Mar 6, 2014 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterCASPER -- Wyoming Indian's depth and tenacious defense was too much for the Pine Bluffs Hornets in opening-round Class 2-A girls basketball action at the state tournament in Casper.
The Lady Chiefs outscored the Hornets 17-5 in the third period via a 12-0 run to take a convincing 75-50 win over the third seed from the East.
The win sends Wyoming Indian to a 4:30 p.m. semifinal against East 2-A champion Tongue River at the Casper Events Center on Friday afternoon.
It was a solid team effort for Wyoming Indian, with 24 points tallied by five girls coming off the bench.
The Chiefs were plagued at the free-throw line a week ago at the West Regional in Riverton, but shot an impressive 13 of 17 from the stripe against the Hornets.
"We practiced free throws a little bit this week," a smiling Wyoming Indian head coach Aleta Moss said.
The game was tight at the start, with three ties and an equal number of lead changes in the opening six minutes of play.
Wyoming Indian rallied in the final 1:11 of the first on a 6-0 run by reserves Taylor Harris, Elise Marquez and Rhiannon Mitchell to give the Chiefs some breathing room at 19-13.
The second period was entertaining, with the Hornets closing to four on three separate occasions,but the Chiefs always found an answer.
Marquez dominated play in the paint with a variety of moves, along with bucket by Shaunte St. Clair.
The Chiefs were hot from the perimeter as well, with Loveeda White and Jasmine McGill each hitting first-half 3-pointers. McGill kept the hot hand throughout the game and tallied four long-range treys on the game.
Wyoming Indian is the best assisting team in the tournament, and a play with 1:54 left in the half was indicative of that style.
Harris snapped a rebound and tossed a long outlet pass to White, who stepped through a Pine Bluffs defender and threw a perfect two-hand bounce pass to Amyrn Brown for a wide-open layup.
Wyoming Indian's swarming zone defense smothered the Hornets in the third. Shots were few and far between for Pine Bluffs as the Chiefs raced on another run, this one 12-0.
Pine Bluffs finally scored with 2:08 left in the third on an Ashyln Culp follow shot.
The Chiefs led by 17 entering the final period, and the entire squad played well in the final eight minutes of the game. McGill hit two of her treys, with Shaylee Lonedog driving and spinning for a shot and hitting five of five from the line when the exhausted Hornets began to grab rather than defend her on drives.
"The girls played really well this morning," Moss said. "We rebounded well today."
Though Pine Bluffs was considerably taller than Wyoming Indian, the Chiefs out rebounded the Hornets 44-30.
Friday's semifinal features a rematch from the second week of the season, won by Tongue River 63-59 at Ethete.
WYOMING INDIAN 19 18 17 21 - 75
PINE BLUFFS13 16 5 16 - 50
Wyoming Indian - Kayleen Harding 1 0-0 2, Elsie Marquez 5 1-2 11, Makenzie Calf Boss Ribs 1 0-0 2, Loveeda White 4 (1) 1-1 12, Rhiannon Mitchell 1 1-1 3, Amryn Brown 5 0-1 10, Jasmine McGill (4) 2-2 14, Taylor Harris 2 (1) 1-2 8, Shaylee Lonedog 1 5-5 7, Shaunte St. Clair 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 (6) 13-17 75
Pine Bluffs - Sierra Shelit 3 0-0 6, Sam Hanson 3 0-0 6, Jadyn Golding 3 2-2 8, Montanna Chrystal 1-2 1, Dana Mullins 5 0-2 10, Andrea Baker 5 2-4 12, Ashyln Culp 3 1-3 7. Totals 22 6-13 50
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