Dec 23, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Sports WriterPAVILLION -- It wasn't exactly the Christmas present the Wind River girls wanted. The Cougars lost a 15-point lead late in the game and fell in overtime to the Thermopolis Bobcats 66-60.
The loss is only the second of the year for Wind River but was an especially hard one to take.
Entering the game the Cougars and Bobcats were both 7-1 on the season with each team falling to top-ranked Tongue River.
The game looked like an impending blowout in the opening period, as the Cougars rolled to a huge lead behind nine points from Brett Groesbeck. Groesbeck hit three close-range shots and added a trey, while teammate Lexus Brown added six from close range as the Cougars rolled.
Thermopolis couldn't find an answer to Wind River's offense, as the Cougars poured in 23 opening-period points. Five different girls scored. Wind River continued to dominate play in the second, but the offense on both ends cooled. Turnovers took over. Neither team could find an offensive flow in the second quarter, but Wind River held a decisive 32-19 advantage at the intermission.
The game style continued in the third, with a 3-pointer from Lydia Johnson glancing off the glass as a high point.
Foul trouble loomed for the Cougars, with Brown and Tory Thoman eventually picking up their fifth fouls early in the final period.
Thermopolis relied heavily on the stellar play of senior guard Dana Bjorhus. Bjorhus scored 19 of her game-high 29 in the second half including a 3-pointer.
Regulation play came down to a jumper from Bjorhus with seven seconds left. The senior stepped up from the extended free-throw line and drained a shot that the boisterous Thermopolis crowd claimed was 3-pointer, but her toe was clearly over the line. The game went into an extra four minutes of play. Josee Vogel hit a follow shot to give the Cougars the first lead of the overtime, but Jordan Leyba hit a layup to knot the game at 56. Haylee Hoffman hit a pair of free throws to put the Bobcats back into the lead for good.
Leyba split the Cougar defense, then dished the ball to Desi Rangel for an easy basket. Macayla Arrington hit a follow shot for the Cougars, but that was it.
The Cats hit six of eight from the line in the overtime period with Bjorhus and Bailey Fischer hitting four in a row in the final seconds.
Wind River takes a couple of days off, then plays in the Fremont County Shootout at Ethete this week.
WIND RIVER 23 9 11 11 6 -- 60
THERMOPOLIS 13 6 14 21 12 -- 66
Wind River -- Josee Vogel 3 2-7 8, Tory Thoman 3 0-0 6, Brett Groesbeck 5 (1) 0-0 13, Amanda C'Bearing 3 3-4 9, Lydia Johnson 2 (1) 1-3 8, Lexus Brown 6 0-2 12, Macayla Arrington 2 0-1 4. Totals 24 (2) 6-17 60.
Thermopolis -- Bailey Fischer 2-2 2, Sierra Schmidt 1 (1) 2-8 7, Haylee Hoffman 3 3-7 9, Jordon Leyba 3 5-11 11, Dana Bjorhus 10 (1) 6-7 29, Desi Rangel 4 0-0 8. Totals 21 (2) 18-35 66 .
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