Lady Cougars add two wins, sit atop 4B conference
The Columbus Cougars rebounded last week, putting together a couple wins to answer the previous week’s non-conference losses.
Last Thursday, the Cougars took on the Joliet J-Hawks, the only 4B team that had recorded a win against Columbus this season.
The Cougars came out ready to play. A 13-7 first quarter lead was extended to an 11-point lead at half-time behind a tight Cougar defense and a smart Columbus offense.
A slow third quarter saw Joliet chip away at the lead slightly, entering the final period of play down eight points. Columbus did not let go, and after a solid fourth quarter, the Cougars sealed the 37-27 victory.
Leading the Columbus charge was junior Morgan Kirch, with 10 points. Junior Alexa Riveland scored eight points, and sophomore Brenna Rouane contributed seven. Rouane also led the team in rebounds, pulling down seven – four offensive and three defensive.
As coach Jeromey Burke noted, the Cougar defense “caused a lot of problems.” Riveland and Rouane combined for 11 steals against the J-Hawks, a performance Burke felt played a major factor in the game.
He noted the team had a high number of turnovers and it will have to avoid giving away the ball due to careless mistakes in the future.
On Friday, the Cougars faced the Big Timber Herders in a non-conference matchup. Columbus came out flat, and at the end of the first quarter found themselves down 21-9. By halftime, the Big Timber lead remained.
After the break, Columbus began to find its rhythm. Chipping away at the lead, the Cougars were down five points going into the final minutes of the game. A big fourth quarter helped Columbus catch, and then surpass, the Herders for a 43-38 victory.
Rouane and Kirch led the Cougar offense with 11 points each, followed by Riveland and senior Camryn Ault, each putting up eight points.
The rebound and steal categories both belonged to Rouane as well – she grabbed nine boards and had five steals. Burke describe Rouane’s play as “a great all-around game.”
Despite the slow offensive start, Burke was pleased that the team was able to rally back from such a deficit. He also felt the players showed progress in some specific areas of the game they have been focusing on in practice, and that sealed the win in the end.
This week, the Cougars will play two important conference games. On Thursday, the Huntley Project Red Devils will make the trip to Columbus. Huntley sits in second place behind the 6-1 Cougars with a 6-2 conference record.
Saturday, Columbus will travel to Roundup. Although the Panthers have struggled recently, the team still sits at third in the conference with a 5-3 record.
The Renegades played well in all three games they had this past week
On Friday, RPR faced the undefeated Harlowton Engineers. The Renegades were up to the task, and kept the Engineers in check. After a hard-fought first half, the two teams went into the break tied at 19.
The second half was just as close as the first, and entering the fourth quarter, Harlowton had a one-point lead. A tight final period came down to one final shot in the last seconds of the game. The Renegades couldn’t quite gain the upper hand, and the Engineers won 44-42.
Sophomore Carlee Blodgett had a big game, putting up 22 points. Senior Nynah Bryant and junior Mercedes Hoff each scored six points.
The Renegades did well from the free throw line, shooting 76 percent. Blodgett made five of seven attempts, and senior Brittany Albers made five of six. Bryant went three-for-four from the courtesy stripe.
Coach Tricia Hess said that while the scoreboard showed the Renegades lost by two points, in her book the game was a huge win due to the improvement the players showed from the first time the two teams faced-off.
“It showed us what we are capable of when we put out that effort for a full 32 minutes,” Hess explained.
Saturday RPR was back at it, playing the Custer-Hysham Rebels in a non-conference matchup. The Renegades played a strong first half, building up a 23-13 lead. RPR continued to put up double-digit quarters in the second half, and Custer-Hysham could not catch up. The Renegades won 43-35.
Bryant led RPR with 19 points, followed by Blodgett with 11 and Hoff with five. As a team, the Renegades pulled down 31 rebounds compared to the Rebels’ 17.
Hess again felt her team played well for the entire game, pointing out that “it was a good win to get on the road against a team we haven’t seen this year.”
This past Monday, RPR faced Absarokee. After a tied first quarter, the Renegades sneaked ahead for a three-point lead at halftime. RPR came out strong following the break, outscoring Absarokee 16-9 to extend the lead. The Huskies fought back in the fourth, putting up 22 points to the Renegades’ 17. The Absarokee comeback was stopped short, though, and RPR walked away with the 55-50 victory.
