Boys fall to Eagles

By Amanda Eggert EBS Associate Editor

BIG SKY– The Manhattan Christian Eagles brought a crowd with them when they played Lone Peak on Dec. 17, and they played impressive games against both the Big Horns and Lady Big Horns.

The gym was filled to near capacity when the boys stepped on the court at 7 p.m. for their first conference matchup of the season. Lone Peak started off on a high note when senior guard Eddie Starz tipped the ball to junior Jackson Wade, who made a layup in the first shot of the game.

But in short order the Eagles turned on the scoring heat—and kept it up for the next three quarters. Two minutes into the game, the Eagles went on a nine-point scoring streak in the course of one minute. By the close of the first quarter, the score stood 26-9 in Manhattan Christian’s favor.

“We got down early and we had a hard time recovering,” said Lone Peak head coach Al Malinowski. “We played mostly zone [defense] that game trying to handle their bigger players on the inside and the outside shooters got pretty hot knocking down 3-pointers.”

Manhattan Christian is an experienced team with impressive scoring capability and heaps of defensive hustle for such a big team; the height for the Eagles’ starting lineup averages 6 feet, 4 inches compared to the Big Horns’ 5 feet, 11 inches.

By the close of the fourth quarter, the Eagles sank 12 total 3-pointers on the way to an 86-43 win. Five Eagles reached double digits in scoring, while Eddie Starz led Lone Peak with more than half of his 20 points scored in the fourth quarter.

“We battled and we found areas where we found some success, but we have to find more consistency against a bigger and deeper team,” Malinowski said. “We’ll look forward to playing them [again] in a couple weeks.”

The Big Horns’ record is 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play following their 54-45 road win against Shields Valley on Dec. 20

The Lady Big Horns celebrated a different outcome against the Eagles on Dec. 17: a first-ever win against their rivals to the north. “It was a great win for the program,” said head coach Nubia Allen. “They outplayed the other team and I was extremely proud of their effort.”

Lone Peak won 52-29, which sounds like a comfortable margin, but the game felt much closer due to the Eagles’ tough defense. They demonstrated dogged persistence with their full court press, which resulted in a handful of Lone Peak turnovers.

“They pressed us the whole game—that’s what they do,” Allen said. “They’re definitely a good team [and] the score really doesn’t show how close that game was. It was a battle.”

Manhattan Christian’s shots weren’t falling. Junior Alex Veltkamp led the Eagles in scoring with eight points. Junior forward KP Hoffman led Lone Peak with 15 points, followed by senior point guard Luisa Locker with 14, and senior guard Dasha Bough with 11.

The girls’ record stands 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play after losing 71-67 at Shields Valley on Dec. 20.

The next home games are Thursday, Jan. 5, against Gardiner. The Lady Big Horns play at 5:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 7 p.m.