CASPER, Wyo. — There is plenty of basketball skill in the Robertson family.
Kate Robertson is a senior member of the Natrona County High School Fillies basketball team. She has decided to play for the Casper College Lady Thunderbirds next year.
Her two older sisters and parents were at the Swede Erickson Gymnasium on Wednesday, Dec. 11 as Kate signed her commitment to play in front of a Casper crowd when she goes to college.
Kelly Walsh came so close last season that the stinging quarterfinal loss to Cheyenne East has followed the Trojans from Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym all the way to their home court. That 44-42 loss ended hope of clearing the hurdle and advancing to the semifinals.
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Instead, that hope has been passed along to this season with even more urgency.
The Trojans return three of their top five scorers from last season, including Danilynn Schell (12.0 per game) and Corin Carruth (8.8). They also have seniors Sarah Strube and Isabel Lyons, who played significant roles on the three-time state championship volleyball team in the fall. Add the big-minute potential of Rachel Schmucker, Jayla Johnson and Barrett Lloyd, and the stars may be aligning for the Trojans this season.
On paper, Kelly Walsh checks a lot of boxes. There’s strength in the paint between Carruth, Johnson and Schmucker, as well as athleticism on the outside with Schell, Strube, Lyons and Lloyd. Their offense struggled for consistency at times — shooting just 34.2 percent and averaging a middle-of-the-road 43.7 points — but their defense always came through.
Kelly Walsh led 4A last season by allowing just 36.0 points per game and holding opponents to under 30 percent (29.5) from the floor.
One of the Trojans’ glaring weaknesses last year came on the boards, finishing the year in the negative rebounding margins. Another bulletin board item this year is likely possession after the Trojans averaged 17.5 turnovers last season.
More than statistics, however, there’s that souring feeling from the quarterfinal loss. That final-moment loss kept Kelly Walsh from its first semifinal berth since 2009. A full decade later and the Trojans take the court with a full, talented senior class and the ambition of a first-round win.