Look for suffocating defense in Big Horn’s home opener

In the season opener against Roberts, the Big Horn varsity boys’ basketball team used its press defense to generate 17 steals and force 30 turnovers. 

“That’s unheard of,” gushed Lone Peak’s Head Coach Austin Barth a few days after the game. Then, in the team’s second outing against Harrison/Willow Creek at the Tip-Off Jamboree on Dec. 9, the previously “unheard of” stats continued to grow. 

“With similar pressure, we forced an astronomical 51 turnovers,” said Big Horn Assistant Coach John Hannahs. “The team came up with 27 total steals.”

“The boys played a great game,” continued Coach Barth. “I think our culture has changed this year and the team is changing its mindset from an offensive team to a defensive team. They have been flying around getting all of the loose balls and lots of tipped balls causing great opportunities for fast break points. I was especially excited to see our bench step up this game with Milosz Shipman and Nick Brester both showing up. I am really looking forward to seeing how the boys react this week with conference games both Friday and Saturday.”

First comes the season home opener and start of conference play against White Sulphur Springs on Friday, Dec. 15, followed the next day by a road challenge at Manhattan Christian.   

In its recent 56-38 win over Harrison/Willow Creek, Kolya Bough led the way with 8 steals, 8 assists and 16 points, while Shipman added 11 points coming off the bench. The team was without senior post player and team captain Jackson Wade who missed the game to take the ACT. 

Other scorers in the match up against Harrison/Willow Creek include Austin Samuels, Nick Brewster and Frankie Starz, who each tossed in 6 points, while Cole March added 8 and Brayden Vaile scored 3. 

Overall, the team’s shooting is getting better, but Coach Barth remains focused on the Big Horn defense. He traces success on D to pre-season meetings where, “We pulled each kid in to set goals and we emphasized defense.”

At the end of Christmas Break, Coach Barth plans to reflect on those goals with each player. Between now and January, the varsity boys will face Harrison/Willow Creek again on Dec. 19 at home, then they’re away at Shields Valley on Dec. 22. 

—DM

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