NEWCASTLE – Following a respectable second-place finish at regions, the Rawlins Lady Outlaws are now preparing themselves for the 3A Wyoming Girls State Championship Tournament in Casper.
To conclude Thursday through Saturday play, Rawlins went 2-1. After two consecutive quarter and semi final wins, however, Rawlins lost Saturday's 3A East regional championship to Douglas 37-53.
“The Douglas game was a great battle,” said coach Katie Cline. “We pulled within four points of Douglas toward the end of the third quarter, which has been unheard of this season.”
“We just need to cut down on some turnovers and be a bit more patient,” Kline added. “But our kids played with a toughness and confidence that we knew they had all season, and they picked the right time to show it.”
Cline’s right. Douglas (24-1) has been a stone-cold powerhouse all season long. So when Rawlins did make that third-quarter run, it was just the confidence spark they needed before heading into the first round at state, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against a tough Lander Valley team.
The first quarter against Douglas proved to be quite promising for Rawlins, as they were only outscored 9-7. Douglas, however, would end the second quarter with a 22-12 lead.
But with the help of junior McKenzie Earl, who netted 21 points on the evening, Rawlins made that monumental run in the third quarter to pull within four points. But again, Douglas is tough enough to not become fazed... they still chipped in 23 points to take a 45-22 lead heading into the last stanza.
From there, Rawlins scored 15 more points, but Douglas’ 12 fourth-quarter insurance tallies proved too much to handle, as they would go on to take the 3A East regional title.
Kline was still impressed with the outcome of the regional tourney, however.
"I couldn't be more proud of the team that stepped on the court in Newcastle," she said. "They battled for every possession of every game and truly showed everyone what they're made of."
FINAL SCORE: Rawlins 37, Douglas 57
TOP PERFORMANCES: McKenzie Earl: 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 1 assist. Jordan Jerome: 12 rebounds, 7 points, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 charge. Brooke Palmer: 7 rebounds, 3 points, 2 assists. Carlee Scheel: 3 rebounds, 2 points, 1 assist, 1 steal. Ali Edwards: 3 rebounds, 2 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks. Brooklyn Larson: 2 points, 2 steals, 1 rebound, 1 block. Abbey Pixler: 4 rebounds. Britney Larson: 2 steals, 1 block, 1 rebound.
Had it not been for a fantastic first half, Friday’s semifinal game against Newcastle could’ve been a different story.
But it wasn’t. Rawlins beat the Lady Dogies 43-36, in front of their home crowd, no less.
“Playing in the Dogie Dome against the home crowd certainly wasn’t an easy task in the semis,” Cline said. “But every time we needed a boost someone stepped up each and every time.”
Earl and Jerome took the lion’s share statistics-wise. Both were responsible for producing hard-fought, critical double-doubles. Jerome had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Earl recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Outlaws outscored their opponents 12-6 in the first quarter. Rawlins, however, headed into halftime with a 20-13 lead, as they only outscored the Lady Dogies 8-7.
By the end the third quarter, things became way too close for comfort as Rawlins was outshot nine points to eight. Their lead was 28-22 heading into the last stanza.
This didn’t deter Rawlins. Keeping enough momentum, they chipped in 15 points to Newcastle’s 14, which was just enough to hang on for the win.
FINAL SCORE: Rawlins 43, Newcastle 36
TOP PERFORMANCES: Jordan Jerome: 15 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 charge. McKenzie Earl: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist. Brooke Palmer: 8 points, 4 rebounds. Carlee Scheel: 4 rebounds, 2 points, 1 assist. Brooklyn Larson: 2 points, 2 rebounds. Ali Edwards: 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 point. Abbey Pixler: 1 rebound. Britney Larson: 1 rebound.
To conclude Thursday’s 3A East regional first round, Rawlins girls beat Buffalo 50-43.
Three Lady Outlaws, including Brooke Palmer as well as Earl and Jerome, ended the game in double digits. Earl led the charge with 16 points, while Jerome netted 13 and Palmer 11.
Rawlins outscored their opponents 10-7 in the first quarter. They’d head into halftime up 25-16.
But just when things started to seem like a lock, Buffalo surged back. The Lady Bison would score 15 points to Rawlins’ eight, as they pulled within two points. Rawlins, however, shined in the last stanza, outscoring Buffalo 17-12 to take the game.
FINAL SCORE: Rawlins 50, Buffalo 43
TOP PERFORMANCES: McKenzie Earl: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal. Jordan Jerome: 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 charge. Brooke Palmer: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist. Ali Edwards: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist. Carlee Scheel: 4 points, 2 steals, 1 rebound. Brooklyn Larson: 6 rebounds, 2 points, 1 assist, 1 steal. Abbey Pixler: 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks.