A strong fourth quarter propelled the Laramie Lady Plainsmen to a victory in their season opener Thursday night, 58-53, over Evanston.

It also gave new head coach Laura Pollard a win in her high school head coaching debut.

Laramie (1-0) trailed 45-39 early in the fourth quarter. The Lady Plainsmen came through with a clutch 12-4 run and took a 51-49 lead they didn’t relinquish.

Pollard said in the final period, “I saw the conditioning that we’ve been working on, and I saw some smart plays.”

Eight forced turnovers by the Laramie defense was a key contributing factor in their comeback. They overcame poor free throw shooting. LHS was only 11-of-27 for 41 percent at the stripe.

Six Lady Plainsmen scored between seven and nine points. Eliza Dickinson, Olivia Dorrell and Jennifer Aadland led the way with 9 points apiece. Dickinson and Aadland added 11 and 9 rebounds, respectively. Morgan Bury scored 8 off the bench, while Lexi Pulley and Sierra Titensor chipped in 7 points each. Laramie shot 42 percent from the field.

Pollard added, “The balance is what we need.”

Evanston (0-1) was led by Emmery Wagstaff with a game-high 20 points. Megan Fisher added 18 off the bench. The Lady Red Devils were held to 38 percent from the floor. They did out-rebound LHS 45-36.

The Lady Plainsmen have their second game of the 2015 Bill Strannigan East vs. West Challenge against the host Riverton Lady Wolverines at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Laramie Plainsmen

It was the opposite for the Laramie Plainsmen, as a rough fourth quarter led to a season opening loss to Evanston, 55-45.

The defeat spoiled the debut of new Plainsmen head coach Ryan Puckett.

Laramie (0-1) led 38-36 after the third quarter. Then the Plainsmen hit hard times and their offense produced only two points over the first six minutes of the final frame. The Red Devils capitalized on five LHS turnovers and pulled away with free throws for the 10-point victory. They out-scored Laramie 21-9 in the fourth.

Puckett called his team’s performance gutsy.

“They all went out; they fought; they competed. They gave “All Out.” They gave everything we’ve been talking about.”

Jake Aadland led all scorers with 21 points. Andrew Garcia added 11. The Plainsmen shot 34 percent from the field.

Evanston (1-0) put four in double figures led by Brock Ehlers 16 points. The Red Devils only shot 32 percent from the floor, but went 23-33 at the line. They made six more free throws than Laramie attempted.

The Plainsmen will try to bounce back Friday against the Riverton Wolverines at 7 p.m. It’s their second game in the Bill Strannigan East vs. West Challenge in Riverton.