For the Renegade offense, Albers led the game with 18 points. Blodgett put up 16, and Bryant and junior Jocelyn Ott each scored eight points.
Hess was proud of her team for putting up double digits for each quarter, and she felt her girls played hard against a physical team.
On the Absarokee side of the ball, senior Rebecka Lester had a big game, leading the team with 21 points. Next was senior Emma LaMoure, with nine points. Three Huskies – senior Hana Kelly, junior Mallorey Sheppard, and freshman Lexi Feddes – each contributed six points.
RPR has two more games this week. On Friday, they will travel to Roberts to face a winless Rockets team. Saturday, the Bridger Scouts come to town for Reed Points’ senior night game. Bridger sits directly above RPR in the 6C standings with a 6-4 conference record.
The Renegades look to improve on the team’s 4-6 conference record with two more conference wins this week.
Hess said she is looking forward to seeing the Renegades compete like they did last week – playing unselfishly by getting the ball to the players who are open or have an advantage over the defense.
“That kind of basketball is great to watch,” she explained.
Earlier last week, the Huskies found success.
On Friday, Absarokee took on the Broadview-Lavina Pirates. The Huskies came out strong, putting up 12 points in the first and 13 points in the second quarter to create a 25-12 halftime lead.
In the second half, Absarokee kept its foot on the gas. With 13 and 14 point performances in the third and fourth quarters, the Huskies cruised to a 52-32 victory.
Sheppard had a great game, putting up an impressive 30 points while hitting six three-point shots. Freshman Keara Young scored six.
On Saturday, Absarokee faced Park City in a physical cross-county rivalry game.
Sheppard hit two three-pointers to begin the game, but the Park City defense worked hard to disrupt the Husky offense, forcing several turnovers. Still, at the end of the first quarter of play, Absarokee held a 10-2 lead.
In the second quarter, the Park City offense found its groove, and outscored the Huskies 12-7 to shrink the Absarokee lead to three points at halftime.
The third quarter was close, and going into the fourth quarter, the Huskies held a two-point lead. With about four minutes left, Park City caught up to Absarokee on a shot by sophomore Panther Hayley Story. For the final minutes, the lead flip-flopped between the two teams.
With 30 seconds left in the game, LaMoure made one free throw to give the Huskies the lead. About 20 seconds later, Park City junior Kasidy Robbins made her own free throw to tie the game before time expired. This was the second game in as many weeks Robbins forced into overtime.
In the extra period, Absarokee shots began to fall, something the team struggled with the entire game. The Park City offense stalled, and the Huskies earned the 42-32 victory.
Sheppard led the Absarokee offense with 17 points, followed by Feddes with 10. LaMoure contributed seven points.
For the Panthers, Story led the team with 15 points. Robbins and junior Alyx Grabowska each scored six points.
The Park City defense was strong the entire game, led by Robbins with 11 defensive rebounds, three charges taken, two steals, and two blocked shots. Story also played well defensively, pulling down five defensive rebounds and stealing the ball four times.
Panther Coach Michelle Gauthier said her team battled hard, and specifically highlighted the team’s defense.
The Huskies have one game left this week. On Saturday, they will face the undefeated Harlowton Engineers at home, hoping to improve on a 7-4 conference record.
Prior to the Saturday game against Absarokee, the Panthers played the Bridger Scouts on Friday.
Park City played a tight first half, entering the break down only one point. A slow third quarter for the Panther offense allowed the Scouts to stretch the lead to six points going into the final minutes. The fourth quarter was also close, but Park City was not able to mount a comeback. Bridger won with a 40-32 final.
Junior Blakely Verke led the Park City offense with 10 points. Story scored seven, and both Grabowska and sophomore Sydney Kluth added four points.
Gauthier felt the game was a good team effort – what the Panthers needed to do was simply make the shots and free throws that were taken. She said she enjoys coaching in close games, as those games make the team better in the long run.
On Monday, Park City faced the Laurel JV team. The Panther offense came out flat, and Laurel was able to take advantage for a 14-1 first quarter run. The next three quarters were relatively close, but Park City could not overcome that initial deficit. The Class A Locomotives won 41-27.
Robbins led the Panthers with 10 points, followed by Story with seven. Junior Breanne Smith had four points.
This Friday, Park City will travel to Red Lodge for a non-conference game. The varsity girls will play in the final game of the night.
