Lady Tigers claim third at Regionals


TORRINGTON – After an exhausting four games in three days, while driving back and forth to Willi Gym, and a side trip to Yoder, the Niobrara County High School girls’ basketball team came home with third place finish at the 2A East Regional Tournament last weekend.

The Lady Tigers advanced to the 2A State tournament for the third straight year and will face west runner-up Rocky Mountain in the quarterfinals Thursday morning. Tipoff is at 9 a.m. at Natrona County High School.

Thursday morning, Courtney Rowley buried a pair of treys in the first 90 seconds and scored Lusk’s first ten points before Riley Shaw’s 3-pointer pushed it to 13-0. It sparked a 10-2 second quarter run and 30-10 halftime lead over Sundance.

Rowley opened the third period with two more long bombs, the second coming on a four-point play. Another Sundance turnover, and Shaw collected her hat trick with a triple that moved the score to 39-15. Lady Bulldog Nevada Gill found her stroke with 13 points in the quarter as they cut Lusk’s lead to 42-27. It wouldn’t be enough as NCHS won 51-40 to set up a rematch with Moorcroft.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

SUNDANCE 5-2-17-13--40

NCHS 17-13-12-9--51

NCHS TEAM STATS: 12/36 FG; 8/14 3PT; 3/6 FT; 30 REB; 14 AST; 14 TO; 17 STL; 12 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Rowley 19, Shaw 12, Potter 8, Kottwitz 5, Richardson 4, Bruch 3. Rebounds- Rowley 7, Kottwitz 6, Shaw 5, Richardson 5. Steals- Potter 7, Rowley 6.

When the Lady Wolves visited Tiger Gym last month, they used eight 3-pointers to beat Lusk 59-46. In Friday’s semifinal, Bryn Bruch’s 3-pointer gave Lusk their last lead at 9-8 as the period ended. Moorcroft came back and popped two in the final 40 seconds to take a 14-9 advantage. The Lady Wolves contained Rowley, Bruch kept NCHS close with two more long rangers in the second. At halftime, the Lady Tigers trailed 29-22.

When Jozalyn Potter and Anna Richardson collected their third fouls minutes into the third, the lead was nine points for Moorcroft, and they used it to take a 41-30 lead. Rowley came alive with a couple of three pointers and Shaw added another, but time ran out before Lusk could catch the girls in green. The final score of 50-45 pushed NCHS into the consolation bracket.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

NCHS 9-13-8-15--45

MHS 14-15-12-9--50

NCHS TEAM STATS: 10/32 FG; 7/29 3PT; 4/11 FT40 REB; 12 AST; 9 TO; 10 STL; 23 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Rowley 16, Bruch 10, Shaw 7, Larson 4, Kottwitz 4, Ceaglske 2, Potter 2. Rebounds- Rowley 11, Shaw 5, Richardson 5, Kottwitz 5. Assists- Shaw 6. Steals- Rowley 7.

The loss sent the Lady Tigers to Yoder to face Big Horn early Saturday morning with a trip to the state tournament on the line. NCHS won 46-32 in the first game of the season, but this time would be much different. With the help of their rowdy boys’ squad the Rams and NCHS were tied at nine early in the second quarter.

Rowley’s trey sparked an 11-2 run, and the Lady Tigers led 20-11 at the break.

Shaw hit a triple, Kottwitz had three straight baskets and Potter’s hook shot and free throw moved the lead to 35-19 with eight minutes to go. But suddenly the Lady Tigers went cold as Big Horn crept back in behind nine Lusk turnovers. They took the lead with 30 seconds to play, but Anna Richardson’s layup retook the lead at 40-39. The Lady Rams made a free throw before Rowley’s shot with time winding down went off the rim.

In overtime, Lusk battled with foul trouble, facing a 48-45 deficit with 12 seconds left. Rowley got the ball and with at least three hands defending, launched a shot that found the bottom of the net and sending it to another four minutes.

With the season on the line, Potter’s free throw tied the game at 53, and Shaw’s first of two was enough as Rowley collected her 12th steal in the 54-53 heart-stopper. Rowley’s impressive season continued with her second triple-double, as she put in 28 points, collected 14 rebounds, to go with the a dozen steals.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

BHHS 4-7-8-21-8-5--53

NCHS 9-11-15-5-8-6--54

NCHS TEAM STATS: 16/31 FG; 4/17 3PT; 10/17 FT; 32 REB; 14 AST; 27 TO; 17 STL; 20 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Rowley 28, Potter 7, Kottwitz 7, Shaw 6, Richardson 6. Rebounds-Rowley 14, Richardson 7. Assists- Shaw 5. Steals- Rowley 12.

A few hours after the Big Horn scare, the Tigers regrouped to find Southeast waiting back at Willi. The Lady Cyclones had defeated Sundance by 16 and seemed to be a bit more rested, but at this point both teams were exhausted.

NCHS took the early two-point lead after one, but the Cyclones responded with an 8-3 run, closing with a 21-20 third period lead. It was another typical defensive matchup as the teams traded baskets and stayed within three of each other.

Potter sank both free throws at with 21 seconds to play with NCHS leading 29-27. Bruch made the first of two with just 2.2 remaining on the clock, and Southeast couldn’t get a shot off, giving the Lady Tigers a 30-28 win.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

NCHS 11-1-8-10--30

SEHS 9-4-8-7--28

NCHS TEAM STATS: 9/19 FG; 2/9 3PT; 6/13 FT; 24 REB; 5 AST; 19 TO; 5 STL; 11 PF

NCHS PLAYER STATS: Scoring- Rowley 14, Potter 11, Shaw 3, Bruch 1, Larson 1. Rebounds- Rowley 5.

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