SHERIDAN — On an emotional night that featured the return of former Lady General Lindsay Heimkes, the Sheridan College women’s basketball team wasn’t able to pull out a win against Miles Community College Saturday at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome.
Miles defeated Sheridan 59-54.
Heimkes, who was injured in a car accident in 2006, cutting her basketball career short, spoke to the Lady Generals before their matchup with the Lady Pioneers. Sheridan came out with some added motivation, but it wasn’t enough to get over poor shooting.
The Lady Generals shot just 26 percent in the first half and finished the game at 33 percent from the field, including 6 of 26 (23 percent) from beyond the arc.
“We just didn’t shoot it well,” SC head coach Frank McCarthy said. “Six of 23 from 3; only eight free throws. We don’t have any penetrators. It makes it hard.”
The missed shots were most costly down the stretch, as Sheridan watched a lead slip away in the final minutes. The Lady Generals missed five straight shots to close the game.
Brooke Cargal knocked down a 3-pointer with 4:20 to play that gave Sheridan a 50-48 lead. But a lid appeared to cover the basket as Sheridan shots hit every part of the hoop except the bottom of the net.
Mar Lamadrid Coll shot a long jumper that would have given Sheridan a 5-point lead, but her shot went halfway down before rattling out — a sign of things to come. Coll missed another shot in the paint, and Raelynn Keefer turned a steal into a missed layup as Sheridan tried desperately to secure its lead.
With 36 seconds remaining and the game tied at 54, Miles’ Marla Delgado buried a 3-pointer to take the lead for good.
Almost fittingly, Rebekah Brewer’s desperation 3 in the closing seconds missed, and Sheridan lost its sixth conference game and fourth of its last five.
“All I can do is ask them; we played hard,” McCarthy said. “They came out with a lot of energy. Lindsay gave a great speech before the game. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. Came up a little bit short.”
The pre-game speech seemed to help the Lady Generals.
Sheridan came out strong and made things difficult for a Miles team that beat Sheridan 70-55 last month. The Lady Generals defense double-teamed in the post and flew around the perimeter, forcing Miles to take difficult shots.
Twice in the game Sheridan forced shot-clock violations and didn’t allow the Lady Pioneers to get a shot off after 20 seconds of trying to end the first half.
Offensively, the Lady Generals combatted their shooting woes with fast-break layups.
Sara Storeshaw turned turnovers into baskets with assists to Ashleigh Frampton twice at the end of the first quarter as Sheridan jumped to a 13-8 lead. Sheridan was at its most commanding when pushing the ball up the floor.
“When you’re not knocking down shots, you have to try to get out and get to the rim,” McCarthy said. “That was our best offense today. And our defense has to carry us. We made some big plays, but we’ve got to score the ball better, especially to end the game. That’s going to hurt us.”
The goal for Sheridan has always been a top-four finish in the conference, which gives the team a first-round home game in the Region IX tournament. The loss to Miles didn’t help, and the Lady Generals are going to need some help to close the season.
Right now, Sheridan sits fifth in the conference behind Miles, but Miles beat SC both times this year to secure the tiebreaker. Sheridan has a one-game lead over Northwest, as well.
The Lady Generals travel to Little Big Horn College and Central Wyoming College this week before closing the year with two home games against Western Wyoming College and Northwest College.
“We’re going to need some help,” McCarthy said. “We need somebody to beat Miles City so we can move back in (the top four), or else we’re going to have a tough road ahead of us.”
Miles Community College…………………….8 17 11 23 — 59
Sheridan College……………………………..13 9 18 14 — 54
Miles — Weidauer 18, Delgado 16, Torio 12, Katoa 6, Tasovic 5, Burnham 2
Sheridan — Blackburn 11, Brewer 11, Cargal 10, Keefer 8, Frampton 8, Coll 6
Miles 34 (Weidauer 13); Sheridan 27 (Blackburn 8)
Miles 16 (Tasovic 7); Sheridan 12 (Storeshaw 5)