By Brandon Walker
WEST YELLOWSTONE – Senior Mikey Botha scored a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds of Lone Peak’s Feb. 3 varsity boys basketball matchup with the Big Horns’ rival, West Yellowstone Wolverines, on the road to lift LPHS to a 53-52 victory.
“They were elated, it was just what we needed this close to districts,” said LPHS Head Coach John Hannahs.
With the win, the Big Horns snapped a streak of three consecutive losses, having fallen to Manhattan Christian on Jan. 28, 67-21, Gardiner on Jan. 30, 58-44, and Shields Valley the evening prior by a final score of 80-48.
“We went into the game with the mindset of taking one possession at a time. It is always exciting playing West at their place and we knew that it was going to be an intense matchup,” Hannahs said. “We just tried to focus on what we could control.”
According to Hannahs, West Yellowstone began the game with six players but was left to play the final 50 seconds of the fourth quarter with only four athletes on the court when a second Wolverine had to leave the game after picking up a fifth personal foul. Botha, who finished with 10 points and two steals, was able to find space at the end and make the winning jump shot.
Lone Peak won both the first and second quarters, 15-11 and 13-11 respectively to take a six-point lead into halftime. The Wolverines made a push in the second half however, winning both the third and fourth quarters—16-14 and 14-11—in the tightly contested matchup, but came up just short as a result of Botha’s late game heroics.
The Big Horns aided their performance with a strong, 75 percent showing at the foul line as a team, which edged out the Wolverines nearly 54 percent mark from the stripe.
“We do continue to improve which is encouraging to see,” Hannahs said. “We are focused on playing our game for the rest of the season and using all the spare time to prepare for the district tournament.”
Senior Michael Romney scored a game-high 19 points and handed out five assists for LPHS. He was aided by senior Jackson Lang’s 12 point, five rebound contribution, Botha’s 10 points and fellow senior Nolan Schumacher, who entered the game fresh off a 21-point outing versus the Rebels, to post another six points and five rebounds against the Wolverines.
West was led offensively by Taylor Hales’ 15 point effort. Josh Everest added 11 points and Jonathan Resindez and Mason Burden each chipped in nine points for the Wolverines.
Lone Peak improved their season record to 3-6 with the victory and picked up their second win away from the Bough-Dolan Athletic Center.