SHERIDAN — Things were tight briefly in the second quarter, but the Broncs first conference win was never really in doubt.
Reed Ritterbusch made sure of that.
As he’s been known to do, his offensive explosion in the second quarter and consistent scoring in the second half left him with 31 points as the Broncs rolled 4A East foe Laramie, 73-53, Friday night at Sheridan High School.
The game began with a 12-0 Sheridan run, and appeared to be in the books until the Plainsmen woke up and made the first half entertaining with a 9-0 run of their own.
“The first half started out kind of like a lot of games have started where they play us man and we get after them,” head coach Gale Smith said.
“They switched to a zone and we stalled out a little bit, we had to switch gears and stay disciplined. We had to figure out what’s available to us in a zone. What we talked about at halftime was just putting the throttle down and getting after it.”
That they did. The Broncs quickly extended their lead to 10 points and held that for the third quarter. The lead turned to 20 points with two minutes remaining in the game.
The game had just one tie and no lead changes. Laramie drew at 29 with 2:30 left in the first half, but a putback from Adam Berry and five points from Dylan Daniels got Sheridan going again.
Ritterbusch stole the inbounds pass off Daniels’ made jumper, hit the freebies, and then was fouled on an attractive fallaway jumper. He sealed the three-point play to help his team end the quarter on a 10-0 run.
The win further cemented Sheridan (11-2, 1-0 4A East) as a state title contender after their impressive nonconference start.
Despite their coach’s defense-first philosophy, they’ve shown the ability to win games with versatile offense.
“You always preach defense and rebounding, but sometimes offense will carry you,” Smith said. “We’re pretty lucky; we’ve got a tremendous shooter and a very good point guard, some guys in the paint and some guys off the bench.
“Our scoring has been there all year other than one game, and defensively we just keep getting better.”
Today’s opponent, Cheyenne South, was the team that stopped Sheridan from qualifying for the state tournament a year ago.
The Bison beat the Broncs in the 4A East Regional tournament opening game last March in Gillette, in turn qualifying for their first-ever 4A tourney.
Smith expects South will bring a similar attack to what the Plainsmen showed Friday — an athletic team that can hit jumpers and can be dangerous if they’re allowed to get going.
“If we play our style of basketball and get after them early, we could get a similar result,” he said.
Broncs scoring: Ritterbusch 31, Tyler Kaufmann 8, Dylan Daniels 13, Adam Berry 7, Cody Williams 5, Blake Godwin 3, Judson White 4, Trae Kaufmann 2.