Friday, January 19, 2018

Top-ranked Lady Bulldogs hold steady after going 2 and 1

After three away games this week – two of which were conference games – Hardin High School’s Lady Bulldog basketball team continues the season’s second half ranked No. 1 in the Eastern A conference.
Last week, the Lady Bulldogs played against teams from Billings West, Laurel and Sidney. The Tuesday, Jan. 26 game against Billings West was their sole non-conference competition.
The Ladies are now 10-3 overall with a conference record of 7-1.
Hardin vs. Billings West
The Lady Bulldogs sustained their third loss of the season after last Tuesday’s non-conference away game against Class AA Billings West. 
The game ended 73-50 with the Bulldogs scoring under 10 points in periods 2 and 4; 9-20 in the second quarter and 6-18 in the fourth.
“It took us a little while to get going,” said Head Coach Cindy Farmer. “In that second quarter, we just didn’t defend very well.”
The Bulldogs turned the tables in the third quarter, however, scoring 21 to West’s 9.
Nine of 12 Bulldogs made it onto the scoreboard with at least one point.
“We usually have seven, eight or nine [players] in the scoring column,” said Farmer, “but, every basket counts.”
Point leaders for the Lady Bulldogs were Madisan Chavez with 13 and Aubrey Meiwald with 10.
Nechia House, Madisan Chavez and Trahnea Phelan each had three assists. Notably, House had eight defensive rebounds – half of the Bulldogs’ 16 in total.
Hardin vs. Laurel
Last Thursday’s conference game versus Laurel’s Lady Locomotives ended closely with a Bulldog win 53-52.
“We’re averaging around 55, but we’re limiting our opponents to around 40,” Farmer said. “I felt that even though our defense was intense, we gave up too many easy baskets off transition.”
The teams battled for the upper hand, trading the lead in points scored each quarter. 
The first half ended with a Bulldog lead 26-20. By the end of the third quarter, scores were tied at 41.
In the last 14 seconds of the game, Laurel held a 2-point lead over the Bulldogs. 
“I didn’t want to call a timeout, because sometimes it gives the other team a chance to set up too.” In the previous timeout, Farmer said, “I told them, ‘We’re just going when you get the basketball.’”
With three seconds remaining, Nechia House made a 3-point shot from directly behind the wing of the arch.
Point leader for the Lady Bulldogs was Evanna Wallace with 19 points, 17 of which were scored in the second half, three rebounds and two assists. Chavez followed Wallace in scores with 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Notably, Meiwald contributed eight assists – most of them to Wallace – to the Bulldogs’ 20 total.
“The posts were just working well together,” Farmer said. “When [Meiwald] would get the ball low and [Laurel] would double her, [Meiwald] would just whip it to [Wallace] at the high post and she would get those shots.”
Hardin vs. Sidney
Saturday’s conference game versus Sidney’s Lady Eagles brought the Lady Bulldogs their 10th win this season of the 13 games played. 
Despite having a 33 percent field goal percentage and two players who didn’t play, nine of 10 Bulldogs made it onto the scoreboard with at least 4 points, bringing home a 51-43 win. 
The first half of the game left Sidney 10 points behind the Bulldogs 27-17.
Ending the third quarter, each team gained 15 points, bringing the score up in favor of the Bulldogs 42-32.
“We played pretty good the first half defensively, but the second half I think we just didn’t run and execute our offense as well as we should have,” Farmer said, “and our defense didn’t have the same intensity in the second half as much as it did the first half.”
Bulldog score leaders were Chavez and Sharmayne Hardy, each finishing with 8 points, two assists and two steals. Karissa DuShane, Phelan and Sayra Long Fox followed in points scored with 6.