By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
BIG SKY – Kolya Bough sparked Lone Peak’s offense during their Jan. 27 home game by scoring the Big Horns’ first four points. The sophomore point guard made one layup and turned a steal into another one in the first few minutes of the Big Horns’ 65-49 win over Shields Valley.
By the close of the first quarter, the Big Horns led 17-11 and they held on to that lead for the remainder of the game, growing it to as much as 23 points in the second half.
Senior guard Eddie Starz scored 35 points on the night. “It’s always amazing with him,” Lone Peak head coach Al Malinowski said. “He’ll hit three or four layups, three of four jumpers, knock down a couple threes and hit 10 free throws—and you do the math and he comes out with 35 points.”
The Rebels had an ace of their own in Sage McKinn, a post who sank six shots from inside the 3-point line and one from beyond it. Toss in his three-for-four shooting from the foul line and the lanky freshman ended the night with 18 points. “He’ll be a tough one to stop in the future,” said Malinowski of Shields Valley’s leading scorer for the night.
Junior Jackson Wade and senior Bridger Babcock led the Big Horns on the boards with eight and seven rebounds from the paint, respectively. Lone Peak has been working on improving their rebounding stats by drawing more rebounds out of their guards.
“I always say the good rebounders are pessimists, they assume that the shot’s going to be a miss,” Malinowski said. “We’re going to be outsized and we’re not going to use that as an excuse. We’re going to continue working hard.”
Malinowski said he’s been impressed with Babcock’s performance this year, especially considering it’s his first year of high school basketball and he sustained a serious knee injury playing football during his junior year. “The fact that he can do what he’s doing now after going through that is pretty huge for us.”
On Jan. 28, the Big Horns lost to Gardiner on the road, 91-64. They played another road game Jan. 31 against the Manhattan Christian Eagles and lost to the No. 1-ranked team 60-19. The Big Horns are ranked third in the district heading into the last two weeks of regular season play.
Lone Peak will play two home games in a row starting with a Friday, Feb. 3 game against Twin Bridges, followed by a matchup against White Sulphur Springs on Saturday. On Friday, Feb. 10 they’ll play West Yellowstone at home, which will be the close of the Battle of 191 Food Drive and their last regular season game. All games start at 5:30 p.m.