SHERIDAN — Midway through the opening quarter of Sheridan High School’s game against Thunder Basin Saturday, Mason Hamilton turned and stared down the Broncs’ student section after connecting on a 3-pointer. In the moment, Hamilton — who had scored eight straight points for the Bolts — had reason to show a little swagger. In hindsight, Hamilton should have kept to himself.
Sheridan may have started started sluggishly Saturday, but it finished strong in a 66-50 victory over Thunder Basin to improve to 18-1 on the season and 5-0 in quadrant play.
“It was a quick turnaround for us. We got home a little late (Friday night) and our guys weren’t mentally prepared to play in the first quarter,” Sheridan head coach Jeff Martini said. “I thought our second quarter was awesome. I thought we played with more energy, and we kind of carried it out the rest of the game.”
The Broncs took care of rival Campbell County 95-66 Friday night in what marked their highest scoring output of the season. The win over the Camels, just like the win over the Bolts, competed a season sweep of two quadrant foes.
No Wyoming team has yet to come within 13 points of Sheridan. The lopsidedness of games could make it easy for the Broncs to let up and lose somewhat of an edge. But that hasn’t happened and much of that stems from last season.
“We just have that state championship in mind,” Sheridan’s Gus Wright said. “That’s what we are out for since last year, since we got second. We are just trying to improve every game.”
The Broncs finished runner-up to Campbell County last season at state. That game would have left a sour taste in Sheridan’s mouth had it felt like it played up to its potential. But the fact that the Broncs didn’t compete as well as they wanted is something they can harken back on to refocus and motivate them when they have a bad quarter like Saturday against the Bolts.
“The have a big chip on their shoulder of how last season ended,” Martini said. “Last year, losing in the championship game and not really feeling like we played very well in that championship game, has really forced these guys to stay focused and stay extremely hungry. They are out to prove something every single game.”
After spotting Thunder Basin a 13-12 advantage after the opening quarter, Sheridan outscored the Bolts 23-9 in the second period. The Broncs used 8-0 and 9-0 runs to push their lead out to double figures ahead of halftime.
Thunder Basin trimmed the Broncs’ cushion to as little as seven points early in the third frame, but Sheridan quickly built its lead back up en route to a 51-37 edge at the end of the third stanza. Tristan Bower paced the Broncs with 20 points, which included five 3-pointers. Sam Lecholat added 17 points, while Parker Christensen and Wright chipped in 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Sheridan wraps up the regular season Friday at home against Natrona. The Broncs cruised past the Mustangs 82-65 in Casper Jan. 25.
Thunder Basin…13 9 15 13 — 50
Sheridan………..12 23 16 15 — 66
Thunder Basin — Hamilton 13; Allen 12; Quinones 6; Holte 6; Pilon 5; Larson 5; Sylte 3
Sheridan — Bower 20; Lecholat 17; Christensen 14; Wright 10; Gregory 2; Ahrens 2; Rickett 1