Lady Dogies fall short of state hardware

By: 
Sonja Karp

Photo courtesy of Nicole McFarland

Jaylen Ostenson garnered a great deal of defensive attention throughout the 3A State Tournament last week. Despite being double-teamed every time she went to the rack, the sophomore managed to drop 27 points in the Lady Dogies’ consolation semifinal win over Mountain View on Thursday morning. See more on Page 9.

 

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter

 

The Lady Dogies made their second consecutive trip to the 3A State Tournament last Wednesday and Thursday in Casper. While they came up just short of bringing home any hardware, the young team advanced to the Consolation Championship game and gave all three teams they took on a run for their money.

“I think there were some nerves at work when we started our first game on Wednesday,” mused head coach Chad Ostenson. “And it just wasn’t our day in our last game on Thursday, but I am very proud of how the girls battled in every game, and we got some very valuable experience which I hope will help us next season.”

The Lady Dogies got off to a slow start in their first game of the tournament against the west  side’s second seeded Lady Tigers of Lander on Wednesday afternoon. Though the squad created plenty of scoring opportunities, they struggled to find the bottom of the net.

Fortunately, the team played some solid defense early so held the Lady Tigers back from scoring at will.

“We had a tough time finishing early, but Lander also struggled a little to get going,” Ostenson surmised. “We did a pretty nice job of digging ourselves out of the hole we got in early, but having to do that really puts you in a bind later on.”

The Lady Dogies got their first two points from one trip to the charity stripe deep into the first quarter, however finished the first frame down only 6-11 against the Lady Tigers. Lander continued to build their lead, out-scoring Newcastle 13-9 in the second quarter to take a nine-point advantage into the locker room. 

The second half was a different story, however, and the Lady Dogies took the momentum early in the third quarter, finally getting into an offensive groove, cutting the Tigers’ lead to only two by the beginning of the fourth. Unfortunately, Lander was able to hold off the second half run by the Dogies to take the 40-36 win, dropping Newcastle into the consolation bracket.

“They hit a couple of fairly key shots down the stretch which helped them and hurt us,” Ostenson explained. “Their post stepped out and hit a couple which got them going. We played pretty good basketball really, but couldn’t finish.”

The Lady Dogies were out-rebounded by the Tigers, however, they only turned the ball over 13 times to their 15.

Jaylen Ostenson led the team in scoring with 16 points, Mercedes Voelker was next with seven while MacKenzie Conzelman put up six. Shelby Tidyman added four points, Hunter McFarland contributed two points, and Tiernan Stanton pulled down 10 rebounds.

Thursday morning found the Lady Dogies back on the court faced with getting past Mountain View in order to give themselves a shot at the Consolation Champion title. 

“We played one of our most solid games of the year against Mt. View,” Ostenson declared. “We held their
big to only two points, we took care of the ball, shared it well, went
inside out, rebounded well and played great defense.”

The Lady Buffalo are a well-coached team who are pretty athletic but are a little undersized compared to Newcastle. From the start, the Lady Dogies controlled the contest, out-scoring Mt. View 15-12, 8-4, and 14-7 in the first three
quarters of play. The Buffs made a little run in the fourth frame, however Newcastle held them off to take the 48-38 win and thus advanced to the fifth place game.

“I was glad they came to play and got a win down there so they could see what they are capable of doing,” Ostenson said. “Everyone just played really well and it was an overall nice team win.”

Two Lady Dogies finished the contest with double-doubles. Ostenson once again led with 27 points and 12 rebounds while Stanton scored 10 points and pulled down another 10 rebounds. From there, Voelker added six points, Tidyman chipped in two and Shawnee Miles added three in a dramatic fashion by hitting a buzzer beater shot from half court at the end of the third quarter. 

“Tiernan had a good weekend,” Ostenson emphasized. “Since regionals, she’s picked it up a notch and she kept climbing through the state tournament. She went after boards with authority like she should, and defensively, she changes the game for us.”

The Lady Dogies met a familiar opponent in the Consolation Championship on Thursday afternoon, as the Wheatland Lady Bulldogs soundly defeated Torrington to earn their shot at the fifth place trophy. The two teams battled twice during the regular season, and then again for third place at the regional tournament. The Lady Dogies had emerged victorious in all three contests, so Wheatland was coming in with a chip on their shoulder and much to prove.

“We won by one in double [overtime] the first time, and 11 the second time at home when we both played a little flat,” Ostenson recalled. “Then at regionals we shot really well from the outside finishing with 10 threes, and six of those came in the third quarter.”

To start their fourth and final matchup, the Lady Dogies came out swinging as Voelker drained two back-to-back threes to start the game and gave Newcastle a quick 6-0 advantage. 

However, things cooled off from beyond the arc, and the Lady Bulldogs rallied to close out the quarter with an 8-8 tie. The Lady Dogies pulled ahead slightly to take a three point lead into the locker room, then went point-for-point with Wheatland in another 8-8 quarter in the third. 

“We played solid basketball, but coming down the stretch they hit some really big outside, contested shots to take the game to overtime,” Ostenson explained. “The one [Kayla] Otero banked was NBA range with Shelby in her face. When that happens, it’s probably not going to be good for you.”

With the score tied at 37 at the end of regulation, the two squads found themselves once again in an overtime situation. The teams exchanged blows in the final four minutes, however both Otero and Ostenson fouled out (in that order) during the extended frame so the Bulldogs and the Dogies had to determine the winner without their most productive player. 

“Coming down the stretch, we missed a few decent looks,” Ostenson admitted. “Shelby had a good look at a three and then another look at a drive, Jay had a nice drive, and Tiernan had a good look underneath. Some days are like that, but unfortunately it was for the consolation championship. It would have been nice to bring home a trophy.”

Wheatland ended the contest on top 46-41, denying the Lady Dogies the hardware they were so hoping to bring home. 

“I give Wheatland credit because they could have rolled over, but they didn’t. They crushed Torrington earlier in the day and shot the ball really well,” Ostenson nodded. “We did everything we should have, but it just wasn’t our game. When they bank a three from five feet beyond the arc, it’s tough.”

Ostenson finished her season leading her team in scoring once again. She ended the contest with 16 points, Stanton was next with eight, Voelker had six, McFarland added five and Tidyman rounded out the scoring with two points.

The contest also marked the high school career end of Voelker and Claire Beastrom, the team’s two senior players. 

“We’re going to miss Mercedes and Claire a lot next year,” Ostenson sighed. “Their leadership was tremendous and the team cohesiveness of Claire combined with Mercedes and her shooting will leave big shoes to fill.”

Fortunately, Ostenson will bring back three juniors and four starters next season, and is hoping to have a summer program this year to keep them up to speed.

“It was such a fun year, and it was great to watch them grow throughout the season,” Ostenson smiled. “I hope to start where we ended this year and grow again during the season, then we should be in a pretty good situation.”

Ostenson also gave a shout out to his Lady Dogie parents and fans who complied with the restrictions and rules allowing the girls to have a wonderful season. In addition, Ostenson credited Ron Laird and Trevor Wilson of the Wyoming High School Activities Association as well as Mike and Beau Gregory and all the other administrators who kept things moving and got his team through the year.

 

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