LINGLE – The Lingle-Fort Laramie High School boys’ basketball team sent its senior class out on a winning note Tuesday evening.
After winter weather and road closures for the postponement of Saturday night’s game against Hanna-Elk Mountain, pushing it back to Tuesday, it didn’t take long for the Doggers to pull away from the visiting Miners.
H-EM struck first with a 3-pointer, but L-FL senior Caeden Riley answered with back-to-back scores to give his team a 4-3 advantage.
It was a lead which the Doggers never surrendered for the remainder of the game.
Lingle-Fort Laramie stretched the Miners 1-3-1 zone defense, resulting in wide open looks and the Doggers knocking the shots down.
“I thought we did very well at that tonight,” L-FL coach Steve Zimmerman said. “They ran that particular 1-3-1 zone against us, and we picked it apart. When they went to the 2-3, it took us some time to adjust and get moving again. We started throwing the skip passes and that seemed to work very well.”
The early string of shooting by the Doggers forced the Miners to switch up to a different defense, resulting in a six-and-a-half-minute stretch where L-FL only scored four points.
By halftime, the Dogger lead reached 14 at 33-19.
In the third quarter, the Miners outscored the Doggers 11-9 and even cut the deficit to as few as nine in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, but a 10-0 Dogger run pushed the lead to 54-35.
L-FL maintained the 19-point lead for the final four minutes of the game.
Riley led the Doggers with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, while senior Bailey Powell added 12 points and eight rebounds. Junior Cordell Forkner tossed in 11 points.
“I thought they all came out and played well,” Zimmerman said. “Bailey is our rebounder and got a few points. Caeden scored, at least in the first half, what seemed like at will.
“I’ll give a special praise to Gage tonight. His job was on defense,” Zimmerman said. “His side was where they shoot the ball all the time, and that (Brendon) Reeves kid can light it up. He only had six in the first half, and I’m not sure if he had any in the second. That was hugely important for us.”
As a team, the Doggers shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the floor.
“Everyone did the job they were supposed to do, and we got a great win,” Zimmerman said.
On Friday, Feb. 14, L-FL traveled to Rock River where the Doggers pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure a 47-36 win.
After three quarters, the Doggers led 31-27 before outscoring the Longhorns 16-9 over the final eight minutes.
Riley led L-FL with 18 points, while Powell added 13. Fornker had nine, and junior Cooper Hill tossed in seven.
After a pair of games against Class 1A opponents, the Doggers return to the Class 2A ranks with road trips to Glenrock on Friday and Pine Bluffs on Saturday to wrap up the regular season. Friday’s game tips off at 6:30 p.m., and Saturday’s game gets underway at 4 p.m.
“I just want to make sure we play well in both games,” Zimmerman said. “I think Glenrock is a team that, if we don’t handle their guards, we’ll have problems. It’ll be Senior Night down in Pine Bluffs, and that place will be rocking.”