SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School girls basketball team wanted to aggressively attack the offensive end of the floor Friday in its home opener against Billings Senior.
A week after embodying too much unselfishness on offense, Sheridan hunted for its shots Friday night only to come up just short. Billings Senior edged Sheridan 64-59.
“The message after the game was that we played well, and we need to walk away from this without hanging our head,” Sheridan girls basketball head coach Larry Ligocki said.
“We came out and battled, we just played a really good team. I hand it to Billings Senior, they’re good.”
Billings Senior held an eight-point lead with three minutes and eight seconds to play when Sheridan made one final push. After a quick 6-0 run that pulled Sheridan to within a bucket at 55-53 with 1:49 to play, Alli Puuri — who poured in all of her team-high 14 points during the second half — scored a 3-point play followed by a traditional 3 to vault Sheridan ahead 59-58 with 51 seconds to go.
But the lead only lasted six seconds as Billings Senior broke the press with ease and Kola Bad Bear logged a 3-point play of her own to give Billings the lead for good. Bad Bear called the last three points of the game as she, much like Purri, found her offensive footing in the second 16 minutes.
Bad Bear recorded 20 of her 22 points in the second half as her 6-foot-2 frame gave Sheridan fits.
“She’s really strong with the ball, and she knows how to read everyone out on the floor,” Sheridan’s Jordan Christensen said.
Despite the size discrepancy, Sheridan, for just the second time this season, outrebounded its opponent, which Ligocki referred to as a small win Friday night.
“It’s a testament to their effort and positioning,” Ligocki said. “Nine out of 10 games this season that we play, our opponent will be bigger than we are. We have to fight for position and then we’ve got to battle in there.
“Tonight, we did come up a little short, but that’s one little minor battle that we won that I’m very proud of them for that,” Logocki said.
Christensen and Kailee Ingalls picked up the offensive slack left behind by Purri during the first half. Christensen scored six of her 13 points in the opening 16 minutes, and Ingalls also tallied a half dozen of her 11 points during the first half. Riley Rafferty added nine points, which included two second-half treys.
Sheridan opened the first quarter quite aggressively on the offensive end as it went on three separate 4-0 spurts en route to owning a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. This was a welcomed sight for Ligocki and company as Sheridan was held scoreless through the first eight minutes in their most recent game, prior to Friday, against Natrona.
“We just got that chemistry going really well,” Christensen said. “We just played loose tonight, and it was really fun.”
Billings Senior promptly pulled within one at the beginning of the second period after two quick field goals. The two teams jockeyed for position until Billings Senior, on a 3-pointer by Ellie Ostermiller with three seconds to play, took a three-point, 24-21, edge into halftime.
Bad Bear gave Billings Senior its first double-digit lead of the game at 40-30, but Christensen’s 3-pointer beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter to make it a 46-39 game.
Sheridan travels to Natrona Friday to play the Fillies, who beat Sheridan 61-42 in the final game of Fremont Motors of Casper Invite Dec. 9.
Billings Senior…9 15 22 18 — 64
Sheridan………..14 7 15 20 — 59
Billings Senior — Kola Bad Bear 22, Ellie Ostermiller 15, Sam Borenberger 11, Tavy Findon 7, Courtney Bad Bear 3, Bri McCauley 2, Mariah Linse 2, Bailey Eleazar 2.
Sheridan — Alli Purri 14, Kailee Ingalls 13, Jordan Christensen 11, Riley Rafferty 9, Emily Kilpatrick 5, Katie Ligocki 4, Kaylee Abernatha 2, Katie Tomlinson 1.