Lady Dogies end weekend with a split

Sonja Karp

Photo by Walter Sprague/NLJ

Jaylen Ostenson was able to get a big step on the Lady Cat defense and drove to the hoop for a rare shot from inside the paint. Ostenson finished the night with six makes from beyond the arc and three from under the basket.


Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


It’s not often that a 23-point loss could be considered a win, but when that loss comes from the undeniable No. 1, undefeated team in 3A it takes on a whole new meaning. 

The Lady Dogies were dealt all they could handle and more when the Douglas Lady Bearcats came to the Dome on Friday for the teams’ first matchup of the season. Led by the 6-foot, 4-inch UW-signed Allyson Fertig along with her sidekick Joslin Igo, the Lady ‘Cats are a force to be reckoned with, but Newcastle was chomping at the bit to give it a whirl.

“Friday was a good night,” smiled head coach Chad Ostenson. “If you take away the first two minutes of the game, they only outscored us by 11 in the last three quarters. We were just too wound up when we started and we had quite a few uncharacteristic turnovers which Douglas took full advantage of.”

Those first two minutes were indeed pretty rough and the team turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter. They would end the game with 20 overall, so that in and of itself says a great deal about how the first eight minutes went. Douglas, on the other hand, took very good care of the basketball ending the night with only eight turnovers. 

“We have to start better,” Ostenson decided. “We can’t keep spotting everyone a bunch of points and expect to come back. I’m glad the girls have the mentality that they can come back, but it would make it a lot easier if we didn’t always have to try to climb out of a hole.”

The first quarter ended with the Bearcats on top 18-6, which was a bigger lead than they built in the next three quarters combined. 

The Lady Dogies struggled to get the ball inside as Douglas was adept at guarding the paint, but fortunately the squad was dialed in from beyond the arc hitting 11 as a team. 

Despite holding a lead at the end of every quarter, it was apparent that Coach Hellenbolt of the Lady ‘Cats was never comfortable because he did not pull a single starter off the floor until there were about 2:30 minutes remaining in the third quarter, and did not pull Fertig or Igo for the entire 32 minutes. 

The contest ended with a 69-46 Douglas win with Fertig scoring 33 of those points, however Newcastle could walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. 

Jaylen Ostenson finished the night with 25 points, 18 of those coming from three-point land. Shelby Tidyman was next with 12
points, all of which were three-point shots. MacKenzie Conzelman added one three-pointer to the team total.

“I thought we did some good things. We might not be one of the top five teams in the state right now, but I think we are when it comes to playing against that team,” Ostenson determined. “We match up relatively well with them, at least as good as anyone does. We’ve got some length and some athletic guards and we have a bench who can come in and spell us a little bit which is nice.”

After the hard-fought battle against Douglas, Newcastle was on the road early for an afternoon game against the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday. Wheatland was in a similar boat having fought hard against Burns on Friday to turn around and play an early contest on Saturday. 

“It wasn’t a pretty game for either team, and it was clear that our girls just lacked the intensity they had in the Douglas game,” Ostenson admitted. “Their shooting was just a little short and they didn’t have their legs under them. Our defense looked good, but offensively, we were a little quick to pull the trigger.”

Although neither team was ever able to get into a flow, and everyone seemed to be a step slow the Lady Dogies were able to gain and hold a slight lead until the Bulldogs clawed their way back in it and took the lead for a minute in the third quarter and then again with just a few minutes to go in the game, and Ostenson admitted that was when he got a little worried.

“We got some steals late in the game so we didn’t have to foul, and we kept our heads and we got a time out when we were down three right at the end of regulation,” Ostenson described. “There were about 10 or 11 seconds and we set something up which was not how it actually played out, but the kids stepped up and made it happen.”

Coming out of the timeout, Mercedes Voelker took the game-tying shot, but it didn’t go in. Fortunately, Tiernan Stanton got the rebound and hit Tidyman with the outlet pass.

Shelby Tidyman, who hadn’t hit a shot all day, ended up with the ball on the right wing, and with a Wheatland player in her face, calmly hit a buzzer beater from beyond the arc to send the game into overtime. 

“The kids were calm right up to the end and just had the confidence to play until the final buzzer,” Ostenson smiled. “We were in foul trouble though heading into the overtime because Tiernan had already fouled out and Jay and Shelby each had four fouls.”

The two teams went point for point during the OT but the Lady Dogies held a two-point lead with just seconds left on the clock. Ostenson then fouled Kayla Otero, Wheatland’s best player on a shot so with just a little over a second to play, sent her to the line to potentially tie the game and force another overtime, and sending herself to the bench with her fifth foul.

Fortunately for Newcastle, Otero was only able to hit the first of her two free throws and the Lady Dogies came down with the rebound to take the 41-40 win. 

“It wasn’t pretty, but the girls finished and that’s what you have to be proud of,” Ostenson nodded. “Even against Douglas, the girls battled until the very end and I can always count on them to do just that in every game.”

The Lady Dogies now have a long three weeks of road games as they head into the final month of the regular season, and have another big test this weekend with a rematch in Torrington on Friday with varsity action getting underway at 5:30, and then will head north to Big Horn on Saturday for another early afternoon game on a Saturday with varsity tipping off at 2:30.


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