Cheyenne East Battles Past Laramie
A missed shot at the buzzer and second half turnovers led to Cheyenne East sweeping Laramie High School in 4A basketball Friday night in Laramie.
The No. 5 East Thunderbirds defeated the Plainsmen in a game that went down to the wire, 63-61. Second-ranked Cheyenne East beat the No. 4 Lady Plainsmen 46-28.
Chad Browning’s turnaround jump shot on the left baseline just rolled off the right side of the rim as time expired, and that gave the Thunderbirds the slim two-point road win.
Plainsmen head coach Travis Brown said hats off to the kids because they don’t quit.
“Definitely the cardiac kids. They’ll go to the end, and we’ve just got to learn how to finish. That comes with more basketball and more experience. Only games like this will make you a lot better in a couple of weeks.”
Laramie (4-12, 1-4) trailed by six points in the fourth quarter, but rallied to tie the game. Asa Williams’ steal led to Browning’s lay-up that tied the game at 60-60 in the final 25 seconds. East broke pressure in backcourt and threw ahead to Nick Mirich, who made his only three-pointer of the game from the left corner with six seconds remaining.
After a Plainsmen timeout, Nate Burman was fouled in backcourt with 3.7 left. He made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second. Laramie’s Frank Crum and East’s Jacob Ross battled for the rebound. Ross got it, but threw it to Browning, who had to make a quick decision. His shot at the buzzer was no good, and the Thunderbirds held on.
Laramie held an 11-point lead in the third quarter, but East fought back behind Erik Oliver and Demetrius McCord. The two combined for 28 of the Thunderbirds' 39 second half points.
The Plainsmen got off to a hot start behind Browning and Burman. They led LHS to a 21-12 lead after the first quarter. Laramie struggled a stretch in the second, but held on for a 30-26 lead at half.
Cheyenne East (8-9, 2-3) was led by Oliver’s 24 points. McCord added 14 and Tanner Muchmore chipped in 10. The Thunderbirds shot 50 percent for the game. That included 15-24, 63 percent, in the second half. They also finished with a 33-26 edge on the glass.
The Plainsmen were led by Browning with a career-high 19 points, while Burman added 17. LHS shot 45 percent in the game and finished with a season-low eight turnovers.
Brown added about the mid-point of conference, “Truthfully, we could just as easily be 3-2. I think it’s a fair assessment. We’re a team learning how to continue to finish a game, and I can tell you now, I don’t think anybody’s going to take us lightly the second half of the season. They’re a team that has a ceiling we haven’t reached yet.”
Laramie begins the second half of conference play on the road next Friday night at Cheyenne South. The game starts at 7 p.m.
Laramie Lady Plainsmen
The second-ranked Thunderbirds took advantage of 15 second half turnovers by the Lady Plainsmen in the 18-point victory.
Laramie (12-4, 3-2) scored the first basket on the game on Lexi Pulley’s lay-up. East then tied it and took the lead on a three-pointer by Makenzee Fagenbush. That was the only lead change of the game. It was part of a 13-1 run by the Thunderbirds.
The Lady Plainsmen responded with a 7-0 spurt that closed the gap to 13-10 East. That was as closed as Laramie got. It was 22-15 at half.
Laramie High School girl’s head coach Laura Pollard felt they played their best first half.
“I coached college basketball my entire career, and our squad, we don’t play zone, and we knew we had to against them. You couldn’t ask for a better effort.”
The Thunderbirds took advantage of eight LHS turnovers in the third quarter, as their lead stretched to 36-22. Katie Loken scored seven of her nine points in the period. The lead reached 21 points in the fourth before the final margin was 18.
Pollard added, “One thing we have to get out of is this third quarter problem. The second thing is they’re (East) is going to put pressure on the ball because they didn’t the whole first half… you’re right, bad third quarter, we have to correct that. Throwing the ball away ourselves versus them playing tough defense and getting the ball.”
Cheyenne East (13-2, 4-1) shot 33 percent for the game. Fagenbush led the way with 11 points, while Loken had nine. They out-rebounded Laramie 42-32 and that included 15 offensive rebounds.
Pulley was the top scorer for the Lady Plainsmen with 10 points. LHS was hurt by poor shooting at 20 percent from the floor. Laramie finished 2-23, nine percent, from beyond the arc.
Pollard also said about the halfway point of league action.
“I’m not mad at a loss at this point. This is where you want to lose to them, and they have to understand that they’re a better team than what they showed in that second half.”
The Lady Plainsmen head to Cheyenne for the start to the last half of 4A East Conference play. They will face the Cheyenne South Bison next Friday at 5:30 p.m.