By Brandon Walker
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School varsity boys basketball team fell to the Harrison-Willow Creek Wildcats on Jan. 3, 52-39. LPHS could not overcome the solid play from junior Wildcat big man Luke Cima, who ended with a game-high 16 points and 9 rebounds.
The Big Horns got off to a strong start, leading 8-7 after the first quarter, but the Wildcats countered by scoring the first 7 points to open the second—gaining a lead they would never relinquish early in the quarter. Just before halftime, LPHS kept it close as seniors Frankie Starz and Austin Samuels connected, just as they did this past fall on the gridiron, with Starz dishing to Samuels for a 3-pointer to make the score, 20-15 in favor of Harrison-Willow Creek.
Samuels was encouraged by the offensive opportunities the team was creating throughout the contest. “We really just played a little bit outside of the offensive sets, just trying to get shots for ourselves [and] trying to get shots for each other, and really just playing the game of basketball in the flow,” he said.
Starz led LPHS with 13 points and added a couple of assists, while Samuels contributed 8 points, 3 rebounds, and an assist of his own.
A sluggish third quarter for Lone Peak allowed Harrison-Willow Creek to extend their lead before the final quarter of play. Both teams put on an impressive offensive display in the fourth quarter, with baskets coming in a variety of ways, but Lone Peak wasn’t able to close the gap as both teams finished the quarter with 16 points apiece.
LPHS head coach John Hannahs applauded his team’s defensive effort against the physically larger Wildcats. He was also impressed with his team’s play from the starters to the reserve players.
“I think everyone stepped up a little bit. We created more shots for ourselves this game. We haven’t really done that in the last few games. Our offensive set lends itself well to kids creating shots and we have been kind of picky with our shots and not shooting a lot in the last couple of games; not getting enough shots up in my opinion,” Hannahs said. ”I think we did that tonight, we gave ourselves a chance. A few of them fell and I was proud of how we stuck with them.”
Lone Peak juniors Michael Romney and Nolan Schumacher were also key contributors in the contest for LPHS. Romney ended his night with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist, while Schumacher added 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals of his own.
“They kind of forced us out of our regular offensive looks, but we were still able to run the framework of it and create shots for ourselves, and so that’s what I was pleased with,” Hannahs said. The Big Horns dropped to 0-4 on the season with the loss.
Box Score Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Lone Peak 8 7 8 16 39
Harrison-Willow Creek 7 13 16 16 52
Lone Peak: Frankie Starz 13, Austin Samuels 8, Michael Romney 6, Nolan Schumacher 6, Isaac Gilmore 4, Tony Brester 2
Harrison-Willow Creek: Luke Cima 16, Kyle Homner 10, Vern Homner 9, Jackson Nye 7, Sage Buus 4, Cristian Contreras 3, James Hernvall 2, Thomas Cromwell 1