The Lyman High School girls’ basketball team was hoping to repeat as the 3A West champions last weekend, and with the tournament on their home floor, the odds were in their favor.
But another slugfest with Bridger Valley and Southwest Quadrant rival Mountain View derailed the Lady Eagles plans for back-to-back titles, falling in the championship game by one frustrating point to the Lady Buffs, 40-39.
The loss dropped Lyman to the No. 2 seed out of the West for this weekend’s 3A State Tournament in Casper; the Lady Eagles opened the tournament Thursday against Newcastle, the No. 3 seed out of the East.
“I thought we played well all weekend,” said Lyman head coach Jason Hansen. “The girls were really locked in this weekend, and were very good at executing our game plan. They’re playing really well together as a team, and I think that’s what enabled us to get where we are.”
Lady Eagles 52,
Lyman opened the 3A West Regional Thursday against Lovell, the No. 3 seed out of the Northwest.
Lovell was a lot better than I thought they would be,” Hansen admitted. “I think they were kind of on the up-and-up to finish the regular season, so I was just glad to get through that game.”
The Lady Eagles opened a 16-9 lead on Lovell in the first quarter, pushing the lead to eight at 29-21 at the half.
Lyman continued to roll in the third, outscoring Lovell 13-10 to take a 43-31 lead. But the Lady Bulldogs battled back to make it a game in the fourth, outscoring Lyman 15-9; the Lady Eagles held on for the 52-46 win.
“The two freshman twins [Caroline and Sage Bradshaw] played really well for us in that game,” Hansen said. “They made a big difference for us.”
Sage Bradshaw paced the Lady Eagles with 10 points to go along with eight rebounds and five steals, all team highs. Mandy Eyre and Charlsie Rose netted nine points apiece, with Eyre also swiping five steals; Nicole Peden finished with eight points.
Lady Eagles 43,
Against No. 1 seed Worland in the semifinals Friday, Lyman went on a 10-0 run to start the game, setting the tone for the rest of the contest.
“We jumped out on them, and I didn’t think we would jump out on a team like that,” Hansen said. “I think they [Worland] only scored one point in the first quarter. I thought it was a great team defensive effort.”
The Lady Warriors managed just 11 points for the entire first half, trailing the Lady Eagles 29-11 at the break.
Worland managed to chip away at the Lady Eagles’ lead in the third, cutting the lead to 12 at 36-25 heading into the final frame. With under 30 seconds to go in the game, Worland had battled back to cut the lead to three, 40-37; that was as close as the Lady Warriors would get, as Lyman senior Mandy Eyre hit three foul shots at the end to put the game out of reach at 43-37.
“Mandy Eyre was huge down the stretch for us,” Hansen said. “Worland had really cut into our lead there at the end, so she was fantastic in that game. She was able to hit some free throws down the stretch.”
Brice Hansen was the only Lady Eagle in double-digits, scoring 11 points in the contest, including a pair of 3-pointers. Eyre finished with eight points, while Charlsie Rose chipped in seven.
Hansen led the team in rebounds with seven, followed by six from Caroline Bradshaw and five each from Eyre and Nicole Peden.
Mountain View 40,
Lady Eagles 39
In a rematch of last season’s 3A West title game, Lyman once again squared off against Bridger Valley rival Mountain View, though this time with a different result.
In the third meeting of the two teams this season, the Lady Eagles were unable to hold on to an eight-point halftime lead, losing the game, and the No. 1 seed heading into state, 40-39.
“It was probably the best atmosphere of the whole tournament for that game, boys or girls,” Hansen said. “Everybody from the valley came to watch the championship — it was exciting, intense. We had the early lead and they were in foul trouble, but I knew they were going to make a run.”
Lyman led 21-13 at the half, and seemed to be controlling the tempo of the game. But as is the case any time these two teams play, no lead is safe; the Lady Buffs pulled within a basket at 28-26 as the game entered the final frame.
With just over four minutes left in the game, Mountain View freshman Jayda Kenison hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Buffs a 33-32 lead; they would push it to six at 38-32 with a 1:46 to play.
Lyman would go on a 7-2 run to close out the game, and with the score 40-39 Mountain View with mere seconds left on the clock, Charlsie Rose’s gamewinner refused to fall, giving the Lady Buffs the win.
“I was proud of our girls — I think we got down six points late in the game, and we made a run,” Hansen said. “We actually had a shot at the basket with five seconds left, just didn’t make it. But that’s the game of basketball.”
Rose led the charge for the Lady Eagles with 14 points, to go along with six rebounds. Mandy Eyre followed with nine points and seven boards, while Brice Hansen chipped in six; Hansen finished with a team-high eight rebounds
“Charlsie Rose had a great tournament,” Hansen said. “She’s struggled a bit in the later part of the regular season — I felt like she found her confidence again. Mandy Eyre was really good this tournament, as well. Caroline Bradshaw came off the bench and really gave us some big minutes in some of those games.
Lyman opened the state tournament at Casper College Thursday against Newcastle, beating the Lady Dogies, the No. 3 seed out of the 3A East, 46-34.
“Newcastle looks super-athletic, and they’re young,” Hansen said before the contest. “That can be scary, because they don’t really have a care in the world if they win or lose — they think they have next year. They’re definitely a scary team.”