Big Horns set pace in 84-60 win over Panthers
By Amanda Eggert EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – Eddie Starz broke another school scoring record during a Jan. 14 game against Sheridan and the Big Horns came within three points of their highest-scoring game of all time.
Four-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter, Starz sank a 3-pointer and became the first Big Horn to score 1,000 career points. When the final buzzer sounded, Starz had scored 30 points on the night. Last year, Starz set records for most points in a season (434), most free-throw points in a season (85), and most points in a game (39).
Despite near-heroic efforts by senior Panther Tristen Horn, who scored four 3-pointers to push him to 38 points, the Big Horns maintained the lead throughout their 84-60 win at home.
Lone Peak came within three points of their 87-point record for its highest-scoring game, set Jan. 23, 2016, against the Panthers. LPHS Head Coach Al Malinowski said an improvement in their free-throw shooting could have tipped them over their previous record. The Big Horns went 7-for-17 from the foul line.
“We’ve got things we can work on, but I really like the way we’re playing stronger as a team,” Malinowski said. “We’re scoring points because we’re sharing the basketball and getting it to the open person.”
Freshman guard Austin Samuels sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer, closing the half with the Big Horns still comfortably in the lead, 37-22. “[Samuels} continues to show the coaching staff why he deserves to be out there in those varsity games,” Malinowski said. “He goes out and plays hard and he’s never afraid of the moment.”
Junior post Jackson Wade and sophomore point guard Kolya Bough both played strong second halves, with Wade scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second half and Bough earning all 13 of his points in the third and fourth quarters.
Bough earned the first double-double of his career during that game, netting 13 points and 10 assists. “He really sees everything that’s going on,” Malinowski said of Bough’s court vision. “He had a good balance of finding the open man but also [scoring] … He’s a tough guy to cover one-on-one, and once he beats his defender he’s able to find the open guy.”
After winning a road game against Harrison/Willow Creek 61-59 on Jan.17, The Big Horns’ record stands 6-3 overall and 2-2 in district play.
“I like the direction we’re headed and we’ve got another [nine] games to continue improving so we’re ready for districts,” Malinowski said.
The Big Horns will play at home at 5:30 p.m. for three consecutive Fridays. They’ll take on Ennis on Jan. 20, Shields Valley on Jan. 27, and Twin Bridges on Feb. 3.
Lady Big Horns post 7-2 record in first half of season
By Amanda Eggert EBS Associate Editor
BIG SKY – After winning three games in a row by large margins, the Lady Big Horn basketball team is looking strong heading into the second half of its season.
Lone Peak crushed West Yellowstone 50-5 on Jan. 13, handily defeated Sheridan 57-13 on Jan. 14, and scored another decisive win on Jan. 17 when they beat Harrison 51-25.LPHS Head Coach Nubia Allen said these recent wins have allowed her to develop more depth in her nine-player roster.
“It’s one of the advantages of having a small team … everyone gets to play more and they [get] more experience,” Allen said of the Big Horns’ home game against the Sheridan Panthers on Jan. 14. “Everyone played and everyone scored.”
Leading the Panthers by such comfortable margins—by the end of the first quarter, the score stood 18-0 in Lone Peak’s favor—allowed Allen to give plenty of court time to her less experienced players.
Sheridan also gave the Lady Big Horns ample opportunity to practice their free-throw shooting: The Panthers racked up a total of 22 fouls, giving up 29 free throws to Lone Peak. They made 17, or 59 percent, of their free-throw attempts.
Senior guard Dasha Bough led in scoring, earning 15 points and going five-for-five from the foul line.
But each Lady Big Horn contributed to the win, including the team’s younger players. Freshman Emma Flach scored two points and sophomores Solae Swenson and Kodi Boersma scored nine and six points, respectively. Allen played Flach for much of the game to give the budding point guard more experience.
Allen said she’s seeing improvement on two aspects of the game the team has been focusing on—staying between their opponents and the basket on defense, and hustling down the court for defense-to-offense transitions. “We wanted to focus on our transition game, and I think we did a better job pushing the ball up the floor,” Allen said.
As of Jan. 16, the Lady Big Horns are ranked third in the district with a 3-1 conference record and a 7-2 record overall. Allen said both of Lone Peak’s losses, to Shield’s Valley on Dec. 20 and to Twin Bridges on Jan. 6, were competitive games.
The Lady Big Horns will play at home for three consecutive Fridays. They’ll take on Ennis on Jan. 20, Shields Valley on Jan. 27, and Twin Bridges on Feb. 3. Game times are scheduled for 7 p.m., or after the boys wrap up.