moments of the second quarter and into the second half, the Lady Doggers started to chip away at the deficit.
“I have to give credit to the girls for their defensive hustle,” Cornelius said. “We tried a new defensive scheme tonight, and it slowed (Southeast) down a shade. We cut it to two late and then the ball didn’t fall our way.”
On the other side of the floor, Southeast coach Jennifer Scheer attributed the L-FL run to losing focus.
“We kind of lost our intensity and focus. You can’t do that if you want to be a good team. We went through a ho-hum period and let them right back in the game,” she said. “We were a little slow at making some decisions tonight and being accurate. We started second guessing ourselves a little bit. Against Lingle, you can’t have that happen. When you make a decision, you have to go with it. At times, I saw our girls second guessing themselves and starting to wonder and not be sure of what they were looking at. It got us into trouble.”
But in the end, the Lady Cyclones snapped out of it midway through the fourth quarter to pull away for the double-digit victory.
A 3-pointer by Lady Dogger senior Kaelyn Riley drew L-FL within 31-29, Schmitt answered with a triple of her own, sparking an 11-1 Southeast run to end the game.
“The positive to that is we got our focus back and our intensity ratcheted back up and were able to finish the game how we needed to,” Scheer said. “We got back to playing basketball the way we have to play basketball. We controlled our controllables. It’s what we have to do to win games.”
Southeast managed to get to the free-throw line eight times over the final two minutes, knocking down six of the attempts to aid in pulling away in the final moments of the game.
Schmitt led Southeast in scoring with 15, while Anderson added 14. Both also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. For the Lady Doggers, Riley led the team with 16 points, while Heilbrun added nine.
Both teams were also in action a second time over the weekend.
On Friday, the Lady Doggers fell to the Niobrara County Lady Tigers 46-41.
L-FL held an 11-8 advantage after a quarter of play, but the visitors stormed back in the second quarter to take a 24-20 lead going into the locker room.
It was a lead which the Lady Tigers never surrendered for the rest of the game.
Riley led the team with 18 points, while junior Ashley Riley added 11.
The loss drops L-FL to 4-6 on the season and will travel to Guernsey (2-8) on Thursday, Jan. 17 for a 5:30 p.m. tip.
On Saturday, the Lady Cyclones returned to action at home against the Cheyenne East JV.
A big third quarter lifted Southeast to a 55-41 win.
Holding to a 25-23 lead at halftime, the Lady Cyclones limited the Thunderbirds to only four points in the third quarter.
Southeast had three players in double-figures with Schmitt leading the way with 16, while senior Kaci Schmick added 14 and Anderson 13. Schmitt also led the team with seven rebounds.
The Lady Cyclones (6-4) will be back in action at Pine Bluffs (8-1) on Friday, Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m.