By Brandon Walker
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School varsity girls’ basketball team took the court for the first time this season on Jan. 16, hosting the Twin Bridges Falcons at the Bough-Dolan Athletic Center. Sophomore Maddie Cone poured in 12 points for the Lady Big Horns, but it wasn’t enough to stave off the Falcons, and LPHS fell 55-29 in their first game of the year.
After a series of postponements due to COVID-19 precautions that also halted practices, Lone Peak Head Coach Taylor Cummings was proud of her team’s effort in their first matchup of the season. “The biggest thing I wanted for them to understand was [that] the score didn’t matter,” said Cummings, who is in her first year as coach. “It was what they learned and where we go from here going forward, because we had a lot of things going against us.”
Lone Peak put its first points of 2021 on the board when sophomore Jessie Bough stole the ball from a Falcon player in transition and promptly converted a right handed lay-up to even the score 2-2 early in the opening quarter. The Falcons then rattled off 10 consecutive points before Bough buried a 3-pointer off an assist from senior Ivy Hicks. A lay-up from LPHS freshman Astrid McGuire followed Bough’s trey and capped the first-quarter scoring with Lone Peak trailing 12-7.
Cone did her best to keep things close before the half, scoring all five of Lone Peak’s points in the second quarter. Ultimately, the Falcons outscored the Lady Big Horns 14-5 and extended their lead to 14 points by halftime, 26-12.
The Falcons opened the third quarter on a 7-0 scoring run before Hicks found herself trapped by the Twin Bridges full-court defense. She found Cone open at midcourt and the sophomore quickly streaked past the defenders on her way to the hoop before laying the ball in, bringing the score to 33-14 in favor of the visitors.
Cone returned the favor later in the quarter when LPHS patiently passed the ball around in search of a lapse in the Falcons defense. Hicks toed the 3-point arc, received a pass from Cone and knocked down her first shot of the night. After three quarters, Twin Bridges held a 38-17 lead over the Lady Big Horns.
LPHS faced its largest deficit of the game when the Falcons pulled ahead 48-20 in the final quarter, but the Lady Big Horns showed resilience and continued to fight. Following a Cone free throw and two more Twin Bridges buckets, Lone Peak proceeded to string together an 8-0 run.
Cone kicked things off by penetrating the Falcon defense, stepping past her defender in the lane and laying the ball in. Bough was able to finish through contact for another two points and later came up with a steal before dishing to Hicks who finished with a lay-up for two more. Cone added a pair of free throws to cap Lone Peak’s scoring on the evening.
“That’s the thing I wanted them to take away from the game was their potential because they do have great chemistry,” Cummings said. “We have such a well-rounded team and we have so many key components that you need to have a good basketball team.”
Following up Cone’s 12-point effort for the Lady Big Horns, Hicks finished with eight points and Bough added another seven. McGuire’s layup rounded out the scoring for LPHS.
Cummings said the Lady Big Horns have bonded well as a team and in their first game, it was her squad’s chemistry that she pointed to as their greatest strength.
Callie Kaiser led Twin Bridges with a game-high 13 points. The Falcons also received a strong contribution from Emma Konen, who provided 10 points on the road and helped bump Lone Peak to an 0-1 start for the year.