Lady Big Horns defeat Lady Wolverines
By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR
BIG SKY – Lone Peak High School honored five seniors on the evening of Friday, Feb. 11 in the Bough Dolan Athletic Center as part of their Senior Night matchup against the Sheridan Panthers. Tony Brester, Carly Wilson, John Chadwell, Valerio Diotallevi and Kassidy Boersma lined up across their home court surrounded by their families to celebrate their final home basketball game at LPHS.
LPHS Athletic Director John Hannahs offered praise for each senior and commemorated their careers on and off the basketball court. “Valerio has given so much to this program in his short time and as a coach it has been my genuine pleasure to have him on my team,” Hannahs said.
Nicknamed “The Italian Stallion” by his peers, Valerio Diotallevi came to Big Sky as an exchange student from Rome, Italy. “I met a lot of new people and a lot of new friends,” Diotallevi said. “I think I will miss playing with these guys. It’s like a second family.”
Born and raised in Big Sky, Kassidy Boersma became the team manager after a knee injury prevented her from continuing her career as a player.
“Kassidy has been an invaluable asset and a dream manager for the Big Horns and her dedication as well as sideline observations in the game have been a tremendous help to the team,” Hannahs said.
John Chadwell moved to Big Sky four years ago and quickly found camaraderie among his Big Horn teammates. Though he was injured his entire sophomore year, Chadwell stayed involved with the team.
“I’m super grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here over the past four years being able to be a part of such a great program and all the camaraderie … and the coaches, coach Hannahs and coach Magistrelli,” Chadwell said before the game.
Hannahs said the team will miss Chadwell and quipped that he hopes Chadwell remembers his teammates when he is running the country someday.
“As John’s coach I can’t say enough about this young man’s leadership, dedication and work ethic,” Hannahs said.
Carly Wilson grew up in Big Sky and looks back fondly on all the wonderful experiences she has had as a part of Big Sky School District. Her teammate, junior Maddie Cone, took over the microphone to say a few words about Wilson.
“Nobody has more heart or plays with more passion than Carly Wilson,” Cone said. “Her competitive personality is on full display, quite literally leaving it all out there on the court. Although she may be listed generously at five feet tall, she has played a giant role in the success of this team.”
Tony Brester has been playing basketball at Ophir and LPHS since elementary school and says that the sport of basketball will stick with him through the rest of his life.
“It’s pretty emotional,” Brester said. “I’ve been playing here since sixth grade, so there’s a lot of memories that I’ve made through basketball.”
Hannahs said he admires Brester’s unselfish play and loyalty to his teammates.
“He is a quiet leader and has made a big impact on the team throughout the years being one of the leading rebounders and somebody who is not afraid to get his hands dirty,” Hannahs said.
After the Senior Night ceremony, the Lady Big Horns took the court against the Lady Panthers building an early lead in the first quarter with four different players contributing points. Lone Peak led by 10 points at the end of the first quarter 19-9.
The Lady Panthers fought back in the second quarter scoring 13 points but big contributions by Wilson and Cone kept the Lady Big Horns ahead. At halftime, Lone Peak held on to a 36-22 lead.
After the half, the girls started slow struggling to put points on the board. The Lady Panthers fought back to within 10 points before the Lady Big Horns found their groove again late in the third quarter, ending it with a 17-point lead, 50-33.
The fourth quarter was the Lady Big Horns’ lowest-scoring quarter with only eight points to the Lady Panthers’ 14. Lone Peak claimed an 11-point victory over Sheridan with a final score of 58-47.
Wilson praised her team after the game for playing hard and reflected on what she’ll miss.
“I love how excited everybody gets when it’s a home game at school and seeing all my friends out there with signs … just makes my day and those are the things I’m probably going to miss the most,” she said.
Following the Lady Big Horns, the boys took the court for their Senior Night matchup.
Two seniors, Brester and Valerio, logged career-high scores for the evening with 11 and 7 points, respectively.
The Panthers built an early lead over the Big Horns and, despite 3-point contributions from Brester, the Panthers ended the quarter up by nine points, 18-9.
In the second quarter, the Panthers kept the Big Horns on their toes switching between man-to-man and zone defenses. The Big Horns outscored the Panthers 17-10 in the second quarter and a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by sophomore Juliusz Shipman sent them into halftime trailing 28-26.
Some tough calls in the third quarter gave the Panthers the momentum to build a significant lead over the Big Horns. Sheridan kept hitting 3-pointers to outscore Lone Peak by 10 points in the third leading 50-38 at the end of the quarter.
The home team’s energy flagged in the fourth quarter, and Sheridan burned them on their full court press. Though Lone Peak had some good offensive looks and consistent scoring, they couldn’t close the gap with Sheridan. The Big Horns fell to the Panthers 69-55.
On Feb. 12, the Big Horns traveled to West Yellowstone to play their final regular season games.
The Lady Big Horns took the court first, determined to redeem their earlier loss to the Lady Wolverines on their home court. Early in the game, West Yellowstone senior Emmie Collins, who has signed a letter of intent to play at Montana State University Billings, reached 1,000 career points. After that, the Lady Big Horns tightly guarded Collins who fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
On the Lady Wolverine’s home court in a deafening gym, the Lady Big Horns played four solid quarters of basketball making smart plays and playing consistent defense. Lone Peak gained the lead early in the second quarter and never let it go logging a final score of 46-42 over West.
The boys took the court next also looking for the W after the Wolverines defeated them earlier this season. Chadwell scored 15 points for a career high.
On offense, the Big Horns had a tough time getting around two big Wolverines players who dominated under the basket stuffing Big Horn layup attempts. Lone Peak took plenty of shots, but they weren’t falling and West Yellowstone built a big lead that they maintained all evening.
The Wolverines defeated the Big Horns 67-45.
“We did not get the boost we were hoping to get before districts this week, but we did see several players step up and contribute offensively, which is comforting,” wrote Head Coach John Hannahs in an email to EBS. “We are going to be focused on playing more consistent defense and stop teams from going on runs that take us out of the game. This definitely wasn’t the season we were hoping for, but we have a shot to get into the district tournament against a team that we match up with well. So, don’t count us out.”