By Brandon Walker
BIG SKY – Three Lady Big Horns reached double figures on Senior Night Feb. 11 to help guide Lone Peak High School to a 46-41 victory over the visiting West Yellowstone Wolverines.
A 10-point effort by senior Ivy Hicks, combined with 12 points apiece from sophomore Maddie Cone and freshman Vera Grabow, propelled the home team to its fourth win of the year, while West Yellowstone’s Emmie Collins did her best to spoil the evening as she poured in a game-high 21 points on the road.
After a closely contested opening quarter that concluded with West leading by two points, it appeared that the Wolverines were poised to pull away from the Lady Big Horns in the second quarter.
West Yellowstone claimed what would be the largest lead of the game for either team at 18-10 before LPHS went on an 8-1 run to end the half, thanks to four free throws from Hicks, two from Grabow and an offensive rebound that Cone converted into a put-back bucket. That scoring run left Lone Peak trailing 19-18 at the half.
Overall, it was a grit-and-grind style of play through the first three quarters as the two teams combined for 51 points and LPHS grabbing a one-point entering the fourth, 26-25.
“The fact that we were right there with the lead put us in a good position,” said Lone Peak Head Coach Taylor Cummings. “I know we’ve been in that position in other games this year and … we just hadn’t been able to get over that hump.” Cummings added that she was happy that LPHS had the chance to once again close out a tightly contested game.
The game became more of an offensive affair in the final quarter of play, however. The Lady Big Horns nearly matched their offensive production from the first three quarters combined. They scored 20 points as a team in the fourth quarter alone, including eight from Grabow and six from junior Carly Wilson.
The Wolverines were nearly able to hold serve, scoring 16 fourth-quarter points as a team, thanks in part to seven from Collins and five from Ashlynn Roos in the final eight minutes.
Coming down to the wire, a pair of Wilson free throws gave LPHS a 44-38 advantage and it seemed the Lady Big Horns were poised to even the season series at one game apiece. But with more than 12 seconds remaining in the game, Collins knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a three-point Lone Peak lead and a one-possession game.
The Wolverines were forced to foul to stop the clock on the ensuing possession, sending Cone to the free-throw line for the Lady Big Horns with just over nine seconds to play. The sophomore calmly converted both attempts, making it a two-possession game and sealing the LPHS victory.
The charity stripe was key for Lone Peak throughout the game as they shot 70 percent as a team. Wilson, who finished with eight points, Hicks and Grabow all made four foul shots apiece and the Lady Big Horns shot a combined 14-of-20 from the line.
West Yellowstone shot 50 percent as a team from the foul line. Behind Collins’ game-high scoring effort, West received a strong showing from Roos who scored 10 points of her own.
The contest also doubled as Lone Peak’s final regular season contest and improved the team’s season record to 4-8.
The No. 7 seed Lady Big Horns will host the No. 10 seed Lima Bears this evening at 6 p.m. in a district tournament play-in game and the winner will travel to face the No. 2 seed Ennis Mustangs on Feb. 18.
“The first time we played [Lima] we had a lot of success,” Cummings said, “but I think it’s important to just keep focusing on the things that we did well against West and continuing to make those a priority.”