Lady Devils split 4A West home stand

Lady Devil Kendall Fessler (right) makes a move around a Riverton defender Saturday during Evanston’s 55-38 win over the Lady Wolverines. Fessler finished with 12 points in the contest; the Lady Devils will host Green River Thursday in their home finale. (HERALD PHOTO/Don Cogger)

The Evanston High School girls’ basketball team hosted a pair of 4A West rivals over the weekend, falling to No. 2 Cody 45-28 Friday, but bouncing back Saturday to beat Riverton, 55-38.

“I was pretty pleased with the weekend,” said EHS head coach Stormy Dolezal. “We dropped a hard one to Cody  — the score doesn’t quite tell the whole story of that game, we had them sweating a couple of times. I was really proud of the girls for how hard they played. Cody’s a good team, and they capitalized on our mistakes. We can learn a lot from that game — it will prepare us for the regional tournament, and hopefully the state tournament. I was impressed with the way the girls fought and got after it.”

The Lady Devils will close out the home portion of their schedule Thursday against Green River, a game the team has circled on their calendar since losing the first meeting of the two teams in the game’s final minutes. It’s also Senior Night, which will give the game an added sense of anticipation. Evanston will travel to Star Valley Saturday for a rematch with the Lady Braves.

“Green River will be the big test — it will be a bit of a revenge game for when we played over at their place,” Dolezal said. “We had them the whole game, until the last two minutes, when we struggled with some things defensively. We’re gonna work on all that, go in with a more well-rounded game plan. They’re a good team. We’ll make adjustments on Friday for Saturday’s game at Star Valley, but Green River is the focus right now. The girls are excited, and ready to get after it.”

“It’s amazing the kind of shift we’re having right now with our group of kids,” Dolezal added. “I think what’s happening is that we’re starting to peak at the perfect time.”

Cody 45,

Lady Devils 28

The Lady Devils opened play Friday with a game against No. 2 Cody, giving the Lady Broncs all they could handle in a 45-28 loss.

“We held [Cody’s] Molly Hays to three points in the first half,” Dolezal said. “They pulled away from us a bit in the fourth — we put them at the line more than we should have. But I thought defensively, our girls did a nice job against Cody. they have so many tools, so many weapons, and our girls just got after them.”

Evanston opened the game strong, and held a 10-7 lead after the first quarter. The teams went back and forth in the second frame, with Cody leading 19-15 at the break. The Fillies went on an 8-3 run in the third to create some distance, then pulled away in the fourth, though Evanston continued to play tough until the buzzer.

“The mood after the Cody game was different than some of our other losses,” Dolezal explained. “If you’re going to lose, that’s the way to lose — going out fighting. I think the message was that they can play with anybody. The girls knew they had another conference game the next day, and that they needed to win it to set us up for seeding in the regional tournament. They were able to take the positives from the Cody game and use them in the Riverton game.”

Abbie Rigby hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter, en route to a team-high seven points; Emily Sawyer and Stacia Barker chipped in six points apiece. Katie Deru added three points, while Melia Wilson, Lily Johnson and Kendall Fessler rounded out the scoring with two points each.

Lady Devils 55,

Riverton 38

Shaking off Friday’s loss to Cody in fine fashion Saturday, the Lady Devils — powered by three players in double figures — cruised to a 55-38 win over Riverton.

“In the Riverton game, I thought our girls played with a lot of confidence,” Dolezal said. “They were comfortable with the ball in their hands. We didn’t turn it over hardly at all, in comparison with our games of late. We went with our strengths, got the ball inside and our guards took good shots from the outside. I was pleased with our defensive effort, and on offense, we were scoring when we needed to. The communication was there, which is also something we’ve struggled with the last couple of weeks. I was pleased with how well everyone was talking, both on the bench and on the floor.”

Senior Stacia Barker paced the Lady Devils with 13 points, followed by 12 points each from Emily Sawyer and Kendall Fessler. Mia Barker added eight points, while Abbie Rigby chipped in six; Brinkley Francom and Lily Johnson rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.

“Mia Barker came out of nowhere, and decided she was going to be an offensive threat,” Dolezal said. “She can do that all season, so it was nice to see her do that. Kendall Fessler came off the bench and played well. All the girls contributed when they were on the floor, and when they weren’t, they were talking and having good energy on the bench.”

Asked what was working for her team against the Lady Wolverines, Dolezal said winning the battle of the boards.

“Against Riverton, I loved how hard we worked to get rebounds — everyone was getting boards on both ends of the floor,” Dolezal said. “We were giving their guards all they could handle. They hit some nice shots, but we didn’t hang our heads, like we have in games past. We just kept going on to the next play. If we did make a mistake, the next couple of plays were a positive. That’s what was huge for us in the Riverton game.”