CHEYENNE – Eric Westling never bought into the idea of “a quiet 40 points.”
The Cheyenne East girls basketball coach always thought if someone scored 40 points in a single game it would be obvious.
Westling had to do a double-take while looking at the scorebook after the Lady Thunderbirds’ 75-66 overtime victory against Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on Friday night.
“I knew Ky (Buell) had a good night, but I figured it was her typical game in the mid- to high-20s,” Westling said. “I was really surprised to look at the book and see she had 40. She just finds ways to get a basket, or do whatever we need whenever we need it.”
Buell’s 40 points against Scottsbluff matched her previous career high while also setting an East single-game record. She was 8 for 10 from the free-throw line during the overtime session, and also grabbed 15 rebounds.
Those efforts earned her Prep Athlete of the Week honors from WyoSports’ Cheyenne staff.
Buell led Class 4A in scoring during her freshman and sophomore seasons at Rock Springs. As a junior, she averaged 16.3 points during her first season at East, which ranked third in the state.
The 5-foot-6 guard is back atop the scoring list this winter. Her 40-point outburst against Scottsbluff pushed her season average to 22.5 points per game. Buell doesn’t get wrapped up in her point total.
“After games, I always get asked how many points I scored, and I never know,” Buell said. “Fortunately, my answer has usually been, ‘As many as we needed to win.’ That’s all I’m worried about.”
The stat that does bother Buell is her 14 of 17 free-throw shooting performance against the Bearcats.
“My parents have always emphasized free-throw shooting since I was little,” Buell said. “I was always told they win games. That’s why I start and end every practice shooting them.
“I take them seriously. As soon as I get a free throw, I hustle to the line, get focused and take my time. Free throws are very important. “
Buell, a senior, is shooting a career-best 85% (75 for 88) from the charity stripe. She knocked down 79% (81 of 102) of her free throws as a junior.
That’s just one category in which Buell is having a career year for No. 1-ranked East (11-1 overall). Her scoring average currently is higher than her previous career high (21 ppg). Buell’s 6.7 rebounds per game also are the best average of her career.
The latter stems from the Lady T-Birds changing their rebounding philosophy to overcome a size disadvantage.
“We have made a concerted effort to crash the boards and find the ball, no matter who shoots it,” Westling said. “We were stagnant last year. We were standing around watching shots too much. We were giving up a lot of easy rebounds.
“This year, we’re attacking the rim and getting them ourselves.”
Buell has embraced the change.
“One of my big goals for this season was to have fun and do different things,” she said. “I think working hard to get better every time I step on the floor is fun. I think challenging myself to do different things is fun.
“With everyone boxing out, all of us guards have to crash hard and get some boards. It’s been great for us guards to go in and snag a few rebounds from the big girls. Once we get the ball, we just get out and start running. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Others recognized for their efforts include:
Ben Banville and Logan Branigan, wrestling, Burns-Pine Bluffs: Banville, a senior 195-pounder, went 3-0 with three pins to help Burns win the Blazer Duals in Torrington.
Branigan, a sophomore 138-pounder, was 4-0 with four pins, and was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.
Graedyn Buell and Xavier McCord, boys basketball, East: Buell, a junior, scored 17 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds during a 65-62 win over visiting Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on Friday.
McCord, a senior, scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Justus Golding, boys basketball, Pine Bluffs: The senior guard scored 21 points during the Hornets’ 60-59 win over Southeast on Friday in Yoder. He was 5 for 11 from behind the 3-point line.
Jackson Hesford and Bradley Whitright, wrestling, East: Hesford, a junior 160-pounder, was 3-1 with two pins to place second at the Top of the Rockies Invitational on Saturday in Lafayette, Colorado.
Whitright, a junior 182-pounder, was 4-1 with three pins to take second.
Johnathon Ickerd and Jared Price, boys swimming, Cheyenne South: Ickerd won the 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke during a quadrangular with Green River, Casper Natrona County and Thunder Basin on Friday. He followed that by winning the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly during a triangular with Sheridan and Rock Springs on Saturday.
Price won the 50 and 100 freestyles Friday. He touched the wall first in the 200 and 500 freestyles Saturday.
Emma Jacobsen, girls basketball, East: The junior grabbed 18 rebounds and scored four points during the Lady Thunderbirds’ 75-66 overtime victory against Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The 18 rebounds is one shy of an East single-game record.
Jordan Jones, girls basketball, Cheyenne Central: The sophomore scored 17 points during the Lady Indians’ 47-46 victory Saturday at Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Lawson Lovering, boys basketball, Central: The junior forward scored 19 points during the Indians’ 72-68 double-overtime loss at Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on Saturday.
Rylee Ward, girls basketball, Burns: The sophomore guard scored 15 points during the Lady Broncs’ 35-26 victory over Buffalo.