By BRETT MARSHALL
SUBLETTE — It was going to be a big enough challenge for the Sublette Lady Larks when they hosted the No. 2-ranked Cimarron Lady Bluejays.
But when the Larks' leading, senior Riley Matteson, went home earlier in the day on Tuesday due to illness, there was little doubt that the unbeaten Lady 'Jays job was only that much easier.
True to form, Cimarron used its superior height, quickness and athleticism to overwhelm the youthful Lady Larks, 54-23, in Hi-Plains League action.
"You just try to work on things, the fundamental things that sometimes get lost this time of the season," said Cimarron coach David Ediger as he watched his team improve to 16-0 and 7-0 in the HPL. "We wanted to work on closing our properly on plays, blocking out. Really, just trying to focus on the little things."
The Lady Bluejays did just that in the early going and were never in jeopardy.
Cimarron scored the first 11 points of the game and never looked back. It was 19-3 at the end of the first quarter. Sublette's lone tally came on a 3-pointer by freshman Brooke Briggs, the team's second leading scorer.
It was much the same scenario in the second quarter, with the Lady Bluejays nailing the first 11 points again en route to building a 36-8 advantage by halftime.
Morgan Ediger and Ashtynn Burns provided the scoring punch with 12 and eight points, respectively.
Cimarron substituted liberally in the third quarter and the teams played to a 14-14 standoff, leaving the score at 50-22 after three quarters.
"It's good to see a lot of the other girls in there and see what they can do in a varsity game," Ediger said of his reserves. "We've been able to different things in a game like this and the one thing I've liked about this team is that they've come to play every game. Some nights, it's not that easy."
Ediger's top three scorers once again led the way as Ediger finished with 14, Burns with 12 and Eva Koopman added 11. The Bluejays were 12-of-14 from the free throw line and forced Sublette in 27 turnovers.
Sublette, meanwhile, got 12 points from Briggs, including three 3-pointers, as scoring was tough without the senior Matteson.
All around, it was just a tough night for Marlin as his youthful Larks struggled to score.
They did, however, compete well on the boards, owning a 36-31 rebounding advantage. Randi Cooley and Erica Whaler had five boards each while MacKenzy Meis had five for Cimarron.
"It's one of those games where we just tried to work on basics," Sublette's Marlin said. "We wanted to defend the post, and in some instances we didn't do too bad of a job. Obviously, without Riley, we were down some, but Cimarron's just that much better, it really didn't matter."
Cimarron 19 17 14 4 -- 54
Sublette 3 5 14 1 -- 23
Cimarron (54) — Dupree 1-4 0-0 2, Burns 4-10 4-4 12, Meis 0-2 0-0 0, Blattner 0-3 0-0 0, Hoskinson 4-9 0-0 9, Waters 1-4 0-0 2, Ediger 5-10 3-3 14, E. Koopman 3-4 5-5 11, I. Koopman 1-2 0-0 2, K. Bailon 1-4 0-2 2. Totals 20-52 12-14 54.
Sublette (23) — Watson 1-6 1-2 3, Briggs 4-17 1-1 12, Ornelas 2-7 2-2 6, Koehn 0-5 0-0 0, Cooley 1-4 0-0 2, Whaler 0-0 0-2 0, Gonzalez 0-1 0-0 0, Reg. Matteson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 8-41 4-7 23.
3-point goals--Cimarron 2-12 (Dupree 0-2, Burns 0-2, Blattner 0-2, Hoskinson 1-1, Ediger 1-5), Sublette 3-15 (Watson 0-2, Briggs 3-13). Rebounds--Cimarron 31 (Meis 5), Sublette 36 (Cooley 5, Whaler 5). Turnovers--Cimarron 11, Sublette 27. Fouls--Cimarron 12, Sublette 11. Fouled out--none.