Wildcats seize early lead, never look back
By Brandon Walker
HARRISON – The Lone Peak High School varsity boys basketball team kicked off their 2020-2021 season on Jan. 5 when they traveled to face the Harrison-Willow Creek Wildcats. After a delayed but extended preseason, LPHS fell to the Wildcats in their season opener, 68-44.
Harrison-Willow Creek sprinted out to an early 8-0 lead, including two dunks by Wildcat big man Luke Cima. After a timeout by Big Horns head coach John Hannahs, Lone Peak scored their first points of the season when senior guard Michael Romney converted an offensive rebound to an assist with the help of cutting forward Nolan Schumacher, who used a shot fake to get his defender off his feet before laying the ball in, closing the deficit to six points with Harrison-Willow Creek still leading.
A hounding man-to-man Wildcat defense forced the Big Horns into turnovers and contested shots, ultimately leading to a 16-4 advantage after one quarter of play. Harrison-Willow Creek kept the pressure up into the second, extending their lead to as many as 26 points thanks in part to Cima, who scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.
LPHS closed out the half on a high note though, when Romney penetrated the lane against the Wildcat defense before kicking the ball out to wide open sophomore Pierce Farr. Farr calmly knocked down the mid-range jumper just before time expired, resulting in a 38-14 score at halftime.
Two other Wildcats reached double figure scoring totals throughout the night, with Kyle Homner contributing 12 points and Sage Buus adding 10 of his own. Hannahs and the Big Horns primarily deployed a 2-3 zone defensive scheme against Harrison-Willow Creek and the coach said that he hopes to improve LPHS’s discipline on the defensive side of the ball for future contests.
Harrison-Willow Creek led 51-22 after three quarters of play, but LPHS continued to fight, scoring 22 points as a team in the fourth quarter alone.
“Yeah I know these guys can put the ball in the basket, and it was nice to see it happen in the fourth quarter,” Hannahs said.
A trio of seniors—Romney, Schumacher and Jackson Lang—topped a balanced scoring spread from the Big Horn offense, accounting for nine, nine and seven points respectively on the road. Sophomore Max Romney added seven points, all coming in the fourth quarter, for Lone Peak as well.
“Yes, I never have to worry about this team giving up, they fight to the end,” Hannahs said. “The seniors played great, and kept the energy up, and my young guys did a great job of maintaining it when they went into the game.”
Another positive aspect of the game for Lone Peak came at the charity stripe. The Big Horns had a strong showing at the free throw line, converting better than 61 percent, or 11 of their 18 attempts, and besting the Wildcats in that regard.
Both the Big Horns and Lady Big Horns basketball teams were originally scheduled to play on the road at Lima the evening of Jan. 8, before hosting Ennis for their respective home openers on Jan. 9, but both teams have paused activities due to COVID-19 precautions. The Lady Big Horns previously scheduled matchup versus Harrison-Willow Creek was also canceled.
Box Score Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
Lone Peak 4 10 8 22 44
Harrison-Willow Creek 16 22 13 17 68
Lone Peak: Michael Romney 9, Nolan Schumacher 9, Jackson Lang 7, Max Romney 7, Isaiah Holst 4, Ben Saad 4, Pierce Farr 2, Gus Hammond 2
Harrison-Willow Creek: Luke Cima 21, Kyle Homner 12, Sage Buus 10, Andrew Bacon 7, Joe Cima 6, Thomas Cromwell 6, Tyler Bacon 4, Jackson Nye 2