By Brandon Walker
BIG SKY – West Yellowstone received a game-high 17 points from Blake Loomis and another 15 points from Taylor Hales to spark a 51-27 victory over the Lone Peak Big Horns on Feb. 11 at the Bough-Dolan Athletic Center on Senior Night.
“We really stepped up and had some of the best defensive play we’ve had all year,” said Lone Peak Head Coach John Hannahs. “The problem was the offensive side. We couldn’t produce enough offense to offset allowing them fewer points than in the past.”
The game was a tale of two halves. In the first half it was anyone’s contest to win. Freshman Juliusz Shipman scored seven first-quarter points to help the Big Horns claim a 9-8 lead entering the second.
In the second quarter of play, following a 3-pointer by senior Jackson Lang off an assist by junior Tony Brester, Lone Peak held their largest lead of the game at 15-8. But the Wolverines stormed back, rattling off nine unanswered points to go ahead by two. The teams entered the locker room with West leading Lone Peak 17-16.
In the second half, West Yellowstone found their stride. Outscored LPHS 34-11 in the final two quarters of play, the Wolverines used a 23-0 scoring run between parts of the third and fourth quarters to seize a lead they would not relinquish.
The Big Horns continued to fight until the final buzzer. Trailing 49-20, Lone Peak ended the game on a 7-2 scoring run thanks to buckets from Shipman, sophomore Pierce Farr and another 3-point field goal from Lang.
“They play their hearts out every single game and they want to win,” Hannahs said. “They want to do well and I always tell them, ‘Win or lose just give yourselves a performance that you can be proud of,’ and they’ve done that and more.”
Shipman led the Big Horns offensively, scoring a team-high 12 points. Senior Nolan Schumacher added seven points and Lang finished with six for LPHS. Mason Burden chipped in six points for the Wolverines to supplement the scoring of both Loomis and Hales.
With the win, the Wolverines’ evened the season series between the teams at one game apiece. Lone Peak closed out the regular season with a 4-9 record. Their season concluded when they traveled to face the Gardiner Bruins in a play-in game for the district tournament on Feb. 16 and were defeated.