The Laramie County Community College women’s basketball team concluded its 2017-18 season going 1-7 in its last eight games and missed the Region IX tournament.
Don’t let the last eight games fool you, the Golden Eagles played five out of their last eight on the road and had two close losses to Trinidad State, one of which was in overtime, and a tough battle against Eastern Wyoming College on the road.
LCCC finished the season with a 15-16 record while going 10-12 in conference play. The Golden Eagles had things rolling early in the year, going on a five-game win streak half way through the season and a four-game win streak in the second half of the year.
In his second season as head coach, Brian Ortmeier initiated the second phase of his three-step plan when it comes to building a solid program.
“Year one was to be competitive and to teach the kids to compete, year two we should start to win some of those close games, year three is when you can put it together and put yourselves in the mix to be at the top of the league,” Ortmeier said. “In terms of did we meet the criteria I was looking for in our second year, I would say yes we did. We increased our win total and win percentage and fixed some of things we wanted to fix, we had less turnovers and shot it better across the board.”
Building a quality program is more than just the performance on the hardwood.
“Off the court we finished the first semester at a 3.2 GPA as a team and when you combine the on-the-court performance, with the off-the-court stuff I felt like we did a lot of great things,” Ortmeier said.
With the Region IX playoff structure the way it is, the Golden Eagles needed to finish within the top half of the region to be granted a home play-in game to advance to the region tournament. Unfortunately, going 1-7 in the last eight games kept them from the tournament.
“We just needed to be more consistent for four quarters,” Ortmeier said. “A lot of those games we would come out really strong in the first half and then whether it was a dry spell on offense in the second half or not getting enough stops on defense when we needed them in the fourth quarter. Building that consistency to be able to finish off games is something we are going to have to get better at.”
A key part for the Golden Eagles this year in terms of the consistency and defense Ortmeier was hoping for was freshman guard Karli O’Brien. (Rapid City, South Dakota)
O’Brien, who was voted to the Region IX South Sub Region All-Defensive team, was the only Golden Eagle to be voted to a team. The head coaches of the teams in Region IX are responsible for nominating and voting for the players; each coach cannot nominate or vote for their own student-athletes.
O’Brien, who started 29 games for the Golden Eagles, was the second-leading scorer on the team with 10.2 points per game. Defensively, she was second on the team in steals with 1.9 a game and seventh in Region IX, second in rebounds with 5.4 per game, eighth overall in defensive rebounds in Region IX and led the team in assists with 2.8 per game. O’Brien was the only player in the region to be in the top eight for steals and defensive rebounding per game.
“When you talk about consistency that we need on defense, Karli is a player that can provide that,” Ortmeier said. “She has good footwork and positioning while still anticipating steals and playing aggressively. She got matched up against the other teams best guard, or second best guard and did a great job of giving us that consistency on defense.