By Maria Wyllie
Explore Big Sky Staff Writer

BIG SKY – Comprised of five freshmen and three juniors, the Lone Peak High School girls’ varsity basketball team is the youngest team in the district. This is the team’s first year playing a varsity schedule since the 2011/12 season, and they logged their first conference win against Sheridan on Saturday, Jan. 4, beating them 64-24.

Luisa Locker led the team with 15 points, while Bianca Godoy scored 13. Tehya Braun and Dasha Bough each had 11 points, and Bella Butler chipped in 7 points. Jenna McKillop finished with 4 points and Karlie Perry scored 3.

Despite the 40-point victory, head coach Cyle Kokot was even more pleased with the team’s performance in its loss to Shields Valley on Jan. 2 (44-61). Kokot said the score didn’t reflect how close the game was.

“We definitely shocked people,” he said.

With two minutes left in the third quarter the Big Horns were down by one, but Shields Valley took a 7-point lead into the fourth. Kokot said Shields Valley had greater depth and was able to substitute more frequently.

“We didn’t have that luxury,” Kokot said. “But we need to learn to go fast for four quarters, not just three.” Putting a complete game together is a major goal for the Big Horns moving forward, as well as limiting turnovers and becoming mentally stronger.

Confidence is a huge factor in competition, and Kokot says he knows they have the will to win. “They are truly sick of losing,” he said. The team has come a long way since last year, and their hard work has paid off with an overall record of 3-3 and a conference record of 1-3 (as of press time on Jan. 8).

“If we keep our heads up, we can beat any team in my opinion,” Kokot added.

Since the holiday break, the team has seen improvement, but has tough games coming up against Gardiner on Jan. 10 and Twin Bridges at home on Jan. 11. “We will learn a lot about where we are as a team after these two games,” Kokot said.

Visit the Ophir school website at ophirschooldistrict.org for up-to-date information on team schedules and scores.