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Lady Blue end season with tough 1-point loss
Mar 4, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
CASPER -- Sometimes an entire season can evaporate into the microcosm of a single second. Shoshoni battled Pine Bluffs to the last second Saturday morning in the Class 2-A girls' consolation championship at Casper College.
The Wranglers held a three-point lead with 24 seconds remaining, but Pine Bluffs scored twice in the final seconds to escape with a 45-44 win.
Kodi Ragsdale hit a follow shot, and the Wranglers had a chance to put the game away at the line but couldn't convert when it counted the most. With 1.1 seconds left on the clock Shoshoni's Kiyana Martin tied up Pine Bluffs' Conner Graves, but the possession arrow went to the Hornets.
On the ensuing inbounds play the stars were in alignment for Graves as she took the pass 12 feet from the free throw line extend and shot a desperation shot over tight defense from Coralee Spratt to hit the game winner as the buzzer sounded.
The loss ends the Wranglers' first trip to the state tournament in eight years with a record of 1-2.
The game was tight from the opening period and tied at the half and the end of the third period.
Shoshoni had problems scoring throughout the game but their defense was stellar. The Wranglers full court pressure forced 27 Pine Bluffs turnovers, and the Hornets were whistled for 10-seconds in the backcourt on three different occasions. Shoshoni also forced two five-second calls.
Shoshoni dominated the boards as well, pulling down an impressive 21 offensive rebounds.
While the Wranglers shot just 33 percent from the floor, the telling statistic in the game came at the free-throw line, where they all hit just a third of their shots, hitting nine of 27 on the game.
Pine Bluffs led early, as Shoshoni just couldn't find the range. Wrangler senior Coralee Spratt hit the floor hard and had to the leave the game, returning from the training room with an ice pack on her head. She returned to the floor with two minutes left and hit a 3-pointer to give the Wranglers their first lead with just seven seconds left in the half.
Graves was fouled on the ensuing possession and hit one of two to knot the game at 21 at intermission.
Five ties or lead changes proved nothing in the third. The game was tied at 28 entering the final quarter of the season for both teams.
Shoshoni led by three for most of the fourth quarter, taking their first lead on a Sarah Thompson follow shot. Jesi Zitek tied the game at 33 on a 3-pointer, but the Wranglers fought back to hold a tenuous lead for nearly the final four minutes of the game.
Spratt hit a layup, and Hailey Pince hit one-of-two attempts from the line with 37 seconds left to give the Wranglers a 44-41 advantage, but it wasn't enough as Pine Bluffs hit the final two shots of the game for the win.
Shoshoni graduates Tennell Parrish, Pince and Spratt. The Wranglers posted a 25-6 overall record this season and won the Southwest 2-A conference.