It was a great week for the Lady Grizz with two valuable conference wins that will assure them a nice spot at Regionals, now sporting a 5-2 record that puts them in the mix with the top three.
The girls took their first conference win of the week in an away game at Greybull on Friday, when they took down the Lady Buffs 48-30.
“All game long our defensive effort was really good,” said Coach Ryan Boettcher. “Offensively, we didn’t tear it up in the first half by any means. There were things we worked on all week that we never really got going.”
Boettcher said he didn’t think the girls were quite aggressive enough against Greybull’s defense. At the end of the first half the girls were up 13-11, which Boettcher said just shows that neither team was up offensively in the first half.
“We missed some easy shots early,” said Boettcher. “Although we never really got an offensive rhythm going we did defensively and defense will always keep you in the game if you can do that.”
Boettcher said he saw some good “hustle plays” in the first half, especially from Hannah Parker, who came off the bench and grabbed some offensive rebounds.
“She kind of helped keep us going in that first half where we didn’t really get ourselves established,” said Boettcher.
Boettcher noted that Rachael Allred “sparked” the team in the second half, coming out of the gates strong with a couple of threes in a row.
“Rachael kind of woke us up and after that we really got rolling, outscoring them 35-19 in the second half,” said Boettcher. “We had a huge second half, where we really started rallying and the excitement got back into the game and the crowd got into it, too.”
Boettcher said Greybull proved themselves to be a “scrappy” team as expected and made the girls work for the win.
Kallee Jo Wilson was the team’s top scorer with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Shauna Loman had 9 points, Allred 8 and Brianna Hocker and Mandee Leonhardt had 6 points apiece.
“We needed some good balance and that’s what we had in this game,” said Boettcher. “It was a good road game, a good conference game and anytime you win a conference game it’s a pretty good day.”
On Saturday, the girls hosted Riverside and took their second conference win of the week, 52-32.
“On Saturday, we played pretty consistently,” said Boettcher. “We played evenly throughout the quarters of the game. Obviously, we would have liked to have distanced ourselves a little bit more. We got into a rhythm at times, but out of rhythm at other times. Again, we started off the game where we got some looks that we just didn’t capitalize on, where the ball just sort of bounced off the rim.
“We won by 20 and maybe we could have scored some more points. There were things we could have done better, but we controlled the game and we controlled the tempo and created some pressure.”
Boettcher said it was a good game to focus on some new strategies and he was pleased that a number of JV girls had an opportunity to play.
“It was a good game to practice certain things on, as long as we were still in control of the game,” said Boettcher. “We got everybody in that game. Everybody got a chance to play and it’s been one of those years where we haven’t had an opportunity for the whole bench to play like this, so that was good to open it up a bit and let everybody have a little time on the court.”
Wilson was again the top scorer with 19 points and nine rebounds. Loman had 13 points and Brianna Hocker had 9 points.
“Those three led us in the scoring department but all of the girls chipped in with points here and there,” said Boettcher. “We made 14 of 28, which is about 50 percent, which isn’t horrible considering five of those were from our younger girls who we put in at the end of the game. I think we rushed things a bit when we found ourselves open more than expected. We took a lot of quick shots that we don’t normally do.”
The girls will host local rivals the Lovell Lady Bulldogs on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
“Obviously, it’s a big game for us. It’s our last conference game, against a good team,” said Boettcher. “We want to finish out our conference season strong and we want to do that at home this weekend. It should be another classic Lovell-Rocky match-up. The gym will be full.”
Rocky fans will be wearing white t-shirts to show their spirit at the game. Fans are encouraged to wear white shirts, especially shirts with the Grizz logo.
The girls will host again on Saturday in a game with Big Horn. Game time is 1:30 p.m.
“This weekend will tell us where we’re at in terms of seeding at Regionals,” said Boettcher. “We know we’re going. We know all the different scenarios and now it’s just a matter of how it all is going to play out. We’ll know that after this weekend.”
Regionals will be held in Riverton Feb. 21-23.
By Patti Carpenter