CHEYENNE – Boden Liljedahl is used to playing basketball with and against older players.
The Cheyenne East freshman has been doing that with her grassroots teams the past couple seasons. That has helped her become a solid contributor for the No. 2-ranked Lady Thunderbirds.
Lijedahl did more than contribute Saturday afternoon; she provided a spark early that helped East to a 73-26 win over visiting Sheridan.
The T-Birds (15-2 overall) led Sheridan 7-5 midway through the first quarter, but closed the frame on an 18-1 run. Liljedahl accounted for 11 of those points, including three 3-pointers.
Lijedahl started both of East’s game this weekend because junior Cheyenna Alvarado was sidelined with an illness.
“(Liljedahl) really seized her opportunity,” second-year East coach Eric Westling said. “That’s just who these girls are. We talk all the time about how if anyone is struggling, any of the other girls can step up and pick up the slack.”
Liljedahl finished with 19 points. She had 17 during the first half, 15 of them on 3s.
“It has been fun being part of the varsity team this season,” Liljedahl said. “They’ve been really good at sharing the ball, keeping everyone involved and getting everyone good shots. I feel like I have earned their trust.
“That was the only pressure I felt being a freshman on varsity because I’m used to playing on teams with older girls. I’m used to playing up, so that wasn’t as big of a shock as it could have been.”
Liljedahl’s outburst was part of a 27-5 run that saw East hold the Broncs (2-13) without a field goal for 9 minutes, 45 seconds across the first and second quarters.
By the time Broncs junior Aniston Beard grabbed a rebound and scored, East led 32-9.
The T-Birds took a 49-11 lead into halftime, and the game’s final 13:03 was playing with a running clock due to the 40-point mercy rule.
“We played good team defense,” Westling said. “Spreading it out and running our offense the way we’re supposed to have been another points of emphasis in practice.
“We got a wakeup call by being inefficient in our loss to (Cheyenne) Central. It made us focus on a lot of things and got us back to the basics of what we do.”
East senior guard Ky Buell – Class 4A’s leading scorer – struggled to get shots to fall during the opening quarter. She finished with a game-high 20 points, 12 of which came during the second quarter.
The T-Birds made 11 3-pointers on the afternoon.
“We had good ball movement, and did a good job of penetrating and kicking it out to open shooters,” Liljedahl said. “We ran our offense well, and that helped us open up a lead.”
EAST 73, SHERIDAN 26
Sheridan…… 6 5 5 10 – 26
Cheyenne East…… 23 26 8 16 – 73
Sheridan: G. Mitzel 2, Bilyeu 0, A. Mitzel 0, Aksamit 0, Moser 8, Williams 0, Morris 6, Beard 3, Anderson 0, K. Ligocki 7, Gardner 0, Spielman 0.
Cheyenne East: Dierks 3, E. Jacobsen 4, Lopez 5, Blaney 6, Knipper 4, K. Buell 20, Liljedahl 19, Castle 5, A. Marshall 2, Danni 2, Walsh 3, K. Alvarado 0.