By Doug Hare EBS SPORTS EDITOR
The basketball season came to a close for the Big Horns varsity basketball teams in the district tournament held Feb. 14-16. The Lady Big Horns (6-12 in the regular season) were ranked fifth in District 11C and finished fourth place in districts after Brooke Botha, Solae Swenson, Emma Flach, Ivy Hicks and Sara Wilson led the charge garnering two wins in the end-of-season, double elimination tournament. Coach Ausha Cole singled out Sara Wilson for an amazing defensive performance as well.
The Big Horns boys team lost their first postseason matchup in a close matchup against Shields Valley, even with Cole March putting up a Steph Curry-like performance with 5 three-pointers. Athletic Director John Hannahs noted that Shields Valley strategy to double team Kolya Bough made it tough for the Big Horns to get their regular offense going.
Despite strong offensive play by Cole March, Kolya Bough, Frankie Starz, Kegan Babick, Nick Brester and Nolan Schumacher in their next game against West Yellowstone, the Big Horns came up short in a hard fought, high-scoring game against their longtime rivals.
On Monday, Feb. 25, the Ophir Lady Miners completed an epic season—defeating Monforton Middle School (which has over 600 students) 32-20 to win their end-of-season tournament and finish a perfect 27-0, all in under a 50-day period. No easy task.
Jessica Bough led the offense that weekend, putting up thirty points in three games. In the championship game, outstanding defensive performances by Vera Grabow (14 rebounds) and Maddie Cone (6 steals) as well as Maddie Cone’s 7-8 shooting from the free throw line helped the Lady Miners close out their undefeated season in style.
“There was a lot that went into our success this year. First, the girls made a commitment together to improve ever since the end of last season. And then they put the work in,” Kirsten King, mother of Kate King, said. “Loren’s coaching was outstanding too.”
King noted that the starters this year–Jessica Bough, Maddie Cone, Vera Grabow, Katrina Lang and Kate King–were instrumental to their undefeated season.
“Early on in the season, these girls were able to get out to big leads early on. That allowed Coach Bough to get some of the more inexperienced players playing time and invaluable experience on the court,” King said. “It was amazing how all the girls supported each other throughout the season, and their teamwork just seemed to get better throughout the season.”
Athletic Director John Hannahs was also impressed with the Lady Miners unblemished record this year as well. “We are so proud of the team for their perfect season and for the hard work they have put in,” Hannahs said. “Hopefully their success will rub off on other programs and we will look forward to watching these girls continue to excel in the coming years.”