Plainsmen basketball-Devine

Laramie High senior Jackson Devine, center back, fights for the ball during a game Friday against Douglas Friday at the Cheyenne Central High Fieldhouse in Cheyenne.

CHEYENNE — Physicality helped the Douglas boys basketball team keep Laramie off balance Friday afternoon at Cheyenne Central Fieldhouse.

The Bearcats were continuously crashing the glass and forcing Laramie into turnovers with physical defense. Holding Laramie to just three points in the first period, Douglas cruised to a 52-24 victory at the Taco John’s Invitational.

“They were more physical and I thought they played a lot harder than we, so combine those two things,” Laramie coach Jim Shaffer said. “I thought they bullied us. We were down a couple guys but that’s no excuse for the guys on the court to not compete.”

Although the Plainsmen couldn’t get much going offensively in the opening quarter, the Bearcats struggled to knock down shots, as well. With 3 minutes, 57 seconds left to play in the first, Douglas led 6-2, but carried a 7-1 run into the second frame, when they built its lead.

Early in the second quarter, Douglas got three consecutive offensive rebounds and a steal which amounted to five points, all coming from Jackson Hughes. Laramie (5-2) responded with a small five-point run, but Class 3A’s top-ranked team continued to build its advantage and took a 31-11 lead into the half.

“They were just flat out tougher and more physical than us,” Laramie senior Jackson Devine said. “We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and didn’t take care of the ball very well and that kind of told the story of the game with those two things.”

Already minus two starters in Karson Busch and Mahlon Morris, the Plainsmen lost a third starter in the second quarter when Diego Medina took an inadvertent elbow and broke his nose.

With three players averaging double figures entering the weekend, the balanced attack from the Bearcats was tough for Laramie to stop. Douglas went on a 12-0 run during the third quarter, which forced a Laramie timeout with 2:59 remaining.

“They have seven or eight guys that are all capable of being the top guy any given night,” Devine said. "So it’s pretty tough to play a team like that.”

Hughes was the top guy for Douglas (7-0) on Friday, scoring a game-high 18 points. Most of his opportunities came from attacking the offensive glass and finishing. Nine different Bearcats scored.

Neil Summers led the Plainsmen with six points. Laramie hosts Windsor, Colorado, at 4 p.m. today.

“To me, what makes them good is their toughness and how hard they play,” Shaffer said. “It was an obvious difference between how they looked in respect to those things and how we looked and unless we’re going to sure that up and be tougher and compete better than that, it’s tough to win basketball games.”

Robert Munoz is a writer for WyoSports. He can be reached at rmunoz@wyosports.net. Follow him on Twitter @rmunoz307.

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