CASPER – The Southeast High School girls’ basketball team capped off the season with a third-place finish at the state tournament last week, picking up wins over Farson-Eden and Kaycee in the two-day state tournament format.
On Wednesday morning, the Lady Cyclones defeated the Farson-Eden Lady Pronghorns, 34-26.
Southeast was slow out of the gates, falling behind 7-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Things started to pick up for the Lady Cyclones in the second quarter as sophomore Kealy Carson started to heat up from beyond the 3-point range.
A triple by Carson in the final minute of the second quarter gave Southeast a 19-14 going into halftime.
“Kealy hit a couple big shots in that game for us,” coach Jennifer Scheer said. “They all came at big moments. It was a good breath of fresh air. Big time players step up in big time games.”
Over the course of the second half, the Lady Cyclones kept Farson-Eden at bay for the eight-point victory.
Carson led Southeast with 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Sophomore Sydney Anderson added eight points.
The win set up a semifinal match against the Class 1A top-ranked Cokeville Lady Panthers in the evening.
The Lady Cyclones got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 7-2 lead less than three minutes into the contest, but the Lady Panthers countered with a 17-2 run, spanning into the second quarter. The run propelled Cokeville to a 51-43 victory.
By the time junior Grace Desmond knocked down the first two points of the game, Cokeville’s lead was 21-9.
The Lady Panther lead reached as many as 30-14 just before halftime. The 16-point advantage was the largest lead of the day for Cokeville.
The Lady Panthers shot 56% from the floor in the first half, while holding Southeast to only 31.6% shooting.
Throughout the second half, Southeast chipped away at the deficit, and with 5:33 left in the game, Desmond’s two free throws brought the Lady Cyclones back within three at 41-38.
“We’ve been there before. The kids responded, and they gave me everything they had,” Scheer said. “They did everything they could to get back into it.”
It was the as close as Southeast came to seeing the lead for the remainder of the game, as Cokeville pulled away in the closing moments for the eight-point win.
In the second half, Southeast limited Cokeville to only five field goals and 21.7% shooting.
The Lady Panthers took advantage of 22 Southeast turnovers, converting them into 23 points.
“You have to tip your hat to (Cokeville),” Scheer said. “Tonight, they were better than we were.”
Anderson led the Lady Cyclones with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Carson added 12 points. Desmond ended the game with eight.
The loss dropped Southeast to the third-place game and set up a 1A East Regional championship rematch with the Kaycee Lady Buckaroos.
It was the third meeting between the teams this season with Kaycee winning the first two matchups, but the third time was a charm for Southeast in a 39-34 victory.
Once again, the Lady Cyclones got off to a quick start, racing out to an 11-0 lead.
It wasn’t until the 2:47 mark in the first quarter when Kaycee scored their first points of the game.
The Lady Bucs slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting the Southeast lead to seven at 22-15 at the half.
Coming out of the locker room, Kaycee continued to make the Lady Cyclone’s life difficult against the full-court press.
Southeast managed only two points in the third quarter as Kaycee led 26-24 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
“Their open spot was in the middle of the floor, and we weren’t getting the right kids to break to the open part of the floor,” Scheer said. “We needed to quit retreating within themselves and stop looking for someone else to do the job.”
Only seconds in the fourth quarter, sophomore Shelby Ekwall tied the game at 28 apiece, and then Herring’s steal and layup put Southeast back in front.
Those points were the start of an 11-2 Lady Cyclone run as Southeast pushed its lead to 35-28.
“We waited a little later in the game to make the comeback,” Scheer said. “I guess I need to nickname this team the cardiac kids because they like seeing their coach sweat it out.”
Kaycee made one additional late run, closing the gap to as few as four in the final minute of the game.
Southeast shot 53.8% from the floor, including 64.3% in the first half.
Herring led the Cyclones with 11 points, while Carson added nine and Anderson eight. Herring also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Southeast finished the season with a 17-7 record.
“We are better today than we were yesterday. We are moving forward and getting better everyday,” Scheer said. “We have three tremendous seniors who have fought through injuries, pain and many different obstacles. They are the heart and soul of the team. They are what keeps us going.”