Feb. 21—CHEYENNE — No. 2-ranked Cheyenne East started cold, but finished hot during a 58-33 victory over Cheyenne South on Saturday afternoon at Storey Gym.
The Lady Thunderbirds found themselves down 6-2 midway through the first quarter. They knotted the score 6-6 shortly thereafter, and looked like they were going to have their hands full with the Bison.
However, South went 6 minutes, 16 seconds between field goals across the first and second quarters. East (12-2 overall, 4-0 Class 4A Southeast Quadrant) outscored the Bison 11-1 during that stretch to take control of the game.
"We asked the kids this week to be themselves and lock in defensively," East coach Eric Westling said. "We have gotten away from that a little bit the last couple weeks, but we galvanized (Saturday) and played the kind of defense we're capable of."
The T-Birds' first lead of the afternoon came when senior Ruby Jacobsen rebounded a missed 3-pointer by sophomore guard Boden Liljedahl and laid it in from the left block for an 8-6 advantage. East never trailed after that.
Jacobsen sparked the T-Birds' offense early by scoring seven of her 11 points during the first quarter.
"We were kind of rushing around and not really in our zone, so it took us a couple shots to settle down and get into a groove," Jacobsen said. "We needed somebody to step up and get things going, so I was doing everything I could to get rebounds and make hustle plays."
Jacobsen had 10 points at halftime, and her contributions played an important role in helping the T-Birds get going offensively, Westling said.
"We've had this monkey on our back that we couldn't get off, and (Jacobsen) kind of drew that out of us," the coach said. "To her credit, she helped the rest of our kids get confidence and that stuck the rest of the game.
"We were missing easy shots and not locking in defensively. I'm really proud of the kids for getting back to the way we want to play."
East held a 32-15 lead early in the third quarter when South (7-9, 2-3) suffered the first of two significant injuries. Senior point guard Jaya Brown was driving toward the basket when she collided with East freshman Bradie Schlabs, who was sliding off the perimeter to help defensively. Brown suffered a dislocated finger during the collision.
The Bison lost senior wing Calysta Martinez — their second-leading scorer — during the fourth quarter when she stepped on an East defender's foot while trying to get a shot off inside the paint. Martinez had to be helped off the floor because of a left knee injury.
"Early on, we had Riley (VanTassell) in the post, Calysta (Martinez) doing what she does, and (Andraya Dimas) getting out in transition," South coach Chad DeBruyn said. "East got good defensive pressure, and you can never discount that. But we just weren't making shots either.
"We missed a lot of shots that we're money on. Generally, when you miss shots in the paint, whether it's a post move or a layup, it costs you points on the other end. I call them shot turnovers. We had a lot of shot turnovers."
Liljedahl led all scorers with 18 points, while Emma Jacobsen added nine for East. South was paced by Dimas' 13 points.
EAST 58, SOUTH 33
Cheyenne South........................... 8 7 9 9 — 33
Cheyenne East........................... 15 13 18 12 — 58
Cheyenne South: Ramirez 2, Martinez 4, Wright 2, Deibert 0, Brown 0, Tovar 0, VanTassell 2, Palermo 4, Harlan 6, Dimas 13, Cahill 0, Garcia 0.
Cheyenne East: R. Jacobsen 11, Schlabs 7, E. Jacobsen 9, C. Alvarado 2, White 2, Kaufman 0, Jardine 2, Mauthe 3, Fonseca 0, Liljedahl 18, A. Marshall 3, Walsh 1
Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.