Story and photos by Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer
LPHS girls school Sheridan and Gardiner
BIG SKY – Sizable early leads during the Lady Big Horns’ last two home games allowed Lone Peak High School head coach Nubia Allen to give her junior varsity players plenty of minutes on the varsity floor.
Several freshmen and sophomore players stepped up to the plate with steals, assists and baskets from both inside and outside the 3-point arc.
On Jan. 29 versus Gardiner, the Lady Big Horns led 10-4 in the first quarter and poured it on in the second. By the time the halftime buzzer rang, they were up 23-5.
Sophomore guard Kuka Holder had a particularly strong night on both ends of the court. She held the Bruins’ strongest player, guard P.J. Thomas, to 9 points while scoring a game-high 16.
“Kuka’s quick enough to be a guard, but she’s taller than most of the guards, so she has an advantage,” Allen said.
LPHS also established momentum early on in their Jan. 23, 54-18 win over the Sheridan Panthers.
The Panthers are a small, young team – four eighth graders joined one sophomore, two juniors and a senior for this most recent game. When LPHS and Sheridan squared off in Sheridan on Dec. 4, two of five Panthers fouled out in the second half. The Lady Big Horns won that game 47-23 after spending much of the fourth quarter playing three-on-three basketball.
During their Jan. 23 matchup, Dasha Bough put up half of her game-high 20 points in the first quarter, making four 2-point shots and two free throws. At the end of the first quarter, the Lady Big Horns led 23-4.
Bough and the other starters played little of the second half, allowing the freshmen and sophomores a chance to shine. “All of [them] got to play almost the entire fourth quarter,” Allen said. “It was nice to see everyone playing.” Nine of 12 players put points on the board during the contest.
Freshman guard Kodi Boersma sank the first shot of the fourth quarter and followed it with a 3-pointer. “She’s a consistent player,” Allen said. “She’s always pushing herself [and] she’s not afraid to shoot, which is great.”
Another freshman, center Solae Swenson, scored two 15-foot jump shots in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the Lady Big Horns were on point, grabbing 16 steals. Sheridan capitalized on the few free-throw opportunities they had, going six-for-eight from the line. All five of their fourth quarter points were scored with free throws.
The next home game for the 11-3 Lady Big Horns is Saturday, Feb. 6 against White Sulphur Springs, the sixth-ranked team in the district. It will be the first time LPHS facesthe Hornets this season.
Big Horns fall to Bruins, set records in win over Panthers
If the shots had fallen just a little better, Lone Peak High School’s Jan. 30 game against Gardiner could have been theirs. Although it was within reach several times during the night, the Big Horns couldn’t quite secure the lead in their 56-47 loss to the Bruins.
“We just didn’t knock the shots down,” said LPHS head coach Al Malinowski. “Normally we shoot in the 40 to 50 percent range for two-pointers, and in that game we were at about 39 percent.”
The Bruins’ star player, post player Jerry Hurst, scored 23 points, mostly inside the paint.
“We need to continue working on our post defense so we don’t allow a bigger player to get the ball [that] close to the basket,” Malinowski said.
Although they didn’t win, Malinowski was encouraged by the Big Horns’ effort and their rebounding in particular – they grabbed 11 offensive boards.
“While [Gardiner is] young, they’re still a pretty long team and a pretty athletic team,” Malinowski said. “I was proud of the way we were able to do a better job rebounding than we have in past games.”
Junior guard Eddie Starz went 9 of 10 from the free-throw line and scored 27 points, enough to tie him with alumnus Trevor House for most career points scored in LPHS history. He also broke his own record from last year for most points scored in a season, and had 304 when EBS went to press on Feb. 3.
The Big Horns set two scoring records against Sheridan during their Jan. 23 matchup at home. Starz scored 39 points – a record for most individual points – and the team put up 87 points, surpassing the previous record of 84 set last season.
Although Starz’ feat was impressive there were notable contributions team-wide, as eight of nine Big Horns scored. Kolya Bough and senior guard Hugo Boman set personal career records with eight and 10 points, respectively.
“[Bough’s] scoring is improving because he’s starting to find a few more shots,” Malinowski said. “He hit the 3-pointer which put a stamp on our first half.” The score at halftime was 42-19 Big Horns.
LPHS kept the Panthers’star shooter, junior guard Tristan Horn, scoreless in the first quarter, but he came back with a vengeance with nine points in the second quarter, 12 in the third, and 17 points in the fourth.
When the dust settled, Horn had scored 40 of the Panthers’ 54 points. “When he saw an opening, he took it, and he didn’t miss very many of them,” Malinowski said. “We need to do a better job as an overall team to work together to stop one player from scoring on us like that.”
Starz had seven steals, and he converted many of them into points on the other end of the floor.
“Ever since we played Twin [Bridges], our focus has been on trying to get more points from our defense, and we’re starting to see benefits from that,” Malinowski said. “What I like about our team is we’ve seen steady improvement and it feels like we keep building on our improvements.”
The ninth-ranked Big Horns will face off against fourth-ranked White Sulphur Springs at home on Saturday, Feb. 6.