Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Slow start hinders No. 4 Lady Warriors in 54-29 loss to Billings Central


December 9, 2017


Lady Warrior Casey Wassum cuts off the Billings Central ball handler while teammate BreAnna Parra steals the ball during Worland's game against Billings Central Friday night at Worland High School. The Lady Warriors lost 54-29.

WORLAND - For their season opener the Worland Lady Warriors definitely had their struggles but even with those struggles there were plenty of positives to take away from Friday night at Worland High School.

Hosting Billing Central, the Lady Warriors fell 54-29 and while the scoreboard shows a 25-point loss. Worland can look on two pivotal moments that caused the loss. First, was being outscored in the first quarter 13-2 and, second, after going on an 11-2 run in the third and cutting Central's lead to seven, Worland surrendered a 10-0 run to Central to close out the third quarter.

After that the Lady Warriors could not find their rhythm.

"I thought we didn't finish like we could. We had a lot of looks that we didn't finish, especially, in that first quarter. Nerves played a role in that. [Billings Central] was big and talented, we rushed a couple shots. If it's 13-12 or 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, maybe it's a little bit of a different ball game," said WHS girls basketball coach Ben Hofmann.

The Lady Warrior guards of Jaycee Page, BreAnna Parra, Casey and Kate Wassum were as good as advertised. It didn't matter which combination of the four were out on the floor, each worked in tandem to pester the Central ball handlers from tipoff to the final buzzer. They created turnovers, played clean hardnosed defense which visibly irritated the Central guards.

"I couldn't be happy with the effort from the guards. If you throw in Kate Wassum we have four Energizer bunnies, they just go, go, go. They're aggressive with their hands and do a good job with not fouling. They played well and kept us in it and got us on the run during the third quarter. They got us some steals which led to easy buckets then we could get into our press and trap," said Hofmann.

Worland's frontcourt had their struggles all game, missing shots that Hofmann knows they are capable of making. But Hofmann believes Friday's matchup against the bigs from Central will be their toughest test this season and knows that things will improve as they settle into their roles.

"They'll be fine down the stretch. They're going up against three girls that they probably won't see the rest of the year. Billings Central had three tall and talented bigs. I told our girls this would be a good test for them. If they could play with these girls I think they could hang with anyone in the state," said Hofmann.

Shooting also hurt Worland Friday night. As a team they shot 20 percent from the field and failed to make a 3-pointer.

"We were 0/10 from the 3-point line, 6/18 from the free-throw line and 20 percent from the field. We'll improve those numbers for sure. If we knock down one or two three or we're 3/10, which is a realistic number, nine points is a big deal depending on where it comes in during the game. We were a little rushed a times but we'll get better as the year goes on," said Hofmann.

Today at 11 a.m. the Lady Warriors travel to Buffalo to play the Cody Fillies, who are in Buffalo for an early season tournament.

For the game Hofmann will be without his three seniors, Page, Jones and Wassum, as they take their ACT. Without the seniors, Worland's younger players will have the opportunity to showcase their skills on the varsity level. And though it might be a trial by fire, Hofmann is confident that his young guns will rise to the occasion.

"Our three seniors are taking the ACT and won't travel with us. It is what it is, but what I'm excited about is that it gives us a chance for our younger kids to step up and get some game experience at the varsity level.

"Payton [McEndree] played well, Kate [Wassum] got stronger as the game went on. Darla Hernandez, Denali Jones and Tymberlynn Crippen are all freshmen and we're going to bring them with us. Talon [Andersen] and Raelynn [Fronk] are sophmores that are going to get some minutes as well. They're all going to get a crash course introduction into varsity basketball, I think they'll all do fine. They're athletic, they play hard, give us good energy and effort and that's all you can ask for," said Hofmann.


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