BIG SKY – The Big Horn boys bested the Roberts Rockets in their first game of the season on Dec. 3, but the Rockets gave them a run for their money, coming within one point of Lone Peak a couple of times during the fourth quarter.
“The most important thing that we learned from that game is how much we matured as a team over last year,” said head coach Al Malinowski. “Our returners have a lot of experience from last year, and I think that showed in [the Dec. 3] game.”
Just four players are upperclassmen on Malinowski’s14-player roster. Seven are freshmen and three are sophomores.
Senior and team captain Eddie Starz led the team in scoring with 21 points despite fouling out early in the third quarter. Sophomore point guard Kolya Bough stepped up to the plate, scoring 13 of his 20 points in the second half of the Big Horns’ 66-63 win.
Despite being significantly outsized—the Rockets have one player who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and the Big Horns’ two tallest players are listed at 6 feet 3 inches—Malinowski said Lone Peak held their own on the boards.
The Big Horns grabbed an impressive number of steals, 20, which was somewhat overshadowed by an equally high turnover count of 19.
Malinowski said he’s proud of the team’s performance for their first game of the season. “I think we’re much improved over last year, but we’re also excited to see how much further we can improve by the time we get to the district tournament.”
The Big Horns will play Manhattan Christian at home Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.
Lady Big Horns cruise to 55-22 win over Billings Christian
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm during the first half, but the Lady Big Horns were able to shrug off their first-game jitters when they squared off against Billings Christian on Dec. 3.
“We were getting the shots up, but they just weren’t going in,” said Lone Peak head coach Nubia Allen. “I think everyone can agree that the second half was a lot stronger.”
At the end of the first quarter, the score was tied at six. By halftime, Lone Peak led 16-8.
“In the second half, Kuka Holder started getting hot,” Allen said, adding that the junior guard scored a game-high 13 points. “That really got us going.” Lone Peak scored 47 of its 55 points during the second half and tripled the Warriors’ score by the start of the fourth quarter.
There are three seniors—Luisa Locker, Dasha Bough and Bianca Godoy—on the team this year as well as two juniors, KP Hoffman and Holder.
Allen said the team would take a “practice like you play” approach in the coming weeks, working on game-like shooting drills and defensive adjustments before they play Manhattan Christian at home Dec. 17.at 5:30 p.m.