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Douglas girls completed remarkable four-year run with third state basketball title
GIRLS BASKETBALL

Douglas girls completed remarkable four-year run with third state basketball title

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On March 11, the Douglas girls basketball team put the finishing touches on a remarkable four-year run. The Bearcats rolled to a 51-11 victory over Lyman in the Class 3A championship game to complete a 21-0 season and win their third title in the past four years.

If not for the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of last year’s Class 3A/4A state tournament, Douglas likely would have been celebrating its fourth consecutive state championship last Friday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper. Still, what seniors Allyson Fertig, Joslin Igo and Kamdynn Townsend accomplished over the past four seasons puts the Bearcats on the short list of the most-dominant teams, boys or girls, in state annals.

Consider the numbers:

  • The Bearcats went 100-2 the past four seasons, with their only losses to Class 4A Thunder Basin on Dec. 28, 2018 and a team from Lynwood, California, on Jan. 3, 2020. Thunder Basin went on to win the 2019 4A state title.

“To finish our high school careers 100-2 is pretty amazing,” Igo said.

  • They went 89-0 against 3A competition.
  • The 11 points Lyman scored in this year’s state championship game was the fewest points scored by a girls team in a state championship game. The previous low was 22 points by Thermopolis in a 54-22 loss to Lovell in the 2012 Class 2A title game.
  • They outscored teams by an average of 41.5 points per game (72.0 to 31.5) this season. Their closest margin of victory was a 64-47 defeat of 4A Natrona County on Dec. 19, 2020.

“Earlier today, I just couldn’t stop shaking,” Fertig said after the win over Lyman. “The reality hit that I will never play with these girls again, but I wouldn’t take it back. It’s been amazing. And I love them with all my heart.”

The 6-foot-4 Fertig was a driving force for Douglas ever since her freshman season when she averaged 14.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game. In the 2018 state championship game, she had 10 points, 22 rebounds and six blocked shot in a 63-52 victory over rival Buffalo. In three title games appearances, Fertig averaged 13.3 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.7 blocks.

She finished her high school career with 1,198 rebounds and 452 blocked shots, both of which are No. 3 in state history.

Next season Fertig will head to Laramie to play for the Mountain West champion Cowgirls.

“I’m just really happy that they have a great program and they want me to go play for them,” Fertig exclaimed. “It’s going to be really fun.”

Of course, Fertig also had years of fun playing alongside Igo and Townsend and fellow senior Brynn Zwetzig.

Like Fertig, Igo also etched her name in the state record books. The 5-6 point guard averaged a state-best 8.3 assists per game this season and finished her career with state records for assists in a single game (18 vs Buffalo on Jan. 22, 2021), a season (200 this season) and in a career (599). But Igo, who will play for junior college power Casper College next season, prefers to focus on the team’s success rather than her personal accomplishments.

“My lasting memory is going to be all of these state championships,” she stated. “No one can take these away from us so winning these three has been a great experience.”

For Townsend, who averaged 12.9 points per game this season, leaving the court for the last time in a Douglas uniform brought on a wave of emotions.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “Winning all these games and championships is awesome, but I’m really going to miss playing on this team.”

The one who might miss Fertig, Igo, Townsend and Zwetzig the most, though, is Cody Helenbolt, the Douglas head coach since the 2013-14 season. Helenbolt had success before the talented group of seniors arrived – leading the Bearcats to the 2014 state title and a third-place finish in 2017 – but he knows how special the past four seasons have been.

“I can’t really put it into words,” he admitted. “I just feel fortunate to get to work with these kids, because they put in the time and the effort. I played a small part in it, but I’m really, really grateful that I got to play that small part.”

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @wyovarsity

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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