Senior three-point specialist Jayleen Cole will be missed—but still has time to shine in the upcoming District 11C Tournament hosted by Manhattan Christian Feb. 15-17. PHOTO BY DAVID MADISON

Farewell KP and Jayleen

Big Horn leaders last game at home impressive win

It was Senior Night, but the Lone Peak High School girls’ varsity coach was also thinking about her younger players. At the start of the second half vs. the Sheridan Panthers, Head Coach Ausha Cole started freshmen Ruth Blodgett and Sara Wilson, then brought in freshman Ivy Hicks. Cole also played juniors Brooke Botha and freshman Reilly Germain, while team leaders Solae Swenson and Emma Flach stayed on the bench. 

The Horns held onto a 20 point lead throughout the second half, with Jayleen Cole sinking a three and a breakaway layup in the third period, when the Panthers showed some life with a couple of threes of their own. 

But LPHS kept up the defensive pressure, as Germain dove after loose balls and Wilson stuck close to the Sheridan ball handlers. 

The electric atmosphere of Senior Night culminated with Lone Peak cheerleaders breaking into a rousing, “We got the beat the beat, the mighty Big Horn beat, it goes…” and on cue, fans in the stands broke into rhythmic clapping. 

Then, at the start of the final period, Coach Cole went back to her usual starters, with Flach and Swenson returning to the floor, as the Panthers cut the LPHS lead to 14. 

But they didn’t stay in long as Cole sent her young line up back in.

Wilson fought for a turnover under the basket and fed Hicks for a shot in the paint. The cheerleaders spoke for everyone in the 55-33 victory as they shouted after the final buzzer, “We are proud of you! We are proud of you!”

Later in the evening during half-time of the boys’ varsity game, seniors on the girls’ varsity were honored with their parents at mid-court.

The ceremony included a tribute to cheerleader Abigail Hogan, the first LPHS senior to cheer four years and graduate. Hogan, who’s also active in theater, plans to attend college to study creative writing. 

Seniors Jayleen Cole, KP Hoffman and their folks also soaked in cheers from the crowd as Assistant Boys’ Coach John Hannahs announced details about their time at LPHS and plans for next year. 

Cole set a record for three point shots made in a single game at six and scored a game high 22. She’s only been in Big Sky for a year and plans to go back to Missouri for college, with art or criminal justice as possible majors.

KP Hoffman, president of the Interact Club and involved with Girls for Change, averaged a double-double and racked up 25 blocks this season. She’s headed to study and play at Miles City Community College. 

The underclass players lined up and Germain took the mic to give a shout out to Hoffman. She was followed by Swenson, who said of Jayleen, “She is one of the kindest and funniest people we all know and is a gorgeous person all the way around.”

 

—DM

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