Senior Solae Swenson gets her hands on the ball during the January 11 home game against West Yellowstone. Swenson tallied nine points for her team that night, though the Big Horns ultimately lost to the Wolverines 48-30.

Onward and upward

Lady Big Horns lose to rivals, but shift tactics to win against Wolverines

The stands were a sea of blue and red as the Lone Peak Big Horns battled district rivals the West Yellowstone Wolverines on the home court January 11.

The Lone Peak varsity girls seemed harried from the beginning, and the point gap grew just wide enough against their rivals that the stands remained fairly quiet on both sides. The Lone Peak ladies showed glimpses of brilliance.

Assistant coach Elijah Klein credited sophomore Ivy Hicks with protecting the ball and bringing it up the court as well as crashing the offensive boards. Brooke Botha played hard and Solae Swenson “left her heart out there.”

Still, he said this game was in stark contrast to their recent win against Twin Bridges in that the girls did not come out to play. They started out complacent, he felt, and some of the players got into foul trouble later on.

Ultimately, the Lady Big Horns succumbed to their rivals by 18 points and a score of 48 to 30. 

“We are feeling very positive about the rest of the season. The girls have a fire under them and it’s just a matter of the girls wanting to throw fuel on it. The coaching staff is confident they will,” Klein said Friday night while predicting an “upward trajectory from here.”

He wasn’t wrong. The following night the Lady Big Horns were vindicated and victorious against the Sheridan Lady Broncs by a score of 26-16.

Head coach Ausha Cole said she didn’t think the team looked a whole lot better than the previous night, but they put effort into slowing the game down. It worked.

“I think Carly [Wilson] and Ivy [Hicks] did a really good job handling the pressure. I think last night we were more just nervous, not to discount West Yellowstone or anything. They’re a great team. We defeated ourselves in that game,” she said, noting the 35 turnovers the team acquired.

They changed the starting lineup and shifted tactics a bit. Emma Flach, one of the team leaders, wanted to start later and get a flow for the game. Cole said this slows the game down, so they really need to focus: shots need to be on point; crashing the board is a necessity on offense to make sure they have more opportunities to score.

Cole and Klein are optimistic about the rest of the season.

“My coach always said to me, ‘There’s a train rolling and you gotta decide if you want to jump on it,’” Klein said.

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