In the last week of the regular season, the Lady Raiders sealed up the number one spot into district competition from the north half of the league.
Their must-win victory over the Bridgeport Fillies last Thursday came after a loss to the number-two Oroville Hornets on Feb. 5.
With postseason placings hanging in the balance in the Senior Night game against Oroville, LR wore throwback uniforms and played an all-senior starting lineup as Tanecia Stanczak, Danielle Laramie, Johnny McCraigie, Rickyna Sam, and Hailey Chaney took to the court.
Chaney scored eight of the Lady Raiders’ first-quarter points to lead Oroville by three.
Early in the second quarter the Lady Raiders began to build a cushion but the Hornets did not fade away. LR free throw misses gave the Hornets chances to come back. Going into halftime the score was LR 23-Oroville 19.
After the late start due to the referees being late out of the break room for the second half, the Hornets came roaring back into the game. The Lady Raiders had trouble grabbing rebounds in the third quarter as the Hornets became more aggressive in their play. That and a cold shooting streak allowed the Hornets to take the lead going into the fourth quarter, 33-30.
Then Keya Fasthorse hit a three that tied the game and set the frantic tone of the fourth quarter. Both teams stepped up their play and traded shots and mistakes to force the decision of the game to come down to the last 40 seconds. The Lady Raiders were down by just one point and had the ball when a clock issue paused the game. When the clock was reset, the Lady Raiders had lost about 14 seconds off the game clock in the confusion and the inbound pass was to take place at 9 seconds left.
The inbound came in and the Lady Raiders rushed the ball down court, when Head Coach Wallace Pleasants called timeout with three seconds left. The inbound pass went to Hailey Chaney near the half court line and she dribbled the ball toward the left side of the three-point arc, where she threw up a desperation shot with time running out. The shot missed the basket and the Hornets won 45-44.
Keya Fasthorse’s three-point line hot streak in the third and fourth quarters let her lead the LR with 15 points. Katelynn Schilling racked up another double-double by scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Going to Bridgeport, the Lady Raiders knew they had won the coin flip on who would get first seed into districts, but first they had to beat the Fillies.
Pleasants worked on the Ladies the day before to make sure that would happen. “Yesterday at practice we worked a lot on defense, because our defense is what helped to make the win streak possible earlier this season,” he said.
The Lady Raiders held the Fillies to only three points in the first quarter and seven for the whole first half. On the offensive end, the Lady Raiders missed some easy shots and went on an extended cold streak in the second quarter, but did score 26 points that gave them a comfortable lead going into the second half.
After a slow start, the Lady Raiders got on track in the third and pushed the lead to 24 points at the end of the third, 34-10.
The Fillies came back with a very aggressive style of play. That was countered with an offensive burst by the Lady Raiders, who built such a cushion that the coaches set cruise control and subbed in many bench players. The final was LR 49, Fillies 20.
Keya Fasthorse again led the team in scoring with 11 points. McCraigie and Laramie each put in 10. Schilling led the team in rebounds, grabbing nine.
Coach Pleasants was in a good mood after the win and likes that the number-one seed puts the Lady Raiders in the double elimination round right away.
“We gave ourselves a chance to bounce back if we lose the first, rather than being done right away,” he noted.
The Lady Raiders travelled to Wenatchee High School last night to take on the Riverside Christian Crusaders, who defeated the Fillies 58-18 in the single elimination games on Saturday at Bridgeport. If the Lady Raiders won, they will move on to the District 5-6 championship game tomorrow starting at 7 p.m. at Wenatchee High School against the winner of the Oroville-White Swan game.
If the Lady Raiders lost last night (after deadline) then they will still travel to Wenatchee to take on the loser of the Oroville-White Swan game for third and a last spot to regionals, starting at 4 p.m.
R. Epperson 0, Sam 2, Chaney 8, Fasthorse 15, McCraigie 2, Laramie 4, Stanczak 0, A. Epperson 0, Schilling 13, Palmer 0, Wilson 0
R. Epperson 2, Sam 8, Chaney 3, Palmer 0, Wilson 0, Fasthorse 11, McCraigie 10, Laramie 10, Stanczak 0, A. Epperson 2, Schilling 2