Lady Herders Gave All at State

In the final game of her high school basketball career, senior Adelaide Williams drives hard past the Rocky Moutain Lady Grizzly defense in the 2A state basketball championship opening round March 3. (Matt Adelman / Glenrock Independent photo)

 

*For more photos, see the March 9 print or e-edition of the Glenrock Independent.

By: 
Joshua Leach, Independent Staff

By Joshua Leach 

Independent Staff

 

After 13 years, the Lady Herders finally earned a trip to Casper for the state tournament, only to be pitted against two of the toughest teams from the West in their opening contests. Despite hard-fought efforts, the season ended for the Glenrock girls after they lost to Rocky Mountain and Riverside last week.

 

Rocky Mountain 40

 Glenrock 18

Defense wins championships and it was clear from the outset that neither Glenrock nor Rocky Mountain squads were going to back down on the defensive end of the court, but it was the Lady Grizzlies who found an offensive rhythm in the second half. Glenrock was sent to the consolation bracket with an 18-40 loss. 

Rocky Mountain opened things with a jumper, but it didn’t take long for junior Ann-Marie Young to answer and tie the game at two. Fullcourt pressure from both teams slowed the offense down to a trickle as the two squads struggled to cross halfcourt. An offensive rebound by freshman Gracie Sixbey, starting in place of senior Skylar Harford, led to a pair of Lady Herd free throws and a one-point lead they’d hold for the next several minutes. 

“It’s a big ask, asking a freshman to step up like that,” said coach Peter Fenster. “She turns it on and gets better every single game.”

Young picked up her second foul 4 minutes into the period, which sent her to the bench.

The Lady Grizz dropped in a layup on the opening possession of the second quarter, but Young soon returned and showed why she is one of the better post players in 2A, swatting a pair of shots and sinking a bank-shot free throw line jumper to draw Glenrock within three. Senior Adelaide Williams hit a crucial triple with 1:35 left to play in the half to make the score 10-15 in favor of Rocky Mountain.

“In the first half, we definitely came out ready to go and defensively our communication was great,” Williams said. “In the second half, as we got tired, our communication went down and so did our defense.”

Rocky Mountain worked the ball in the post against Young in the second half. The Lady Herd struggled at times to deal with the full-court pressure and the Lady Grizz lead quickly grew to 14 points. Sixbey scored the only Glenrock points of the period on a jump shot about two minutes into the frame. The Lady Herd went into the final frame down by 19 to the eventual state champions.  

The Rocky Mountain offense cooled off in the fourth, but Glenrcok struggled to maintain possession and from the free throw line, keeping the Lady Herd from mounting a comeback. Young led the way for Glenrock with 6 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. Sixbey added 4 points and 3 rebounds in the loss. 

 

Riverside 40, Glenrock 37

The Lady Herd gave it their all in the consolation bracket on Friday morning, but fell to Riverside in the final minute, 37-40. 

Things looked good for the Glenrock girls early as Young worked inside on both ends of the floor, getting to the rim and swatting shots. Williams found her footing from outside with a key triple to put the Lady Herd up 5-0 early and it seemed like their swarming defense would keep the Lady Rebels at bay, but fouls came back to bite them. Senior Emma Wieser, one of the top defenders for Glenrock, got into early foul trouble and had to head to the bench. Young was forced to take a break of her own soon after, and the Rebels took advantage, crashing the boards and getting putbacks. Glenrock went from being up by six to up by just one after Williams converted a free throw with a few tenths of a second left on the quarter clock. 

Williams filled in for Young on the offensive glass in the second, snatching up offensive rebounds for the Lady Herd as Riverside pressed inside. Young returned to the game later in the period and played a little bully ball of her own on the block, working hard for buckets against a crushing Rebel zone defense. She collected four points in her limited return to cut the Rebel advantage to 7 at the halftime break. 

Glenrock has been a third quarter team all season and it became clear that another adjustment from Fenster was all that was needed as the Lady Herd forced the ball in the post to let Young work against the Rebels’ Caroline Schlattmann. Schlattmann had no answer for Young’s height defensively and the junior ripped off four quick points against her, setting up an inside out game that saw Wieser hit a toe-on-the-line 3-pointer and Williams get out on the break for a quick bucket to bring Glenrock within one. 

“(Young) and Adelaide came alive in the second half,” Fenster said. “It was the whole effort, never giving up. We’re a second-half team.” 

The offense went cold for a stretch in the fourth until Young returned to the lineup to hit another tough shot from the right block. Williams and Wieser went to work, the latter hitting a crucial shot with 3:20 to play to give Glenrock its first lead since the opening quarter. Sixbey hit a pair of free throws to make it a three-point Glenrock advantage, but late fouls started to put the Herder starters on the bench. Young fouled out 16 seconds later and Riverside hit just enough free throws to end the Herder season. 

“I’m most proud of our ability to push through adversity,” Williams said. “This season was not easy by any means, but we were still able to accomplish our goal of making it to state.”

Young led the charge for Glenrock, amassing 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Williams was close behind with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Young was a driving force for the Lady Herd all season, leading the squad in points, rebounds and blocks. Williams, in her senior season, led the squad in steals and finished second in points scored. 

“I’m so proud that we accomplished our main goal to make it to state and how hard we worked to get there,” Young said. “It took all 12 of us and trust in our coaches and we did it.”

Glenrock finishes the year with a 13-13 record, an 8-game improvement over last year’s campaign. The squad also broke the 13-year state appearance drought in Fenster’s second year at the helm. Top performers were Ann-Marie Young: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks; Adelaide Williams: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists.

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