Lady Red Devils get a weekend split

Lady Red Devil junior Taryn Wagstaff appears to be “among the trees” during last Friday’s game with the Lady Trojans of Casper Kelly Walsh. Evanston fell to the Lady Trojans, 39-29, but turned around to hand the visiting Lady Tigers of a Rock Springs a 42-39 setback at Red Devil Gym on Saturday, Feb. 2. The Lady Red Devils will play at Cody on Friday, Feb. 8, and at Riverton on Saturday, Feb. 9. (HERALD PHOTO/Mark Madia)

By Mark Madia

Herald Sports Editor

EVANSTON — Lady Red Devil basketball head coach Jeremy Fessler hoped the rematch with the Lady Trojans of Kelly Walsh would provide a gauge to measure his team’s improvement and the answer was readily apparent. 

In the first meeting back on Dec. 8, in the Bill Strannigan Invite tourney in Casper, Evanston was only able to muster 17 points for the entire game, while nine Lady Trojans reached the scoring column to tally 44 points.

In the second meeting this past Friday, Feb. 1, the Lady Red Devils fell by 10 points in the end, 39-29, but this game was closer than what that final score indicates.

Kelly Walsh is a tall team, to begin with, and Evanston was without its backup post player and spark off the bench in injured junior Zocia Nowakowski, leaving only senior captain Ajahonna Archuleta to contend with the Lady Trojans’ height, and yet, Evanston played right with Kelly Walsh, until the Casper team pulled away in the end. Even then, Evanston had its chances, moving the ball around well to create open looks. but the shots just didn’t fall down the stretch. 

Evanston trailed 10-7 after the first quarter buzzer sounded and held Kelly Walsh to just six second-quarter points while scoring seven to make it a 20-14 game at the half.

The Trojans started off strong in quarter number three, going up by double digits, but Evanston matched the Trojan runs, thanks to the free-throw shooting prowess of Archuleta, who knocked down seven of nine for the game. The team actually shot very well from the stripe, converting 11 of 13.

Kelly Walsh scored a dozen in the third quarter compared to Evanston’s 11, but it was a one-possession game entering the fourth quarter, 28-25, where Kelly Walsh utilized its size advantage to ultimately pull away. Danilynn Schell led Kelly Walsh with a game-high 17 points. The Lady Trojans also defeated Green River on Saturday to rise to 11-3 on the season.

Archuleta showed the way for Evanston with nine and fellow senior captain Kori Deru connected on two treys to finish with six. Seniors Natalie Robbins and Hannah Sowers each contributed four points, as did junior Amber Lowe. Senior Kaelyn Hiatt converted both of her free-throw attempts to end the game with two points.

Vs. Rock Springs

The Lady Red Devils didn’t have long to think about the loss to Kelly Walsh with the Lady Tigers of Rock Springs bringing a 9-4 record into Red Devil Gym, fresh off a 59-52 win over Green River. Evanston had to bounce back and bounce back they did to win a thriller, 42-39, against the second 4A Northwest opponent in as many days. Rock Springs drained a pair of three-pointers, but it was Evanston in charge with the first quarter complete, 11-6. The Lady Tigers would storm back to tie the game at 14 apiece before Evanston connected on a free-throw to take a one-point lead at intermission, 15-14.

Most of the third quarter belonged to the Lady Tigers as they went up by as many as five points on three occasions before Evanston got things clicking offensively in the latter part of the the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter, including Deru connecting on three treys and Archuleta shooting an unblemished six for six at the stripe. Still the Tigers wouldn’t go away and Evanston owned a precarious 30-28 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Most of the the fourth quarter witnessed a one-point differential, see-saw battle, with the lead changing hands on almost every possession, along with the two teams deadlocked at points down the stretch, with timeouts called by both squads, elevating the excitement level and drama for the Rock Springs and Evanston fans.

The Lady Red Devils relied on defensive intensity to deny any easy baskets by the Lady Tigers and were able to force a few turnovers to finally pull ahead, capped by two clutch free-throws by Archuleta in the waning seconds to seal the victory.

Three Lady Red Devils finished in double-digits with Deru netting 13 to lead Evanston and Archuleta and fellow senior Natalie Robbins both chipping in 10. Juniors Amber Lowe and Taryn Wagstaff each added three, with seniors Hannah Sowers and Sierra Burleigh contributing two points and one point, respectively.

With the weekend split, Evanston is 10-7 on the season and will travel to face two more 4A Northwest teams this weekend, squaring off with the Cody Fillies on Friday, Feb. 8, followed by a Feb. 9 showdown with the Lady Wolverines in Riverton, on the return end of the trip.

