Plainsmen Fall Twice As Number One
It will be a short-lived stay atop the 4A boys' basketball rankings, as the Laramie Plainsmen lost both their games at home last weekend.
Top-ranked Laramie (12-6, 5-3) was knocked off by number three Sheridan last Friday night, 75-64. Saturday afternoon, unranked Gillette came in and beat LHS 65-53.
Laramie (12-6, 5-3) got off to a slow start, and the hot-shooting Broncs took full advantage last Friday night. Sheridan led from start to finish. They were up 7-0 before LHS got going and didn't slow down in route to a 39-26 lead at half. The closest the Plainsmen got was seven in the fourth quarter, but the Broncs closed it out at the free throw line.
Laramie head coach Chuck Kern said, "I just didn't do a very good job getting us settled down after senior night (ceremonies)... I think we were pressing so hard on the offensive end, that the defensive end we started getting a little bit frazzled and lost some focus there."
Sheridan (13-6, 7-2) shot 56 percent from the floor in the first half and 46 for the game. They went 19-for-24 at the line or 79 percent. Blake Godwin led three Broncs in double figures with a game-high 23 points.
The Plainsmen were led by Jake Aadland's 17 points. LHS shot 43 percent on field goals, but went only 2-11 from beyond the arc.
Saturday was decided in the fourth quarter. The Camels used a 17-0 to start the final period and pull away for a 65-53 upset of number one Laramie.
Kern said in the fourth quarter, "I think we lost our composure. We got real comfortable in the 2-3 (defense); I probably stuck with that a little bit too long... then our offense went stagnant. We haven't had that happen in the fourth quarter in a long time."
Gillette (10-10, 5-4) won their fourth straight game. Trey Larson led three Camels in double figures with 16 points. Cale Miessler and Brandon Koch added 12 apiece. They shot 49 percent on field goals and knocked down seven treys.
The game was tight and featured nine lead changes and seven ties.
The Camels led 10-6 early, but Larson, Miessler and Koch went to the bench with foul trouble. Laramie would take advantage for a 26-21 second lead, but managed only a 31-29 edge at half. It was 48-46 LHS, as the game entered the final frame, which was controlled by Gillette. The Plainsmen were held to only five points in the quarter.
Laramie had three players in double figures led by Andy Pearson with 11. They shot 45 percent from the field.
Kern also said his squad didn't seem the same.
"Our timing, our chemistry, something's just a little bit off. I don't if we're a little stressed. I don't know if the pressure of the weekend kind of stressed us out... I told the guys that I haven't seen the fire or the passion for the game and even for each other, as I had the last couple weeks."
The Plainsmen still have a shot at an automatic bid to the 4A State Tournament, but must win both games on the road this week. They play at Cheyenne Central Thursday and at Cheyenne East Friday. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m.