Saturday, February 24, 2018

Columbus junior Gabe Brocklebank goes up for a shot against Huntley Project two weeks ago. Senior Cougar Brandon Horton takes a shot among Huntley traffic.Cougar Ricky Preece thinks about taking a shot against Huntley.Cougar Gabe Brocklebank looks on as a Huntley player reaches for a rebound.RPR junior Tristan Gieser handles the ball against the Absarokee;s Joaquin Pilcher defense on Saturday.RPR’s Carlee Blodgett and Absarokee’s Mallorey Sheppard jump for the tipoff Saturday night.
Columbus senior Maddi Carman takes a shot against Shepherd last weekend.

Columbus beats Red Lodge for first conference win

Lady Huskies find success against Roberts and RPR

The Columbus Cougars brought home the team’s first win of the season last week.
On Friday, Columbus traveled to face the Red Lodge Rams. The Cougars put up a good performance, coming home with a 64-52 victory.
The Cougar offense was led by what Assistant Coach Cory Hansen describes as “a well deserved shooting performance” by senior Brandon Horton with 22 points and sophomore Ricky Preece with 12. Senior Kenneth Smith put up seven points.
Preece led the team with nine rebounds, five offensive and four defensive. Junior Carson West had five rebounds.
“Overall, the effort of rebounding and taking care of the ball paid off on Friday night,” Hansen explained. “We were happy with efforts of all the players and the contributions to a great team victory.”
Saturday, the Shepherd Mustangs came to town. The Cougars put up a fight, but it was not enough – Shepherd won 48-30.
Freshman Ty Barta led Columbus with eight points, making both of his three-point shots. Sophomore Trey Stampfel added five, and Horton had four points.
Stampfel had eight rebounds to lead the team, and sophomore Tommy Campbell grabbed six.
Hansen said the Cougars started well, but the tough and physical Shepherd defense played a toll on the Columbus offense.
The Cougars are working to improve toughness with more physical inside drills with post players, Hansen explained.
As for the second half of the season, Hansen says, “The upcoming games will be a learning process, and we continue to develop players and improve our basketball IQ. We hope to contend with the chance for a victory at the end of the game.”
The Cougars will play in two non-conference games this week. On Thursday, they will travel to play Class A Laurel, and on Friday Three Forks is coming to Columbus.

PARK CITY
With last week’s two wins, the Park City Panthers stretched their conference record to 8-0. Park City is the only 6C team that remains undefeated in district play.
Friday, Park City faced the Plenty Coups Warriors. The Panthers had a good first quarter, jumping to a 19-4 lead. The next quarter was tighter, but Park City went into half up 35-19. The Panthers maintained the lead throughout the second half for a 58-47 victory.
Leading the Park City offense was senior Talon Johnstone with 16 points. Senior Rylan Gauthier had 14, and junior Austin Popp contributed 11 points.
Coach Ben Southworth explained that the Panthers were able to slow down and hold off the Warriors, a team that is very good at shooting, after Plenty Coups repeatedly pushed back on offense.
On Saturday, the Panthers took on the Fromberg Falcons. After a close first quarter, the Park City offense came alive in a 26-point second quarter to go into the break up 43-22. In the third quarter, the Panthers outscored the Falcons 24-4 to seal the victory. Park City won with a 77-37 final.
Gauthier led the Panther charge with 22 points. Sophomore Garrett McMillen scored 11, and 10 points each were scored by Johnstone and junior Connor McNeil.
This week, Park City will travel to play RPR, a team Southworth feels “could be the best team in the conference. They have one of the most talented players in Trevor Herzog, as well as a good coaching staff that has been participating in championship-caliber basketball for quite some time now.”
Southworth said the game will be a tough one, and the Panthers are hoping to show up with their best.
On Saturday, Park City will face Roberts at home. Southworth noted that while Roberts may have started out the season slow, they are an improving young team that is coming off a big win.
At the season’s mid-point, Southworth thinks the district is still wide open. Even though last week was a good one for the Panthers, their coach says the team is looking “to keep improving on many aspects of the game, and we look forward to keep working hard in practice.”

