By Ryan Divish
All the Box Elder girls basketball team wanted to do was make it out of that first round game with a win and nobody getting hurt.
With a possible semifinal matchup with Blue Sky looming, the Bears made quick work of the Turner Tornadoes, 69-30, Tuesday night in District 9C tournament action at the Havre High gymnasium.
"That first game, you use it to get the tournament jitters out," said Box Elder head coach Shiloh Schwab-Hannum. "You don't want to look past it, you just want to get the win and move on."
If the Bears had any jitters or were looking past Turner, they didn't show it. Box Elder exploded to a 34-8 first quarter lead and never looked back.
Led by Tami Infante and Latasha Wolf Child, the Bears full-court pressure harassed and harangued the Tornadoes into a plethora of first-half turnovers which in turn led to several easy transition baskets.
"They are so quick and aggressive," said Turner head coach Joyce Van Voast. "We couldn't do much against their pressure."
When the Tornadoes did break the Bear pressure, the shots they did get didn't fall.
"My guards didn't get the ball inside to my big girls," Van Voast said. "We couldn't get our outside shots to fall either."
While no one could hit for Turner, everyone got into the act for Box Elder. Eight Bears got scored in the game led by Brandy Lawrence with 19 points and Infante with 14 in limited playing time.
Turner was led by freshman Cheryl Cowan's 11 points while Britney Jones added 8.
"This is a game where we were able to get everybody some playing time in the tournament," Schwab-Hannum said. "Obviously, against Blue Sky it will be a little different."
Box Elder will meet Blue Sky in a much anticipated rubber match in Thursday night's semifinal at 7 p.m. The two squads split their games on the season, with Box Elder winning the last game on Jan. 31.
"We have to rebound and play good defense," Schwab-Hannum said. "That keeps us in games. What we really need is five players that come ready to play for all 32 minutes of the game."
Turner will try and rebound against Rocky Boy in loser-out action tonight at 7 p.m.
"We can turn it around," Van Voast said. "We've beat Rocky Boy twice this season. It will be tough, but I think we can do well."