On Saturday, the Panthers will remain on the road to play Broadview-Lavina.
Gauthier hopes the girls continue to play with competitive attitudes, learn from mistakes, and pay attention to the fundamentals. The team will focus on playing four solid quarters of basketball, as it seems to be one quarter of play that consistently hinders the team’s ability to win, according to Gauthier.
The Renegades had a strong week of basketball last week, bringing home two more wins.
On Friday, RPR played the Harlowton Engineers. The Renegades came out shooting, and by the end of the first quarter had built a 19-9 lead. A solid second quarter gave RPR a 32-18 lead going into halftime. The Renegades continued to roll, putting up 16 and 15 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, to sail to a 63-35 win.
Senior Trevor Herzog led the team with 19 points, including five three-pointers, followed by junior Tristan Gieser with 17. Senior John Schladweiler sunk four shots from three-point land, contributing 12 points.
The Renegades shot free throws well as a team, making 76 percent. Three players were perfect from behind the courtesy stripe – senior Dylan Blodgett (five-for-five), Gieser (four-for-four), and Herzog (two-for-two).
RPR Coach Jerry Thompson described the game as a “good overall team effort.” He felt the team shot the ball well, especially from the perimeter, defended better than in recent games, and did a good job of rebounding.
Last Saturday, the Renegades traveled to face the Custer-Hysham Rebels. Again, RPR came out strong, putting up 17 points in the first quarter and 15 in the second for a 32-18 halftime lead. The offense continued to put up solid numbers in the second half, adding 28 points for the 60-41 non-conference victory.
Herzog had a big night, leading the Renegade offensive charge with 31 points, half of the team’s total. Gieser put up 13, and Schladweiler added six.
Thompson mentioned the successful Renegade defensive effort against the Rebels, noting RPR traps were effectively creating turnovers. Again, the players shot well from the perimeter, and he hopes that will continue going into this week.
The Renegades will have a busy week, facing Fromberg at home on Thursday, playing Roberts away on Friday, and finishing up the week at home on Saturday against a tough Bridger team. The Saturday game is senior night for Reed Point.
Continuing last week’s solid play is the team’s goal, according to Thompson. He mentioned that Bridger has been playing well, so RPR will have to bring its best on Saturday. All in all, he says “it should be a fun weekend of basketball.”
The Renegades currently sit in fourth place in the conference with a 7-3 record.
The Cougars also had a solid week of basketball.
Last Thursday, Columbus faced the Joliet J-Hawks, the team sitting second in the conference. The Cougars came out to compete and kept the game close in the first quarter, putting up 12 points to Joliet’s 13.
In the second quarter, the J-Hawks offense began to heat up, aided by the fact that Joliet was in bonus for all but one minute of the quarter. The Cougar shots were not falling, and at halftime the J-Hawks had a 12-point lead.
After the break, the tides turned and Columbus responded, scoring consistently while the Joliet shots would not go in. With about two minutes left in the quarter, the score was tied at 32. The teams battled back and forth, and the Cougars held the 37-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, foul trouble for Columbus played a large role in the final minutes of the game. Three started fouled out within about 30 seconds of each other, leaving the team shorthanded for the last five minutes of the game.
The Cougars kept it close, down only two points going into the last three minutes of the game. Joliet capitalized on free throw opportunities late in the game, and a couple last-second Columbus three-point attempts were unsuccessful. The J-Hawks won the game 54-45.
In the second half, the Cougars racked up more than 10 fouls, while Joliet had only two. For the game, the J-Hawks shot 34 free throws, compared to the Cougars’ four opportunities.
Sophomore Ricky Preece led the Cougar offense with 13 points. Senior Brandon Horton made nine points, and juniors Carson West, Colton Ludwig, and Gabe Brocklebank each contributed seven.
Assistant Coach Cory Hansen felt the team did a good job executing the defensive strategy, holding Joliet’s key players. Overall, he said it was “a grand effort” that shows the two teams match up well.
On Saturday, Columbus travelled to Big Timber for a non-conference game. The Cougars had a big first quarter, outscoring the Herders 18-7. A 21-point second quarter helped the Cougars maintain the lead, going into halftime up 13 points.
Big Timber found an offensive groove, chipping away at the Columbus lead throughout the third quarter. Going into the fourth, the Cougars were still up, but the margin was now seven points.
