CASPER, Wyo. — The Thunder Basin Lady Bolts showed true resiliency down the stretch in their championship showdown against Cody on Friday. However, they were unable to fully erase a big early deficit, and ultimately fell to the Fillies 65-53.
The two teams traded baskets for much of the first quarter, but by the end of the opening period Cody had built a six point lead.
The deficit first grew to double digits roughly a minute and a half into the second quarter when a midrange jumper from the free throw line gave Cody a 17-7 advantage.
Throughout the game, turnover proved to be costly for the Bolts, as the Fillies managed to force a number of turnovers the led to quick baskets in transition. Over the course of the game, Cody had 15 points off turnovers to just five for Thunder Basin, and several more Lady Bolt possessions ended in turnovers that didn’t directly result in Cody baskets.
Thunder Basin also struggled to contain Cody’s perimeter scorers, and in the final minutes of the first half the Cody lead grew to 16 on a 3-pointer from the wing.
Thunder Basin largely managed to tread water in the third quarter, doing enough to prevent the deficit from getting more out of hand, but also unable to slow their opponents enough to cut into the lead. Headed into the fourth quarter, the Lady Bolts trailed by 18.
However, the team proved in the final quarter that they wouldn’t go down without a fight. Led by some spirited scoring by Joelie Spelts and Laney McCarty, the Lady Bolts mounted a furious rally.
Barely two minutes into the quarter, they’d cut the deficit down to 11 thanks to two baskets in quick succession by Spelts.
Cody pushed their lead back to 16, only for Thunder Basin to bring the deficit back down to 12 shortly thereafter.
And so it went, with the two teams engaged in a tug-of-war, with Thunder Basin inching closer with each surge.
With under three minutes to go, the Lady Bolts cut the lead down to single digits for the first time of the half on a gritty score in the paint by McCarty, and then again on a deep 3-pointer by Eagan Clark with 35 seconds left.
Thunder Basin had a chance to cut the lead down even further with just under a minute play, but yet another costly turnover allowed the Fillies to buttress their lead while burning precious seconds off the clock. Ultimately, the Lady Bolts ran out of time, having to resort to fouling in the closing seconds to have any hope of getting the ball back.
In the final quarter, Thunder Basin scored 25 points and outscored Cody by six.
Spelts scored 20 in a dominating performance. McCarty scored 14 and Clark scored nine while shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown. Kambel Cox and Attie Jo Westbrook each contributed three points, while Kinley Solem and Peltyn Williams each finished with a pair.