The Cheyenne East girls basketball team proved worthy of its No. 2 rating in Wyoming’s highest class by registering a 60-31 win over Scottsbluff on Saturday afternoon at Scottsbluff High School.
Junior Rachel Erickson scored a game-high 20 points as the Thunderbirds improved to 12-1 on the season with the victory.
“They’re deep, athletic, and good. Not a good combination to play against,” Scottsbluff coach Mike Burda said of Cheyenne East. “They’re a very good team.”
Despite the final outcome, Scottsbluff showed plenty of promise and fight throughout the contest. The Bearcats, who dropped to 1-10, were led in scoring by freshman Zoe Holscher with nine points. Kyra Willats added seven points.
“We did a good job against a phenomenal team,” Burda said. “We knew we were going to struggle against them, but I thought the girls went out and fought really well. We had some good runs and I thought we did a good job of being competitive for a good part of the game. It was good to play a team like that.”
Cheyenne East, which never trailed in the game, only led 12-6 after the opening quarter of play. But the Thunderbirds’ full-court pressure shifted into high gear in the second eight minutes, which led to Cheyenne East outscoring the Bearcats 19-2 in building a 31-8 halftime advantage.
Erickson tallied nine of her 20 points in the second quarter. Most of the Thunderbirds’ scoring in the frame was a direct result of Scottsbluff turnovers against the press.
The third quarter saw the Bearcats play their best basketball of the contest. Scottsbluff outscored the Thunderbirds 17-15 in the frame.
A 9-0 run midway through the quarter helped the Bearcats close within 18. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Holscher and Willats sparked the charge.
Burda said the strong and improved play in the second half was nice to see.
“We just played with more confidence,” Burda said. “I think there was a huge intimidation factor to start the game. Once the girls settled in they played a lot better.”
Any hopes of a Bearcat comeback were quickly put to rest early in the fourth quarter as Cheyenne East used a 12-0 run to put the game away.
Erickson was the only player in the game to reach the double-figure scoring column. Shayne Carter and Kayla Cheney each finished with eight points for the Thunderbirds, while Mckenna Horsley and Leah Cheney added seven each.
Toni Rosado led Scottsbluff on the glass with 10 rebounds. She also totaled two steals.
Kayla Cheney finished with five rebounds and three steals for Cheyenne East.
Scottsbluff shot 5 of 9 at the free-throw line. Senior Liz Cunningham swished 4 of her 6 foul shots.
The Thunderbirds finished the game 4 of 7 at the free-throw line.
Scottsbluff will return to action on Monday at Cheyenne Central. The game was rescheduled from Friday because of bad weather. The Bearcats will then host Sidney on Saturday afternoon.
Cheyenne East (12-1).............................12 19 15 14 — 60
Scottsbluff (1-10)...............................6 2 17 6 — 31
Rachel Erickson 20, Mckenna Horsley 7, Sarah Erickson 5, Leah Cheney 7, Ashton Brodahl 2, Shayne Carter 8, Kayla Cheney 8, Elissia Johnson 3.
Liz Cunningham 4, Aubree Ford 1, Kelli Wentz 4, Zoe Holscher 9, Chesney Walker 2, Kyra Willats 7, Toni Rosado 4.