Lady Blue loses Thursday but rebounds Friday

Mar 2, 2012 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

UPDATE: Shoshoni lost a heart breaker to Pine Bluffs 45-44 in the fifth place game at the Class 2-A state basketball tournament in Casper. The Ranger was there. Catch all the details in Sunday's Ranger.

CASPER -- Shoshoni's girls fell Thursday in the opening round of the Class 2-A girls state basketball tournament to second-seeded Tongue River 49-40 but rebounded Friday morning with a deceptive 45-25 blowout of Lusk to advance to Saturday morning's consolation championship.

The Lady Wranglers face Pine Bluffs at 9 a.m. at Casper College.

Add up all the statistics from shooting percentage to turnovers, but in the end there is no measure for experience. Shoshoni drew perhaps the toughest first-round opponent of anyone in the Class 2-A girls division in perennial powerhouse Tongue River.

Shoshoni battled well, but the Eagles have been to the big dance continuously for the last two decades while the Lady Blue haven't made the tournament since former coach Chuck Wells took his team to the Class 1-A consolation title.

Experience proved to be the difference in the second half as Tongue River eased by the Lady Blue to advance to a semi-final matchup with Lovell at 6 p.m. in the Events Center.

Tongue River took an early 5-0 lead on a basket from Tianne Main and a trey from Tianna Mitchell. Shoshoni looked tentative offensively but played stellar half-court defense.

With 3:01 left in the first quarter, the Wranglers finally found the mark on a Kiyana Martin free throw. The spark led Shoshoni on a 10-0 run that prompted a pair of Tongue River timeouts. Coralee Spratt, Olivia Thompson and Sarah Thompson all scored in the run.

Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with 5:48 remaining in the half to end the Tongue River drought.

Shoshoni was patient offensively, scoring on drives by Spratt and short jumpers from Hailey Pince, eventually doubling the score 16-8 with 3:50 left in the half.

Tongue River picked up momentum on a trey from Sarah Rawlings and a steady march to the charity stripe by the rest of the team. Sarah Nielson knotted the game at 20 with 1:01 remaining in the half on a pair of free throws.

Shoshoni trailed by two at the intermission.

The Eagles won the game on a 7-0 run after a three-minute drought by both teams. A post move by Eryn Aksamit put the Eagles up 31-21 and prompted a timeout from Shoshoni head coach Dan Martin.

The timeout paid off as Spratt hit a layup followed by a 3-pointer. The Wranglers were back in the game. A jumped from Pince closed the gap to 31-28, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Tara Stimpson and Rawlings put an end to the Shoshoni run.

Shoshoni found a weak spot in the extended Eagle zone with Pince posting up on the low baseline and catching lob passes over the top of the zone for a pair of scores.

The Wranglers rallied again late in the game on a Celsey Martin jump shot. Martin hit a trey earlier in the period and the Wranglers closed to 45-40 with 2:38 left but that was it. Burns went to the delay and hit a pair of late baskets to hold on for the win.

Shoshoni's defense shone in Friday's elimination contest. After trailing 4-1 early in the game the Wranglers rolled on an unprecedented 33-0 run to build a surprising 30-point lead at 34-4.

Lusk suffered through 19 minutes of scoreless basketball before Hannah Shoults finally hit a follow shot with 1:57 left in the third.

Shoshoni's run was more of a slow motion role as the Tigers were extremely deliberate on offense, passing the ball more than a dozen times on many possessions but eventually throwing the ball away and not attempting a shot. Lusk took only 16 attempts in the entire opening half.

Shoshoni scored in the second with post play from Hailey Pince, Sarah Thompson and Kolbi Pickinpaugh but erupted in the third on the hot-handed shooting of junior Celsey Martin.

Martin drained four consecutive 3-pointers from spots all over the floor to tally 12 points in the third period. Her final trey from the top of the key gave the Wranglers their largest lead at 30 points with 2:17 remaining.

Lusk rallied on a couple of long shots in the final period but with the game well in hand officials repeatedly gave the ball to Lusk in every conceivable situation.

The Tigers shot 7-7 from the line in the final period and hit three 3-pointers in the final four minutes, with Kiffani Skurkrud draining a pair and Sami Starkey hitting another.

SHOSHONI 8 13 9 10 -- 40

TONGUE RIVER 5 18 18 8 -- 49

Shoshoni - Kiyana Martin 1-2 1, Natalee Goff 1 0-0 2, Sarah Thompson 1 1-1 3, Hailey Pince 4 1-2 9, Celsey Martin 1 (1) 0-0 5, Coralee Spratt 4 (2) 4-4 18, Olivia Thompson 1 0-1 2. Totals 12 (3) 7-10 40

Tongue River - Sarah Rawlings 1 (3) 2-2 13, Cierra Cooley 1-3 1, Tiana Mitchell 2 (2) 3-4 13, Sarah Nielsen 6 4-4 16, Ashley Bolin 1 0-0 2, Tara Stimpson 0-2 0, Eryn Aksamit 1 0-2 2, Tianne Main 1 0-2 2. Totals 12 (5) 10-19 49

SHOSHONI 7 12 17 9 -- 45

LUSK 4 0 8 13 -- 25

Shoshoni -- Kiyana Martin 2-2 2 Kolbi Pickinpaugh 2 2-24 6, Sarah Thompson 3 0-0 6, Hailey Pince 4 0-0 8, Celsey Martin (4) 0-0 12, Coralee Spratt 1 2-3 5, Olivia Thompson 2 2-6 6. Totals 11 (5) 8-15 45

Lusk -- Hannah Shoults 2 (1) 5-5 12, Sami Starkey (2) 0-0 6, Kiffani Skurkrud 1 1-2 3, Allison Whiting 1 0-0 2, Kassidy Miller 2-2 2. Totals 3 (4) 7-7 253

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Olivia Thompson fought inside against Tongue River Thursday at the Wyoming State Class 2-A basketball tournament. Photo by Randy Tucker

Olivia Thompson fought inside against Tongue River Thursday at the Wyoming State Class 2-A basketball tournament. Photo by Randy Tucker

Olivia Thompson fought inside against Tongue River Thursday at the Wyoming State Class 2-A basketball tournament. Photo by Randy Tucker

Olivia Thompson fought inside against Tongue River Thursday at the Wyoming State Class 2-A basketball tournament. Photo by Randy Tucker

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