Friday, February 23, 2018

Gabby Plenty Hawk of Lodge Grass darts around Hardin guard/forward Madisan Chavez during their Saturday afternoon game.Hardin forward DeShawna Anderson successfully blocks a shot by Lodge Grass forward/guard Brinna Melendrez at the Indian–Bulldog matchup.

Lodge Grass girls step up following first-quarter blowout by Hardin

Going into Saturday’s basketball game with Hardin’s Lady Bulldogs, the Lodge Grass Indians were caught off-guard and unprepared for a tumultuous first quarter. Despite Lodge Grass’ efforts, Hardin players zipped by, caught rebound after rebound and sank 39 points. Especially devastating for the Indians was Bulldog guard Karissa DuShane, who scored 19 points in the first quarter alone.
Lodge Grass attempted formulate an effective response against the onslaught, but could only manage 4 points, courtesy of layups by forward/guard Brinna Melendrez and post/forward Aleigha Spotted Horse. As Lodge Grass gathered before the second quarter, however, Head Coach Jewana Plenty Hawk had no intention of letting Hardin continue to walk over her team.
The Bulldogs would eventually win 76-30, but not before the Indians re-entered the game as stronger competitors.
“I told them to show heart,” Plenty Hawk said. “A true ball-player would get out there and chase the ball, regardless of the score or the time.” 
Second quarter remained a trial for the Indians, who scored only 9 points to Bulldogs’ 23. Still, they now were getting fouled on shots, setting up the opportunity for free throws. Unfortunately for the Indians, they only sank one of 11 shots, a far cry from the Bulldogs’ 10 of 14.
Free throws are often emphasized by Bulldog Head Coach Cindy Farmer, a skill the team practices regularly to perfect.
“With our press, we scored about 60 points in the first half,” Farmer said. “We played tough defense and limited them in their scores.
“Good things happen when you do what you’re supposed to on defense and offense.”
Though Lodge Grass trailed by 49 points by the end of the half, they found their second wind in the third quarter. With improved free throwing abilities – four of seven to the Bulldogs’ three of four – and four successful layups, the Indians actually gained a higher score than Hardin in the third quarter: 10-6.
Maintaining the higher-energy play style into the fourth quarter, the Indians earned a fourth-quarter score of 7-8. They were still behind in the fourth quarter score, but had improved from the double digit deficits of the first half. Reflecting on the game, Plenty Hawk said the Hardin team was “set” and “ready to play.” She wants her team to follow suit. 
“We play like a relaxed team,” Plenty Hawk said. “We need to come out shooting, scoring, running.”
Hardin’s top shooter for the game was DuShane with 29 points, followed by Madisan Chavez with 11, Marie Five with 9 and – now recovered from an injury – Aubrey Meiwald with 8.
For Lodge Grass, Melendrez scored the most points with 12, followed by Shelbie Little Light with 8, Spotted Horse with 6 and Sarah Bends with 4.
Starting Wednesday, Feb. 22, the Lady Bulldogs are set to play at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings for the Eastern A divisional tournament.
Lodge Grass began the Southern “3B” basketball district tournament on Tuesday in Colstrip. They are scheduled to finish this Saturday.
Hardin                     39   23   6   8    76
Lodge Grass             4     9   10  7    30
Hardin                       9  18   38  21  86
Billings Skyview       20  15  15  10   60