Always in the Big Horns’ corner—Linda Cole with her granddaughters Kadence (left) and little Scarlet. With friends and family cheering, Jayleen Cole breaks for the basket against Shields Valley.

MVP fans

Grandmother and her two sidekicks cheer on the Lady Horns

One of Lone Peak’s fiercest fans likes to sleep through entire games. Her name is Scarlet, she’s the coach’s infant daughter and she was born at the start of the season. When stray balls bounce toward Scarlet, she’s usually in the arms of her Grandmother Linda Cole, so she sleeps through those moments too. 

While Head Coach Ausha Cole manages the game and her players, Team Cole usually posts up in a corner of the gym. At Gardiner a few weeks ago, Scarlet napped, while her older sister Kadence Cole shouted from the stands, “Rebound! Rebound!” 

“She’ll yell ‘rebound.’ Or she’ll yell ‘box out.’ She’s a gym rat,” explained Linda. “She comes to practice with the girls, does the drills with them. She doesn’t run the plays, but she runs the drills.”

At home on Jan. 25 vs. Shields Valley, Linda, Kadence and Scarlet sat against the wall, near where the LPHS girls’ team enters and exits its home gym. It wasn’t a strong night for the Lady Big Horns, and Linda thought the refereeing was part of the problem.

“They were calling the fouls one-sided,” said Linda. “It was 10-2 for them. They weren’t calling them fair. And they were calling ticky-tacky against the Big Horns and the other girls were mauling them.”

When this grandmother, an infant dozing in her lap, shouted at the refs, telling them to call it both ways, one of the officials pushed back. 

“He gave me a warning,” recalled Linda. “I just said ‘make the calls fair.’ It was pretty obvious to everybody.”

Indeed, complaints from the home crowd continued as fans kept spotting what they deemed to be questionable calls.  

At the start of the second half against Shields Valley, Lone Peak was down 12-22, and Linda kept up the vocal encouragement.

“Let’s go defense. Rebound it!” she shouted as her infant granddaughter slept. 

Linda and every other Big Horn in the stands looked for signs of a comeback. They cheered when Solae Swenson broke away for a couple of open shots, then sighed when they didn’t go in. Then KP Hoffman was called for a foul and went to bench. 

The momentum didn’t seem to shift in the Horns’ direction until 2:05 in the third period. That’s when Emma Flach hit two with a quick drive and jumper—all thanks to a gutsy pick set by freshman Ivy Hicks. 

In the final period, Hoffman penetrated, hit, got fouled and sank the foul shot making it 19-33.

Then Jayleen Cole—Linda’s granddaughter and Coach Cole’s niece—nailed a three, cutting the Shields Valley lead to 22-33.

Next, Flach used her quickness to frustrate the Rebel ball-handlers, grabbing a steal and making the Shields Valley coach yell at his team, “You guys are making lazy passes!” 

Grandmother Cole responded with: “Let’s go defense. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure her!”

Then Linda watched Jayleen break away, go for a layup and get fouled. Jayleen went to the line and hit both free throws. 

On defense, Jayleen took her grandmother’s cheering to heart and turned up the pressure. She went for the ball and was called for a foul. Linda shook her head in disbelief. 

With Shields Valley pouring in the free throws at the end, the Lady Horns dropped this one 27-45. 

However, things turned around for Lone Peak the next night against Gardiner. Senior Hoffman came up huge, hitting a game high 24 against the Lady Bruins as LPHS won 53-43. 


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