Plainsmen Pound Evanston and Stay Alive at State
Jake Aadland and Reid Baty had double-doubles to pace the Laramie Plainsmen to a 70-52 victory over Evanston at the 4A State Tournament Friday in Casper.
The win over the Red Devils kept the Plainsmen alive in the consolation bracket. It was Laramie first win at the state tournament since the semifinals in 2011.
Head coach Ryan Puckett said he told his team to weather the storm in the first quarter.
“I thought a little bit of nerves because of never playing in this atmosphere. Then we settled down and took this one over, the guys decided, and they did that.”
Aadland scored 26 points, grabbed ten rebounds, dished out three assists and had four steals. Baty added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Nate Burman contributed 16 points and three boards.
Puckett said of Baty’s effort, “What a game that kid had. Diving from the high post; taking over defensively; every rebound he decided was going to be his. He manned the middle and anchored us defensively.”
After a 1-9 shooting start, the Plainsmen caught fire. They knocked down 59 percent of their shots the rest of the game. Overall, LHS shot 51 percent from the field. They out-rebounded Evanston 32-27.
Laramie (9-17) trailed 9-2 in the first quarter. They responded with a 13-2 run and never trailed the rest of the way. After three lead changes late in the opening period, LHS held a 12-11 advantage. The lead grew to 28-19 by halftime.
The Red Devils surged and pulled within six in the third quarter, at 40-34, but momentum went back to LHS late in the frame.
In the final minute of the third, Matt Moran knocked a ball away in backcourt that led to an Aadland lay-up. After another Evanston turnover with eight seconds left in the quarter, Aadland dribbled down the left side of the court and hit a deep three-pointer as the buzzer sounded. It gave Laramie a 45-34 lead going into the fourth.
The Plainsmen pulled away for the 18-point win. It was their first over the Red Devils in three tries this season.
Puckett added, “There’s not one person that didn’t play their tails off today. It’s just an all-around team effort. That’s what we’ve been preaching, and we put it all together.”
Evanston (12-14) was led by Brock Ehlers 24 points before he fouled out. The Red Devils shot 39 percent from the floor.
Laramie also capitalized with 24 points off 16 Evanston turnovers.
The Plainsmen will get a chance to play for a trophy Saturday in the 4A Boys Consolation Championship game against Rock Springs. Game time is at noon. KOWB (AM 1290) will air the game with David Settle and VerDon Hoopes calling the action starting at 11:15 a.m.