By Erick Starkey
BURNS – The Lingle-Fort Laramie Lady Doggers started their season with an 0-3 effort at the Burns Winter Classic over the weekend, with two of their losses coming by six or fewer points.
“We played three solid teams,” coach Matt Cornelius said. “We didn’t come out with a win, but we are definitely learning and finding out our roles.”
Shoshoni 45, L-FL 39
The Lady Doggers began the weekend with a Friday game against 2A’s Shoshoni. L-FL came out hot, outscoring the Lady Blue 14-7 in the first frame, but Shoshoni continually crept back into the game. At halftime, the Lady Doggers still held on to a 21-15 lead. After three quarters of action, they were still slinging to a 30-29 lead, before being outscored 16-9 in the fourth quarter to let the game slip away, 45-39.
Senior Jade Cooper poured in 18 points to pace the Lady Doggers on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc. She rounded out her stat line with five rebounds and three assists.
“Jade is accepting her role very exceptionally,” Cornelius said. “She is a very solid basketball player and she is helping her teammates. Teams definitely know how good she is.”
Ashley Riley was the other Lady Dogger in double-figures, chipping in 11 points, five boards and an assist.
Outside of Cooper and Riley, Kelcie Sargent and Savannah Mirich combined for the remaining 10 points. The duo also combined for 10 boards and two assists. Shelby Heilbrun paced the Lady Doggers in rebounds, with seven, while Torey Bever kicked in another three.
In the loss, the Lady Doggers shot 39 percent from the field, including 38 percent from three-point land.
Little Snake River 61, L-FL 18
Turnovers proved to be the downfall against second-ranked Little Snake River, with the Lady Doggers committing 38 turnovers as a team in the 61-18 loss.
After the first frame of action, the Lady Doggers were only down 8-3 and by halftime they faced a 21-11 deficit. The third quarter proved to be the difference, with the Lady Rattlers putting up 29 points in the frame, while limiting L-FL to six points. Little Snake River cruised to the win after the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Doggers 11-1 to close out the game.
Sargent was the top scorer for L-FL pouring in seven points. Cooper and Mirich each had four points in the loss. Cooper led the Lady Doggers with six boards, while Mirich was one of three Lady Doggers with five. Jessy White, who knocked down a three-pointer in the contest, and Bever were the other two players active on the boards with five rebounds apiece. Riley and Heilbrun combined for six rebounds.
On top of the turnover issues, the Lady Doggers shot 18 percent from the floor, including 13 percent from behind the arc.
Saratoga 38, L-FL 34
It was a back-and-forth affair between the Lady Doggers and Lady Panthers to close out the weekend. Saratoga took an 8-6 lead after the first quarter, but L-FL wrestled the lead away and was up 18-16 at the break. The fourth quarter proved to be the demise of the Lady Doggers because they were outscored 12-4. Their 12 points in the fourth quarter compared to Saratoga’s 10 was not enough to make up the difference.
“Two of those games could have went the other way,” Cornelius said. “It was an encouragement for the kids. We still competed to the very end with some strategic kids on the bench (due to foul trouble).”
Cooper shot 40 percent from behind the arc on her way to racking up 12 points in the loss. She also had four rebounds and an assist. Sargent tied Cooper for the team-lead in scoring with 12 points of her own, along with four boards.
Mirich chipped in eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, along with four rebounds and an assist. Riley added the final two points, both of which were from the charity stripe. Riley accounted for a rebound and led the team with two assists. Heilbrun led the Lady Doggers with nine rebounds, while Bever was second with five.
The Lady Doggers started their season 0-3 and they return to the hardwood in their own gym for the L-FL Invitational this weekend. L-FL has a game against Hulett on Friday (3 p.m.), followed by games Saturday against Midwest (9 a.m.) And Encampment (3 p.m.).
“We are not doing anything crazy,” Cornelius said. “We are just going to play basketball and work on getting better at the fundamentals.”