SHERIDAN — The bus ride home from the Taco John Invite held Jan. 11 was enjoyable for the Sheridan High School girls basketball team, who won its first two games of the season.
Senior Katie Ligocki said previous bus trips were filled with moments of dwelling after loss, thinking of plays that could have gone a different way. The ride home from Cheyenne was more enjoyable for the team.
The Lady Broncs started the season off on a six-game losing streak, facing pressure inside and outside the program.
“When you are losing, I can say this as a coach and say it as a former player, there is a little bit of added pressure, which can take some of the enjoyment out of it,” said head coach Larry Ligocki. “Coaches are pushing a little harder, teammates are pushing harder.”
The losses can also bring in self-doubt, not just for the players but the coaches as well. Ligocki said it was hard not to let the self-doubt set in for him as a coach and start second-guessing his own decisions. Teams can crack under pressure and self-doubt. A season could sour before it really begins.
That did not happen to the Lady Broncs.
Ligocki said the players stuck together, remained positive and enjoyed the time they spent together in the gym.
“It was hard not to harp on each other because we had to come together as a team and push through it,” senior Mollie Morris said.
Katie Ligocki said the team did not let the losses bring them down.
The Lady Broncs kept the drive to win and used the losses to fuel the team’s efforts.
The Lady Broncs picked each other up after the losses, Morris said. They stayed positive and worked hard to fix the negative aspects of the game.
Ligocki said chemistry was never a problem with the team. The hardest part of the losing streak was keeping the morale up. The community knows the season is not going well.
“It stinks to be in a rut like that and dealing with the reputation of losing,” Ligocki said.
The Lady Broncs pushed on and defeated Laramie High School 39-38 Jan. 10. The team followed up the winning performance with another victory the following day against Rock Springs High School 43-37.
Sheridan is not satisfied with the two wins. Morris said the success has made the team want to win more and helped the team stay hungry. The Lady Broncs are playing the way the players knew they could.
Larry Ligocki said the win renewed the confidence and hope in the team. The Lady Broncs will now enter games with the knowledge that they can do what it takes to win.
Sheridan knows the season is far from over and the toughest part of their schedule is yet to come.
The east side of 4A is filled with tough competition from top to bottom. Larry Ligocki said the three teams Sheridan faces twice this season in Thunder Basin, Campbell County and Natrona County high schools are all good teams. Thunder Basin is the defending state champion and is a favorite to repeat.
This is the last week of nonconference basketball for Sheridan. Katie Ligocki said the team is excited to play this week and is ready to improve.
Sheridan’s boys and girls teams travel to Kelly Walsh High School Jan. 16 and the Lady Broncs make the trip to Billings to face Billings Skyview High School the following day.
Ligocki said the team believes both games are winnable. Sheridan lost to both teams earlier in the year due to big runs in the game. Outside of the runs, Sheridan stuck with both teams. This time around, the team knows what it takes to win.
The Lady Broncs start conference play by hosting Thunder Basin Jan. 24 and at 5:30 p.m.