Summer basketball

LPHS boys team travels to Shields Valley for tournament

Basketball never sleeps.

The 2021 offseason was a short one for the LPHS boys basketball team. The Bighorns hit the road this past Saturday to Shields Valley to play a series of opponents. The tournament included both Class C and B teams, therefore the competition was incredibly stiff. The Bighorns are coming off of a 4-9 record in the 2020- 2021 season. They recently lost four seniors to graduation. The team on Saturday consisted of just six players, senior Tony Brester, junior Gus Hammond, sophomores Juliusz Shipman and Aidan Germain, and incoming freshmen Bridger Flores and Jack Sheehan.

The Bighorns played four games against three opponents on Saturday. The first of which was the Bighorns district 12C rivals, the Gardiner Bruins. The Bruins are coming off of a rebuilding year with a 3-8 season in 2020-2021 (according to maxpreps.com). The Bighorns ended up playing the Bruins twice on Saturday, both of which were close finishes. The first meeting between the two ended up in a tough one point win by the Bruins. In the second meeting the Bighorns fought back from a 10 point deficit in the fourth quarter to win by two. Both games against Gardiner had standout performers from the Bighorns. Senior Tony Brester pulled down double digit rebounds in both games and looks to be a monster on the glass next season. Sophomore Juliusz Shipman showed his offensive prowess by scoring in bunches and getting to the free throw line seemingly at will.

The Bighorns then took on Sweet Grass County High. Sweet Grass County, which is in Big Timber, Mont., was the Bighorns Class B opponent on Saturday. In the 2020-2021 season, the Sheepherders finished with a 7-11 record (according to maxpreps. com). The Sheepherders proved to be too strong for the Bighorns on Saturday, however there were multiple standout performances once again. Junior Gus Hammond racked up 21 points and an impressive six 3 pointers against Sweet Grass County. Sophomore Aiden Germain and incoming freshman Jack Sheehan contributed on both ends with multiple baskets and steals.

Lastly, the Bighorns took on the Box Elder Bears. The Bears had a pretty impressive 2020-2021 season, finishing with a 7-3 record before getting upset in their district tournament (according to maxpreps.com). The Bears once again proved too strong for the Bighorns. Junior Gus Hammond had a great showing once again with 20 points against the Bears. Incoming Freshman Bridger Flores also showed out against the Bears, mainly on the defensive end. Coach John Hannahs expects Flores to grow into a defensive anchor for the Bighorns after his showing on Saturday.

The Bighorns finished on Saturday with a 1-3 record, however the result was not the focus for Hannahs as he instead pointed to the value of having the team play together over the summer. “It is extremely important for individual and team development to play over the summer. It is so noticeable as a coach which kids have been working over the summer when basketball season starts and it makes such a difference in their performance and in the team's success,” head coach Hannahs said.

The Bighorns will continue to practice throughout the summer to build their team chemistry. They are hoping to play in at least one more summer tournament with some scrimmages with a few non conference opponents as well.

“Overall, I am excited how well my returning players are performing and very excited for the upcoming talent from our younger crew,” Hannahs said.

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