Laramie Loses to Rock Springs, but Beats Natrona
A long day of basketball ended in triumph for both Laramie High School teams Friday at the Fremont Motors Casper Basketball Invitational tournament.
It was a split doubleheader that started with rough losses, but finished with big road wins. Laramie lost both games against Rock Springs, but rallied past Natrona on their floor.
LHS vs. Rock Springs
The Laramie Lady Plainsmen were blown out by Rock Springs 54-33 Friday afternoon.
After a start that saw the Lady Plainsmen build an 8-1 lead, the Tigers scored the final 11 points of the period and took the lead for good. Despite just four points in the second quarter, LHS trailed only 20-12 at halftime.
Rock Springs pulled away in the third and fourth quarter for the 21-point victory.
Laramie (0-2) finished with 35 turnovers. They were led by Jennifer Aadland, who scored eight points, but played only shortly into the second quarter after a bad fall to the floor, where she bumped the back of head.
Laramie High School head coach Laura Pollard said what she took away was they’ve got a lot of work to do.
“There’s some gelling that needs to happen. When Jennifer’s out of the game, but even with Lexi (Pulley) in the game, I feel like there was just too much dependence on her.”
Meanwhile, the Laramie Plainsmen dug too big of a hole to climb out of in an 89-79 loss to the Tigers.
Rock Springs came out on fire and had a 34-14 lead after the first quarter. The lead grew all the way to 29, at 45-16, in the second before LHS started their rally.
Down by 18 at half, the Plainsmen got within 68-56 at the end of the third. Laramie started the fourth on a 12-3 run. That got them within 71-68, but the Tigers got a key 3-pointer from Graedyn Buell and held off the Plainsmen the rest of the way.
Senior Asa Williams led the way with 18 points. Senior Nate Burman added 16 in the loss.
LHS head coach Travis Brown said we won three of the four quarters, but dug ourselves a 30-point hole.
“You’re playing uphill the rest of the game, and unfortunately that exhausts a lot of energy from you go come back like that, but also it shows a lot of character. If you’re asking me that showed that we have the potential to be very special this year that we just didn’t lay down.”
Laramie at Natrona County
Both LHS teams found a way to beat the NC teams on their home floor Friday night.
The Laramie Lady Plainsmen pulled out a 46-44 victory in a game that went down to the wire.
Head coach Laura Pollard said she was surprised that it was that close considering they had already played a game earlier in the day, when Natrona hadn’t.
“Every game we have gotten better. Today, we pulled it together, and it was a great thing to see.”
After a hot start by the Lady Plainsmen, the Fillies managed to pull back into a tie at 26 apiece by halftime. NC led 36-31 in the third before a 9-2 spurt by Laramie. Aadland hit the go ahead 3-pointer, and LHS led 40-38, as the teams went into the final frame.
Neither team did much in the fourth quarter, as both only scored six points.
Natrona’s Kristy Dick had a chance to win the game at the free throw line in the final 10 seconds, but missed both foul shots. One free throw by Sekoya Romero with one second left provided the final margin, as LHS won their first game of the season.
Aadland led the way with 19 points, while senior Kendra Lyons added seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Coach Pollard added about Aadland, “She’s definitely the spark, there’s no doubt about it. After losing her this (Friday) afternoon to a little bit of a headache, what does she do, she comes back in a major way… I couldn’t ask for more.”
In the boy’s game, the Plainsmen jumped out to a 16-point lead in the second quarter on the Natrona Mustangs, before they were forced into overtime and finally prevailed 80-77.
Head coach Travis Brown said his team showed some resiliency.
“These kids are learning how to win. Truthfully, winning’s not easy, and I think this is normal when you’re learning culturally how to win. You’re not going to just beat people by 30, you going to have to gut them out, and pretty soon you’re going to start to take that next step and not have to play games quite so tight.”
Laramie (2-1) never trailed in regulation. A Burman three-point shot opened the scoring, as LHS sprinted out to a 22-9 lead in the first. That expanded to 38-22 in the second quarter before the Mustangs closed the half on a 9-2 run. It was 40-31 at half.
The game remained tight throughout the second half. Jhett George and Ben Acres combined for 13 points in the fourth, as NC caught and tied the Plainsmen at 71. Each team had chances to win it in regulation, but both failed. That included an Asa Williams steal and jumper at the buzzer that fell short.
In OT, the lead changed hands twice, but a lay-up by Chad Browning with 30 second left in the extra period, plus two Burman free throws with 14.5 left sealed the victory.
The Mustangs had a chance to tie it, but Wilsk Jackson’s three from the top of the key was short, and despite Natrona getting the offensive rebound, they failed to get another shot off.
Burman led LHS with a season-high 22 points, while Browning and Hudda Herrera added 16 points apiece.
Brown added, “I can’t speak to how high I am on Chad Browning right now. It’s unbelievable. That kid has a motor like you’ve never seen before. He gutted that game out. Quite frankly, for the third, fourth and overtime, he said guys I’ll take the pressure off you. You get up the court.”
Brown referring to Browning going 1-on-1 against full court man pressure from NC on nearly every in-bound in back court.
Both teams will conclude the 3-day Fremont Motors Casper Basketball Invitational tournament with a game against Kelly Walsh Saturday. The girl’s game is at 4:30 p.m. followed by the boy’s at 6 p.m.