Final home shootout
Thu, 02/22/2018 - 5:00am admin
Hardin defeats Belgrade in last home game of the 2017-18 season
By Andrew Turck with Gary Rood / Big Horn County News
Hardin’s Bulldog basketball team held their final home game of the season on Friday against the Belgrade Panthers, where they maintained a lead throughout the matchup for a final score of 71-58.
Belgrade kept up with Hardin for most of the first period, but a 3-point shot by sophomore Trae Hugs near the one-minute mark brought cheers from the Bulldog crowd and the score to 11-6. From then on, the Panthers seemed resigned to playing catch-up.
Belgrade wanted to focus on a zone-to-zone defense, according to Hardin Head Coach Andrew Round Face, which “worked for a little while” before the Bulldogs found the weaknesses within each section. Hardin itself usually employs the more aggressive man-to-man defense.
“We want to start out hard and see where we are,” Round Face said. “Then, we want to assert ourselves into the game and make sure [we] have a presence.
“We push until they can’t keep up with us and then we start taking off.”
The Bulldogs’ lead was cemented further by a dunk from sophomore Cayden Redfield to begin the second half and another 3-pointer from sophomore Famous Lefthand. Before the game was done, Lefthand would go on to lead his team with 29 total points.
Hardin senior David Evans, in the last 30 seconds of the fourth period, held the ball at his side and both teams called it an evening.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Evans said, reflecting on playing his last home game as a Hardin Bulldog. “I give a shout out to my teammates. It was all about them.”
Round Face believes his team is improving and “slowly getting back to our old selves.” They suffered their first loss three weeks ago in double overtime against Billings Central, but it has been nothing but wins since.
To quote Evans, “There’s always something to fix, but we’re doing all right.”
“I thought we moved the ball well,” Round Face said. “We took care of it and we got all the rebounds. One thing we’ve been working on really hard is to contain the glass and make sure [the Panthers weren’t] getting any more opportunities than they had.”
Hardin caught 29 rebounds that game, the most belonging to Evans with eight. Belgrade caught about 10 times fewer with 3.
In their final away game on Saturday, where they played the Livingston Rangers, the Bulldogs obtained 39 rebounds to their opponents’ 17 as part of their 90-62 victory leading to divisionals.
The top shooter against Livingston was also Lefthand with 23, followed by Hugs with 18, Evans with 14 and Redfield with 13.
As of Wednesday, Hardin entered the Eastern Divisional Basketball Tournament in Billings at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Brackets and game times may be found online at www.mhsa.org/.