SHERIDAN — Much like the movie Groundhog Day, the Sheridan High School girls basketball team had to relive an unfortunate chain of events Saturday in its game against Cheyenne East.
Full-court press causes turnover, turnover leads to a quick bucket and the bucket leads to a larger deficit.
That sequence played out time and again Saturday for the Lady Broncs, and it finally resulted in a 66-25 loss, which dropped them to 1-14 on the season.
“The full-court pressure, they just brought it,” Sheridan head coach Larry Ligocki said. “And when you make a few mistakes, it just starts to build. When it happens two, three, four times in a row and then a fifth and sixth time in a row, I think it gets in your head, and it just turned the momentum immediately.”
East utilized that wave of momentum to outscore Sheridan 28-0 during the third quarter. Even if the Lady Broncs didn’t cough up the ball in the backcourt, they rarely ran an effective offensive set to earn them a good look.
The fourth period saw the Lady Thunderbirds push their cushion out to beyond 40 points and earn a running clock. However, it was that initial eight minutes out of halftime that truly affected Sheridan, and, as a result, Ligocki had to have a longer-than-normal postgame talk with his squad.
“The second half was tough,” Ligocki said. “[The team’s demeanor] was probably as down as much a I’ve seen it this year simply because of that third quarter. They got on us, and then you see kids a little afraid to handle the ball and making passes they shouldn’t make even when the pressure isn’t there. That’s what pressure does.”
East implemented a full-court press for a majority of the first half, as well, and Sheridan managed it more effectively than it did in the second half. After the Lady Thunderbirds pounced on the Lady Broncs — scoring 14 of the game’s first 16 points en route to a 22-8 lead at the end of the first quarter — Sheridan steadied itself in the second eight minutes.
The Lady Broncs went toe-to-toe with the Lady Thunderbirds and cut their deficit to single digits late in the first half before a little spurt from East gave it a 33-18 halftime advantage. Ligocki believes that the largest contributor to a the more successful second stanza was simply his team’s mindset.
“We were able to keep our heads and have a little bit of success (in the first half),” Ligocki said. “We didn’t fight our heads quite so badly in that first half, and that’s a big part of it.”
The Lady Broncs — who were led by Annie Mitzel’s seven points — will look to focus most on the first half Saturday in an effort to stay positive with just a couple weeks left in the season.
Sheridan travels to Cheyenne South Friday before a trip to Laramie Saturday. Unlike East and Cheyenne Central — which boasted a combined record of 29-3 — the Lady Bison and Lady Plainsmen are a combined 9-24, which, should give the Lady Broncs a better chance, on paper, of snapping their eight-game losing streak.
Cheyenne East…22 11 28 5 — 66
Sheridan……….. 8 10 0 7 — 25
Cheyenne East — Blaney 12; Buell 11; Miller 9; Erickson 9; Martin 8; Brady 7; McEwan 6; Bailey 4
Sheridan — Mitzel 7; Ligocki 5; Rafferty 3; Wilson 3; Beard 3; Brown 2; Johnson 2