SHERIDAN — It happened to Kassie Hoyer her senior year of high school; it occurred again Saturday inside the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome; and she anticipates that it’ll likely happen once more in a couple years when her amateur basketball career comes to and end.
Saturday’s game came equipped with plenty of emotion for Hoyer and her Sheridan College sophomore teammates as it marked, perhaps, the last home game for a quartet of Lady Generals.
“The freshman decorated our lockers, and that that kind of caught us off guard,” Hoyer said. “That got us emotional before the game, which is what you don’t want. But it happens at every senior night, every sophomore night and next senior night for college.”
The understandable emotion resulted in a less-than desirable start for SC, but the Lady Generals quickly righted the ship and sent their sophomores out with more tears of joy following a 74-61 victory over Central Wyoming College.
“[The slow start] was kind of disappointing, but I think we did really well battling back,” Hoyer said.
The Lady Rustlers jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held a 20-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Generals didn’t stay true to their defensive scouting report and weren’t effective offensively.
SC didn’t force Central Wyoming’s dribble drivers to go left. The offense sputtered and made careless mistakes — committing six turnovers in the first 10 minutes— much like it did Wednesday in a loss at Gillette College.
The Lady Generals corrected many of those things in the second stanza and led 33-31 at halftime. Sheridan continued to stretch its lead, gaining a 51-41 edge at the end of the third period, and kept its distance in the final 10 minutes.
SC only committed 13 turnovers for the game — a far cry from the six first-quarter turnovers — and assisted on 18 of 28 made field goals. The Lady Generals hit 43 percent (28 of 65) of their shots from the floor, while Central Wyoming connected on 44 percent (22 of 50) of its field-goal attempts.
Hoyer led Sheridan with 15 points. Cynthia Green recorded a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Brooklyn Betham chipped in 10 points.
The victory improved the Lady Generals to 17-11 overall and 7-5 in Region IX play. They are currently tied with Laramie County Community College for fourth place in the standings, a game behind Eastern Wyoming College.
SC can finish no worse that fifth and still has a good opportunity to host a conference tournament opening-round game — a reward for teams that finish with a top-four seed. But if that doesn’t happen, and Saturday represented the final home game for Hoyer, Noora Parttimaa, Aloma Solovi and Tala Tuisavura, Davis is glad that group, which has meant a great deal to him, went out with a victory.
“They mean a lot to me just because they bought into me, a coach that had never been a head coach before,” Davis said. “… Recruiting is a big risk sometimes for coaches. But not a lot of time do coaches talk about the risk players take. They took a risk and had enough trust to come and stick it out too.”
SC travels to Northwest College Wednesday.
Central Wyoming…20 11 10 20 — 61
Sheridan College…10 23 18 23 — 74
Central Wyoming — Rylee Burmester 22; Cutignola 21; Latu 12; Roberts 4; Krahenbuhl 2
Sheridan College — Hoyer 15; Green 13; Betham 10; Taliauli 8; Fifita 7; Solovi 6; Parttimaa 6; Walker 4; Tuisavura 3; Oca 2
Central Wyoming 28 (Cutignola 6); Sheridan College 30 (Green 11)
Central Wyoming 6 (Latu 2; Burmester 2); Sheridan College 18 (Tuisavura 4)