Lady Rangers go 1-1 on weekend road swing

Win at Farson-Eden, 43-28; host Wyoming Indian Friday

Hitting the road for a two-game swing last week, the Kemmerer High School girls’ basketball team ran into a buzzsaw of sorts Thursday at Rich, Utah, in a 45-20 loss, but battled back into the win column Friday at Farson-Eden 43-28 to earn a split.

“The Rich game was really the first game where we had to figure out our identity,” said KHS head coach Wade Fiscus. “We went over to Farson and the girls played like a team. Took us a little bit to get going – the score was 3-2 at the end of the first quarter; a pitcher’s duel. We missed a lot of easy shots, and I think we were just rushing the shots, trying to bounce back from what we experienced at Rich.”

The Lady Rangers (12-5, 2-1 in 2A SW Quadrant) are back home this weekend, with games scheduled against No. 1-ranked Wyoming Indian Friday, and St. Stephens Saturday. Wyoming Indian won the first meeting of the two teams 35-32 last month, and Kemmerer has had this game circled on the calendar since that loss.

“Defensively, we’ll try to do much of the same thing we did the first time around, but we want to be able to control what we do on offense,” Fiscus said. “That is, to make good shots, and to make them have to play defense; maybe get some easy things by putting some pressure up front on them. It would be nice to beat them here – that would put us in a tie with them, as far as the conference goes. We still may end up going in No. 2 regardless, but we still want to take care of business, and send a message to the rest of the state that – even without Janae Skidmore – we’re still a force to be reckoned with.”

“We’re just looking to fine-tune things, and go into this next week with a little more drive and desire,” Fiscus added. “We’re still in a good spot.”

Rich 45,

Lady Rangers 20

The Lady Rangers crossed the border to take on the red-hot Lady Rebels (15-3, 6-0 in 1A Region 22) Thursday without the services of leading scorer Janae Skidmore, still out with an injury. Experience was on the home team’s side, as the senior-laden squad cruised to a 45-20 win.

“When Janae [Skidmore] went down the week before, I think there was a lot of adrenalin going on there,” Fiscus said. “And we had beat Cokeville, so there was some confidence going into the Rich game. But this first game without her – in a place we were unfamiliar with – it was a tough environment. Rich is a tough place to play at, even under the best of circumstances. They had a lot of experience – I think they started five seniors, and we’re still pretty young, so they took advantage of that part of it.”

Sydney Neria flirted with a double-double for the Lady Rangers, scoring nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

“I thought that was one of Sydney’s strongest games, in terms of playing through the adversity – I thought she played with a lot of tenacity,” Fiscus said. “She was trying to get things done.”

Ella Thatcher followed with five points, to go along with three steals, while Tyler Thatcher and Sophia Archibald scored two points apiece.

Lady Rangers 43,

Farson-Eden 28

The Lady Rangers wasted no time in shaking off Thursday’s loss to Rich, using a balanced offense Friday to dismantle a scrappy but outmatched Farson-Eden squad, 43-28.

“The one nice thing about the Farson game was everyone got in on the process,” Fiscus said. “That’s the one thing we’ve really been trying to focus on all year – how do we get everybody feeling confident about contributing, on both sides of the ball. Our scoring was pretty balanced among our starting five, so I felt pretty good about that part.”

Both teams were slow out of the blocks, with the Lady Rangers holding a 3-2 lead after a quarter of play. Kemmerer came to life in the second, however, going on a 15-5 run to close out the half and taking a 18-8 lead into the break. The Lady Pronghorns kept it close in the second half but were unable to make up the ground lost in the second quarter, as the Lady Rangers cruised to the 43-28 win.

Sydney Neria and Ella Thatcher paced the Lady Rangers with 10 points apiece; Neria just missed a double-double with nine rebounds, while Thatcher pulled down eight. Natasha Martinez and Tyler Thatcher each scored seven points and finished with five steals; Martinez also had a game-high 10 rebounds. Micalyn Carlson added five points, while Hadlee Wood chipped in three points.

“The score of the Farson game is not at all indicative of what it should have been,” Fiscus said. “The only thing the score is indicative of is how poorly we shot. We shot 8% in the first quarter, and overall just 25%, which is not typical for us. I think we were rushing things a little bit. But I felt like we ran our offense, and we got ourselves some good open looks because of what we were doing offensively, working as a team.”