SHERIDAN — The Sheridan High School girls basketball team prepared for it and expected it. But when it came time to put it into action, the Lady Broncs struggled.
Campbell County’s identity for years has encompassed pressing teams and turning them over many times for easy transitions buckets.
The Lady Camels got plenty of easy baskets Thursday night and quickly built a big lead en route to a 70-39 win at Sheridan.
“We knew the pressure was coming, and I think it’s all about how you respond to it,” Sheridan head coach Larry Ligocki said. “You’ve got to pass on it or you have to have someone who can break it who is quick on the dribble. We tried to pass on it, and we did it sometimes, but there was a point in there where they overwhelmed us with it.”
The loss dropped the Lady Broncs to 6-10 overall and 2-3 in conference. Since starting the season with a pair of conference wins, Sheridan has fallen on hard times, losing its past three by a combined 62 points.
However, even amid the lopsided defeats, Ligocki remains optimistic.
“We have to keep our head up. It’s not going to help us to not do that,” Ligocki said. “I don’t want to be living in the past, but we are in decent position in the middle of the conference. This game is crazy. I told the kids that the hope I have is that on any given night, anybody can beat anybody in this game.
“Now, that doesn’t happen every night, but it does happen. You have to be there; you have to play as perfect a game as possible, and we didn’t do that tonight, so we’ll keep working.”
Sheridan tallied the first bucket of Thursday night’s rivalry game and held its last lead after Riley Rafferty made two free throws that made it a 6-4 game with 5:15 to play in the opening quarter. The Lady Broncs went the next 4:35 without a point and nearly went 10 minutes of game time during the first half without a field goal.
The Lady Camels, meanwhile, boasted scoring runs of 14-0, 6-0, 5-0 and 5-0 to build a 41-18 halftime lead. Campbell County not only turned Sheridan over numerous times, but also crashed the glass and collected a bounty of second-chance points.
Jordan Christensen paced Sheridan’s struggling offense with eight points, while Rafferty and Alli Puuri added seven points apiece.
The only time Ligocki saw an offense of note Thursday occurred late in the contest when he combined his dribble-drive offense with a four-out-one-in offense. The alteration fruited some late-game results, but it was too little too late.
Sheridan may need that same late-game offense come Saturday when the Lady Broncs travel to battle Thunder Basin — a team that isn’t a full year removed from the same pressuring style Sheridan saw Thursday.
“Thunder is a little younger, but they come from the same system,” Ligocki said. “They’re going to play the same way. I would like to say we are ready for it. We’ve been preparing for it all week, so we’ll see what we can do.”
That game between the Lady Broncs and Lady Bolts tips at 6 p.m. in Gillette.
Campbell County….21 20 24 5 — 70
Sheridan……………7 11 10 11 — 39
Campbell County — Hladky 24, Fink 12, Hieb 10, Cutright 8, Nuzum 6, Hamlin 5, Jarvis 5
Sheridan — Christensen 8, Puuri 7, Rafferty 7, Tomlinson 6, Ligocki 4, Ingalls 4, Coon 2, Morris 1