The Herders continued to make headway in the last quarter, but the comeback was not completed, and Columbus won the game 57-55. When the two teams played earlier this season, Big Timber won by more than 40 points.
Horton had a big game, putting up 32 points. Sophomore Trey Stampfel had a 12-point game, and Preece scored six.
Hansen described it as an “excellent game overall.” The team controlled the ball well, and matched Big Timber physically on the boards. He also commended the players for supporting Horton, setting screens and getting him the ball while he was on fire.
“The game was very exciting, and I am thrilled for our team and the exemplary effort that they displayed,” Hansen said.
Columbus will be looking to avenge two early conference losses this week. On Thursday, they face Huntley at home, and on Saturday, the Cougars will travel to face the top-seeded Roundup Panthers.
The Huskies played in two tough conference games last week.
On Friday, the team met the Broadview-Lavina Pirates. The first time the two teams met, Absarokee left with a one-point victory.
The Husky offense came out hot, putting up 27 points in the first quarter. A lull in Absarokee scoring in the second quarter gave the Pirates room to come back, and at halftime Broadview-Lavina grabbed the lead 39-37.
In the third quarter, the Huskies again played effective offense, putting up 21 points and regaining the lead to go into the fourth quarter up 58-55. The final minutes saw Absarokee stall, and Broadview-Lavina was able to surge ahead for a 74-67 final score.
Senior Joaquin Pilcher added 21 points to the Husky offensive effort, followed by senior Roman Zugaza and sophomore Zacc Degele with 17 points each.
Pilcher also led the team in rebounds, pulling down 23 boards. Zugaza grabbed nine. Degele had four steals, and Zugaza had three.
On Saturday, Absarokee faced the first-seeded team in the district, the Park City Panthers.
Park City dominated the first quarter of play, going on a 15-0 run for the first six minutes. Entering the second quarter, the Panthers had a 21-3 lead. The Huskies began to hit more shots in the second period, and several successful three-point shots got Absarokee within nine points. The Panthers maintained the lead, though, and going into halftime Park City was up 32-19.
The Panther offense continued to roll, putting up 24 points in the third quarter to seal the victory. Park City won with a 65-31 final.
Pilcher again led the Huskies with 15 points, making four three-point shots. He led in rebounds, too, with nine. Zugaza scored seven.
Absarokee Coach Gregg Feddes said his team was taking good shots in the first quarter, they were just not falling. He felt the second quarter run on the Panthers showed that the Huskies were playing smart.
Heading the Park City offense was senior Talon Johnstone with a solid 26-point outing. Senior Rylan Gauthier had 14 points, and junior Connor McNeil added 13.
Panther Coach Ben Southworth said Absarokee put up a good fight, and he expects them to keep improving.
This week, the Huskies have a couple conference games. On Friday, the team will travel to Fromberg to take on the Falcons. Saturday, Absarokee will face Harlowton at home. The last time the Huskies played the Engineers, Harlowton won by one point.
Feddes said the team will focus on consistency going forward. Absarokee continues to have about two quarters of good play, but that is not enough – the Huskies are looking to play competitively for all four quarters each game. As Feddes explained, “if we need to learn anything over the past couple of weekends, it’s that you must continue to find a way.”
The team knows what to do, now executing is the next step. Feddes is expecting his team to make the most of the last couple weeks of the regular season to continue to improve until tournament time. He commended his players for their work ethic, noting they continue to show dedication and work hard in practice.
Earlier last week, the Panthers suffered the team’s first conference loss to the Bridger Scouts in an away matchup.
The Scouts jumped to an early lead, and took advantage of a flat Park City offense to go into halftime up nine points. Bridger continued to play consistently through the second half, and the Panthers struggled to really spark the offense. In the end, the Scouts came out on top 59-41.
Gauthier and McNeil led Park City with 14 points each. Four points were scored by both Talon and Tristen Johnstone.
Southworth described the game as a physical battle, and gave Bridger credit for coming out and playing so well. He said the Panthers will use the loss as a learning opportunity, and the team looks forward to meeting the Scouts again in the postseason.
This Friday, Park City will travel to Red Lodge to face the Class B Rams. On Saturday, the Panthers will play Broadview-Lavina in another away game.
Southworth described this week as a good road test for Park City. Both teams are improving, and he mentioned that Broadview-Lavina is a “fast and athletic team that can score the ball if we don’t play good defense.”