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March 15, 2012     Lovell Chronicle
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March 15, 2012
 

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March 15, 2012 I The Lovell Chronicle I i7 Kim gets a from Mary Yorgason, after the team's arrival at the LHS gym March 4 following their fire truck parade down Main Street. Dan, Melissa and Kyle Wolvington celebrate the arrival of the Lovell girls cagers as they arrive on Main Street atop a fire truck Sunday, March 4, following their state championship victory the night before. DAVID PECK PHOTOS Members of the LHS championship team arrive on Main Street atop a fire truck Sunday, March 4. Pictured are (l-r) coach Chris Edwards' son Owen, Amanda Shumway, Leanne Winterholler, Erin Robertson, Alyssa Geiser, Chelsey Ellis, Kassidy Hetland, Miranda Griffis, Dominique Allred, Kim Shumway, Jodi Walker, Chayli McArthur, Shyann Wilske, Grace Edwards, Hannah McCurley and Emilee Reasch. Unselfi h, dominant Lady Bull_,!_n00 squashed opponents in title repeat BY DAVID PECK They did it again. And this time it wasn't even close. Playing an amazing brand of team bas- ketball that allowed them to smother an opponent with their defense and give fits to those trying to figure out how to stop them, the Lovell Lady Bulldogs powered their way to the Class 2A state championship for the second year in a row, finishing the sea- son with a 25-1 record. The 2011-12 Lady Bulldogs had grit, de- termination, speed, great defense, strong re- bounding, a balanced offense, battle-tested experience and, most of all, great teamwork. The Lady Bulldogs outscored their op- ponents by 20 points per game this season - 50.6 to 30.4 - and six players averaged 4 points per game or better, only one topping 10 ppg. Five seniors, a pair of juniors and a sophomore led the way. Finishing their careers with back-to-back state titles and a 49-4 record were seniors Alyssa Geiser, Jodi Walker, Leanne Winterholler, Erin Robertson and Miranda Griffis, juniors Amanda Shumway and Chelsey Ellis and sophomore Kim Shumway. Tasting the ti- tle for the first time were junior Kassidy Hetland and freshmen Hannah McCur- ley, Chayli McArthur and Emilee Reasch. Freshman Lauren Hinckley also saw var- sity time this season. "It was nice for the (senior) girls to fin- ish their careers on a high note and accom- plish what they worked for for six or sev- en years as basketball players," said coach Chris Edwards, who has won a title in each of his two seasons at the helm. "This was a group that put a lot of time and work in. They sacrificed and did what it took to be state champions," the coach added. "Each girl had her attributes, which made us successful - a certain skill set. When put together it made us a champion- ship team." It was all part of the plan, Edwards said. "As coaches, we have a mindset to have a complete team effort," he said. "If we build around one player, it's easy for a de- fense to stop that player. We try to run an offense that includes everyone, and our of- fense puts players in a position where they can be successful. "These girls took what we implement- ed, believed in it and were able to go out and execute it. There did not appear to be any jealous emotions if one player had a great night. They all had a great under- standing of what it takes to be successful." The Lady Bulldogs seemed to get bet- ter and better as the year progressed, ex- cept for a hiccup at Cody in January. The team was 5-0 in December including solid wins over Wyoming Indian and Powell and 8-1 in January including four conference wins by an average of 27.5 points per game and two wins over Tongue River and anoth- er over Wyoming Indian. The only blemish was a 30-24 loss at Cody. In February, the Lady Bulldogs went 6-0 to conclude the regular season and won four more league games by an average of 24.5 points per game. Despite losing senior Leanne Winter- holler to appendix surgery, the Lady Bull- dogs surged at the regional tournament in Riverton, beating Kemmerer 45-23, Wyo- ming Indian 57-44 and Thermopolis 59-42 for the title - an average margin of 17.3 points per game. Then with Winterholler back in the lineup, the Lady Bulldogs dominated the state tournament, beating Lusk 61-22, Tongue River 45-26 and Thermop 54-22 - an astounding average margin of 30 points per game. The Lady Bulldogs didn't allow a basket in the second half against Thermop -- just four free throws. Asked about the emotions of winning the title for a second straight year, Ed- wards noted, "It was a big sigh of relief for a lot of the girls. We went two years in a row where we went from November to March ranked number one and had targets on our backs. The girls were level-headed enough DAVID PECK Coaches Chris Edwards (left) and Dave Scheffler proudly ride in the back of the fire truck during the championship parade down Main Street on March 4. Coach Bruce Morrison was busy driving the team bus. to know that high expectations need to be met with hard work and dedication. "The girls during the summer chose to go out and run, work in the gym and de- velop fundamental skills. They knew they needed to improve to remain on top. They had to fight for every victory...Success breeds confidence. We had seven or eight girls we could put on the floor and be com- fortable in what they could do." All in all, Edwards said, the Lady Bull- dogs were an unselfish team that gained a special chemistry as the year went on and players accepted and embraced their roles.