Evanston will then play at Green River on Valentine’s Day before hosting Star Valley for “Senior Night” on Feb. 16. The Lady Red Devils will close the regular season at Jackson on Feb. 23.

Lady Red Devil basketball head coach Jeremy Fessler hoped the rematch with the Lady Trojans of Kelly Walsh would provide a gauge to measure his team’s improvement and the answer was readily apparent. 

In the first meeting back on Dec. 8, in the Bill Strannigan Invite tourney in Casper, Evanston was only able to muster 17 points for the entire game, while nine Lady Trojans reached the scoring column to tally 44 points.

In the second meeting this past Friday, Feb. 1, the Lady Red Devils fell by 10 points in the end, 39-29, but this game was closer than what that final score indicates.

Kelly Walsh is a tall team, to begin with, and Evanston was without its backup post player and spark off the bench in injured junior Zocia Nowakowski, leaving only senior captain Ajahonna Archuleta to contend with the Lady Trojans’ height, and yet, Evanston played right with Kelly Walsh, until the Casper team pulled away in the end. Even then, Evanston had its chances, moving the ball around well to create open looks. but the shots just didn’t fall down the stretch. 

Evanston trailed 10-7 after the first quarter buzzer sounded and held Kelly Walsh to just six second-quarter points while scoring seven to make it a 20-14 game at the half.

The Trojans started off strong in quarter number three, going up by double digits, but Evanston matched the Trojan runs, thanks to the free-throw shooting prowess of Archuleta, who knocked down seven of nine for the game. The team actually shot very well from the stripe, converting 11 of 13.

Kelly Walsh scored a dozen in the third quarter compared to Evanston’s 11, but it was a one-possession game entering the fourth quarter, 28-25, where Kelly Walsh utilized its size advantage to ultimately pull away. Danilynn Schell led Kelly Walsh with a game-high 17 points. The Lady Trojans also defeated Green River on Saturday to rise to 11-3 on the season.

Archuleta showed the way for Evanston with nine and fellow senior captain Kori Deru connected on two treys to finish with six. Seniors Natalie Robbins and Hannah Sowers each contributed four points, as did junior Amber Lowe. Senior Kaelyn Hiatt converted both of her free-throw attempts to end the game with two points.

Vs. Rock Springs

The Lady Red Devils didn’t have long to think about the loss to Kelly Walsh with the Lady Tigers of Rock Springs bringing a 9-4 record into Red Devil Gym, fresh off a 59-52 win over Green River. Evanston had to bounce back and bounce back they did to win a thriller, 42-39, against the second 4A Northwest opponent in as many days. Rock Springs drained a pair of three-pointers, but it was Evanston in charge with the first quarter complete, 11-6. The Lady Tigers would storm back to tie the game at 14 apiece before Evanston connected on a free-throw to take a one-point lead at intermission, 15-14.

Most of the third quarter belonged to the Lady Tigers as they went up by as many as five points on three occasions before Evanston got things clicking offensively in the latter part of the the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter, including Deru connecting on three treys and Archuleta shooting an unblemished six for six at the stripe. Still the Tigers wouldn’t go away and Evanston owned a precarious 30-28 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Most of the the fourth quarter witnessed a one-point differential, see-saw battle, with the lead changing hands on almost every possession, along with the two teams deadlocked at points down the stretch, with timeouts called by both squads, elevating the excitement level and drama for the Rock Springs and Evanston fans.

The Lady Red Devils relied on defensive intensity to deny any easy baskets by the Lady Tigers and were able to force a few turnovers to finally pull ahead, capped by two clutch free-throws by Archuleta in the waning seconds to seal the victory.

Three Lady Red Devils finished in double-digits with Deru netting 13 to lead Evanston and Archuleta and fellow senior Natalie Robbins both chipping in 10. Juniors Amber Lowe and Taryn Wagstaff each added three, with seniors Hannah Sowers and Sierra Burleigh contributing two points and one point, respectively.

With the weekend split, Evanston is 10-7 on the season and will travel to face two more 4A Northwest teams this weekend, squaring off with the Cody Fillies on Friday, Feb. 8, followed by a Feb. 9 showdown with the Lady Wolverines in Riverton, on the return end of the trip.

Evanston will then play at Green River on Valentine’s Day before hosting Star Valley for “Senior Night” on Feb. 16. The Lady Red Devils will close the regular season at Jackson on Feb. 23.

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