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3A Girls Semifinals

Lyman's Mckinley Bradshaw scores on a fast break during the Eagles' semifinal game against Powell on March 8 in the Wyoming State High School Class 3A Girls Basketball Championships at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.

For the first time in 24 years Lyman is in the semifinals of the Wyoming State High School Class 3A Girls Basketball Championships. Now the Eagles get the unenviable task of trying to do something no 3A team has done in two years — defeat Douglas.

Lyman used a dominating second quarter — outscoring Powell 19-2 — and an impressive performance from senior McKinley Bradshaw to advance to the championship game with a 60-30 victory over Powell on Friday at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.

“Our defense was a lot better after the first quarter,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw was at her best during a 2-minute stretch late in the second quarter.

First, she hit a step-back 3 to give Lyman a 27-12 lead. Two possessions later Bradshaw came up with a steal near the Powell basket, dribbled up the floor and fired a bullet pass from half court to a cutting Mandy Eyre for a layup. On Lyman’s next possession, Bradshaw dove to the floor to save the ball from going out of bounds, recovered and later threaded a pass between two defenders to Kassidy Nelson to make it a 33-12 game.

“I love the assist,” said Bradshaw, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and five helpers. “It feels great to pass the ball to a teammate and have them score.”

Bradshaw, who has signed to play at the University of Wyoming, will get one more chance to do so against 3A’s most dominating team the past two years.

Friday, Douglas was in a battle with rival Buffalo into the third quarter before pulling away for a 62-39 victory.

Buffalo’s Seren Chapin tied the game at 33-all with an 18-foot jumper, but that only served to wake up the Bearcats (25-1). Douglas scored the final 10 points of the third quarter and the first five of the fourth to take control.

“We just had to stick with it,” Douglas head coach Cody Helenbolt said. “One thing about this team is we’re relentless. We can be hard to handle for 32 minutes.”

That’s especially true when the Bearcats can get the ball inside to 6-foot-4 Allyson Fertig. The sophomore had a triple-double, finishing with 25 points; 22 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

Time and again Douglas was able to get the ball inside to Fertig for tough baskets or she would simply rebound Bearcat misses — she had 11 offensive rebounds — and score on a putback.

“It was a little rough at the start, but we just had to play our game,” Fertig said.

As for constantly facing double-teams and getting pushed around in the post, Fertig has come to expect it.

“I’ve gotten used to it,” she said. “I just know I have to finish strong and be physical.”

Saturday’s championship game will feature two of the best players in the state as well as two of the better teams, regardless of classification.

“McKinley is one of the best players I’ve ever coached against and I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” Helenbolt said. “We’re not going to stop her.”

Lyman might not have an answer for Fertig either. But that is beside the point to Bradshaw.

“We’re going to have to play our best ball,” she said. “We just have to leave it all on the floor.”

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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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