By Brandon Walker
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS – On the road for the second evening in a row on Feb. 7, the Lone Peak High School varsity boys’ basketball team captured their second victory of the season, defeating the White Sulphur Springs Hornets 56-48.
One night removed from losing by a 60-point margin to the Manhattan Christian Eagles, the Big Horns took their frustration out on the Hornets. LPHS bullied WSS in the paint, outscoring them by 20 points inside, 32-12, despite being outrebounded on the offensive glass.
“It is a sweet victory, especially for my seniors to go into White Sulphur Springs and get a win is something we have struggled with in recent years,” Big Horn head coach John Hannahs said of his team’s victory.
After trailing by a point at the half, 19-18, the Big Horns started gaining momentum, taking the lead midway through the third quarter. With the score 31-29 in favor of LPHS, the Big Horns went on a 10-3 run between the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth quarter, sparked by senior Frankie Starz who scored five of the 10 points during that stretch. Starz went on to finish with a game-high 23 points, adding three rebounds and three assists to his stellar performance.
Lone Peak led by as many as 12 points halfway through the final quarter of play, 45-33, but WSS battled back to within five with under 40 seconds to go, thanks to a pair of free-throws by Alex Novark. Hannahs was confident, even as the Hornets closed the gap in the latter stages of the game. “Not really, we were playing so well that I knew we were going to be able to answer. They came back because they made a couple contested shots, but the boys stayed composed and played smart,” he said. To cement his coaches optimism, Big Horn junior Michael Romney knocked down a pair of free-throws in the closing seconds to put the game out of reach, resulting in the final score, 56-48.
Lone Peak was efficient shooting the basketball, capitalizing on more than 37 percent of their field goal attempts and shooting better than 72 percent from the charity stripe as a team.
Romney had a solid outing, totaling 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. He was aided by senior Nick Brester, who finished with eight points and 10 rebounds for the Big Horns. Junior Nolan Schumacher handled the dirty work for LPHS, compiling 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals to help his team earn the win.
“It feels great, I like where the boys are at physically and mentally, I have been saying for weeks that we continue to grow and still have a lot to prove. I think that is beginning to show in our play,” Hannahs said.
Novark finished with a team-high 14 points for the Hornets and added six rebounds to his night. His brother Devon chipped in nine points and eight rebounds for White Sulphur Springs.
The victory halted a five-game losing streak for the Big Horns and improved their season record to 2-12. Lone Peak heads into the final week of the regular season with two games remaining on their schedule. First up is a much-anticipated Valentine’s Day trip to West Yellowstone for the Wolverines’ senior night on Feb. 14. LPHS will cap off their season by hosting Sheridan on Feb. 15 for senior night.
Box Score Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Lone Peak 10 8 20 18 56
White Sulphur Springs 9 10 12 17 48
Lone Peak: Frankie Starz 23, Michael Romney 14, Austin Samuels 8, Nick Brester 8, Mikey Botha 3
White Sulphur Springs: Alex Novark 14, Devon Novark 9, Shane Ogle 9, Sam Davis 6, Shaw Davis 5, Austin Collins 3, Knute Hereim 2