The Saratoga Sun -

By Liz Wood 

Lady Tigers take third at regionals

First game at state is against HEM Lady Miners


When it mattered most, the Lady Tigers pulled out the win and that effort earned them a third place finish in the 1A West Conference Regionals.

At state, their first opponent will be one they are familiar with – Carbon County School District No. 2 (CCSD#2) Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow (HEM), coached by Jackie Jones.

HEM earned second place at the 1A East Regionals in Laramie last weekend. The match will be a tough one as HEM has an overall record of 17-6 and the Lady Tigers have an overall record of 17-9.

Either way, a CCSD#2 team will come out on top Thursday.

The Encampment Lady Tigers had a solid 51-42 win against Burlington, which went into regionals as the No. 2 seed in the 1A West Conference. Cassidy Little scored 17 points, Alyssa Barkhurst followed with 15 points, Senior Courtney James added 11 points and Konnar Knotwell and Micaiah Pantle each chipped in 4 points.

"We started out tight with Burlington," head coach Amy Clay said. The Lady Tigers shot 54 percent in the game and made 12 of 14 free throws and five field goals in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.

"It was a great win to start out the tournament and gave us a huge shot of confidence," Clay said.

Encampment suffered a 64-41 loss against conference foe Cokeville Friday afternoon. In that game Barkhurst scored 19 points. James put up 9 points, Little had 8 points, Pantle put in 4 points and Knotwell had 1 point.

"Cokeville presented problems," Clay said. "They are all solid players and share the ball well."

The Lady Tigers struggled defensively. The Cokeville Lady Panthers has a deep bench and they wore down the Lady Tigers.

The Lady Tigers didn't let the loss get them down and beat Ten Sleep Saturday morning, 45-30.

"We came out very focused in the state qualifying game against Ten Sleep," Clay said. The Lady Tigers were leading 26-9 at the half. "We played great team basketball. Our defense stepped up and everyone did their job."

In the final game Saturday afternoon, the Lady Tigers won against conference rival Little Snake River Valley 37-31.

"The last game of the tournament to determine state bracket seeding showed our drive and grit," Clay said. "We gave it everything we had."

As the team prepares for the state finals, Clay knows her team is in for a battle. "The best eight teams in the state are there and every game will be tough. We will keep working hard and give it our best shot."

HEM Lady Miners

HEM's only lost last weekend was to Upton, 55-43, which was the No. 1 seed in the 1A Northeast Conference.

The Lady Miners dictated the tempo against Midwest Thursday night at the 1A West Regional Tournament easily taking the win 66-31. All 10 girls contributed to the win, coach Jones said.

"We knew we would be in a battle against Kaycee," Jones said. Nervous jitters propelled the girls to shut Kaycee out in the first quarter 16-0, Jones said.

The Kaycee Buckaroos didn't score until more than two minutes into the second quarter.

At halftime, Jones reminded the girls the game was far from over.

And she was right.

Kaycee came out hot in the second half and closed up the score.

The game came down to the last three seconds and HEM won 43-41. "It was a very emotional win," Jones said.

Jones credited Cheyenne Hunter with hitting a key free throw and tremendous play by Maggie Johnson, Shelby Bowen and Cheyenne Tomkins.

In the final three seconds of the game, Kaycee had possession of the ball under the bucket, Jones said.

She called a time out and gave the girls a game plan. "They did exactly what I told them to do," Jones said.

Brittany Dys was in the right place at the right time when Kaycee lost the handle on an exchange.

In the game against Upton to determine first place at regionals, the Lady Miners stepped up to the challenge.

The game was tied at 14 at the end of the first quarter.

A couple of the Lady Miners got in foul trouble and Upton made a 12 point run, Jones said.

"We played (Upton) point for point in the second half," Jones said. The Lady Miners brought the score close at one point 34-38, but just couldn't close in for the win. "It wasn't for zero lack of effort," Jones said.

The game between the Lady Tigers and the Lady Miners is at 9 a.m., Thursday at the Casper Events Center.

Jones said the teams are very familiar with each other as they have played three times this year.

The first time was at the Carbon County Classic, where both teams were missing key players.

The Lady Miners won in overtime against the Lady Tigers on the Miner's court, and the Tigers won by 5 in their home court.

"The two teams match up very well," Jones said. "This might come down to the last bucket."

Three of the eight teams that will be vying for the state title are from Carbon County – Encampment, HEM and Little Snake River.


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