Kade Lym works his way around Jackson defenders Dec. 12. HERALD PHOTO/Matt Roberts
EVANSTON — A fantastic near capacity crowd was on hand for the home openers for the Lady Red Devils and Red Devils on Friday night, Jan. 11, to christen the new amenities and improvements to the Red Devils’ gym, including the new, bright blue and scarlet bleachers, which spell out “Evanston” and “Red Devils” in the school colors.
Unfortunately, it was an afternoon and evening for the guests, in the form of competition, as the Lady Braves and Braves of Star Valley won both varsity games. The 3A’s No. 2-ranked Lady Braves defeated Evanston, 41-29, to sweep the Lady Red Devils in a non-conference home and home, while the top-ranked Braves split with the Red Devils, with both teams winning on the opposition’s floor. It was Star Valley by eight, this past Friday night, 49-41.
There were two lead changes and one tie, but once Star Valley had a 6-2 lead after the first quarter was complete, they never looked back. The Lady Braves were up 20-11 at the half, as Evanston cut into that advantage of nine points in the third, to pull within seven, at 20-27, but the Lady Braves bested the Lady Red Devils 14-9 in the final frame to win 41-29. Lexi Erickson led all scorers with 13 for Star Valley, with teammate Jessica Woodford chipping in 11. Kylie Hurd was the only Lady Red Devil to finish in double figures, with 12.
Star Valley’s line was 14 field goals, 3 three-point baskets and 4-8 from the free-throw line, while committing 17 turnovers, unofficially. Evanston ended with 8 field goals, 2 three-pointers and shot 7-11 from the stripe, while committing 20 turnovers.
Two ties and one-lead change highlighted the start of the Braves–Red Devils game, but it was Star Valley with the lead at each quarter break, 11-5, 23-15, 35-26 and the 49-41 win, avenging the 51-50 overtime win Evanston enjoyed in Afton on Dec. 28. The Braves were ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, while Evanston had fallen out of the 4A’s top five, for the first time in a long time, in the most recent WyoPreps.com Coaches and Media poll, tied for sixth with Natrona County.
Wyatt Shinaver scored a game-high 17 to lead the Braves, with Dalton Passey adding 14. Star Valley’s line was 11 deuces, 4 threes, and a 14-20 performance at the line, while committing 10 turnovers.
Evanston’s line was 11 field goals, 5 treys and 4-6 shooting from the stripe, with 17 turnovers. Matt Johnson led the Red Devils with 11, while his sophomore brother, Alek, added 10. Taylor Siemers and Kade Lym contributed eight apiece.
Both the Lady Red Devils and Red Devils picked up non-conference victories over visiting Jackson, with the Lady Devils earning a sweep over the Lady Broncs, winning going away, in convincing fashion, with their 62-26 win on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Meghann Cranford set a new individual high-point game for this season, pouring in 18. Hailey O’Neill had held the individual high-game honors with 17 against the Rich Lady Rebels. O’Neill and Kylie Hurd both added 11. At least 13 girls saw time, with 11 reaching the scoring column. Jackson was led by Flynn Guerrieri with 6 points.
The Lady Red Devils open 4A West Conference play at Natrona County on Friday, Jan. 18, against the preseason favorite Fillies, who return most everyone from last year’s 25-0 team, which ended 25-1, with a state championship loss to Laramie. Fourth-ranked Natrona knocked off previously unbeaten (10-0) and No. 1 Sheridan on Saturday, 37-34, in OT, in the Orange Dungeon at NCHS.
The Red Devils avenged a Dec. 29, 55-57 upset to the Broncs in Jackson, with a 39-25 home win, behind Kade Lym’s 14 and Matt Johnson’s 13. Jeremy Shockley led the Broncs with 9.
Fantastic crowds were on hand both Friday night and Saturday afternoon to cheer on Evanston, while checking out the new bleachers along with the new scorers’ table and other amenities, including a new section of bleachers added on the gym’s west end.
The Red Devils split with both Star Valley — with both teams winning on the opposition’s home court — and Jackson, while the Lady Red Devils swept Jackson, but were swept by Star Valley.
Evanston will host the Casper schools with the Natrona County Mustangs due in Friday night, Jan. 18, and the Kelly Walsh Trojans invading the Red Devils’ gym on Saturday, for the beginning of the 4A West Conference run. The Lady Red Devils start the conference season in Casper.
Both the Lady Red Devils and Red Devils will host Green River the following Friday, Jan. 25, with the contests versus the Casper schools the only times they separate. The Red Devils are 7-6 on the season, and the Lady Red Devils sport a 3-10 record. Whether 13-0 or 0-13 at this point, doesn’t really matter, as a new season begins, and the next 10 games for both varsity teams, representing a home and home with each 4A West Conference member school, are what the teams prepare for, with their preseason schedules.
Conference standings, in the end, determine placement for the regional tournaments, with the top four of six in the 4A West and 4A East advancing to the state tournament in Casper, March 7-9. Teams finishing first and second in each conference are assured of a state berth, no matter the outcome of the regional tournaments. The 4A West tourney, Feb. 28 - March 2, will be hosted by Green River.
Considering the away game with the Wolves, the December 2012 Flaming Gorge tournament and the fact that it’s the Wolves’ turn in the rotation to host regionals, the Red Devils may end up playing more games in Green River than they do at home.
If all three Flaming Gorge games would have been played at GRHS Gym, rather than having two at Lincoln Middle School, it would be more. They still stand a great chance at playing more games in the city of Green River than at home in Evanston.
Previews for the weekend games against Natrona County and Kelly Walsh will be featured in the Friday, Jan. 18 issue of the Herald.