Massive crowd watches
rivals split doubleheader
SHERIDAN — It sure wasn’t pretty, but for 16-1 and a win over Gillette in front of home fans, they’ll take it.
The No. 1 Sheridan Lady Broncs (16-1, 5-0) have shown they can win in a variety of ways this year, and Friday they held the No. 3 Lady Camels (12-6, 4-1) below 50 points, winning 55-45 to end the first half of their 4A East schedule unbeaten.
“It’s always a big game, there’s a lot of history with these two teams,” head coach Jessica Pickett said. “The jitters were there definitely, probably for both teams. We shot worse than I think we’ve shot all year.
“But I’m proud of them for coming back,” she emphasized. “We didn’t get many opportunities, but they kept fighting and they had a lot of heart. Gillette’s got a great team and they kept battling too.”
As the entire game went it ended somewhat uninspired, but in Sheridan’s favor.
Robbi Ryan missed the back end of a 1 and 1, with 20 seconds remaining, with Sheridan up six. As the rebound fell off the rim, Gillette players scattered and Ryan picked it up and scored to end any threat.
The Lady Broncs held momentum out of each the second and third quarters with late fast break points by Jami Shassetz into the half then Maddy McClure into the fourth, a full house rattling the gym with each Sheridan swing.
Still, the game was back and forth through three quarters, with Sheridan not building it’s first two-possession lead until the final three minutes of the contest when they were able to pull away.
Gillette missed three open 3s in one possession during the fourth, as things just seemed to bounce Sheridan’s way.
“It was a struggle, a tough game and I’m proud of them,” Pickett said, summing up the result.
The Lady Broncs were as unselfish as advertised as Ryan finished with 14, Taylor Townsend with eight and Maddy McClure and Alison Geary with seven apiece.
Sheridan gets Saturday off to rest — always a welcomed opportunity late on in a grueling basketball season.
“I think the girls are in need of it,” Pickett said. “We’ll have a weekend off and then get back at it again on Monday.”
Sheridan resumes with a home weekend against Laramie and Cheyenne South next weekend, teams beat on the road in two comfortable wins in January.
Gillette 72, Sheridan 62
SHERIDAN — Packed house. Two good teams. Too many mistakes.
The Broncs lost a 72-62 thriller Friday night to the Camels, falling to third in 4A East standings behind Cheyenne East.
Sheridan (13-4, 4-2) was right there throughout, making the No. 1 Camels (14-3, 5-0) look beatable, challenging a team that was a tier above them last season.
Gillette’s star, Cody Kelly, brought his A-game, slashing to the basket all night as he finished with 21 points even through late foul trouble. Four other Camels finished the night in double figures.
Sheridan was paced by senior Reed Ritterbusch, who carried much of the burden on a night that was riddled with turnovers for the Broncs. He had 24 points and was followed by a good performance from Cody Williams, who’s big first half run helped Sheridan take a 38-32 lead into the locker room.
Dylan Daniels and Blake Godwin each had seven points and Judson White and Tyler Kaufmann had six apiece.
Even as Sheridan raised the standing room only crowd, holding the lead into the break, Gillette got a bucket on their first possession of the third quarter behind three offensive rebounds and Sheridan trailed by one possession from there as the Camels were active on the glass.
Sheridan’s last lead of the game came at the one-minute mark in the third quarter when Ritterbusch scored on the break and added two free throws on the subsequent possession. But Gillette took a 54-51 advantage into the final frame.
Three charges by Bronc players gave the Camels too many chances, and they pulled away from the three-minute mark, with Sheridan never able to get back within one possession.
The two teams play again in their final regular season contest on Feb. 28 in Gillette.
Sheridan’s loss comes at the halfway point of their conference schedule as they’ll be out on the road for games against Laramie and Cheyenne South next weekend, after taking today to rest. Sheridan beat both teams in January.