Oh, how the mighty fall!

Sonja Karp

Photo by Alexis Barker/NLJ

Jaylen Ostenson took the ball hard to the rack several times in the Lady Dogies’ dominating win over the Wheatland Lady Bulldogs. Five buckets under the basket and hitting seven of 10 free-throws in the contest gave her 17 points on the night.

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Editor


The David and Goliath epic battle comes to mind when thinking about the Lady Dogies’ thrilling game in Douglas Friday. The No. 1-ranked Douglas Lady Bearcats hadn’t been defeated by a 3A team in the state since the championship of the 3A state tournament in 2017, but head coach Chad Ostenson’s squad proved it could be done by taking them down, 55-50, on their home court.

“Anytime you can get out of Douglas with a win is a good day, any way you slice it,” said Ostenson, beaming. “I got a lot of film and I watched four or five games they played and I saw some ways where we matched up with them, and I think they had a hard time matching up with us actually.”

Douglas has enjoyed the No. 1 ranking in 3A for a number of years, and this season is no different. However, they are not a team that is out of everyone’s league for the first time in a while. They had only lost one game to a 4A school this season, but they only beat Torrington by 9 points and Buffalo by 6 points, so Ostenson knew that his team stood a chance.

“We’ve got athletes that can guard their kids, and we have five or six scoring threats on the floor so it makes them have to guard everyone, which makes a big difference,” Ostenson said. “Our defense was also very effective holding them to 50 when their average is 67 points on the year.” 

The Lady Dogies struck first then it was a slugfest for the remainder of the first half. Douglas led by 6 at the end of the first quarter, but Newcastle went on a 14-6 run in the second quarter aided by two 3-pointers hit by Shelby Tidyman and Hunter McFarland to take the 22-20 lead into the locker room.

From there, the Lady Dogies never relinquished the lead, but it was definitely never smooth sailing for Newcastle as the Lady ‘Cats rallied back from every run made by Ostenson’s crew.

“They did a pretty good job of keeping track of Mack [Conzelman] who is 50% on the season from beyond the arc, and they had pretty good match-ups for Jaylen [Ostenson] and Shelby, too,” Ostenson began. “They did their homework, but we have enough kids to drive and kick and that inside-out three is pretty hard to defend.”

The Lady Dogies enjoyed their biggest lead of the night as they pulled ahead by 12 with 5:24 to play. But then the Bearcats came back with a vengeance to pull within 2 at about the two-minute mark. 

Conzelman then hit a huge shot from beyond the arc to get her team back to a 5-point lead, then the ladies settled in to close it out. Tidyman and Tiernan Stanton hit free-throws down the stretch to maintain the lead they needed to take a huge win over the Lady ‘Cats.

“We wanted to make it tough on the Olson girls to touch the ball, because they are both pretty tough. We made them work to even get the ball so I think they were a little gassed by the end of the game,” Ostenson declared. “We kind of wore them down and Mack hit pretty huge threes in the fourth quarter to keep our lead. The win was a total team effort.” 

Tidyman and Ostenson were given the daunting task of trying to slow down Douglas’ two leading scorers who average 26 and 18 points per game, and each crawled in the players’ shorts and stayed there. Tidyman held freshman Lauren Olson to 10 points shy of her 26 point average, and although Allyson Olson was able to score 4 over her 18 point average, the smothering defense slowed the pair down by 6 points overall. 

While the Lady ‘Cats also threw some solid defense against the Lady Dogies’ three leading scorers — Ostenson, Conzelman and Tidyman — Newcastle has more weapons and McFarland proved she can’t be left alone. McFarland hit four big shots from beyond the arc and was also a threat on the bounce, ending the night leading her team with 20 points. 

“It’s fun when when you have a different kid step up every night and this was Hunter’s night,” Ostenson said. “She took advantage of her match-up and her athleticism is pretty unbelievable. She can run and jump and proved she can also be a threat from the outside, too.”

Tidyman and Ostenson still got their points, however, as each also ended up in double figures on the night — 11 for Tidyman and 10 for Ostenson. Ostenson also was able to grab 10 boards for another double-double. Conzelman’s two well-timed and very crucial 3-pointers gave her 6 points. 

The Lady Dogies dominated the Lady ‘Cats on the glass, out rebounding them 44-27, which is not typical of this year’s team. 

Tiernan Stanton went to work on the glass, ending the night with 18 rebounds, 10 of which were on the defensive end of the court, and she would also end the night with 8 points.

“Tiernan did what we’ve been hoping she’d do all year. I think she’s starting to have more confidence in her wrist and her knee,” Ostenson nodded. “Also having her under the basket, when they did get past us helped us not to have to foul and we made them shoot over her.”

The starting five spent most of the game on the court, however when Bailey Benshoof and Jayde Harrington came into the contest, they did exactly what the team needed them to do.

“Bailey got a huge rebound at the end of the first half which allowed us to keep our lead going into the locker room,” Ostenson said. “Every rebound is big when you’re playing teams like that. Every possession matters against Douglas.”

The win over Douglas moves the Lady Dogies to No. 1 in the Northeast Quadrant with a 3-0 conference record, and their win over Wheatland on Saturday gives Newcastle a 10-1 overall record. 

A quick turnaround had the Lady Dogies hosting the Lady Bulldogs on Saturday for a rematch from their first meeting two weeks ago. When the two teams met in Wheatland, the Lady Dogies walked away with the 52-24 win. Bolstered by their victory over the Lady ‘Cats, Newcastle hit the floor with a vengeance.

“I think the kids understand that our win against Douglas was only one game in the whole scheme of things,” Ostenson surmised. “We had the mental toughness of playing a good game against a rival and still we came back and looked pretty sharp against Wheatland in the first half.”

Newcastle led Wheatland 20-6 at the end of the first quarter and 36-9 at the half. Scoring slowed down for the Lady Dogies in the second half, while the Lady Bulldogs stepped it up as both teams scored 4 points in the third quarter and 10 points in the fourth.

“We were maybe a little complacent in the second half, but it was good to get the bench in to get some good experience,” Ostenson began. “I thought that those girls showed a lot of improvement from last time we played Wheatland.”

Conzelman finished the night as her team’s leading scorer, hitting five shots from beyond the arc and added two more from inside for 19 points. Ostenson was right behind her with 17, Tidyman had 8, McFarland 4 and Stanton added 2 to round out the scoring.

“We got out and ran on Saturday, and we’re starting to get people in the Dome to watch,” Ostenson said. “When we run the floor and also start shooting 3s, we’re a pretty fun team to watch.” 

Dogie fans have two opportunities to watch the ladies play this weekend as they host the 2A Lady Rams of Big Horn beginning at 4:30 on Friday, then the Lady Outlaws of Rawlins on Saturday afternoon in early games tipping off at 1:30.


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