By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
BIG SKY – With a record of 17-6 and court time at the Western Class C Divisional Tournament in Butte, the Lady Big Horns finished their most successful season in the programs’ history on Feb. 25.
Lone Peak was seeded No. 1 entering the 11C District Tournament at Manhattan Christian Feb. 16-18, and they got the job done after defeating Shields Valley 65-49 and clinching a 49-40 win over White Sulphur Springs in the championship game.
Lone Peak head coach Nubia Allen said her players were thrilled with the win, which marks the first time in the history of the program that the Lady Big Horns have taken home a District title. “They knew going into the [tournament] that they could do it—that it wasn’t just luck that they were the No. 1 seed, it was because of their efforts.”
Allen attributes Lone Peak’s strong postseason performance to hustle, execution and depth. “We don’t have the one player that’s going to do everything for us. We truly are a team. On any given night, anybody can score more than 15 points … I think that’s what makes us dangerous.”
The Lady Big Horns maintained their postseason winning streak when they played St. Regis on Feb. 23 at the Western C Divisional Tournament in Butte.
Although the lead changed four times Lone Peak held on for a 45-35 victory.
Allen said it was an aggressive game and the two teams were well matched. “They have quick guards just like us,” she said, adding that the Tigers focused plenty of defensive attention on junior post KP Hoffman. They held Hoffman, who scored 18 points against White Sulphur Spring the previous week, to six points.
Madison Hill, the leading scorer for St. Regis, put up nearly half of the Tigers’ points. She ended the night with 16.
Seniors Luisa Locker and Dasha Bough led Lone Peak’s scoring with 12 points each on a mix of 3-pointers, field goals and free throws.Coming off the St. Regis win, Lone Peak faced Twin Bridges, an undefeated rival from a neighboring conference.
Both offenses started off somewhat sluggishly and Twin Bridges, which beat Lone Peak twice during the regular season, led 8-7 at the close of the first quarter.
But the Falcons’ offense took off in the second quarter, led by an eight-point run from Kailee Oliverson, who scored 23 points on the night. Oliverson has come to be known as a scoring, rebounding and blocking phenomenon—and she’s 6-foot-3-inches tall.
By halftime, the Lady Big Horns were down by 10. Hoffman put forth a valiant effort in the third quarter, scoring 10 of Lone Peak’s 13 points during the quarter, but the deficit proved too great to overcome.
Locker and senior post Kuka Holder also played strong games for Lone Peak, scoring 12 and nine points, respectively.
“I was happy with the way the girls played,” Allen said. “Even though we were all upset that we lost, inside it felt like a win because we knew that we gave it our all.”
When Lone Peak entered their final game of the tournament, against Ennis on Feb. 25, they did so with considerable tournament fatigue.
“We struggled to get things together,” Allen said. “We were not the same team that played the night before. Ennis is a good team, but definitely a beatable team. But you have to come out ready to play, and unfortunately we didn’t.”
The Lady Big Horns struggled on both offense and defense. They scored just four points in both the first and third quarters, and two starters fouled out in the second half. Lone Peak ended the night with a total of 24 fouls to the Mustangs’ 15, sending their opponent to the free-throw line 29 times. Ennis won 45-33.
Reflecting on the season, Allen is proud of the girls’ performance: “There are a lot of schools that know Lone Peak [now],”Allen said. “They made history … I think they should be proud of what they have done.”