BIG HORN — The last time the Big Horn Lady Rams took on the Wright Lady Panthers, it took an extra four minutes to decide the outcome. In the teams’ second contest, no extra time was needed.
The Big Horn Lady Rams clinched the top spot in the 2A East regional tournament with a dominant 53-24 win over the Lady Panthers.
The Lady Rams boast a 16-2 overall record and an 8-0 conference record. Not only has Big Horn won 10 straight, but it has won by double-digit margins in the past five outings.
“It was great the way we played on our home court today,” head coach Michael McGuire said. “Not only did we have great energy, we went out there and played to win today. We didn’t worry about bad things happening and playing not to lose; we were aggressive and really let things fly. I was pleased with our effort and mentality all day today.”
Emily Blaney had one of her best games all season. Not only did the Big Horn senior drop 23 points on an athletic Wright defense, but she grabbed a double-double with 12 steals on the day.
“She always plays so hard, and she played with great energy today,” McGuire said. “I think everyone on the team fed off of that.”
The Lady Rams controlled the pace of the game from the beginning. Starting out even with their opponent, the Lady Rams full-court press forced a handful of turnovers in the final minutes of the first quarter to the tune of an 8-0 run.
They did it again in the second quarter. The Lady Rams shared the ball well, which led to another 6-0 run before the end of the first half thanks to key buckets from post Abby Buckingham. She finished the game second in scoring for the Lady Rams with 13 points.
“We are a team which wants to play fast and get up and down the floor,” McGuire said. “When you do that, you open up opportunities sometimes to have those little 6- and 8-point bursts. If you get a couple of those in big games, it can really be to your advantage.”
The defense did its job, as well.
Despite Wright having the height advantage with three girls nearing 6-feet, the Lady Rams shut down the Lady Panthers offense by winning the rebound battle and holding their opponent to 17-percent shooting from the field.
While the top seed has been clinched, the toughest battles coming up for the Lady Rams will be within the team itself. McGuire said it’s critical that his team does not get complacent during the final weekend of the regular season.
“The most important thing for us to understand is that we haven’t played our best basketball yet,” McGuire said. “We have to continue to improve every time out there.”
The Lady Rams wrap up the conference season with a game at Upton Friday and a home game against Moorcroft Saturday.
Wright……………………………………6 10 4 4 — 24
Big Horn………………………………..15 19 10 9 — 53
Wright — Benedict 10, Seamunds 5, Rubis 3, K. Edwards 2, Apodaca 2, J. Edwards 2
Big Horn — E. Blaney 23, Buckingham 13, B. Hutton 6, M. Blaney 4, Cook 3, A. Hutton 2, Mayer 2