Unlike the Wakinyan who brought buckets of rain and finally gave central South Dakota some major drought relief, the Oelrichs Tigers gave no relief to the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves in either game of their basketball doubleheader on Saturday, May 8.
The underdog visitors from the west only dressed out six players each in their boys’ and girls’ teams. The Lady Tigers consisted of three seniors, one sophomore, and two first years; and the boys’ team only had one senior, two juniors, one sophomore, and two first years.
First up in the Saturday matinee was the Lady Tigers taking on the Lady Braves. The Lady Braves got the tip and with 9 ticks off the clock, Number 1 Ana Leta Yellow Bird rained in a 3-point shot to open up the scoring for the game. The sharp shooting 5-foot 3-inch-tall junior guard was not done pouring in shots. She drained in another 3-pointer, one field goal, and two free-throw shots before the horn sounded to end the first period.
Arianna Anderson also stepped up in the first quarter with 6 points. Kai’ Loni Johnson, Tomi Moran, and Charlie Red Bear each got a bucket to give the Braves 22 total points in the first period of play.
Yellow Bird took control of the Braves’ offense by setting up the plays, making one spectacular shot after the other. She fired long range passes to teammates for them to get their shots off as well, and put on a dribbling exhibition to rival Stephen Curry.
The Oelrichs Tigers would have been in deep trouble if not for their senior guard, Number 11 Jada Rouillard. The team was throwing the ball away, having one miscue after the other and not finding their range, until Rouillard got 8 points to keep the score somewhat close. Even though the Lady Tigers were sputtering, they were able to get 11 points to the Braves 22 in the opening frame.
Ana Leta Yellow Bird and Arianna Anderson kept up the show in the second quarter. They led the way with 7 and 4 points respectfully, but then the Tigers found their range. The Tigers managed to outscore the Braves by two points. At first this did not appear to be a big deal. But as the Tigers heated up, they started to match the Lady Braves in points and intensity. When the buzzer blew to end the second period of play, the Lady Tigers had chipped into the Braves’ lead. The first half ended with a score of 30 to 39 in favor of the home team.
The Lady Braves were hot in the first half but cooled off significantly following the break. And as the Braves cooled, the Tigers got hot – super hot! They went on an 11 to 1 point run to pull ahead of the Brave 41 to 40 at the 4:39 mark in the third quarter. After that the Braves bowed their backs and fought hard to keep their ground, but there were four more lead changes. When the horn blew to end the third period of play the scoreboard showed 50 to 49 in favor of the Lady Tigers.
In the final frame the Lady Braves got even colder. They only managed to score 7 points as compared to the Lady Tigers, who banged in 15 points. It was not for a lack of trying because the Braves were playing tough defense; stealing the ball, fighting for rebounds, running full tilt, and firing up shots from all over the court, but nothing was going in. It was like there was a lid on the basket. The Braves only scored three baskets from the floor and one out of three free-throws. On the other hand, the Tigers banged in two 3-pointers, three baskets, and sank three out of nine free-throws to win the game 56 to 65.
If there was a Player of the Game for the Braves in this first contest, it would have to be Ana Leta Yellow Bird. She had 22 points, 12 of which came from four 3-points shots. She had total control of the Braves offense, and not only made some spectacular assists but nailed at least two “no look” passes to her teammates. She stole the ball several times, disrupted the Tigers on offense repeatedly, and put on a dribbling exhibition; all with a million-dollar smile on her face and fire in her eyes.
Braves: Ana Leta Yellow Bird – 22, Arianna Anderson – 13, Kai’ Loni Johnson – 6, Tomi Moran – 2, Charlee Ward – 2, Lalionne Brown Otter – 2, Charlie Red Bear – 7, Kayleigh Red Fox – 2. Tigers: Alila Ten Fingers – 2, T’lea Rouillard – 19, Jada Rouillard – 24, Amelia Her Many Horses – 4, Angeleigh Twiss – 12, Keanna Short Bull – 4.
CEB 22 17 10 7 +56
Oelrichs 11 19 20 15 +65
Those baskets still had lids on them when the boys’ match commenced — neither team could get the ball in the rim. The Braves fired up eight 3-pointers and not one fell through. They were only able to muster 7 points in the entire first quarter due to the Herculean effort of junior, Number 44 Liam Veaux, who made three tough field goals underneath the basket.
Ineptitude at scoring plagued the Tigers too. It looked like the Braves might have had the lead at the end of the first period until the Tigers senior guard, Jeremiah Brave Heart, threw up a prayer as the buzzer was literally going off and splashed in a basket for three points to give Oelrichs a 9 to 7 lead.
After a sluggish start from both teams, they finally locked in their style of play in the second quarter. While the Braves were lightning-fast and looked like antelope running free on prairie, the Tigers were slow and methodical and counted on their bruising and punishing play underneath the boards.
As the Braves streaked up and down the court, they started to wear down the bigger and slower Tigers. It was obvious the Tigers were running out of gas trying to keep up. With only one sub, the Tigers coach had to call time out just for his players to catch their breath. And on every dead ball most of them would be bent over tugging their trunks and gasping for air. But instead of blowing the Tigers off the floor, the Braves still could not get their shots to fall. Consequently, the Tigers controlled the boards on both sides of the court and in the end got multiple shots at close range. They outscored the Braves 19 to 9 in this period of play. When the horn blew to end the first half, it was 16 to 27 in favor of the visitors.
In the third quarter, the Braves gave a trident attack with Stetson Cavanaugh getting 7 points, Landon Marshall adding 5, and Liam Veaux muscling in two field goals and finally banging in a 3-pointer. Although the first fourteen 3-point shots by the Braves all missed, they outscored the Tigers 19 to 15.
While the Braves were doing their best to rip the lid off their basket, the basket was wide open for the Tigers. Tigers guard Jeremiah Brave Heart splashed in three 3-pointers to keep the Braves from making up too much ground. The quarter expired with Oelrichs still in the lead – 42 to 35.
With a 7-point lead, it still appeared the Braves could snag a win going into the last period of play, especially when Tigers point guard Number 1, Tyriece Two Lance, went down with an accidental blow to the head at the 7:40 mark. While the long ball never materialized for the home team, it was the savior for the visitors, who got two before their point guard was able to resume play once again at the 3:14 mark.
No sooner did Two Lance return than Tigers forward Number 34, Edwin Fills Pipe, fouled out. Down to their last man, the Braves just could not throw up enough successful shots to close the distance, let alone pull out the win. When the final buzzer blew the scoreboard read 51 to 61, with the win going to Oelrichs.
Braves junior guard/forward Stetson Cavanaugh took a while to warm up. In the first half he had 6 points and in the second half he had 15 points, with 10 coming in the final period. Junior forward Liam Veaux also did his best both inside and out and contributed 14 points. Baskets were few and far between for the Braves throughout the entire game, like 1 out of 19 three-point shots, and there was just not enough scoring to catch the Tigers. There is no doubt the Braves have the speed, and if they can just get that Spalding to go where it’s supposed to go, they should be fine going into the playoffs.
Braves: Stetson Cavanaugh – 23, Landon Marshall – 10, Umpo Makes Room For Them – 4, Liam Veaux – 14. Tigers: Tyriece Two Lance – 8, Edwin Fills Pipe – 4, Tristen Trejd – 7, Stanley Walking – 17, Jeremiah Brave Heart – 25.
CEB 7 9 19 16 +51
Oelrichs 9 18 15 19 +61