Wheatland Lady Bulldogs dominate opponents at invite

By Stephanie Wilson
Posted 1/10/24

CHEYENNE — Coming off a holiday moratorium can be difficult, as some rustiness and lethargy can set in, especially when the first outing means facing three separate 4A Class opponents right out of the gate

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Wheatland Lady Bulldogs dominate opponents at invite


CHEYENNE — Coming off a holiday moratorium can be difficult, as some rustiness and lethargy can set in, especially when the first outing means facing three separate 4A Class opponents right out of the gate. A bit of holiday fatigue was evident in the first game against the Kelly Walsh Trojans as both teams battled low scoring and a lot of turnovers. On paper, it seemed that it could be anyone’s game: the Trojans had a significant height advantage with two six-foot players; while the Bulldogs came off the holidays with a 5-2 record under their belts and consistent high scoring by Lily Anderson, who has been averaging 15 points per game. Pure athleticism and determination kept the girls focused, and coach Coplen utilized her bench very well to mitigate fatigue; however, the score stood at 16-13 with the Bulldogs in the lead at the end of the first half as there seemed to be a lid on the basket on both ends.

The second half saw the Bulldogs and Trojans trading baskets. Kelly Walsh got into a fouling phase, putting Bulldogs on the line several times, including Kacey Otero who has a season free throw average of 67 percent. Good shooting from the line made a difference at the end of the game and pressure was amped up by the fourth period with only a one-point lead for Wheatland. The Bulldogs came out on top at the buzzer with a final score of 36-31. Leading scorers for the Bulldogs were freshman Lily Anderson with 19, Lily Nichols with 11, Otero with 4, and Laynie Goertz with 1. Karly Jones Karly pulled down five defensive rebounds, contributing to an overall rebound tally of 28 to Kelly Walsh’s 27.

The second day of play found the Lady ‘Dawgs facing the Wolves of Green River, who put on a ton of defensive pressure on anyone with the ball right from the start. While the Bulldogs took plenty of smart shots, they just couldn’t get it to fall in the first minutes of the game and struggled from three-point land early on. It was starting to look a lot like the Kelly Walsh game, and the half-time buzzer ended the second quarter 22-16 with Wheatland in the lead, who kept their scoring advantage throughout the first half. At the top of the third, the Wolves came out hungry and closed in with back-to-back threes, but Laynie Goertz quickly answered the shooting run with a much-needed three-pointer of her own. Green River continued to rebut Bulldog scoring with baskets of their own; however, with clutch rebounds and two drives in a row, Nichols helped the Bulldogs pull away with a quick lead.

Ella Keil was a dervish on defense and garnered several steals throughout. Lola Philo took a shot at the buzzer, putting the Bulldogs up by five at the end of third quarter play.

Green River wasted no time and scored within seconds of the final period, and after sinking two foul shots, the Wolves had their first lead of the game. Keil assisted Anderson on a nice pass and the Bulldogs regained their lead, but only momentarily as Green River hung in there. It started to look as if the Wolves were taking no prisoners. After some scuffling, Nichols found herself on the free-throw line again and again, closing the gap. With less than a minute left of play and a tenuous lead, Karly Jones puts up a critical two-pointer and widened the lead 48-42.

With Nichols back on the line during the final countdown, the Bulldogs remained victorious, beating Green River 51-42. Scoring for the Bulldogs were Anderson with 15, Nichols and Otero with 12, Keil for 5, Goertz for 3, and Karly Jones for 2.

The third and final game against Cheyenne South found Ella Keil bursting onto the scene and stealing the ball like a thief; putting Wheatland on the scoreboard right away between herself and Nichols. The Cheyenne South Bison quickly answered and the teams traded baskets for the first few minutes. However, Bulldog defense was putting a lot of pressure on the Bison, and Keil kept making her presence a problem for Cheyenne: driving through a crowd and scoring with an assist by Mickelsen.

Wheatland took a commanding lead in the second half with a 22-point advantage. The Bulldogs continued to press from all angles, each player fighting tooth and nail. Nichols scored without contest at the buzzer, and at the end of the first half, Wheatland led Cheyenne South 41-20. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Bison 17-7.

Cheyenne South continued to struggle from the field and stood back on defense, as they let almost every Bulldog steal, rebound, and score time after time. Mickelsen dropped a big three after a nice steal and Keil stole the ball yet again, tallying her scoring to 17 midway through the 3rd period of play on an assist from Mickelsen. The game was in danger of going to a running clock as the score now stood at 60-23, Bulldogs. After the Bison’s 28th turnover of the day, Mickelsen scored again.

With Otero scoring a pretty reverse layup at the top of the 4th, the clock continued to run as the Bulldogs claimed a 20-plus point lead. Cheyenne continued to struggle to take care of the ball and could not close in on the Bulldogs, as they dominated and won 68-26. Keil was leading scorer with 19 points, Nichols and Anderson each contributed 14, Otero scored eight, Mickelsen landed five, Karly and Macy Jones each contributed three, and Goertz added two points. The Lady Bulldogs never looked back after taking a lead early on and shooting 55 percent from the field. Wheatland girls finished the tournament 3-0 all against 4A opponents.