Freshman-sophomore duo combines for 37 points in boys’ milestone win
By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER
The Big Horn boys basketball team is off to a hot start.
Entering regular season competition on Friday, Dec. 2, head coach Al Malinowski was hopeful that the Lone Peak High School boys could play on par with Bridger High School, a recent state contender. The Big Horns foresaw a winnable game against Absarokee High School, but little was known of these two non-conference opponents. Ahead of Tuesday’s home and conference-opener against Twin Bridges, the Big Horns saw a team they’d never beaten.
On Friday night, the Big Horns began their season with a win over Bridger by a wide margin of 57-23. Senior captains Gus Hammond and Max Romney each dropped 15 points, and freshman Ebe Grabow added 12 in his high school debut.
“We played well on defense and on our fast break,” Malinowski said. “They were bigger [than us], and will be a good team once they gel, but we were already connecting.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Big Horns scored 79 points, nearly doubling Absarokee’s 40. Romney scored 24 and Hammond 19, with most of the remaining buckets scored by five more contributors: Grabow, junior Juliusz Shipman, sophomore Isaac Bedway, senior Colter Marino, and senior Ben Saad.
The Big Horns furthered their balanced approach on offense on Tuesday night against the Twin Bridges Falcons in front of a home crowd.
Grabow made his first high school start and didn’t waste a second. He began the game with a defensive takeaway and scored a layup. He scored the first seven points of the game on his way to a team-leading 20-point effort, one of four players in the double digits.
“It speaks to the unselfish approach on offense,” Malinowski said in a phone call with EBS. He said Grabow’s performance gave the Big Horns a spark.
The Big Horns advanced to 3-0 on the season after taking down Twin Bridges, 74-41. Last year, the Lone Peak boys won three games total.
“The boys have worked pretty hard to get where we are, and we’ve had some success,” Malinowski said. “To be honest, that’s the first time our boys program has ever beaten Twin Bridges. Pretty big milestone for us and I think the boys are proud of the effort.”
He added that with their talent and size, Twin Bridges will likely improve once they start to click. But on Tuesday, Lone Peak took control early and set the tempo of the game with their aggressive brand of fast, full-court basketball.
Sophomore Isaac Bedway hit a few three pointers on his way to a 17-point showing.
On defense, coach Malinowski sees room for growth. The Big Horns primarily run a man-to-man scheme and there have been moments over the first few games when the team loses their unity and look more like five individual players than a cohesive defense.
“We need to be aware of the entire court defensively,” Malinowski said. “At times we’re solid, and at times that breaks down.”
Even with their 3-0 start, the Big Horns are not playing at full strength. A few players were ineligible to play due to missed practices over Thanksgiving week—per league requirements. When the Big Horns play on Tuesday, Dec. 13, they’ll have a full roster which Malinowski said is an opportunity to further improve the team’s already strong depth.
“I’m impressed by how this team has gelled together, the way we’re playing so unselfishly,” Malinowski said about the 3-0 start. “It seems to me that they’re having fun in the process. There’s a lot of energy within the team and it’s fun to see as a coach.”
They’ll face Harrison High School on Tuesday, a team coming off a top-four finish in the divisional tournament last year.
The next Big Horns basketball home game for both boys and girls will be Dec. 17 against White Sulphur Springs.
Girls fall to a physical, highly ranked Falcons team
Despite jumping ahead 10-8 in the first quarter, the Big Horns lost control of the boards and dropped their season opener to Twin Bridges, 61-27 on Tuesday night. The Falcons are expected to be one of the top girls teams in Class C.
“[The Big Horns] accomplished our goal of playing fast but only stayed competitive with our opponent for the first half of the game,” head coach Loren Bough wrote to EBS. “The girls were out-rebounded over the course of the rest of the game and gave up too many easy putbacks.”
Due to Harrison High School’s inability to field a girls team, the Big Horns will not play again until Dec. 17, hosting White Sulphur Springs.
Coach Bough said Tuesday’s loss to the Falcons was not the result they hoped to achieve, but they will look to improve against White Sulphur Springs.
Both coach Bough and coach Malinowski expressed their support for the Lone Peak Thespians’ production of Elf, which shows at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center this weekend. The girls team has six performers, and the boys team has seven. Both teams accommodated the show in their schedules.