RHS girls drub Thermop, losing skid ends

Dec 17, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

It had been more than two years since the Riverton Wolverine girls had won a basketball game, but when they finally broke their 52-game losing streak, they left no doubt about it.

Senior guard Leighanna Shoulderblade scored 21 points as Riverton used a big second half to blow Thermopolis out of the game, winning 53-30 and changing the subject in a most-welcome way in the first round of the Lander Classic at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.

"Finally we can move forward from this," said RHS coach Travis McIntosh. "I'm just very proud of the girls, of how they played. They were pretty excited to get that win, as they should be.

Shoulderblade's full scoresheet stood out, but McIntosh said a team defensive effort was equally important.

"I really credit our defense. They way we were playing, we really controlled and contained them," McIntosh said of the Lady Cats. We forced them into missing shots, and we did a pretty good job on the boards.

The consistent defense never let Thermopolis into the game. The Lady Cats managed to score more than six points in just one of four quarters, and just three players scored on the night.

When the Wolverines had the ball, its was a balanced scoring attack that helped them take early command. Madi Pantle slashed to the hoop effectively and got to the free-throw line for four shots, all of which she made. Playing without starting post Naya Shime, who is traveling with her family, Riverton got early buckets as well from Jordan Lewis and Sam Gaudern, and Kelsey Milleson swished to free throws. Oddly enough, Shoulderblade didn't score at all in the first period.

She corrected that situation emphatically after that, connecting on six 3-pointers. Three came in a dominating fourth quarter when RIverton, which had lost a fourth-quarter lead last week to Jackson, stayed firmly in control to the final buzzer. Seven Wolverines scored, with Milleson's nine points next ;up for RHS after Shoulderblade's 21. Pantle had eight points, thanks to a perfect 8-8 night at the free-throw line.

Douglas 59, Riverton 35

The top-ranked Douglas girls never let Riverton breathe in Saturday's second-round game, smothering the Lady Wolverines 23-1 in the opening quarter. Douglas sends a huge front line onto the floor and scored almost at will in the early possessions. Lewis's free throw was Riverton's only marker in the first eight minutes.

Riverton was respectable after that, but by the time the Wolverines outscored Douglas 16-3 in the fourth period, the game had been out of reach for most of the morning. Shoulderblade heated up, nailing three 3-pointers on her way to 17 points, and Sam Gaudern had a nice quarter with two buckets.

"Douglas is huge," McIntosh said of the towering Bearcats. "That is a deep, well-coached team that scores in the middle and from the outside. That's a team we are going to have to learn to compete with."

Torrington 39,

Riverton 31

The Lady Trailblazers from Goshen County had one mission Saturday afternoon: Stop Leighanna Shoulderblade. They did it, confining the RHS sharpshooter to three points in the game -- none in the first three quarter. The 16-point drop-off from her scoring average the first two games left too big a load for the rest of the Wolverines in what McIntosh still felt was a winnable game.

"It was the small things that hurt us the entire game. A few too many turnovers, and we lost out composure a little bit."

Trailing 36-15 heading to the fourth quarter, Riverton rallied to climb within five points but couldn't get over the top.

"We made a pretty good run at them, but we didn't hit quite enough shots. We didn't rebound well and got in some foul trouble."

Lewis went for nine points, and Carlee Flanagan had her best game of the season, sinking three baskets in a strong third quarter.

RHS plays Torrington again right away, boarding the bus nearly to the Nebraska border for a Thursday rematch.

"We do get another shot at them, and we will work hard to do better," said McIntosh. "We know what they have, and we'll be ready. I feel like we didn't play the way we are capable of playing (Saturday), so we will look forward to it."

Riverton 10 9 16 18 -- 53

Thermopolis 3 6 12 6 -- 30

Riverton (53) Leighanna Shoulderblade 1 (6) 1-4 21, Kelsey Milleson,1 (1) 4-5 9, Carlee Flanagan 1 0-0 2, Sam Gaudern 2 0-0 4, Jordan Lewis 2 0-0 4, Madi Pantle 0 8-8 8. Totals 8 (8) 13-17 53.

Thermopolis ((30) Bommeroen 11, McPhie 8, McDermott 5.

Douglas 23 16 14 3 -- 53

Riverton 1 10 8 16 - 35

Riverton (35) Shoulderblade 2 (4) 1-2 17, Flanagan 2 1-2 5, Gaudern 2 0-0 4, Lewis 1 3-6 5, Pantle 2 0-0 4. Totals 9 (4) 5-8 35.

Douglas (53) Townsend 5 Boe 3, Selhuldies 2, Igo 16, Seeds 7, Curtis 9, Porter 4, Fertig 12. Totals 17 (4) 13-20 53.

Riverton 3 6 6 13 -- 31

(scorebook incomplete)

Torrington 9 7 10 13 -- 39

Riverton -- Shoulderblade 3, Cyd Bradley 2, Milleson 4, Flanagan 7, Lewis 9, Ahkaysha Menor 3. Totals 8 (1)

6-13 31 (scorebook incomplete)

Torrington -- (39) Tucker 4, Walsh 6, Sherbeyrn 7, Hashman 5, Bivens 3, Hallen 2, Lira 9. Totals 12 (1) 2-7 39

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