The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Miners dig in for State

HEM girls head to Casper as No. 4 East seed


The Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) Lady Miners knew they had to beat the Rock River Lady Pronghorns in Torrington in order to go to state.

“We had to win our first game,” Head coach Jackie Jones said. “We beat Rock River the first game and that is what moved us forward to the tournament.”

Jones said although the Lady Miners beat the Lady Longhorns 41-29, the outcome was never a given.

“Rock River is a scary team,” Jones said. “With that being said, we took care of business and did what we had to do. After that we went on to play two very solid basketball teams that coaches have voted for and ranked all year.”

Madison Campbell had the hot hand said Jones. She hit five three-pointers, tying her record.

The team the Lady Miners went on to play next on Thursday was the Southeast Lady Cyclones who had beaten Lingle-Ft. Larame.

“Southeast is a very physical, in your face type of team,” Jones said. “We were down only four points at halftime.”

Amy Campbell re-injured her ankle and Jones said events in the game escalated.

“Amy being Amy, gutted it out and played well. In my opinion, we simply lost to a good basketball team and there is no shame there,” Jones said. “There’s no let up on our team, no matter what the score was. They continued to hustle and they still had the desire to get the ball in the bucket.”

With the loss, the Lady Cyclones went on to play in the regional championship, while the Lady Miners faced the Upton Lady Bobcats.

“Once again, it was a tight game we played with Upton being down only four points at the half,” Jones said. “They are more our style of basketball, trying to get up and down the floor.”

The Lady Bobcats did prevail, 35-45.

“Once again the girls fought until the buzzer ended the game,” Jones said. “When we stepped off the court, just because of the format of the tournament, two games were played on Thursday, then day off and game on Saturday, it was almost as if at times , we lost sight that we qualified for the state tournament.”

Jones was proud of the team’s accomplishment.

“To be one of the top four teams on the east side of the state is just a testament to what the girls have done all season.” Jones said. “We had some people say we had a good draw the first round, but they are truly not giving either Rock River or our team the credit we deserve. The girls qualified for the state tournament and should feel good about all their hard work they put forth this season. They earned it by the season that they put in.”

Jones said she was happy with how the team played this weekend.

“I thought Rainey Wilson had some of her best games of all season,” Jones said. “She was a major contributor on defense and she did her job and played her role.”

Besides Madison and Amy, Jones was pleased with her other seniors.

“Taylar Scott, with her defense and tenacity, was excellent and Hannah Christie stepped in and gave some valuable minutes in all three games,” Jones said.

The player Jones called the mainstay of the tournament was not a surprise, although her freshman status does astonish many fans.

“Avery (Scott) was the only player in double figures in all three games,” Jones said. “She was the only player to do that. Avery is one of those players that can make an impact quick and she did that. She doesn’t like to make mistakes or do things the wrong way, and sometimes she shows her emotions. This weekend I felt she was able to really control that. She did a fantastic job.”

Jones knows the first team they will encounter will be a challenge.

“We are going to go in and face the beast in the first round which is Cokeville, but the girls never shy away from competition and being at their best,” Jones said. “With COVID, with weather, with injuries and different other things, we truly are a team that takes it one day at a time. It really has been our focus not looking ahead other than the game that we play next. Ultimately our goal has been accomplished. We wanted to go to State to reward these four seniors that have contributed so much to HEM athletics.”


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