Friday, February 23, 2018

Hardin guard Nechia House scoots under a Shepherd defender Friday evening on her way to the basket.Young basketball fans try their hands at being cheerleaders during the fourth quarter of the Hardin-Shepherd competition.

Lady Bulldog basketball team takes out Rams, Mustangs in latest double victory

Hardin claimed victories once again last week in girls basketball, defeating Billings Central on Thursday and scoring the team’s highest free throw percentage – 85 percent – in a home win against Shepherd on Friday. Billings Central is ranked third in Eastern A to Hardin’s first, and Shepherd was a non-conference team previously defeated by the Ladies 64-46 on Jan. 6.
Prior to their match with Central’s Lady Rams, Head Coach Cindy Farmer of the Hardin Lady Bulldogs stressed the importance of blocking out opposing post player Olivia Moten-Schell. Moten-Schell had managed to score 24 points on the Ladies during their Dec. 13 game, leading to a 46-44 victory for the Rams. This time, Hardin players kept her boxed out and held her to 14 points.
“We really worked on our post defense,” Farmer said. “We did a good job with that.”
The Ladies kept the Rams “off their rhythm” on the court, Farmer continued, and rebounded the ball regularly to keep Central players from getting second shots at their basket. Of the Ladies’ 25 total rebounds, 19 were defensive.
In the end, the Hardin took advantage of a 13-point lead at the end of the first half to make up for a 5-point deficit in the second. The game’s final score, in Hardin’s favor, was 61-53.
“Of course, they’re going to make a couple runs,” Farmer said. “We held it and came away with the victory.”
Guard-forward Madisan Chavez was the Ladies’ top shooter with 16 points, followed by forward-post Trahnea Phelan with 14 and guard Karissa DuShane with 12. 
For total rebounds, guard Sharmayne Hardy caught the most with seven, followed by DuShane with five and Chavez with four. Chavez and Hardy were tied for the team’s most of 14 steals: four.
Against Shepherd’s Lady Mustangs, the Ladies were ahead for the game. During the second and third quarters in particular, they pulled forward 20-12 and 26-5 respectively. Shepherd outscored Hardin 16-12 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.
The Mustangs played in terms of guarding zones rather than focusing on individual players, Farmer said, necessitating offensive adjustments to find gaps in Shepherd’s defense.
“The girls did a good job of maintaining their intensity and energy level for four quarters,” Farmer said.
The Ladies only scored 31 percent of their field goals against Shepherd compared to 57 percent during their last match-up (with Billings Central, they shot 36 percent). However, three players did have perfect scores for free throws: DuShane hit all eight, post Imani Kindness succeeded with four and Hardy sank both of her shots.
Final score for the game, in the Ladies’ favor, was 72-43.
DuShane sank the most shots for her team with 23, followed by Chavez with 20. 
In a four-way tie for the most of 38 total rebounds post Arena Plenty, Chavez, Phelan and DuShane all caught seven. DuShane took the most of 15 steals with five, followed by Hardy with three.
Hardin will be playing against Class AA’s Billings Skyview at home on Friday and will then face Miles City at another home game on Tuesday for their Senior Night.