The Lovell Lady Bulldogs won the regional championship game against the Wyoming Indian Lady Chiefs Saturday afternoon in Riverton – or more to the point, they survived it.
Lovell won a rough-and-tumble game that saw them dominate the first half and take a 17-point halftime lead but fall victim to inconsistent refereeing in the second half as the home team, Wyoming Indian, tried anything and everything within their power to scratch and claw their way back.
But Lovell prevailed 59-47.
“They (Wyoming Indian) shot two free throws in the first half and 20 in the second,” Coach Chris Edwards said. “There was no change in the style they played or the offensive schemes. There was a lot of extracurricular physical play that changed the flow of the game. Some ‘no calls’ left our girls shaking their heads and wondering what to do.
“Mentally, it rattled our girls for a four- to five-minute span at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth.”
It was smooth sailing for the Lady Bulldogs (22-3) in the first half after Wyoming Indian came out strong and took an early 6-2 lead. Lovell finished the first quarter on an 11-0 run to lead 13-6 at the quarter break. Mykelle Nichols, Chayli McArthur and Charri McArthur scored 4 points each to fuel the Lady Bulldogs.
“We gave up six quick points, but then defensively we shut ‘em down and they didn’t score a basket in the last 5½ minutes of the first quarter.
“We played a straight man (defense) for 32 minutes. We matched up well with them and picked them up three-quarter court. Offensively, we challenged our girls to attack them and get to the rim. Mykelle drove hard.”
In the second the two teams traded baskets for a spell before Lovell finished the first half with a 14-2 burst to lead 31-14 at intermission. Five different players scored for the Lady Bulldogs during their run.
“When we attacked in the second quarter they collapsed in and Lauren and Charri were able to hit shots from the outside,” Edwards noted. “Lauren shot the ball well this weekend.”
Lovell extended the lead to 22 points, 43-21, three minutes into the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Chiefs 12-7 as Chayli McArthur and Nichols completed three-point plays, Charri McArthur hit two baskets and Kim Shumway scored a bank shot.
Then the game changed. The Lady Bulldogs were whistled for six fouls in six minutes during the third quarter and the first minute of the fourth, during which Wyoming Indian outscored Lovell 15-4 to close the deficit to 11 points, 47-36. At one point Chayli McArthur was flattened and crashed hard to the floor, but no foul was whistled. And as the game tightened, the hometown WIHS crowd got into the game and put even more pressure on the Lady Bulldogs.
After Wyoming Indian cut the Lovell lead to 11, the Lady Bulldogs hit four free throws in six tries to build the lead to 13 points, 51-38, with four minutes to play. But Wyoming Indian wouldn’t go away and trimmed the lead to eight points, 53-45, and had the ball with a minute and a half to play following a Lovell traveling violation.
But senior center Kim Shumway came through in the clutch, picking off two passes and going the length of the court to seal the win, then adding a bank shot for good measure.
“Kim really showed her experience in the last two minutes of the game and made two crucial steals where she outworked them and converted the steals into layups,” Edwards said. “You learn a lot from that type of atmosphere. It just shows how determined our girls are.”
Charri McArthur finished with 14 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs, hitting six of nine shots from the field, and sister Chayli added 13, Nichols 11 and Shumway 10. Nichols and Chayli McArthur pulled down six rebounds each, and Charri McArthur had five steals, Nichols and Shumway four each. Hinckley contributed 6 points and three assists.
Madison Harper 0 0-0 0, Mykelle Nichols 2 7-8 11, Kassi Renner 0 1-2 1, Savanna Savage 0 2-4 2, Lauren Hinckley 2 1-2 6, Chayli McArthur 6 1-1 13, Charri McArthur 4 5-7 14, Mercedes Haney 1 0-0 2, Kim Shumway 5 0-0 10. Totals 20 17-24 59.
WYO. INDIAN (47)
Elsie Marquez 2 2-2 6, Makenzi Calfbossribs 1 0-0 3, Loveeda White 6 4-6 17, Amryn Brown 0 2-2 2, Jasmine McGill 2 5-8 9, Taylor Harris 0 0-2 0, Shaylee Lone Dog 4 0-2 8, Shauntae St. Clair 1 0-0 2, Dailyn Friday 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 13-22 47.
Lovell 13 18 16 12 – 59
WIHS 6 8 19 14 – 47
Three-point field goals – Hinckley 1, Char. McArthur 1; Calfbossribs 1, White 1. Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Lovell 17, Wyo. Indian 21.
By David Peck