LARAMIE – It took lights-out shooting in a familiar venue for the Laramie boys to notch a win against one of the better teams in the state regardless of classification.
Class 4A Laramie spread around 12 3-pointers en route to an 83-69 win against Pine Bluffs, which is the top-ranked Class 2A team, Saturday to close out the third day of the Taco John’s Invitational at Plainsmen Gym.
“It was a really competitive game,” Pine Bluffs coach Tyler Kimzey. “There’s nothing we could’ve done differently defensively in my opinion. If a team is going to shoot 62 percent from 3, it’s going to be really tough to stay in it for all four quarters.
“Laramie shot well and we competed, but we shot well below our average. It was a good, competitive game and good for us to get some different competition and some different looks.”
The Hornets (7-1) only for the second time dating back to last season when they went 27-1 en route to the 2A state championship.
The game was close through the first three quarters with the Laramie (4-5) and Pine Bluffs tied 53-53 when Plainsmen junior Bridger Bleak hit a 3-pointer before time expired at the end of the third period. Bleak came off the bench for nine points – all treys.
The Plainsmen pulled away in the final quarter by scoring 30 points – starting with a 10-0 run – compared to the Hornets’ 16 points. Laramie senior Hudda Herrera scored 12 of his team-high 24 points in the final period to go with a total of seven rebounds.
“We knew Pine Bluffs was good at pushing the floor and going back and forth,” Herrera said. “We came in knowing we would be in a dog fight to the end.
“My team just wanted to get me the ball and play through me. Coach (Travis Brown) wanted me to step up and that’s what I did.”
Stepping up for the Hornets was senior Tucker Norman, who had a game-high 26 points – 17 in the first half – to go with 15 rebounds for the double-double.
“He is a special player and a very good athlete,” Kimzey said. “He has been a pleasure to coach and almost has it all – and in my opinion at the 2A level, he does have it all. He can finish at the rim, hit a 3 or hit 15-footers, shoot free throws and is a big, sound player inside.”
Senior Andrew Fornstrom and junior Michael Shain added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Pine Bluffs.
Laramie junior Tyler Oppie led the Plainsmen with four 3-pointers that pushed his total to a career high 17 points. He made two of his 3s and scored 11 points during the fourth quarter. Sophomore Christian Mickelson added 16 points.
Senior Brady Epler led Laramie on the glass with 10 rebounds. Laramie outrebounded Pine Bluffs 42-35.
LARAMIE 83, PINE BLUFFS 69
Pine Bluffs..….………..........................…. 18 15 20 16 – 69
Laramie……….…...................................... 15 18 20 30 – 83
Pine Bluffs: Shain 10, A. Fornstrom 11, Golding 3, Lamb 0, Steger 4, Jacobson 0, Jeffres 9, Thompson 6, Shmidl 0, Norman 26.
Laramie: Killpack 1, Epler 4, Tyser 7, Oppie 17, Herrera 24, Bleak 9, Shipman 3, Forry 2, Enzi 0, Mickelson 16.
David Watson is a writer for WyoSports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-755-3327. Follow him on Twitter at @dwatsonsports.