An intense rivalry and tense game
Big Horn varsity boys victorious against West Yellowstone
The scene was tense, as the Lady Big Horns had just lost to the Lady Wolverines.
The January 11 home game between the Lone Peak Big Horn varsity boys and West Yellowstone Wolverines was an absolute battle.
Fans in red and blue were on the edges of their seats.
Kids from Big Sky and West Yellowstone took turns mean-mugging each other.
Parents were shouting at the referees over contentious fouls.
Referees were casting side glances at those same shouting parents.
Head coach Brain Van Eps paced the sidelines and athletic director and assistant coach John Hannahs was literally biting his nails.
The end of the first quarter didn’t appear promising, as the Big Horns were six points behind.
The second quarter looked a lot better with nearly back-to-back two-point shots from Kolya Bough, a beautiful three pointer from Nick Brester, and a layup from Bough. With just over three minutes left in the second quarter Frankie Starz was assisted by Bough and fouled when he took the shot.
The score was a tense 17-21 with the Wolverines ahead when Starz stepped up to the free throw line. He landed one of two free throws and found himself quickly to another two points with an inside shot. With 27 seconds left, Starz was again fouled, stepped up to the line for two, and sank them both.
The score was then 22-28 Wolverines at the half. Big Horn boys remained behind but within striking distance throughout most of the game.
Starz was again fouled at the start of the third quarter and landed both free throws. Bough stole the ball and earned two more points with another lay-up. With four minutes left in the third the Wolverines were ahead by just one point.
Big Horn fans held a collective breath as Bough went for an inside two-point shot and landed it – bringing the score to 32-31 and the Big Horns ahead for the first time in the game. The crowd of parents and locals went wild.
The moment the crowd of blue-clad fans had been waiting for arrived: momentum suddenly swung to the Big Horns. Starz stole the ball and Brewster landed two-points. Number 55 with the Wolverines and their lead scorer for the game, Sammy Coffin, was fouled with two seconds left in the third. He landed one of two free-throws. Big Horns were called with another foul with one second left in the third quarter.
Cheering, chanting and stomping of the bleachers increased late in the third quarter and continued into the fourth quarter.
The score was 35-34, Big Horns ahead with just under seven minutes left in the final quarter. It was a game of steals, fouls, free-throws and key defense. The Big Horns continued to widen the gap before surfacing for air with a 52 to 44 victory.
“The word I gave the guys to think about was composure: I told them to maintain composure. That’s what they did and that’s why we won,” head coach Van Eps said.
Bough was being patted on the back and high-fived almost endlessly as he recapped the game, calling it a great turning point in their season. “I’m hoping we can build off of this. It was definitely high energy. That’s how we always play West,” he said.
The Big Horn boys rode the winning wave into the next evening when they took on the Sheridan Broncs in Big Sky, adding another ‘W’ to their record with a final score of 51-40. Next on the docket for Big Sky’s b-ballers is yet another home game, this time on January 18 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Lady Big Horns match at 7 p.m.