Feb. 21—CHEYENNE — A third-quarter run from the Cheyenne East boys was too much for Cheyenne South to come back from on Saturday afternoon.
With 4 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter, South junior Jeramiah Moyte hit a 3-pointer to cut East's lead to 43-42.
The third-ranked Thunderbirds responded by going on a 14-0 run over the course of nearly 3 minutes and a 20-5 run to close out the period. The Bison were never able to recover and East pulled away for a 82-63 victory at Storey Gym.
"Our defensive intensity picked up and I thought we rebounded better and moved the ball better in transition (in the third quarter)," East coach Rusty Horsley said. "When we're playing with intensity, we get out in transition a little better."
The game started with McCoy Bush getting a steal on the first possession of the contest, which led to an early bucket from Graedyn Buell. After South junior Maurie Alexander got a bucket to fall to knot the score at 7-7, the T-Birds responded by going on a 7-0 run. The Bison put together a small run of their own and Marcus Manzanares banked in a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer, putting the Bison behind 16-14 at the end of the opening frame.
Late in the second period, LeeAndre Ray hit a triple to cut the Bison's deficit to 29-26. They managed to keep it close for the entirety of the first half. They kept threatening to take the lead, but East consistently hit shots that stymied the Bison's momentum. Ray hit four free throws to close out the half after he was fouled and East received a technical foul.
South continued to hang around until East went on the huge run to put the game away.
"It was a tale of two halves," South coach Jeff Bailey said. "I saw a completely different team in the second half ... We didn't do things (in the second half) that we did in the first half that slowed down (East's transition).
"When it started to get away, we started to speed up our tempo offensively and force things."
The T-Birds' transition is their bread-and-butter, and was what allowed them to open the game up and extend their lead in such a short amount of time while they sped up the game to their liking.
"We started playing at our pace instead of letting them control the pace," Bush said.
The T-Birds held the steady lead for the remainder of the contest to improve to 14-1 overall and 3-1 in Class 4A Southeast Quadrant play.
Buell finished with a game-high 30 points and 14 boards. Manzanares paced South (5-11, 0-5) with 18, and Ray added 14.
East is on a five-game winning streak with its only loss on the season coming at the hands of its rival Cheyenne Central. They'll look to carry their momentum into next week's final week of the regular season.
"We just have to keep working hard in practice and keep doing the things we've been doing," Bush said. "Keep it simple, it's just basketball."
EAST 82, SOUTH 63
Cheyenne South......... 14 18 15 16 — 63
Cheyenne East........... 16 21 26 19 — 82
Cheyenne South: Hernandez 0, Ray 14, Poutney 3, Barto 2, Jo. Moyte 3, Fennell 0, Je. Moyte 5, Alexander 9, Manzanares 18, Mascarenas 7, Simmons 2.
Cheyenne East: Bohlmann 0, G. Schlabs 10, Rayl 6, Bush 8, G. Buell 30, Goff 6, McAnelly 2, Jackson 4, Codner 7, Bishop 2, Jolley 5, Heckman 2.
Robert Munoz is a writer for WyoSports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rmunoz307.