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Big Horns split basketball games versus Wildcats

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Boys fall while girls claim commanding victory

By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – In an evening full of ups and downs, the two varsity Lone Peak High School basketball teams split the evening with the boys falling to the Harrison/Willow Creek Wildcats and the girls claiming a commanding victory.

The boys took the court first. The Wildcats earned an early lead they were able to maintain throughout the entire game. 

The Big Horns played a consistent game in the first half, scoring 10 points each quarter. The second quarter was marked by a momentum shift in favor of LPHS. The Big Horns were able to work their offense into scoring chances and turned some steals by junior guard Gus Hammond into fast break opportunities.

Junior Gus Hammond shoots a layup over a Wildcat defender. PHOTO BY GABRIELLE GASSER

The Big Horns closed the gap to within four points of the Wildcats near the end of the first half and trailed with Wildcats by just 10 points with a score of 30-20 going into halftime. 

LPHS unleashed a full-court press at the start of the second half meant to disrupt the Wildcats’ relentless offense. The Big Horns created more fast-break scoring opportunities and guards Hammond and junior Max Romney took lots of shots, putting up 13 points and 21 points respectively for the Big Horns throughout the game.

Although the Big Horns stepped up their outside shooting game, sinking a handful of 3-pointers in the third quarter, they began trailing farther behind the Wildcats, ending the third quarter down 14 points.

As the energy on the court lagged in the fourth quarter, both teams scored on their offensive possessions for three trips up and down the court keeping the gap consistent. 

The Big Horns fought hard until the buzzer, taking lots of shots in an attempt to close the gap, but were never quite able to catch up with the Wildcats ultimately losing by 15 points with a final score of 62-47.

“Overall I was happy with how hard we played and how we integrated our new pressure defense,” wrote Head Coach John Hannahs in an emailed statement. “I don’t think anyone is questioning our effort; unfortunately, when you have a couple extended lapses on defense and let the other guys go on a run it is hard to close a game out. If we eliminate that and take advantage of each possession we will be able to make those games closer.”

Following the boys’ defeat, the Lady Big Horns took the court and built an early lead. They snagged some first-quarter steals, converting them into fast break scores. The Big Horns boasted a bigger and more seasoned bench than the six-player Wildcat team, which included at least one eight grader, allowing them to run a full-court press from tipoff.   

Senior guard Carly Wilson made some key defensive plays during the Lady Big Horns’ press, causing turnovers by the Wildcats and runs by the Big Horns. The Big Horns ended the first quarter with a 21-2 lead over the Lady Wildcats.

The team communicated well and moved the ball swiftly on offense. The LPHS girls consistently worked their pass-focused offense, moving the ball around the perimeter until the Wildcats’ defense lagged leaving an opening for a 15-foot or 3-point shot.

Wilson and junior Kate King both demonstrated consistent shooting for the evening and sunk several 3-pointers.

“The Lady Big Horns spent 26 hours in the gym over the Christmas Break and the results were evident in the implementation of our ‘relentless passing attack,’” wrote Head Coach Loren Bough in an emailed statement. “Ball movement and spacing on the court allowed a number of open 3-point opportunities and our shooting percentage as a team has improved to 20 percent.”

The Lady Big Horns ended the first half with a substantial 40-10 lead.

The Lady Big Horns celebrate freshman Addy Malinowski’s 3-pointer. PHOTO BY GABRIELLE GASSER

LPHS took the court with high energy after the break, taking advantage of a lot of fast-break opportunities and continuing to work their lightning-quick offense with focused passing.

Freshman Addy Malinowski took advantage of the scoring opportunities created by the Big Horns’ offense and sunk two 3-pointers from the right corner.  

“The Harrison game was a great confidence building opportunity as eight of our nine players scored and all the players gained significant varsity experience,” Bough wrote.

The Lady Big Horns cinched their victory over the Lady Wildcats by 43 points with a final score of 66-23.

Next on the schedule, both varsity Big Horns teams hit the road and head to play the Ennis Mustangs on Thursday, Jan. 6.

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