SHERIDAN — Hailey Ligocki’s shot rolled off the rim and the Wyoming girls comeback fell just short Friday night against Montana.
The Wyoming-bound Ligocki finished with eight points, playing in front of her hometown fans for the last time in her high school career as the Wyoming girls lost 70-69.
Sheridan’s Mali Wright had four points.
“I was extremely proud of our team, we battled right to the end,” Sheridan College head coach Frank McCarthy said after leading the Wyoming girls.
Despite the loss, the All-Star game served its purpose: one last showcase of Wyoming talent in front of a Wyoming crowd.
“Oh, yeah, it was great,” Ligocki said of the last experience at home. “We definitely played well. This team really meshes well. Obviously, we lost by one so there are some things we can improve on, but as a team we play well together.
“I was talking to the ref, and he was surprised we had only started practice on Wednesday, so I think that’s a good thing.”
The Montana All-Stars led the entire way, until a late run from Wyoming tied things at 66-all with 45 seconds to go.
Three steals made possible by McCorra Ford of Gillette, Kassidy Scott of Douglas, and Ligocki sparked the run. Scott, Ford, and Sierra Toms (Gillette, Sheridan College in the fall) hit five free throws to tie.
Alycia Sims of Montana would hit one of two free throws, setting up Ligocki’s last-gasp attempt.
As she’s known to do, she used a hard dribble and blew by her defender to earn her shot.
For an All-Star game with all 10 girls on the Wyoming squad headed to play college basketball, it was clear they weren’t scared to play physical even in a friendly game — something that eventually narrowed the late deficit.
“I think defense is huge,” Ligocki said. “If you can be physical and aggressive on defense you can get some good things happening and we had that going toward the end there when we dug in and got back in the game.”
The Montana girls improved their overall series lead to 23-10.
Wyoming and Montana play again at 6 p.m. tonight at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.