The Cody girls basketball team came into this season ready to test the Class 4A waters. A new addition to Wyoming’s largest classification due to the recent reclassification, Cody moved up from Class 3A with little expectations.
But make no mistake, they know they have a talented team. While staying humble, they also have the goal of enduring the new 4A West Conference (and accompanying 4A Northwest Quadrant) with enough victories to play in the season’s final weekend.
“Right now we’re just going out and seeing what we can do,” Cody sophomore starter Torrie Schutzman said. “Our main goal is to make it to state tournament and see how good we can do.”
Schutzman and the Fillies took the first step on the multi-month march to regionals with an intense 43-39 win over Laramie on Thursday in the opening day of the Casper Invitational at Jerry Dalton Gym.
Schutzman had eight rebounds to go along with 11 points against Laramie, four of which came on four crucial free throws down the stretch that preserved the victory.
“In 3A we never really saw that much pressure,” Schutzman said. “So we just needed to adapt and find our way out of it.”
Laramie actually led 29-22 in the third quarter but the Fillies ended the frame on a frantic 7-0 run, capped by a layup by junior Teagan Thompson before the horn. Cody then went up by 3 and maintained that lead between 3 and 7 for the game’s duration.
McKayla Moss finished with a game-high 13 for Cody. Laramie sophomore Kayla Vasquez led the Lady Plainsmen with eight points.
Star Valley 42, Kelly Walsh 38
Across town, later in the day, Kelly Walsh opened its season against another noteworthy program that made the leap to Class 4A with the new reclassification.
Star Valley was instantly taken aback by the physicality of Kelly Walsh, something that has become necessary to survive a 4A season. Kelly Walsh took an early lead and expanded it into the second quarter as Braves’ standout Olivia Muir sat on the bench in early foul trouble.
But the Star Valley bench rallied against the Trojans’ bench and took a modest 22-20 lead into the half.
Muir then took an inadvertent finger to her right eye in the third quarter as she still struggled to find her rhythm in the season opener. While she worked things out, Abby Coles led the Braves. She finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
“That was really big for us,” Star Valley head coach David Moore said. “I didn’t know what we would do without Liv but it was great to see the other girls step up and be physical, be able to stop them inside. And show that we can play without Liv. We want Liv but the other girls were able to step up their game.”
Muir eventually found her form and finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Kelly Walsh made a late run at the Braves, using a quick 5-0 spurt and a timeout to cut the Star Valley lead to just four points with 2:22 left. Following a turnover, the Trojans made it a one-possession game, capping a 7-0 run and making it 40-38.
Star Valley senior Shay Erickson then went to the line to sink a set of free throws and the Trojans couldn’t capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities down the stretch.
“This is a huge win for us,” Moore said. “I expect Kelly Walsh to be one of the top teams in our Western Conference. So for us to gain confidence and knock them off, it’s great.”
Cheyenne South 56, Riverton 21
The Bison started their season out with a victory over 4A arrival Riverton over at Kelly Walsh High School. South took an early lead and maintained it against the adjusting Wolverines.
Evanston 41, Sheridan 27
The Red Devils got out to a slow start but used defensive pressure to overwhelm Sheridan. The Broncs’ offense improved in the second half but couldn’t force enough stops.