By Al Stover 

Lady Broncos earn win over Reardan, lose to Liberty, Colfax

 

Last updated 2/8/2018 at Noon

TESSA O’BRIEN attempts to guard Reardan’s Whitney Bjornberg during the Lady Broncos’ game against the Lady Indians on Jan. 30. O’Brien scored six points during the game. -Journal photo by Al Stover

The Lind-Ritzville/Sprague Lady Broncos basketball team wrapped up their regular season last week by going 1-2 in Northeast 2B South League play.

The Lady Broncos opened the week with a 59-22 win against Reardan on Jan. 30.

LRS then lost their final two regular season games on the road. The first was a 50-45 loss to Liberty in overtime on Feb. 2, then a 53-23 loss at the hands of Colfax the next night.

Against Reardan, the Lady Broncos opened with a strong offense and defense, leading 18-5 after the first quarter.

The team kept the lead intact for the entirety of the game, adding nine points in the second quarter, then adding 15 in the third quarter and 17 in the fourth quarter.

Before the game started, senior athletes Peyton Curtis, Tessa O’Brien, Abby Gering and Alisha Baker were recognized for their contributions to the program.

During the fourth quarter, all four seniors came onto the court and shared some playing time together during their final game in Gilson Gym.

Head Coach Steve Wellsandt said the four seniors stepping onto the court together was their idea for Senior Night and asked him if they could share the time together, to which he obliged.

All four seniors contributed to the team’s scoring, with Curtis leading with 20 points. O’Brien scored six points in her last home game, while Gering added four points and Baker had two points.

Eliza Galbreath had 13, followed by Linnea Schafer and Lacey Miller adding six points each. Julia Klein and Brooke Koch rounded out the Lady Broncos’ scoring with two points each.

The Lady Broncos carried the momentum from the Reardan win into the first half of the Liberty game. They outscored the Lady Lancers 12-5 in the first quarter, then added 12 more points in the second quarter.

Wellsandt said LRS played good defense and kept the Lady Lancers from mounting a strong offense. He added the Lady Broncos were able to shut out Liberty’s Maise Burnham during the first half.

LRS was at a distadvantage after they lost two of their point guards during the second half. Curtis injured her ankle and was taken out of the game. Thirty seconds later, Schafer also suffered an ankle injury and was removed from play.

With Curtis and Schafer out, the Lady Lancers chipped away at the Lady Broncos’ lead in the third quarter, outscoring LRS 14-10. They added 18 more points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 43-43 and force the game into overtime.

In overtime, LRS’ offense struggled and the Lady Lancers outscored them, 7-2, to clinch the win.

Wellsandt said he knew Liberty was going to come back in the second half with athletes Burnham and Aleena Cook hitting their shots. The Lady Broncos also had trouble adjusting to a new defense to cover for the loss of both Curtis and Schafer.

Curtis again led the team in scoring with 21 points, followed by Miller with seven points and Klein with six points. Galbreath and Schafer recorded four points each while O’Brien added two points. Koch rounded out the Lady Broncos’ scoring with one point.


Wellsandt said he thought LRS’ string of five wins would carry them to a strong performance against Liberty and was pleased with how they performed, given the circumstances. He also believed the Lady Broncos would have defeated Liberty if Curtis and Schafer had not been injured.

The Lady Broncos were down three players against Colfax. In addition to Curtis and Schafer out with injuries, Galbreath was also sidelined with a foot injury.

LRS struggled to bring together their offense as the Lady Bulldogs outscored them15-3 after the first quarter. The Lady Broncos added nine points in the second quarter, trailing 26-12 after the first half.

After scoring only one point in the third quarter, LRS added 10 points in the final eight minutes.

O’Brien led the Lady Broncos in scoring with eight points while Klein added seven points.

Koch recorded six points, while Baker and Aaliyah Yaeger had three points each. Miller and Gering scored two points each.

Like the Liberty game, Wellsandt said the absence of starting players forced the Lady Broncos to adjust their defense and many of the athletes were playing outside of their normal position. He added the team put in a good effort against Colfax.

Wellsandt noted the Lady Bulldogs Head Coach Corey Baerlorcher was aware of the situation with Curtis and Schafer’s injuries and did not take advantage by running up the score.

LRS finished their regular season with a record of 8-8 in league play and 10-9 overall, and solidifed their third-place position in the NE 2B South League standings.

The Lady Broncos began the NE 2B District Tournament against Springdale on Feb. 6.

Wellsandt is unsure if Curtis and Schafer will be eligble to play in the District Tournament. He said Curtis is hoping to play within a week. He added Schafer recently went to the doctor for an MRI scan for her ankle.

Even without Curtis and Schafer, Wellsandt believes the Lady Broncos have a good chance of defeating the Lady Chargers. During the regular season, LRS defeated Springdale, 55-13.

Wellsandt said he would use practice time to revamp the team’s press and offense, and focus on putting athletes in positions where they can be successful on the court.

If LRS defeats Springdale, they will play St. George’s in the quarterfinals of the District Tournament on Feb. 8. If they lose, the Lady Broncos will play on Feb. 10.

 

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