The Douglas Lady Cats aren’t wasting any time showing folks around the state just how stacked with talent they are once again.
Coming off a 53-1 record the past two seasons and losing very few graduating athletes in the process, it really wasn’t much of a secret.
In short, a group of juniors who have put in their fair share of varsity minutes since their first year of high school is making waves as they return to the hardwood for the 2019-20 season, beginning with last weekend’s tournament in Buffalo.
The closest any of the opposing four teams came to giving the Lady Cats a run for their money came against Pinedale, which Douglas won handily by 37 points. That was also the game where junior Joslin Igo tied the Wyoming High School Girls’ all-time single-game assist record with 15. This came one day after nearly hitting the mark with 14 against Lovell.
Head coach Cody Helenbolt has never been one to focus much on stats in general, citing basketball is a team sport, so he is more concerned if his girls are doing the little things right. With that being said, he can’t help but notice Igo’s incredible performance against the Lady Wranglers Dec. 14.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We felt like we put her in some good positions to make plays and she did it. To be able to do that over and over is really impressive.”
Fellow junior Allyson Fertig, who has already announced her plans to play at the University of Wyoming following her graduation, isn’t slowing down her efforts either.
The most notable moment from last weekend’s series of games for Fertig also came against Pinedale, where she put up 20 points in the first quarter alone, eventually going on to finish the game with 30 points, 18 rebounds and 7 blocked shots.
“Allyson had a huge weekend,” Helenbolt said. “She’s kind of sometimes been a slow starter just in terms of her shooting percentage that spikes at the end of the year. This year she’s shooting 70 percent right now.”
The coach attributes Fertig’s strong start to a rise in confidence, experience and strength.
“I think you can see that right now as a little different than years past,” the coach said.
Another player showing promise to the coach comes from sophomore Allison Olsen, who gives the coach flexibility as she can play any position on both sides of the ball.
“She’s a good all-around basketball player,” he said. “She’s a chess piece and kids like that are invaluable because you can use them in so many ways.”
Whatever the team is doing, it’s working. They opened the weekend on Friday with a 70-29 win over Lander Valley and 80-28 victory over Lovell. They continued to win by decisive margins Saturday, downing Pinedale 74-37 and Powell 73-12.
“I’m really happy with them,” Helenbolt said of the team’s showing early on. “The thing I’m proud of is they compete. They don’t have a game where they don’t compete.”
At this point early in the season, Helenbolt noted little things the team needs to iron out, but obviously those didn’t really put the team’s chances of winning in jeopardy last weekend.
“We just need to keep working on conditioning a little bit and then work on execution,” he said. “We didn’t shoot free throws great so we need to work on that and a couple of defensive things we need to clean up.”
The Lady Cats continue their season at the Lander Classic this weekend for a two-day tournament on Friday and Saturday.