Mar 2, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterThe Lady Chiefs are back in the big dance after a one-year hiatus. Wyoming Indian took second in the Class 2-A West regional basketball tournament with a 59-47 loss to Lovell in the title game.
Friday evening the Chiefs battled for 32 minutes with Southwest champion Kemmerer and took a hard-fought, 42-40 win to advance to the finals.
Neither night was an easy outing for the Chiefs. Wyoming Indian split with Kemmerer in the regular season but has fallen three times to Lovell this year.
Wyoming Indian had the chance to put the game away at the line Friday, but the Chiefs suffered a dismal night on the line. On the evening they hit just eight of 29 from against Kemmerer and missed 12 straight free throws in the fourth period.
Kemmerer relies heavily on the play of forward Tia Tiller, and Wyoming Indian head coach Aleta Moss opened with a box-and-one defense on the Ranger senior. The strategy worked well for much of the opening half, but Tiller was able to break open for a pair of 3-pointers.
The Chiefs trailed after one quarter but put together a solid second and third period behind balanced scoring led by sophomore Loveeda White.Shaylee Lonedog also provided a spark with spinning baskets in transition. The two were fouled constantly by Kemmerer but combined to soot just 3-17 from the line.
The poor free-0throw shooting spread through the team like a flu epidemic, and nothing seemed to help as the game progressed.
Wyoming Indian led 22-19 at the half. White hit a bomb 59 seconds into the third to bump the lead to six. Tiller and Marie McClaren hit shots to close the game to four between White drives and trailed by just three points with 2:21 left in the third before another White trey rained down.
The period ended on an up-and-under follow shot by Elsie Marquez that gave the Chiefs their largest lead of the game at eight.
Tiller and fellow senior Madison Vickery picked up three fouls in the opening half and were tagged with their fourth fouls early in the second half. Both eventually fouled out, but Kemmerer kept chipping away at Wyoming Indian's lead and stayed within a point or two until late in the game.
Kemmerer tied the game at 40 on a Kennadi Gilbert free throw with 15 seconds left, but Amryn Brown was fouled on the rebound and made one of two to regain the lead 41-40.
A loose ball ended in a jump ball call that went to the Chiefs. Jasmine McGill was fouled immediately and hit the second of two free throws to bump the lead to two. Brown stole the Kemmerer inbound pass, and the Chiefs advanced to the finals.
Lovell put a tremendous defensive effort into Saturday's championship game, and it frustrated Wyoming Indian from the opening tip. The Chiefs managed just six and eight points n the first two periods, while the Bulldogs rolled with a varied offense that saw four players score in the paint and two more hit from the perimeter.
Lovell held a huge 38-17 lead with 6:24 left in the third period before the Chief offense began to relax. Kenzie Calf Boss Ribs hit a 3-pointer, and Jasmine McGill scored in transition to cut the lead to 47-33 at the end of the third.
Wyoming Indian's intensity picked up. White hit a 3-pointer with 2:41 left in the game that closed the gap to eight, but that was as close as the Chiefs would get.
Kim Shumway had a quiet game but erupted for Lovell's final six points on steals and transition layups.
Wyoming Indian opens state tournament play against third-seeded Pine Bluffs from the East at 9 a.m. Thursday at Casper College.
WYOMING INDIAN 7 15 14 6 W22; 42
KEMMERER 12 7 9 12 - 40
Wyoming Indian - Elsie Marquez 1 0-4 2, Amryn Brown 2 1-3 5, Jasmine McGill 1 (1) 3-4 8, Shaylee Lonedog 4 2-10 10, Dailyn Friday 1 1-2 3, Loveeda White 2 (3) 1-7 14. Totals 11 (4) 8-29 42
Kemmerer --Marie McClaren 2 0-0 4, Kennadi Gilbert 3 2-4 8, A. Brunski (1) 0-0 3, Lexi Julian 2-4 2, Madison Vickery 3 2-6 8, A. Pinter 1 1-2 3, Tia Tiller 3 (2) 0-2 12. Totals 12 (3) 7-16 40
WYOMING INDIAN 6 8 19 14 W22; 47
LOVELL 1318 16 12 - 59
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.