REED POINT-RAPELJE
The Renegades lost their first conference game in a tough away matchup against Bridger last Friday. RPR worked hard, but the Scouts came out on top 56-49.
On Saturday, RPR faced Absarokee in a cross-county rivalry game. After the Renegades created a six-point lead in the first quarter, a big second quarter for RPR extended the lead to 21 at halftime.
The Renegades continued to roll in the second half, and Absarokee’s strong fourth quarter could not overcome the RPR lead. A 64-41 Renegade win bumped RPR’s conference record to 6-1.
Senior Trevor Herzog led the Renegades with 21 points, going five for seven behind the three-point line. Junior Tristan Gieser put up 18 points, and senior Dylan Blodgett had seven.
Gieser and Blodgett led the team with 10 rebounds each. Senior Payton Severin pulled down seven rebounds.
Absarokee was led by a couple seniors, Joaquin Pilcher and Roman Zugaza, with 11 points each. Sophomore Zacc Degele contributed seven.
Pilcher and Zugaza led the team in rebounds, too, with eight and six, respectively. Senior Jonas Williams had four rebounds.
RPR has a very tough week ahead. This Friday, the team will face a 9-1 Park City team at home. On Saturday, the Renegades will play an equally dangerous Plenty Coups team in Pryor.

ABSAROKEE
Earlier last week, the Huskies, as anticipated by Coach Gregg Feddes, had a very close game against Roberts. After a tight first quarter, the Rockets surged to a 13-point lead at halftime. A good second half brought the Huskies within striking distance, but Absarokee came up just short after a very good game, losing 70-67.
Pilcher led the Husky offense with an impressive 31 points. Zugaza put up 18 points, and senior Tyler Planichek had eight.
Pilcher led the team in steals, with seven, and he also led the team with 15 rebounds (seven offensive and eight defensive). Zugaza had five rebounds, and Degele and sophomore Ashton Campbell each grabbed four.
“The kids did everything they could to chip into that lead, but every time we got it close [Roberts] hit another big shot, often a three,” Feddes explained.
The Huskies look to get back on track this week, and have returned to focusing on the basics in practice, according to Feddes. While two conference losses may hurt Absarokee’s record, the message to the team has been to not panic.
On Friday, the Huskies will travel to Bridger to take on the Scouts. Earlier in the season, Bridger beat Absarokee. Feddes said the Huskies have been working to improve on that first outing by developing tactics to slow down the quick Scout post players.
Saturday, Absarokee travels to Manhattan Christian for a non-conference showdown. Manhattan Christian is currently ranked fourth in the state, and Feddes mentioned that the Huskies are looking forward to the challenge.
Looking at the rest of the season, Feddes said, “The schedule doesn’t get easier, and the message will be to embrace that and take on the upcoming challenges together.”

GIRLS
The Absarokee Huskies found success last week, adding two to the win column.
On Friday, Absarokee traveled to Roberts to take on the Rockets. The Huskies showed up, and the players did their jobs, putting up a winning performance to bring back a 60-26 victory.
Leading the Husky offense were senior Rebecka Lester and freshman Lexi Feddes with 11 point each. Sophomore Breezy Williams contributed 10 points, and junior Mallorey Sheppard had eight, including two successful three-point shots.
The team had 13 points off turnovers and shot 50 percent from the free throw line.
Absarokee racked up 51 rebounds as a team, led by junior Makensi McCally with nine. Freshman Keara Young grabbed six, and Sheppard and Williams each had five rebounds.
Sheppard led with five of the Huskies’ 18 steals.
On Saturday, Absarokee traveled to Rapelje for a cross-county matchup.
The two teams matched well, and after four hard-fought quarters, the Huskies came out on top, 51-46.
Absarokee was led by Sheppard with 23 points, going five for seven from three-point territory. Lester had 11 points, and Feddes scored eight.
The team scored 19 points off turnovers and shot 43 percent from the field. Senior Hana Kelly had half of the 10 Husky steals.
McCally again led Absarokee in rebounds with 10. Sheppard and Feddes each pulled down seven, and Lester had six rebounds.
Coach Jimmie Lester mentioned that some key rebounds, assists, and baskets by Feddes really helped seal the Huskies’ win.
Overall, Lester felt his team had better ball movement last weekend compared to the weekend before, which led to better shots.
For the Renegades, sophomore Carlee Blodgett led the offense with 16 points, followed by senior Nynah Bryant with 10. Senior Brittany Albers put up nine.
RPR scored 15 points off turnovers, and had 14 second-chance points. The Renegades shot an impressive 70 percent from courtesy stripe.
RPR had 16 steals as a team. Junior Jocelyn Ott stole the ball from the Huskies nine times. Bryant had four steals.
Blodgett and Ott led the team with eight rebounds each.
On Friday, the Renegades traveled to Bridger to face the Scouts.
In a low-scoring, defensive battle, Bridger won the night with a 20-17 final.
RPR will be looking to rebound this weekend, and the team’s first chance will be on Friday night at home against county rival Park City. The Renegades will travel to Pryor to face a tough Plenty Coups teams on Saturday afternoon.
As for Absarokee, the Huskies look to continue their success against Bridger on Friday and Manhattan Christian on Saturday. Both are away games.

