Bulldogs take 2 out of 3 despite suffering injuries
Thu, 02/04/2016 - 11:58am admin
By Levi C. Flinn, Big Horn County News
After two Eastern Class A conference games and one non-conference game against Billings West, the Hardin Bulldog boys basketball team continues into the second half of their season with two more wins.
Last week’s games resulted in back-to-back wins against Laurel and Sidney, and one loss to Class AA Billings West.
The Bulldogs are now placed third in the Eastern Class A conference at 9-3 overall with a conference record of 5-2.
In the Jan. 14 non-conference game against Lodge Grass, Bulldog guard Larry McCormick was injured, hyperextending his knee.
Also, in the Jan. 26 game against Billings West, Bulldogs’ center and forward Darnell Left Hand injured his ankle while attempting a rebound.
Hardin vs. Billings West
The Jan. 26 non-conference game versus Billings West ended with a Bulldog loss of 85-97 – a season-high final score.
Despite the Bulldogs’ 17 assists, 33 rebounds and 19 steals, Billings West scored over 22 points in each of the four quarters, leaving the Bulldogs 12 points behind at the end of the fourth.
“We kind of came off a little bit slower than we wanted to,” said Head Coach Andrew Round Face. “We seem to start slow and manage to make our way back into the game.”
Beau Venne led the Bulldogs with 28 points, two assists and 11 rebounds. Clarence Little Wolf and Darnell Left Hand followed Venne in high scores with 22 points, five assists and two rebounds by Little Wolf and 19 points, three assists and 11 rebounds by Left Hand.
Hardin vs. Laurel
Last Thursday’s conference game versus the Laurel Locomotives ended in a close battle with a 1-point Bulldog victory at 53-52 – the exact score of the Lady Bulldogs versus Laurel happening the same night.
The first period ended in a tie with a score of 12-12. The Bulldogs finished the second period scoring a comparably low 7 points to Laurel’s 12 leading into halftime 19-24 in favor of the Locomotives.
“We kind of got into [Laurel’s] groove at the beginning, so they kind of got out to a lead right away,” Round Face said. “I told the boys, ‘We can’t play this slow-down style, we’re playing right into their hands. If we don’t change it, we’re going to end up on the wrong side of the stick.’”
Coming out of the third quarter, Laurel held the lead with a 1-point difference at 36-35.
With only two minutes remaining in the fourth, Laurel went to the foul line, making both baskets and taking the score to 52-51 in their favor.
After possession went back to the Bulldogs, Clarence Little Wolf attempted to make a layup to take the lead and instead drew a foul with 2.5 seconds remaining, taking him to the foul line for a two shots with the chance to tie, lose or win.
Little Wolf’s first shot was successful, tying the game 52-52. With the crowd roaring, Little Wolf took his last shot and made the basket, putting the Bulldogs in the lead 53-52 with under two seconds remaining in the game.
“He was in the zone,” Round Face said. “You could see it in his face, he was just mentally prepared. I was excited when he made the first one, because at least we could go into overtime, but when he made a second one I was overjoyed and when [Laurel] threw that half-court shot, the first thing that popped in my head was ‘Glendive’.”
Round Face’s reference is to a previous game against Glendive, where the game was lost by a last-second half-court shot.
Little Wolf led the Bulldogs with 17 points, two assists and four rebounds followed by Venne with 11 points, two assists and 10 rebounds as well as Larry and Virgil McCormick, each with 8 points.
Hardin vs. Sidney
Saturday’s Eastern Class A conference game versus the Sidney Eagles ended with a 73-66 Bulldog win.
Within the first period, Hardin gained a 5-point lead at 23-18. Going into halftime, the Sidney Eagles drew closer with the score moving to 38-37 in the Bulldogs’ favor.
Although period three left the Bulldogs 2 points behind 50-52, the fourth quarter resulted in a 23-point gain, pushing the final score to 73-66.
With two minutes remaining in the fourth, Little Wolf fouled out of the game.
Four Bulldogs were in danger of “foul trouble”, each gaining four fouls in the game – with the exception of Little Wolf.
Larry McCormick led the Bulldogs in the scoring table, shooting 76.5 percent. He contributed 23 points, two assists and three rebounds.
Clarence Little Wolf – shooting 83 percent – followed with 19 points, one assist and three steals.
During last Thursday’s game against Billings West, Left Hand injured his ankle during the last two minutes of the game. According to Round Face, the injury happened when Left Hand was running down-court for a long pass. When he turned toward the basket, his ankle rolled out.
“I saw it happen and didn’t think it was that bad,” Round Face said. “He waved and shook it off like it wasn’t, but after the game when his adrenaline went down, it started hurting a bit more.”
Round Face took Left Hand out in last weekend’s games to “be cautious and let him heal right.” Left Hand will return to the court Feb. 4 for the non-conference game versus Shepherd.
In the Jan. 14 game against Lodge Grass, Larry McCormick hyperextended his knee while attempting to rebound the ball. According to Round Face, McCormick is close but not yet fully recovered and is currently using a knee brace during games. Round Face thinks it will take time for McCormick to “mentally be right with the brace.”
“He’ll be fine once he gets over the mental aspect of it,” he said. “It slowed him down a step or two, but he’s still getting open shots. The only thing it’s affected is him running up and down the court at full speed.”