By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
RUDYARD - The Blue Sky girls basketball team not only cemented itself atop the District 9C standings on Tuesday night; the Eagles did something that most other teams in the 9C haven't been able to do - slow down Cady Arifin.
Blue Sky harassed and harangued the 9C's leading scorer, while soundly defeating the KG KouGars 65-46 to move another game up on KG in the conference standings.
In what was to be a matchup of the conference's top two teams, the Eagles took control early and never looked back.
With Arifin on the bench nursing a twisted ankle, Kaila Warren and Lindsay Anderson combined to score 10 consecutive points as Blue Sky built a 10-point cushion that it would never really relinquish the rest of the night.
Arifin tweaked her ankle early in the first quarter on a three-point play and limped off trying to get some range of motion back. In her absence, KG managed just one basket - a jumpshot from Casie Toner - as Blue Sky grabbed a 17-5 first quarter lead.
When Arifin returned the second quarter, it was the Blue Sky defense, not her ankle that proved to be the greatest hindrance. Anderson shadowed Arifin from end line to end line and Blue Sky turned up its full-court pressure on KG, forcing several turnovers.
"We worked on defending them yesterday," said head coach Liz Campbell after the game. "It wasn't just one person though, it was for the whole team. We played a tough man-to-man defense and made sure if you were on the weakside to stay in the key because Cady is such a strong driver."
Arifin sank a long three pointer and added a bucket inside as KG tried to crawl its way back into the game. But baskets from Anderson, Robyn Schnitzmeier and Courtney Wendland kept the Eagle lead near double figures.
It was a lead KG would never overcome. Arifin tried to get on track sinking another three-pointer and adding a few more scores on short jumpshots. But for the most part, any time she drove inside she was met by a swarm of Eagle defenders.
"Lindsay is a good defender and we told her if Cady is going to hit NBA three-pointers there isn't much we can do about that," Campbell said. "We just wanted to stop her from penetrating and getting easy shots."
While Arifin found no easy shots, the Eagles found plenty, particularly from the free-throw line. Blue Sky sank 23 of 33 free throws including 15 of 17 in the second half.
Besides the solid defense, Anderson scored a game-high 26 points including 14 of 15 from the charity stripe. Kile Patrick had a solid game inside with 13 points while Warren added 12.
Arifin worked hard for her 21 points while Casie Toner added 14 points in the loss.
It was a gratifying win for Campbell, considering she is missing two major contributors in Holly Haas (knee injury) and Brianne Horinek (broken nose).
"Holly was such a force on defense, this game would have been right up her alley," Campbell said. "With the injuries we've had, we need the other girls to step up and bandtogether. And they have been doing that. There aren't going to be any easy games for us, especially since we're not at full strength."
With the win, Blue Sky improves to 10-1 in conference and 11-2 overall. KG fell to 6-5 in conference and 8-5 overall. The Eagles will travel to J-I on Saturday while the KouGars will host Sunburst.
In the boys game, KG moved into second place in the 9C standings, at least for the time being, with a 77-36 win. The KouGars steamrolled to an 18-4 first-quarter lead, forcing a young Eagle team into a plethora of turnovers.
Drew Kapperud scored a game-high 22 points including six three-pointers to lead KG. Cody Donoven added 14 points and Dan Kloppenburg chipped in with 11. Blue Sky was lead by Darius Wendland's 11 points.
Elsewhere, the Turner Tornadoes scored a pair of wins over the Harlem junior varsity squads. Ashley Van Voast scored 26 points to lead the Tornado girls to a 53-42 win. Turner took advantage of 30 Harlem fouls, sinking 27 of 47 free throws in the game. Kelsey Klindworth added 15 points for Turner. Harlem was led by Starlyn Carrywater's 13 points.
In the boys game, Turner also capitalized on Harlem foul trouble. The Tornadoes sank 22 of 47 free throws in a 75-47 win. Clancy Kegel scored a game-high 25 points while Dalton Cornell added 13 in the win. David Jones and Colin Jones chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ray Moore led Harlem with 14 points.
Blue Sky 65, KG 46
KG 5 11 13 17 - 46
Blue Sky 17 13 13 22 - 65
KG - Cady Arifin 21, Heidi Donoven 4, Mandy Rambo 2, Casie Toner 14, Whitney Hanson 4, Britta Umbach 1. Totals: 16 11-20 46.
Blue Sky - Kaila Warren 12, Lindsay Anderson 26, Robyn Schnitzmeier 4, Kile Patrick 13, Megan Warren 2, Ashley Gatzemeier 2, Courtney Wendland 6. Totals: 21 23-33 65.
Three-point goals - Arifin 2, Toner 1. Total Fouls - KG 18, SKY 22. Fouled out - Arifin, M. Warren.
Turner 53, Harlem JV 42
Harlem JV 3 18 15 6 - 42
Turner 8 16 17 12 - 53
Harlem JV - Koda Cochran 11, Colleen Filesteel 2, June Daniels 2, Heather Earthboy 2, Starlyn Carrywater 13, Gemma Rides At The Door 8, Leandra Thomas 4. Totals: 16 9-20 53.
Turner - Britney Jones 6, Celeste Hedegaard 1, Jade Olszewski 5, Ashley Van Voast 26, Kelsey Klindworth 15. Totals: 13 27-47 53.
Three-point goals - Cochran 1. Total Fouls - TUR 15, HAR 30. Fouled out - Carrywater, Daniels.
KG 77, Blue Sky 36
KG 18 19 24 16 - 77
Blue Sky 4 9 8 15 - 36
KG - Dan Kloppenburg 11, Stephen Ramsbacher 2, Drew Kapperud 22, Luke Antonich 6, Donald Linderman 5, Darby Donoven 8, Cody Donoven 14, Richie Melby 9. Totals: 32 3-6 77.
Blue Sky - Jeremiah Moog 7, Alex Chvilicek 1, Darius Wendland 11, Conrad Wendland 8, Roald Aageson 2, Levi Wendland 6, Mat Sudan 1. Totals: 14 7-16 36.
Three-point goals - Kapperud 6, Kloppenburg 3, Antonich 1, D. Wendland 1. Total Fouls - KG 14, SKY 12. Fouled out - none.
Turner 75, Harlem JV 47
Harlem JV 8 15 7 17 - 47
Turner 21 16 23 15 - 75
Harlem JV - Ty Rock 3, Michael Mikelson 4, Kent Mount 3, Jeremy Rutherford 5, Felix Castillo 4, C.J. Stiffarm 6, Ray Moore 14, Eddie Moore 7, Clayton Talks Different 1. Totals: 19 7-15 47.
Turner - Clancy Kegel 25, David Jones 11, Duane Hofer 9, Colin Jones 10, Dalton Cornell 13, Chad Jones 2, Emory Hedegaard 3, Logan Fouts 2. Totals: 25 22-47 75
Three-point goals - Kegel 1, Cornell 2, Rock 1, E. Moore 1. Total Fouls - TUR 13, HAR 27. Fouled out - Bigby. Technical fouls - Harlem coach