Friday, February 23, 2018

Hardin guard and forward Madisan Chavez charges down the court last Thursday evening with Laurel players in pursuit.

Lady Bulldog basketball team just keeps on rackin’ up wins in Eastern A

In a pattern that has likely become familiar to Lady Bulldog basketball fans, Hardin knocked out another two wins for the week, further cementing their 11-2 overall record and No. 1 status in the Eastern A conference. Their match-ups started last Thursday evening at home with a 67-56 win over Laurel’s Lady Locomotives, buffered by a strong shooting performance from guard Karissa DuShane.
Every time it appeared the Locomotives might catch up point-wise, DuShane would be there to sink in free throws with 92 percent accuracy – 12 of 13 throughout the game. In the meantime, the Ladies kept the Locomotives occupied on the other side of the court.
“The girls played really good, intense defense,” Head Coach Cindy Farmer said. “We had a really strong second quarter and had a 17-point lead at half time.”
Laurel stepped up their momentum in the third quarter while the Ladies slowed down, however. This led to an uneasy period where the Ladies weren’t sinking their shots with as much regularity. It seemed, in that quarter, more of a matter of holding off Laurel than actually surpassing them. While the team never fell behind Laurel overall, they trailed 12-17 in the third quarter score.
“We always talk about how the first three minutes of the game and the third quarter are very important with our intensity and energy level,” Farmer said. “We let them make a run, so we had to regroup and get all back on the same page.”
Fortunately for the Ladies, they turned the tables slightly in the fourth quarter, capping off that score with a 17-16 lead.
DuShane scored more than one-third of the team’s total points with 25, followed by guard and forward Madisan Chavez with 16. Chavez caught eight of the team’s 35 total rebounds, backed up by guard Nechia House with six, and DuShane and post Marie Five with – appropriately – five. In the realm of steals, Chavez tripled her nearest teammate with six of 12 total.
Hardin’s Saturday away match-up with Sidney’s Lady Eagles wasn’t quite the 72-27 blow-out victory of mid-January, but the Ladies still managed to double the opposing team’s final score 63-31.
Despite the win, Farmer said the Ladies weren’t quite at the top of their game to start off. Unlike the Laurel game, the Ladies were best in the second half, she said, rather than the first.
“We were a little out of sync the first half and then, again, defense starts everything for us,” Farmer said. “We had a good defensive effort as a team in the second half. They shared the ball and just played well together.”
Forward and post Trahnea Phelan, sporting an 80 percent field goal percentage, was the top shooter that game with 16 points, followed by Chavez with 12 and House with 10. As with Laurel, Chavez caught the most of 36 rebounds total with 13, followed by Five with – again – five. 
This Thursday, Hardin will be returning to Billings to fight Billing’s Central’s Lady Rams at 4 p.m. Last time they met, on Dec. 13, the Rams scored a last-second 46-44 victory over them at MetraPark’s Rimrock Auto Arena.
“We have to defend their post player,” Farmer said, referring to Ram Olivia Moten-Schell, who scored 24 points on them the last game. “It’s going to take everybody on the same page, defensively.”
After the Billings Central game, the Ladies will face Shepherd’s Lady Mustangs at home. In their previous confrontation, the Ladies were victorious 64-46, thanks to what Farmer described as good shooting and a strong defense.