COLUMBUS
With two wins last week, the Cougars improved to a 5-1 conference record, good enough to jump ahead of Roundup as the first seed in the 4B district.
On Friday, Columbus traveled to face the Red Lodge Rams. A tough Cougar defense, paired with a 15-point second quarter, put Columbus up 21-9 at halftime. The Cougars kept the momentum through the third quarter, and even though Red Lodge outscored Columbus in the fourth, the outcome of the game had already been sealed. The Cougars won 37-23.
Junior Alexa Riveland led the Columbus offense with 11 points, including two three-point shots. She was followed by senior Camryn Ault and junior Morgan Kirch with eight points each. Kirch went four for five from the free throw line. Senior Maddi Carman had six points.
The Cougars racked up 20 steals on the game, led by sophomore Brenna Rouane with six. Ault stole the ball four times.
Carman led the team by working “extremely hard crashing the boards,” in the words of Coach Jeromey Burke. She pulled down 11 rebounds – eight offensive and three defensive. Kirch had five rebounds.
For the game, Columbus had 22 turnovers, and Burke explained that, “We turned the ball over too much, but the effort the girls put in overall offset that issue.”
Saturday, the Cougars faced the Shepherd Fillies for the second time this season. Once again, tough defense and a big second quarter offensively put Columbus up 10 points at halftime. Out of the break the Cougars struggled, putting up no points in the third. A 15-point fourth quarter ensured Columbus would keep the lead, and the Cougars won with a 36-26 final score.
Columbus was led by Ault with 10 points; she made four of seven free throw attempts. Carman shot 50 percent from the field for eight points, and Rouane put up seven.
The Cougars scored 19 points off turnovers and had 11 second-chance points.
Ault also led the rebound category with six -- four offensive and two defensive rebounds. Carman, Kirch, and freshman Payton West each grabbed four rebounds.
Burke said the team must continue to improve on certain aspects of the game, noting the scoreless third quarter was due to careless mistakes.
“However,” Burke explained, “our defense continues to be a consistent positive for us. The girls are really improving at thinking the game on defense, and they work extremely hard.”
Rouane again led the team in rebounds, with four. She also leads the team with 39 deflections on the season; 23 more than the next closest player.
“Brenna Rouane continues to cause tons of problems for opposing teams with her length and athleticism,” Burke said.
This week, the Cougars will take a break from conference play to face Laurel in an away game on Thursday. Columbus will have a home game against Three Forks on Friday.

PARK CITY
The Panthers played a very tough Plenty Coups team last Friday.
The Lady Warrior offense was rolling from tipoff, outscoring Park City 27-3 in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Panther offense came alive, but Plenty Coups never slowed down. At halftime, the Lady Warriors were up 30 points. The second half was a little quieter offensively, but Plenty Coups maintained the lead for a 70-26 victory.
Junior Kasidy Robbins led the Park City offense with seven points, and senior Brittany Frank was close behind with five. Juniors Alyx Grabowska and Blakely Verke each put up four points.
Coach Michelle Gauthier said the Panthers knew playing Plenty Coups would be tough. She commended the Lady Warriors, saying the players are “phenomenal passers, good shooters, and very unselfish players.”
The Plenty Coups press was effective, causing Park City to turn the ball over, Gauthier noted.
“Other than turnovers and missed shots, I thought the girls played pretty hard,” said Gauthier. “We had good looks at the basket, but our shots just wouldn’t fall.”
This Friday, the Panthers travel to play the RPR Renegades. Gauthier said RPR is a quick, scrappy team, so Park City will need to be aware of where certain players are on the court, and will need to box out and get rebounds.
Saturday, the Panthers face Roberts.
“Roberts was a win for us last time, but we can’t take anything for granted,” Gauthier explained. “We need to come out ready to play and do the little things correctly.”
As the team enters the mid-point of the season, Gauthier said it is time to step up play as Park City begins to see teams for the second time. The Panthers will try to be better both offensively and defensively when playing teams again.