Lady Vikings return to regional tournament

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BUFFALO – The Lady Vikings lost the play-in game last year that ended their hopes of getting into the Wyoming 1A regional girls basketball tournament. The year before that, they simply did not qualify in the COVID-ravaged season. This year they represented as they returned and played two games in Buffalo for this year’s tournament.

Although getting to the tournament was a challenge with blizzard conditions, closed roads and dangerous wind chills, the adversity toughened them up for their first game against No. 1 seed Upton. The Lady Vikings scored first blood but it was no more than a flesh wound to a very strong Upton team.

By the end of the first quarter the Bobcats had clawed their way to a 30-2 lead and by halftime the score stood at 43-10. It was the best quarter of the tournament scoring eight points. Upton, relentless in their focus pushed the lead to 60-12 by the end of the third quarter and then walked away with a 78-12 victory.

For the game Alyssa Nyquist had a stellar game with two points, four rebounds and one steal. Rylie Thompson was the workhorse for the Vikings coming up with six points and five rebounds. She was also 100% from the free throw line. Liberty Whitebird scored two points and had one rebound, Layla Noggle had two points, one steal and one rebound and Lashea Haase had one rebound.

In game two the girls would face another stiff challenge in No. 2 seed Rock River. Although the girls played hard, they came slow out of the gate and by halftime they were behind 40-10. The lead moved to 55-14 in the third and Rock Rapids came away with the victory 57-20.

For the game, again Nyquist who didn’t even start the year on Varsity played a key role, pulling down five rebounds, she had one steal and one assist. Thompson had another strong game garnering nine points and eight rebounds plus she had one steal and one blocked shot. Once again she was 100% from the free throw line. Atwood came up with a big game on the boards, leading the team with nine rebounds and she scored seven points. She also had a steal and an assist. Whitebird scored two points, had two rebounds, a steal and an assist. Jaycee Clark scored her first basket of the year and also had one rebound. Micah Hebbert ended up with an assist and Haase had two rebounds.

“It was great for our girls to get to experience regionals, none of them had ever been here before,” head coach Curtis Cook said. “It showed them what the end goal of the regular season is and why they work so hard for so many months so that when they get here they're prepared and playing their best basketball when it counts. We definitely got better as the season went on I can watch some of our earlier games on film and just tell that we're a different team now.”