LINGLE – After a 77-44 loss to start the season to the Class 2A Moorcroft Lady Wolves, the Lingle-Fort Laramie girls’ basketball team rebounded by knocking off the Saratoga Panthers the next day, 50-47.
The Lady Doggers opened the season against a team who finished third at state in Class 2A a year ago.
The Lady Wolves opened the game with a 15-9 lead only to see it grow over the next three quarters.
“Moorcroft was double tough. Our girls never gave up. We still scrapped through,” L-FL coach Matt Cornelius said. “That’s the thing with these girls, even when things don’t swing their way, they don’t stop working. They have a bunch of character, and it’s fun to coach.”
Moorcroft dropped 25 points on the L-FL in the second quarter and an additional 20 in the fourth to pull away for the win.
Freshman Natalie Speckner led the team with 10 points, while sophomores Madison Saul and Ashlee Hattan added nine each.
The next day, Lingle jumped out to an early 8-2 lead behind 3-pointers from junior Tiah Meyer and Hattan.
However, Saratoga wasn’t going to go away quietly.
By the end of the first quarter, the Lady Panthers trimmed the lead to 12-10, but the Lady Doggers scored the first four points of the quarter, but much like the first quarter, Saratoga responded with a run of its own.
With 2:56 left before half, the visitors grabbed the first lead of game.
The teams traded the lead twice over the final moments of the half as Saratoga took a 25-24 lead at the break.
It was a lead the Lady Panthers held on to until early in the fourth quarter.
“Most of the second and third, we were playing the game with four sophomores and a freshman,” Cornelius said.
In the final quarter, L-FL got buckets from Hattan and Speckner to tie the game at 40.
With under six minutes to play in the game, sophomore Kamryn Rafferty broke the tie with a free throw.
The Lady Doggers never trailed for the remainder of the game en route to a three-point victory.
“We had a bunch of fouls that took us out of our game a little bit, and we had a bunch of turnovers,” Cornelius said. “I’ll give it to the young kids. They refused to lose and got right after it. Couldn’t be more proud of the little knuckleheads. We have nowhere to go but up.”
Hattan led the team with 16 points and two steals.
“Ashlee Hattan is lucky to be 5-foot, 1, and she has the heart of a gun fighter,” Cornelius said. “She has no quit in her, and she was doing some really neat things considering she’s playing this position fresh since we never got to play summer basketball.”
Speckner added nine points, while Saul added six.
The Lady Doggers host the Dogger Classic on Friday.
The Doggers will face Encampment at 10 a.m. Friday and Kaycee at 2:30 p.m.
“We are hoping to come out with two 1A wins,” Cornelius said. “It would be a nice Christmas gift to come back with before the first of the year.”