There are two ways to end a state tournament semi-final game, either with tears, or cheers. For the Lander Lady Tigers, it was the former after a heartbreaking 41-38 loss to Douglas at Casper College late Friday afternoon.
The Lady Tigers had their chances, but cold shooting spells, and unforced turnovers were the difference in the game.
Lander looked unstoppable in the opening minutes. Taline Tendore scored on a drive, and Whitney Hansen hit a pair of free throws for an early 4-0 lead. Douglas rallied to tie the game at 4-4 on a pair of short range shots, but Lander regained the lead on a Megan Winfield jumper, a drive by Hansen and a 3-pointer by Demi Stauffenberg to lead 12-4 entering.
The Lady Tigers built their largest lead of the game at 19-10 on a second Stauffenberg 3-pointer, but the final minutes of the period belonged to the Lady Bearcats. Douglas finished the first half on a 9-0 run, including turnaround shot in the paint by Lauren Olsen with two second left on the clock that tied the game.
Lander built a brief 28-23 lead, but Douglas forward Allison Olsen began to take over the game. She tied the game at 30 on a free throw, then gave the Lady Bearcats their first lead of the game on a second free throw.
Two more ties highlighted a tense final period. A 3-pointer by Winfield gave the Tigers a 36-33 lead with 4:14 remaining, but Olsen continued to dominate the game, tying it again at 36 on an old fashioned 3-point play with a layup and free throw.
Lander led just once more on a drive down the middle of the lane by Stauffenberg with 2:43 left in the game and a 38-37 Lady Tiger advantage.
Play moved from physical to brutal as Stauffenberg took a hard elbow to the jaw as the trailed a Douglas fast break.
Lander had a final chance to tie the game trailing 40-38 after a series of timeouts by both teams. Ryan Bell drove the baseline but her layup attempt was swatted out of the air and the Lady Bearcats held on for the win.
Winfield and Hansen each scored 10 to lead Lander. Allison Olsen tallied 22 to lead all scorers including 11-of-16 free throw shooting. Lauren Olsen finished with 11.
The Lady Tigers conclude their season against Lyman, the team that beat them last Saturday in Powell for the West 3-A Regional title.
Lander and Lyman tee-off for the final time this season at 10:30 am.
Lander 12 7 9 10 – 38
Douglas 4 15 5 17 – 41
Lander – Taline Tendore 1 1-2 3, Demi Stauffenberg 1 (2) 0-0 8, Ryan Bell 2 (1) 0-0 7, Whitney Hansen 2 6-7 10, Megan Winfield 2 (2) 0-0 10. Totals 8 (5) 7-9 38
Douglas – Leticia Degracia 1 0-0 2, Brooke Wright 1 0-0 2, Chloe Collins 2 0-0 4, Allison Olsen 4 (1) 11-16 22, Lauren Olsen 4 3-4 11. Totals 12 (1) 14-20 41