The Cody Fillies basketball team found themselves in unfamiliar territory at home on Tuesday night, trailing Sheridan after the first quarter of action.
The No. 2-ranked Fillies, however, rallied in the second quarter behind some lock-down defense and used a big second half run to beat the Lady Broncs 58-41 in a rematch of last year’s 3A state semifinal matchup.
Molly Hays led the way for the Fillies (7-0) with 17 points. Kennedi Niemann chipped in 13 points and Izzy Radakovich added 12.
“Sheridan (4-3) had some girls with some size and were quick and could really handle the ball,” Radakovich said. “Even their big girls could really handle the ball.”
Hays got the Fillies on the board early on a lay in, and Reece Niemann and Kennedi Niemann combined for seven points in the first, but full-court pressure from the Lady Broncs caused some problems and they took advantage to go up 14-9 heading into the second quarter.
The Fillies hit the offensive glass and found Hays for a triple that tied things up at 14-14 just over a minute into the second quarter when the Fillies press started to pay dividends with a number of consecutive steals in the back court they converted into scores.
Kennedi Niemann drilled a shot from deep and another press break found Victory Buck open under the hoop as she connected to put the Fillies up 22-18.
A pair of Hays free throws put the Fillies up 26-20 at the break.
A Kennedi Niemann triple got the scoring started for the Fillies in the third frame, and Radakovich answered a Sheridan shot from deep with a bucket down low to put the Fillies up 31-23.
The Lady Broncs then turned up the defensive pressure and hit the offensive boards for an 11-3 run and get to within a point at 32-31.
Radakovich beat the buzzer with a lay in on a feed from Kennedi Niemann to make it 36-31 Fillies heading into the fourth.
Cody started out the final frame in a 1-3-1 zone that gave the Lady Broncs trouble right away, and the full court trapping paid off as Sheridan had trouble just getting the ball across the timeline.
“We don’t really mind trying out new defenses that coach might throw at us,” Kennedi Niemann said. “We are in good enough shape and ready to keep up that pace and pressure.”
A drive and kick from Hays to Reece Niemann from deep put the Fillies up 43-41 with two minutes gone in the fourth.
Kennedi Niemann added a basket before the Lady Broncs finally scored on a triple halfway through the final period to make it 45-34 Cody after the Fillies had held the Lady Broncs scoreless for nearly seven minutes.
“We are definitely a defensive-minded team,” Radakovich said. “Our defense really turned things around in the second half.”
Jessa Lynn answered that Sheridan shot from deep with one of her own, however, and the Fillies extended their run to 16-2 over an eight-minute span.
The Fillies had little trouble breaking the Sheridan press in the fourth as Radakovich found herself open under the basket on multiple trips, converting a pair of baskets for three-point plays to help finish off Sheridan 58-41.
Reece Niemann finished with three points for Cody. Buck added five and Lynn three.
The Fillies will hit the road this week for matchups with Kelly Walsh on Thursday night and Riverton on Saturday.
“Tonight was a really good win. I didn’t think we would win by 20,” Kennedi Niemann said. “But this team can be a lot better and we will get better.”