Tigers Topple Laramie Twice
It was a tale of two halves in both games of a doubleheader loss at Rock Springs for the Laramie High School basketball teams Friday night.
The Lady Plainsmen saw a halftime lead evaporate quickly, while the Plainsmen fell short in a second half comeback.
The Laramie girls lost to the Tigers 55-46, while the Laramie boys lost to Rock Springs 72-62. It meant a season sweep for the Tigers over LHS in four meetings.
Laramie Lady Plainsmen
Rock Springs (6-4) used a 17-0 run at the start of the second half to regain control of the game.
Behind Shyann Bastian, Lexi Pulley and Jennifer Aadland, the Lady Plainsmen turned a slow start into an 11-point halftime lead. Bastian’s jumper gave Laramie its first lead a 9-7. That was part of a 9-0 surge. Pulley and Aadland combined to score 14 of the 17 points LHS put on the board in the second. As the lead grew to eight and nine, Aadland knocked down a triple in the final 10 seconds. That put the Lady Plainsmen ahead 31-20 at halftime.
The Tigers came out more aggressive in the third quarter, and it paid off. Rock Springs veterans Ky Buell and Selena Cudney combined for 14 points, while sophomore Payton Reese knocked down two key three’s, as the Tigers out-scored Laramie 21-7 in the frame.
“We started out really strong the first half. That’s what we want to do. We’ve always been working towards that, because usually we fall behind the first half. We just need to figure how to put the first half and second half together.”
Laramie failed to score for the first five-and-a-half minutes of third quarter. A Bastian three-pointers key LHS within three, at 41-38, at the end of the quarter. The Lady Plainsmen had more turnovers, eight, than points, in the period.
Rock Springs extended to a 13-point cushion and held on for the nine-point victory.
Laramie (4-7) shot only 29 percent for the game. That included only 21 percent in the second half. They were only 4-of-21 from deep. Bastian scored 14 points and five rebounds. Aadland added 11 points and 11 boards, while Pulley also scored 11 points.
Bastian added, “A lot of the time I think the team’s counting on Lexi and Jen a little bit too much. It’s kind of overpowering them, so I think a lot of the girls need to step up on the team and just let them know that we’re here for you. You know, we can score too. You don’t need to take it all on you.”
The Tigers were paced by Buell with a game-high 25 points. Cudney added 16 points and 14 rebounds. Rock Springs held a 49-38 edge on the glass.
The Lady Plainsmen will face Green River Saturday at 1 p.m.
Rock Springs (6-4) got off to a quick start and held off a Laramie comeback before free throws led to the final 10-point margin.
Head coach Travis Brown said we weren’t ready to play.
“The coaching staff has to take some ownership on that. We came out in the first half flat. That seems to be an ‘M-O’ of ours. We need to be ready from the get-go.”
The Plainsmen started slow, and the Tigers took full advantage. After a fast 9-2 start, the lead reached 24-10 after the first. Nothing changed in the second quarter, as Rock Springs opened up a 41-22 lead by halftime.
Brown said the talk at halftime was self-reflective.
“It was really just look ourselves in the mirror and who are we are. We have an identity, and when we use our identity, we’re successful… As much as our kids want to be 3-point shooters, and I know that’s the fun way to play basketball, right now, that’s not our strength. I think our first five shots were three’s, and trust me, that was not the game-plan.”
LHS finally had an answer in the third quarter. After the Tigers’ lead reached 45-24, the Plainsmen started to click. A balanced attack helped Laramie trim the Rock Springs led to 56-47 after three. LHS pulled within 59-52 when Asa Williams got a steal and a break-away dunk attempt, but he missed it off the back of the rim. A few moments later, Williams drew a second technical foul and was ejected from the game.
The Plainsmen still hung tough and cut it to 62-56 midway through the quarter. It stayed that score for nearly three minutes until a Noah Spence three-point play. Laramie had several chances to draw closer, but failed to convert shots and had key turnovers.
Laramie (6-5) shot 37 percent from the field. They were 27 percent in the first half and then 46 percent in the second half. LHS was only 4-18 from deep. Hudda Herrera scored 24 points. Frank Crum added 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Tigers shot 46 percent in the game. Graedyn Buell led four Rock Springs players in double digits with 22 points.
The Plainsmen will try to bounce back with a big game at No. 4 Green River against the Wolves. The game starts at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday's game will be streaming only at www.network1sports.com/station/kowbnet.