Lady Tigers’ senior Kassadee Dickey takes a long shot from the right baseline during regional playoff action against McClave. McClave defeated CW, 53-32, and advanced to the 1A state tournament that will begin Thursday in Greeley.
The Cheyenne Wells girls’ basketball team made it to the Big Show for the first time since 1978 a year ago and most of the players knew what it was like to be able to play in the biggest arena in the State. They advanced to the regional finals in the toughest region in the state losing to #1 and undefeated McClave (23-0) and gave the talented Lady Cards a contest but eventually falling, 53-32. The loss ended their season at 8-14.
Tiger head coach Jason Muth said, “I’m proud of the effort this season. We played with a lot of hustle and grit in our district and regional games, but we just aren’t quite there yet.”
In the Regional semifinals Cheyenne Wells took on the Kim/Branson Lady Mustangs, a team that had beaten them in the regular season on Jan. 13 by the score of 32-24. It was a very slow-paced game in the first half, but the CW group found themselves down by three, 19-16, going into the final period. That’s when the Tigers picked up their defense and went on a 10-3 run to grab the semifinals game and stay alive another day.
Muth said of the tight game with Kim/Branson, “Paige (Ryser) came alive in the fourth quarter against Kim; six of her nine steals came that quarter. We held them to one point the last seven minutes, which was necessary because we couldn’t get anything going on offense ourselves. Izzy (Trevino-Lopez) hit a pair of clutch free throws late in the 4th that gave us the lead and Shaylee finished it out with a layup in the last few seconds. Overall, I was pretty frustrated with our play. We didn’t play with much confidence and couldn’t find a flow.”
Ryser led Cheyenne Wells with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and those 9 steals referenced by Muth.
Aubry Carroll, Shaylee Scheler, and Trevino-Lopez each chipped in 4 points. Kassadee Dickey added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals; while Savanna Worley chipped in 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
Although they didn’t win, the Lady Tigers put everything on the line against McClave, a team that had soundly beaten them in the regular season on Jan. 5 by the score of 56-21. The game on Saturday was much closer than that January contest as the Lady Tigers battled, particularly in the first period where McClave usually does their biggest damage. Although the Lady Cards, who sport a perfect 23-0 record, outscored the Tigers in each stanza of the game, they did not hold the Tigers down much and they were able to challenge early in the final quarter getting within 10 points before the Cards pulled away.
McClave freshman Ashlee Steinbrunn had a strong game with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals. Senior Kennedy Vallejos added 14 points and 4 rebounds. Freshman phenom Abrielle Gomez dropped 11 points, pulled down 8 rebounds, and added 7 assists, 6 steals, and 4 blocked shots.
Muth said of the regional finals game, “Fortunately we played better Saturday and gave McClave a little more of a fight than earlier in the season. Shaylee (Scheler) did an incredible job defending Gomez (Abrielle), Paige played with tremendous energy, and Aubry Carroll had some great hustle plays. As a team we played with a lot more confidence, and even though it was heartbreaking to end the season, at least we went out fighting.”
Ryser ended up with 16 points and 8 rebounds against McClave. Trevino-Lopez added 7 points, 4 boards, and 2 steals. Scheler added 3 points and 4 rebounds. The young Aubry Carroll pulled down 8 strong boards and chipped in 3 assists.
The Tigers’ season is done with the loss to McClave. They only have two seniors who will be dearly missed by Muth and the whole basketball program. They include Kassadee Dickey, a player that suffered through a serious illness around Christmas time, but who came back strong to help her team get as far as they possibly could, and Ella Weed.