Natrona Girls Win Low Scoring 4A State Championship Game Vs. East [VIDEO]
Video highlights of the Saturday, March 15th, 4A Girls Basketball State Championship Game, between Cheyenne East vs. Natrona.
Scroll down to see highlights!
Almost half of the Fillies' points came from the free throw line, and they needed every one to beat the Lady Thunderbirds and claim their first state championship since 2000.
Basketball is never a one-horse show...just make sure you don't call the mascots a couple of one-trick ponies. They don't like that.
Cheyenne East vs. Natrona in the 4A state championship game...first quarter...Natrona wearing the white...down 1-to-nothing...Gabby Johnson is open behind the defense and she'll score the first field goal of the game. It took about 4 minutes, but her team is up 2-to-1.
East would use their defense and transition to eventually get things going on their end...Justene Hirsig gets the steal...she has half a court to work with...almost traveled but we checked and she was fine...that was worth 2, and the leads shifts the other way, with the score at 3-to-2.
This was a low scoring game, and that might suggest good defense, but it was not the case...although it was on this play...Stanford-bound Kaylee Johnson...the Gatorade Player of the Year, and the height advantage equaled a rejection and allowed her to grab 18 rebounds.
The Lady Thunderbirds had to challenge the future Lady Cardinal...and won a few battles...Cosette Stellern will maneuver around to get 2 points on this play, to make this a 5-to-2 contest.
Last year's state runner-ups were trying to finish what they could not do last year...Rachel Erickson with a high floater and gets the kiss off the glass for a bucket, and things were getting better...it's 7-to-2.
As for Fillies...they were working on their stride a little bit...Gabby Johnson has a lot more room this time, compared to earlier...she led all scorers with 13 points and was the only player to score in double digits...her team was down 7-to-4 after the first 8 minutes.
Second quarter...so far it's been Gabby doing all the scoring for N-C, but it was getting the job done for awhile...she was finding ways to get open underneath the hoop and that usually led to easy points...it's a 1-point game with her team trailing 7-to-6.
Someone else needed to contribute with some points and try something different if they wanted to win...Lexie Switzer is going downtown on a girls night out...the lead is now in her teams' favor...it's 10-to-7.
The momentum was in Natrona's favor and they would build on it...here's Emily Robertson making a 2-point contribution and now they have a 6-point advantage...it's 13-7.
East was in a slump and needed to break out of it...no points in 6 and 1/2 minutes...Kayle Cheney sees a lane, hits the gas and scores to break the drought...that would close the gap...it's 13-to-9.
The Lady Thunderbirds were starting to spread their wings, because they wanted to fly... Erickson is going high and she would get her points...but so far this game has been very low scoring...it was only 13-to-11 going into the locker room.
3rd quarter...things will look strange for a couple of highlights...East was going in the right direction...it's just that the camera was on the wrong side of the court...and Hirsig has changed jersey numbers...it did not matter...that's her 3, and she would put her team back on top 14-to-13.
Now things are where they are supposed to be...Shayne Carter will score quickly off the inbounds...to make this a 16-15 game with her team still on top.
Free throws kept the score close for the Fillies, because they did not score a field goal the entire quarter. Meanwhile, Cheney would throw this one up and got it to go, as her team would cling to an 18-17 lead, going into the final 8 minutes.
4th quarter...this was not a very pretty game in terms of offense...both teams only shot 25% from the field, but some team had to make a move soon...Jenna Milliken is on the go for NC...that's their first field goal in 14 minutes plus, and surprisingly...they lead 23-to-18.
The Lady Thunderbirds needed a few shots to drop or else they were going to be in trouble...Stellern will add fuel to the fire, and now her team trails, 23-to-20.
Natrona was trying to step up the pace...Gabby Johnson has been carrying the offensive load for her team...every basket helped...it's a 25-20 contest right now.
East needed something big...and Erickson had a solution...dial up from long range and operator, we have a connection...they trail by 2...it's 25-23.
The defense wised up to the plan, but last year's state runners up would change up their attack...Carter will work her way in for another bucket...and they are now breathing down N-C's neck...down 26-25.
The Fillies needed to do something quick...Gabby Johnson will do that quick thing off of the inbounds...that opened up a little room...it's now 28-to-25.
The opposition was not going away...down 5 with 1 minute to go...Cheney knew what her girls needed and delivered with a 3...they have a chance...trailing 30-to-28.
But the difference in this game was free throws...Natrona found ways to get to the line, 16 of 31 shooting is not that great a percentage, but a lot better than going 1-for-6...by the way, all 8 of Kaylee Johnson's points came from the line...not one of her better games.
However, her team-mates had her back. It may have been an ugly win, but the Fillies would take home their first title since 2000.
Final score...33-to-28....N-C would finish the season with a record of 23-and-4.