Five-foot, 10-inch senior Meghann Cranford rises and extends to fire a jump shot over six-foot Sofia Hof of Kelly Walsh. Photo by Heather Gifford
By MARK MADIA | Herald Sports Editor
EVANSTON ó The Evanston Lady Red Devils earned a split over the weekend with the two Casper schools in town, playing a close first half against the third-ranked Fillies of Natrona County, but ultimately falling, 14-48, on Friday night, Feb. 8, and turning around to even the score with the Lady Trojans of Casper Kelly Walsh on Saturday, 50-35.
The Lady Red Devils are now in fourth place in the 4A West Conference, with a 3-4 mark, while running their seasonal record to 6-14. After the weekend, the conference standings are as follows:
Natrona County 7-0, 16-3
Rock Springs 4-2, 10-9
Kelly Walsh 4-3, 4-15
Evanston 3-4, 6-14
Riverton 1-5, 4-16
Green River 1-6, 4-16
Versus No. 3 Natrona County Fillies
Natrona County led 6-2 with the first quarter complete, and outscored Evanston by just a bucket in the second quarter, 7-5, so it was still anybodyís game at halftime, with the Fillies up 13-7 at the break.
Meghann Cranford hit Evanstonís lone basket in the low-scoring first quarter, with Kylie Hurd connecting from downtown and Pearl Marquez connecting from the field in the second quarter to account for Evanstonís first-half scoring.
Returning Gatorade Player of the Year, NCís Kaylee Johnson, the leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker in the state, had seven of her teamís 13 at the half, and would finish with 12 before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Johnson averages over 18 points to go along with almost 15 rebounds and six blocks each time she takes the floor.
The Fillies flexed their muscle in the second half, demonstrating why theyíre one of the stateís elite, outscoring Evanston 17-5 in the third quarter, and 18-2 in the fourth quarter, keyed by eight points from Emma Norvelle in the third quarter, who would finish with a game-high 13.
In addition to the double-digit output from Norvelle and Johnson, at 13 and 12, respectively, Sarah Jones ended with nine, Gabby Johnson netted six, Jena Milliken finished with four, Veronique Gallegos added two, and Lauren Taubert and Sierra Bartsch each had one point for the Fillies.
It was difficult for the Lady Devils to work the ball inside with the Filliesí height advantage and, in particular, the shot-blocking prowess of Johnson.
Freshman Brenae Sanders connected from beyond the arc, so she and Hurd led Evanston with three each, with two from Cranford, Marquez and Alli Barker, and one point each from Kensie Herold and Hailey OíNeill.
There was a major disparity in the number of free throws, with NC getting to the line 28 times, hitting on half their attempts, while the Lady Red Devils connected on two of their six attempts at the stripe.
Evanston ended with three field goals, two three-point baskets and were 2-6 from the free throw line, while committing 31 turnovers, unofficially.
The Filliesí line consisted of 11 field goals, four three-pointers, and were 14-28 from the charity stripe, with 16 turnovers for the ballgame.
The Fillies also won at Green River, 63-36, on Saturday.
Versus Casper Kelly Walsh
The Kelly Walsh Lady Trojans picked up a 53-50 win in Green River Friday night to complete a sweep of the Lady Wolves in the 4A West Conference season, and came into the Red Devilsí gymnasium on Saturday with some momentum.
And while the Lady Red Devils struggled with the inside game against Natrona County, they were able to establish it early and often against Kelly Walsh, with Herold and OíNeill combining for 33 of Evanstonís 50 points in a 50-35 home win, with Herold matching the teamís and her individual and career-highs with a game-high 19. OíNeill added 14 points.
The Lady Red Devils led 15-8 when the first quarter buzzer sounded, and extended the lead to eight points, outscoring the Lady Trojans 12-11 in the second quarter, to take a 27-19 lead into the halftime locker rooms.
Evanston almost doubled up KW in the third quarter, 13-7, and held a 16-point advantage entering the fourth quarter, up 40-24, and held on for the win, with both coaching staffs emptying the benches late in the game.
In addition to Heroldís 19 and OíNeillís 14, Cranford and Sanders both contributed four points, Alli Barker added three, with two each from MacKenzee Barker and Hurd.
The Lady Red Devils will join the Red Devils for their second meeting with the Lady Wolves and Wolves in Green River this Valentineís Day Thursday, Feb. 14, for the final road swing of the 10-game conference season. Both Evanston teams will host Rock Springs and Riverton on Feb. 22 and 23 to close out the regular season and get set for the conference tournament back in Green River, Feb. 28 - March 1, and the state tournament to follow, if they qualify or have qualified, by placing first or second.
Evanston defeated the Lady Wolves, 43-28, on Jan. 25, jumping out to a 15-3 first quarter lead and up 21-9 at the half, though Green River played much more competitively in half number two, only being outscored 22-19. MacKenzee Barker had a career-high 13, as did Kensie Herold, with 19, a feat she equaled against Kelly Walsh. Though the Lady Wolves may be struggling, they always manage to play Evanston tough, especially at their home gym.
Sophomores and JV teams for both the boys and girls travel to Green River today, with 4 and 5:30 p.m. tip-offs scheduled for both, so Thursdayís matchups will strictly be varsity.