Lovell hoops teams excited for State

For the first time since 2013, both the Lovell Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will represent their school and community at the state tournament this weekend, and this time it’s in Class 3A.

Lovell junior Emily Snell pops a jumper against the Powell Panthers in the third-place game Saturday afternoon in Afton. Snell played a valuable role for the Lady Bulldogs during the tournament, coming off the bench to work in  the post. David Peck photo
Lovell junior Emily Snell pops a jumper against the Powell Panthers in the third-place game Saturday afternoon in Afton. Snell played a valuable role for the Lady Bulldogs during the tournament, coming off the bench to work in
the post.
David Peck photo

The Lovell squads play back-to-back games at the Casper Events Center today (Thursday). The Lady Bulldogs meet Worland at 10:30 a.m., and the Bulldogs will take on Rawlins at noon.

The Lady Bulldogs (15-8), who placed second in Class 3A a year ago, have a tough task ahead of them when they meet the 25-1 Worland Warriors. Worland lost only to Newcastle during the regular season and stormed through the 3A East Regional in Glenrock, defeating Glenrock 62-33, Douglas 49-39 and Newcastle 50-41.

The Lady Bulldogs haven’t played Worland, but they did watch them at the Big Horn Basin Classic in January in Cowley.

“They’re deep and have good size in the post,” Lovell coach Chris Edwards said. “Their point guard, Haley Schneider (14.5 ppg) is one of the best in the state. We have some things planned defensively. We need to make sure we’re fundamentally sound in our defense this weekend.

“We also need to have our girls stay out of foul trouble so our rotations will work well. The girls felt positive after the weekend (in Afton) with multiple girls contributing.”

Also strong for the Warriors is Lyndzi Rich inside, averaging 11.6 points per game and leading the team with 6.9 rebounds per game.

If the Lady Bulldogs pull the upset, they will play the winner of the Mountain View-Rawlins game Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Casper College. If the Lady Bulldogs fall to Worland they will meet the Mountain View-Rawlins loser Friday at 9 a.m. at Casper College.

Boys at noon

The Lovell Bulldogs (17-7) will meet the Rawlins Outlaws (18-9) at noon Thursday at the Events Center. Rawlins won two out of three games at the East Regional in Glenrock, stopping defending state champion Buffalo 79-72 and Worland 54-52 before

Riley Abraham puts up a long-range jumper in the opening round of the regional tournament against the Jackson Broncs Thursday afternoon in Afton. Lovell defeated Jackson twice during the tournament. David Peck photo
Riley Abraham puts up a long-range jumper in the opening round of the regional tournament against the Jackson Broncs Thursday afternoon in Afton. Lovell defeated Jackson twice during the tournament.
David Peck photo

falling to Wheatland in the regional championship game, 65-41.

The Outlaws are streaky but also versatile, Lovell coach Craig Lundberg said.

“They have a couple of 6-2/6-3 kids,” Lundberg said. “They have a tall guard in (Jace) Allard (17.4 ppg). He’s their leader, the (Henry) Geraci of Rawlins. He led them in every statistical category and is a great shooter.

“Kolton Wall (13.2 ppg) is a big kid who works well inside but will come outside and shoot. He’s also not afraid to put the ball on the deck and go to the hole.”

As with any opponent, the Bulldogs will attempt to capitalize on their height advantage.

“The key for us is to be able to attack their pressure,” he said. “They use a full-court press and half-court trap. We must handle their pressure so we can exploit them with our big guys. No team can match up with us size wise.”

If the Bulldogs win, they will play the winner of the Lander-Douglas game Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Casper College. If the Bulldogs fall to Rawlins, they’ll take on the Lander-Douglas loser Friday at noon at the college.

Lundberg said he’s looking forward to the tournament and appreciates the support from the Lovell fans.

“I couldn’t believe the fan support that we had in Afton,” he said. “The support of the community and the fans – it never ceases to amaze me.”

By David Peck