The RMHS girls varsity basketball team added two conference wins to their record this week with victories over Greybull and Riverside giving them a 2-1 conference record so far this season and an 8-5 record overall.
“This week was two big games for us in that they were both conference games,” explained coach Ryan Boettcher. “Any conference game is big for us, but these two especially were nice wins. We put some pressure on ourselves, knowing that these were must wins in order to get into position to go to regionals.”
The girls showed they could play a consistent game throughout on Thursday night when they took on Greybull at an away game.
“Going into the Greybull game we knew that it was going to be a very physical game with a lot of contact because it usually is with them,” said Boettcher. “It turned out there were a lot of free throws that night because of it on both teams.”
Boettcher felt the girls did a good job of handling the pressure put on them by the Greybull team and is pleased with the defensive work the girls did to counter that pressure.
“We got things going early on and were actually up 9-5 at the end of the first quarter and came out of the gates really well in this game,” said Boettcher. “A lot of it is just getting things going early in the game like this, and keeping the momentum through all four quarters. We know this is part of what we need to do to win games, and this is exactly what we are working on.”
Kallee Jo Wilson was the top scorer with 15 points. Brianna Hocker and Shauna Loman both added 8. Karli Leonhardt added 6, Rachael Allred 5 and Mandee Leonhardt 4.
The girls kept the pressure on Greybull throughout, scoring 9 in the first quarter, 13 in the second and third and 11 in the last quarter. The Grizz prevailed with a final score of 46-42.
Wilson had a key three-point play close to the stretch, and Loman hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds of the game.
On Saturday, the girls took on Riverside at home and won 43-29.
“We did a good job against Riverside. We came out of the gates strong again with a 10-2 lead in the first quarter,” said Boettcher. “Defensively we were able to corral them pretty well throughout the whole game.”
Boettcher felt the game against Greybull on Thursday helped prepare the girls to dominate the Riverside game because the two opponents bring a similar style of play to the game.
“They do a lot of offense with a lot of dribble attacking and I think we did a good job of having our defense in position to deal with this,” said Boettcher. “We didn’t bail out as many players as we have in the past and we kept the pressure on with a solid defense. The goal is to keep up this good defense, and make the teams we play earn their points.”
Wilson again was the top scorer with 14 points, Loman was next with 9, Mandee Leonhardt added 8, and Allred 5, Brianna Hocker, Mikaela Hocker and Karli Leonhardt contributed 2 each.
Wilson has been steady all season and is often the focus of her opponents’ efforts in their defensive plays.
“Kallee has a lot of expectations on her, and it goes with the territory of being an all-conference, all-state player,” said Boettcher. “She’s a great player for us and contributes a lot to the team.”
Again the girls held steady pressure on Riverside scoring 10, 10, 14 and 9 by quarter.
Overall Boettcher was pleased with the performance of the team this past week, and he hopes to see the girls continue to build a strong defense throughout the season.
The girls will face off with Lovell on Thursday night and anticipate an action-packed game against this number-one-ranked team in the state. Game times are 4 and 5:30 p.m. On Saturday they take on Big Horn at the RMHS gym with game times of 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Coach Eric Honeyman reports that the junior varsity team is starting to play some of their best basketball yet this season at the right time with two huge games this week against Lovell and Big Horn.
In the past five games the girls have been averaging 36.4 points per game and giving up only 26.6 points.
“I have been very pleased with the girls’ defense these last five games,” said Honeyman. “The girls are getting after it, and playing until they hear the whistle. They did a wonderful job against Wyoming Indian, where they came out, played hard and did well considering we only had seven girls playing.”
Honeyman feels the team’s offense has improved and he is happy with the direction the team is going.
“We have some wonderful girls here at Rocky Mountain,” said Honeyman.
The girls continue to get a lot of court time with many crossing over to play varsity or to fill out the freshman team.
JV scoreboard: Rocky 24, Riverside 9; Rocky 9, Greybull 12; Rocky 51, Wyoming Indian 54; Rocky 53, St. Stephen’s 20; Rocky 36, Burlington 17. Hannah Winland and Shauna Loman have been top scorers in the JV games and have spent a good amount of time on the varsity as well.
According to coach Rod Winland, the freshmen girls are doing well but are low on the number of participants. Many of the girls are playing both freshman and JV games to gain valuable experience and some JV girls are playing with them to help fill out the freshman team when necessary.
“The girls are always working hard and getting a lot of experience. They have a full schedule because they play both freshman and JV games,” commented Winland.
By Patti Carpenter