Pre-season upset

Big Horn boys, girls fall to Roberts in latest matchup
BOX SCORES: BOYS Lone Peak: 11      12     18     14    OT: 9       Final: 66 Roberts:     14      12     10   19     OT: 16     Final: 71 Big Horn boys scorers: Austin Samuels and Kolya Bough 19, Nolan Schumacher 10, Cole March 8 Frankie Starz 6, Kegan Babick and Nick Brester 2 GIRLS Lone Peak: 5       7       8      6       Final: 26 Roberts:   15      7      14     17       Final 53 Big Horn girls scorers: Carly Wilson 8, Ivy Hicks 7, Lyli McCarthy 4, Sara Wilson and Dani Cristando 3, Thais Boava 1

It was a double-overtime disappointment for the Lone Peak High boys’ varsity team on Dec. 8, coming up short to Roberts with a final score of 66 to 71. “It was a heartbreaker,” said head coach Brian Van Eps of the loss. “They were a good team, a lot bigger than us, and better than we expected.”

Throughout most of the game play he Big Horns held the lead, staying in charge in the fourth quarter, up five or six points, Van Eps recapped. But Roberts whittled that lead down to two points, and as it played out, the teams were tied up 55 to 55 at the end of regulation.

“In general, it was a bummer to lose,” said Van Eps, “But it will be good for us in the end. If we can figure out how to win those types of games, we’ll have a better shot to go further in district games.”

It was junior Austin Samuels’ first week back for the season, and his coach called him the big surprise of the week as Samuels brought in 19 points for the Big Horns, the same amount as senior teammate Kolya Bough.

Six-foot sophomore Nolan Schumacher also wowed his coach, who gave Schumacher props for stepping up his game in an unexpected way when he was needed. Schumacher tallied 10 points for his team. “It was the best game he ever played,” said Van Eps.

Looking back, Coach Van Eps chalked the loss up to the offensive struggles his team faced. While the boys shot “all right,” their free throw percentages were only 32 percent successful. “That’s something we need to fix,” he said, noting on the bright side that the boys had plenty of successful layups and excelled in pressing their opponents throughout the game. “We also played at the higher pace we thought we should be playing at – that was key because we made the bigger team make bigger mistakes.”

The Big Horn boys will face stout competition this week as conference play begins, taking on White Sulfur Springs on the road on Dec. 14, a team which took down the Big Horns twice last year. The next day they’ll meet Manhattan Christian on their home turf: Manhattan was last year’s Class C state-runner up champion team.

A loss for the ladies

The Big Horn ladies also ran into rough waters against Roberts, losing 26 to 53. Part of that large loss margin was likely due in part to the absence of three of the team’s starters: senior Solae Swenson was away taking the ACT, classmate Brooke Botha was in Chicago watching the Celtics beat the Bulls 133-77, and junior Emma Flach was out for concussion protocol.

The team was also short freshman Kassidy Boersma, who will remain on the sidelines with a kneecap injury for the remainder of the season. “Considering that, we had a decent first half,” said head coach Ausha Cole. “But after that, we had our principles and discipline go out the window.”

The girls got carried away with fouls, ultimately falling by nearly 30 points.

The Dec. 8 game, being the last of the pre-season, served its purpose regardless of the loss. “It was a great learning experience for the younger girls who had a lot of play time,” said Coach Cole. “And we definitely know where we are at going into conference. We learned a lot from the loss.”

Just like in the first game of the pre-season, freshman Carly Wilson proved she was up to the task, picking up right where she left off and leading her team with a total of eight points on the board.

Other players of note for Coach Cole were Ivy Hicks, who in her first game of the season successfully played post position in both offense and defense in contrast to her usual position as point guard. Sophomore Lyli McCarthy also caught her coach’s eye thanks to her defensive prowess.

The Big Horn girls are now preparing for their Dec. 14 meet against White Sulfur Springs and the team’s new head coach. “We’ll go into the game playing hard, do what we do, and I’m hoping we come out with a win,” said Coach Cole.

Then it’s a rematch the girls have surely been pining for - on the 15th they’ll tackle Manhattan Christian, the team the Big Horn girls fell to in last year’s Class C conference championship. “We’re familiar with the team, they have a new head coach, but we know the personnel well,” said Coach Cole.

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