SHERIDAN — Adverse weather very nearly postponed the Sheridan High School girls home game against Cheyenne Central. Plenty of snow fell and temperatures hovered in the single digits for most of Friday. The freshman and junior varsity games were canceled, but the varsity teams still suited up. It may have remained warm inside the gym, but Mother Nature appeared to have a chilling effect on both teams.
Well, at least for three quarters.
The Lady Indians finally warmed up in the fourth period and ran away for a 47-36 victory. The loss — the fifth in a row for the Lady Broncs — is beginning to wear on them.
“It’s easy for coaches to get down and get a little bit frustrated and that mindset — and that thought process that goes with that — is not very productive,” Sheridan head coach Larry Ligocki said. “You’ve got to find a way to put it in the past and just try to keep coming out and getting better.”
Turnovers loomed large for Sheridan Friday. The Lady Broncs gave the ball away 22 times as Central consistently implemented a full-court press that flustered Sheridan. Teams have recently gone to a full-court pressure against the Lady Broncs and they have yet to show they can consistently break it.
“If they come with zone pressure, it doesn’t hurt us,” Ligocki said. “If they come with a man-to-man pressure, it kills us. We can’t get into our offense, and when you don’t shoot well, you’re going to struggle.
“When that pressure is coming we are not confident, and we are turning the ball over. We’ve got to find that confidence.”
Sheridan trailed 26-22 entering the game’s final quarter when Central made its move. The Lady Indians tallied the first six points of the fourth period to open up their first double-digit lead of the game with 6:10 to play.
The Lady Broncs connected on four straight free throws to make it a two-possession game, but that brief success at the charity stripe represented an anomaly Friday.
Sheridan made just 14 of its 25 freebies in an issue that has persisted for much of the conference season.
“We shot just a hair over 50 percent from the line, and I think we should be a 65 percent free-throw shooting team,” Ligocki said. “We just haven’t done that the last five games, and that hurts.”
The Lady Indians went on a 6-1 spurt that stretched their lead to 40-29 with 3:01 left and Central kept its distance the rest of the way as Sheridan fell to 6-12 overall and 2-5 in conference.
Alli Puuri led the Lady Broncs with 12 points, while Jordan Christensen added nine.
Neither team logged back-to-back field goals during the first eight minutes. Sheridan’s lone field — recorded by Bailey Coon — occurred at the 6:56 mark as the Lady Broncs missed five of eight free-throw attempts.
Sheridan erased its two-point first-quarter deficit and turned it into a 16-10 lead after three straight three-point possessions. Purri and Coon buried 3s, which was sandwiched around an old-fashioned 3-point play from Riley Rafferty. Purri’s driving layup with 40 seconds to play snapped a 2:30 scoring drought and made it an 18-14 game at halftime.
Sheridan, once again, only recorded one field goal in the third quarter and this led to their four-point deficit ahead of the fourth stanza.
The Lady Broncs host Cheyenne East Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Thunderbirds beat Sheridan 52-39 Jan. 26.
Cheyenne Central….7 7 12 21 — 47
Sheridan…………….5 13 4 14 — 38
Cheyenne Central — Geyer 11, Ybarra 9, Murphy 8, Ferneyhough 7, Roybal 6, Jackson 6, Delbridge 1
Sheridan — Puuri 12, Christesen 9, Coon 5, Morris 3, Rafferty 3, Ligocki 2, Ingalls 2