By Gabrielle Gasser Associate Editor
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School Big Horns played two tough evenings of basketball on Jan. 27 and 28 losing games against the Manhattan Christian High School Eagles on the road and to the Gardiner High School Bruins on the Big Horns’ home court.
The Eagles, ranked first in the state at the time of their matchup with the Big Horns, won 67-22. The Lady Eagles also handily beat the Lady Big Horns 66-26.
On Jan. 28 in the Bough Dolan Athletic Center, the Lady Big Horns built an early lead outscoring the Lady Bruins 12-8 in the first quarter. Junior Maddie Cone contributed eight of those points and overall led the Lady Big Horns scoring with 12 points for the evening.
The home team held steady in the second quarter tying with the Lady Bruins at 11 points for the quarter and finishing the first half with a narrow four-point lead 23-19.
The Lady Bruins pulled ahead of the Lady Big Horns in the third quarter outscoring them by 10 points to take the lead. As the game continued, the Lady Big Horns’ energy level waned while their opponents stayed fresh with the support of a deeper bench.
The Lady Bruins were able to break the Lady Big Horns’ press and convert those opportunities into easy baskets throughout the second half. The Lady Bruins’ low free throw percentage at 18.8 percent for the evening kept the game close versus the Lady Big Horns’ 38 percent free throw rate.
The Lady Bruins outscored the Lady Big Horns by 17 points in the fourth quarter securing their victory with a final score of 59-50.
“Good effort by the Lady Big Horns as we met two goals: make 50 points and eight 3-pointers,” wrote Head Coach Loren Bough in an email to EBS. “Defensive lapses in the third quarter and missed close out opportunities close to the basket prevented a victory.”
The Lady Big Horns now have a 5-9 overall record for the season.
The varsity boys team took the court against the Bruins following the girls in a tight game that went into overtime and concluded in a wrenching five-point loss for the Big Horns.
The Bruins built an early lead against the Big Horns with consistent scoring. Junior Gus Hammond led the Big Horns in scoring with 16 points total for the evening followed by Junior Max Romney who ended the evening with 14 points.
The Bruins led the Big Horns 18-29 at halftime.
The Big Horns closed the gap in the third quarter though the Bruins maintained their lead. In a fight to close the gap, Lone Peak played an aggressive full-court press and the pace of play became frantic.
Sophomore Juliusz Shipman came off the Big Horns’ bench and contributed eight points for the evening sinking a 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw a big momentum shift in favor of the Big Horns. Shipman and Hammond hit a 3-pointer apiece which bolstered the team and drew deafening cheers from the audience.
With 4:42 minutes left on the clock, the Big Horns trailed by just one point 37-36.
As the seconds ticked away, Lone Peak fouled Gardiner twice, leading to free throw opportunities which Gardiner failed to convert to points. Both teams began fouling with less than 20 seconds on the clock and in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Shipman rebounded and sank a layup to tie the score at 42.
The four-minute overtime quarter featured ferocious play with both teams committing fouls. With less than a minute left, the Bruins led 52-49 and after Big Horn fouls, the Bruins made some key free throws to widen their lead.
The final score favored the Bruins 54-49.
“Friday was a much more thrilling game against Gardiner where the boys suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Bruins in overtime,” Head Coach John Hannahs wrote in the weekly Activities Report. “Juliusz Shipman’s last second layup sent the game into OT, but the Bruins free throw shooting got them the win in the last two minutes.”
The Big Horns now have a 3-11 overall record for the season.
Tomorrow, Feb. 3, only the boys travel to Shields Valley to play the Rebels. On Friday, Feb. 4, both varsity teams will play the Townsend Bulldogs on the Big Horns’ home court.