GIRLS

By Maria Wyllie Explore Big Sky Staff Writer

BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School girls’ varsity basketball team has four games

left before the District Tournament, Feb. 19-22. Although they’re ranked No. 9 with a

regular season record of 3-9 (as of press time, Feb. 5), the team could claim the No. 7, 6

or even 5 seed if they win all their remaining games.

“It’s a long shot,” said Head Coach Cyle Kokot, “but it’s possible.”

There’s no doubt the team is capable of going on a four-game winning streak, but it will

be a challenge with leading scorer Dasha Bough absent for the first two games against

Manahattan Christian on Feb. 6 and White Sulphur on Feb. 8.

“We’re definitely going to have to have players step it up and shoot the ball,” Kokot said.

“We can’t just have one person doing it all – we need to move [the ball] around.”

Although the team is only eight deep, every player is strong, made evident by a

constantly changing starting lineup.

The Feb. 8 game against No. 7 seed White Sulphur (5-6) is a must win. If the Big Horns

lose, they’ll play the No. 8 or 9 seed, which puts them in a tough spot for Districts, Kokot

says.

Ending the regular season with three games at home should give the Big Horns an

advantage, but they must limit turnovers, move the ball on offense and stay confident.

“I’m excited to see what we do,” Kokot said. “We have a very young team, and we’ve

already exceeded expectations. But in our minds, we want to do something more.”

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BOYS
By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School Big Horns have been a depleted herd lately. It’s

reflected on the scoreboard as the varsity team experienced a three-game skid, with losses to

Harrison, Shields Valley and Gardiner.

“We’ve been playing a little shorthanded through the last few weeks,” said head coach Al

Malinowski. “The good news is it’s really helped us, because it’s given our less experienced

players some more varsity experience.”

A number of Big Horn starters returned for the contest against Gardiner on Jan. 31, and were

able to mount a 15-point comeback to tie the game before an eventual four-point loss.

“That game went down to the wire,” Malinowski said. “While it didn’t result in a win, it showed

a lot of confidence and maturity [from our guys].” The home crowd was out in force to cheer on

the Big Horns, and made an impact on the home team as they gave Big Sky basketball fans an

exciting show.

The Big Horns had a 5-7 record in the district at EBS press time on Feb. 5, and were tied for No.

6 with Harrison. They finish the season with three home games before the district tournament

that starts Feb. 19 at the MAC in Butte.

If they end up seeded sixth through 11th, they’ll have to win a one-game play-in to compete with

the final eight teams over the weekend tournament, which is double elimination. The Big Horns

have won their play-in games the last two seasons.

“With the way our guys are playing, I think we know we can compete with any of the teams

ahead of us,” Malinowski said. “We know that the difference between winning or losing is just

some corrections on a possession or two.”