CHEYENNE – Madisyn Baillie brings something to the Cheyenne Central girls basketball team that not many sophomores provide to their teams.
“As much as anything, she’s kind of a calming factor for us,” Central coach Glen Kirkbride said. “And sometimes we just need that.”
Baillie has become a quiet spark off the bench of the Lady Indians this season. The sixth man is the third leading scorer on the roster, averaging 6.2 points per contest and is also the third-leading rebounder, pulling down 3.7 boards per outing.
Friday, Baillie and the Indians (11-9) open the Class 4A state tournament as the third-seed out of the East region. They will tip off with Green River at 9 a.m. at Casper College.
She’ll look to continue to build on the role she’s carved out with the team, which, as the sixth man, obviously includes energy off the bench. But all-in-all, she’s just prepared to do whatever needs to be done to help the team become successful.
“Since I’m sixth man, the biggest thing for me is going out there and just hustling,” Baillie said. “Especially if we’re down (when I get in), it’s just going out there and doing whatever the team needs me to do.”
The calming factor that she plays with translates to an even-kill mentality on the court. It’s not exactly common for an underclassman to play with the type of of cool temper that she plays with.
“(That) mentality really helps me,” Baillie said. “And I also get pep talks before the game from (senior Baylee Delbridge) … and that helps my nerves.”
Her improvement over the course of the season has been apparent. There were times midway through the year where injuries plagued the Lady Indians – notably, during a contest when Delbridge – who is the Indians’ top scorer – was sidelined with an injury. In that Feb. 6 game against Kelly Walsh, Baillie started in her first career varsity game. She scored 13 points and helped the Indians grab the win on the road.
It was an opportunity for her to go out, just play and prove herself, like she has throughout the season.
She’s been taking things as they come and not trying to force anything, and that alone has helped her be successful, Kirkbride said.
“She’s just playing within herself, she’s not doing too much, and she’s letting the game come to her, and when she gets a look, she takes it. If she has to handle the ball, she does,” Kirkbride said. “She’s really letting the game come to her, and it’s pretty rare in young kids to let the game come to them.”
Baillie wasn’t hesitant to credit her teammates for the success and the progress she’s shown this season.
They’ve helped her gain traction in her young career, and she has helped Central earn a spot in the state tournament.
“All of my teammates out on the floor are helping me become the player I am,” Baillie said.