SHERIDAN — If there was any question whether the Lady Broncs would keep their current hotstreak alive when they got to Casper this morning, that was answered in a hurry.
Sheridan took Green River out behind the woodshed in the first round of the 4A girls state tournament with a 73-37 whipping at Casper College.
Initially, the Lady Broncs led by just two points, 7-5, but steals and free throws suddenly made the game a foregone conclusion.
Sheridan led 30-9 after one quarter, on pace for more than 100 points. At the half, shuffling players deep off their bench on the way there, the Lady Broncs were up 48-20.
They got after it pretty good,” head coach Sean Yeager said of his team, admitting they are clicking at the right time. “It was fun they got a good start. It was nice to erase some of the feelings that we had last year.”
Sheridan, in its first year under Yeager, dropped its first round game at state last year, finishing as consolation champs. The still-talented Lady Broncs have carried the goal in 2012-13 of bringing a girls basketball title back to Sheridan for the first time since 2007.
“Everything is kind of culminating, coming together,” Yeager said. The Lady Broncs picked up this morning where they left off Saturday after winning the 4A East Regional title against Gillette. “Sometimes you hits stretches where you play like this, and it’s nice to get them in games that mean a lot.
“You don’t change too much, we have a goal, and that was just one of the teams that stands in the way of that goal,” he added. “They know to bear down and focus in order to win at state, and to do that you have to get through some good teams. They don’t avoid it, they accept it and leave it all out on the floor.”
Sheridan did that Thursday morning — top to bottom. The Lady Broncs made nine of their first nine free throws during the first-half run, and nine different players scored in the first two quarters. Amazingly, no player entered double-digit scoring until the fourth quarter when Baylee Baker hit 10 points at just under the five-minute mark. Robbi Ryan, Mali Wright and Taylor Townsend each finished with nine points for SHS.
The Lady Broncs forced 23 turnovers and had 10 steals Thursday. They were 16 of 25 from the free throw line and five of 11 from 3-point land. Green River managed just nine points in the first quarter and four in the fourth. They shot 41 percent from the field, but Sheridan hit on 51 percent of its shots. Green River shot just 13 free throws, making five.
After showing dominance at the 4A East Regional Tournament last weekend and reaching their semifinal today with ease, things may be a little tougher Friday.
Sheridan will play at 4:30 p.m. at the Casper Events Center against Cheyenne East, who beat their first round opponent handily Thursday as well. East ran off Rock Springs 51-31.
The No. 2 ranked team in the state for much of the year, Cheyenne East played the Lady Broncs close in their two contests in conference play, but SHS won 53-45 in Cheyenne and 66-64 in Sheridan.
“We’re pretty even teams,” Yeager said. “I think the key will be keeping the girls aggressive and keeping them out of foul trouble at the same time will be huge.
“If somebody is in foul trouble, and one team capitalizes that could be huge. We’re going to have to play with our feet and not our hands. I’m sure East is thinking the same thing.”