CASPER – After a tough loss to open the 4A Basketball State Championships, the Rock Springs Lady Tigers dug deep to grind out a win against Evanston, 52-47, to move into the consolation finals on Saturday.
Friday’s battle was the third meeting between the two teams this season with each team taking a win during the regular season. The Lady Red Devils lost to Cheyenne East on Thursday, 52-34.
An offensive putback by Emily Quigley set the tone early for the Lady Tigers. Maggie Justinak and Ky Buell each added five early as Rock Springs jumped up nine, 13-4. Sarye Thomas and Taylor Jenkins matched Evanston buckets in the final three minutes of the first as Rock Springs took the ten-point lead after one, 19-9.
Evanston scored the first nine of the second quarter to cut the lead to one. Rock Springs ended the run but Evanston matched to stay within one, 23-22. Another Evanston 7-1 run put the Lady Red Devils up five but a Buell three at the end of the half pulled Rock Springs back to within two, 29-27.
After Evanston started the third with a bucket, Buell hit four straight for Rock Springs to even the game at 31. Thomas followed suit with four straight to give the Lady Tigers the four-point lead. After two Quigley free throws, the Lady Red Devils scored the next five to pull back within one, 37-36. Quigley and Evanston traded points in the final two minutes as the Lady Tigers took a one-point lead into the final quarter, 39-38.
The Lady Red Devils took the lead from the foul line to start the final period but Quigley responded as Rock Springs regained the lead. Evanston came right back with a 4-1 run to jump up two, 44-42, but a conventional three-point play by Buell put the Lady Tigers back in front by one midway through the fourth. Selena Cudney and Quigley answered an Evanston bucket as Rock Springs jumped up four with under two minutes to go.
A Rock Springs free throw put the Tigers up five with 48 seconds and after forcing a miss on the other end, Jenkins added another free throw with 20 seconds to extend the lead to six. Evanston added a free throw late but that was all they could find as the Lady Tigers took the win to advance to the consolation finals.
Ky Buell led the way with 16 points for the Lady Tigers. Quigley added 12 points and seven rebounds while Thomas added 11 points and five rebounds.
The Lady Tigers will face Cheyenne Central at 9 a.m. on Saturday in the consolation championship to conclude the 2016-2017 season.
Rock Springs High School
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