By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
In loser-out action of any basketball tournament, the stakes are always high. On Wednesday night at the District 9C girls basketball tournament, the Box Elder Bears handled the immense pressure of trying to stay alive and live to fight another day by defeating KG 60-50.
The Bears used a stellar defensive effort and got a balanced offensive attack to keep the KouGars at bay the entire game despite a 32-point outburst from KG junior Jodi Norman.
"I think the main thing is that we were in a good flow the entire game," said Box Elder head coach Shilo Schwab-Hannum. "I think the way the game went and how the officials called it really helped us out tonight."
What also helped the Bears out was the fact that they forced KG into 25 turnovers. Those miscues offset the night that Norman had scoring. The game was close throughout the first quarter with both team's getting points in the paint.
The Bears went inside to Rokki Parker as well as Tasha and Ashley Parisian, while KG got Norman and freshman Tasha Dyrland off to a good start. By the end of the period the Bears were holding on to a one-point lead at 13-12.
But that lead would soon swell. Box Elder ripped off nine unanswered points midway through the second quarter and would have had a double-digit lead going into halftime if it were not for Britta Umbach's 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull the KouGars within seven at 29-22.
In the second half, Box Elder started getting more outside production from guards Gerri and Rebecca Eagleman, while Norman kept plugging away for the KouGars. KG managed to get to within two points a couple of times in the third quarter before the Bears closed on an 8-2 run that put them ahead 42-35.
From that point, the KouGars' fate was sealed as they were in dire foul trouble the rest of the way. Norman valiantly tried to keep the KouGars in the game with 12 points in the final stanza, but Box Elder was able to ice the contest at the free-throw line as three KouGars fouled out in the game's final four minutes.
"We haven't been a particularly good free-throw shooting team this season," Schwab-Hannum said. "But we made some big free throws in the second half, and the fact that we were able to get to the freet-throw line so much really helped us tonight."
The Bears were paced by Ashley Parisian's 12 points, but they also got 11 from Rebecca Eagleman as well as eight points apiece from Parker, Tasha Parisian and Sharlene Yellowtail.
"I think being able to go inside and out really helps us, and I think we are a much better team when we don't have to rely on one person to do all the scoring," Schwab-Hannum said. "We only had Rokki for the second half of the season and having her on the inside has made us a much more balanced team overall."
Norman's night was nothing short of spectacular, but the KouGars got little else from the rest of their players. Dyrland managed nine points and 12 rebounds, but overall KG had just four players reach the scoring column on the night.
KG's season is now over with a 2-20 record. Box Elder will play in loser-out action on Friday at 1 p.m. The Bears will await the loser of today's semifinal matchup between Rocky Boy and Hays-Lodge Pole.
Box Elder 60, KG 50 (lo)
Box Elder 13 16 13 18 - 60
KG 12 10 13 15 - 50
Box Elder - Rokki Parker 8, Tasha Parisian 8, Gerri Eagleman 7, Sharlene Yellow Tail 8, Rebecca Eagleman 11, Ashley Parisian 12, Loni Lamere 3. Totals: NA.
KG - Jodi Norman 32, Kate Vosen 6, Tasha Dyrland 9, Britta Umbach 3. Totals: NA.
Total fouls: Box Elder 21, KG 27. Fouled out: Hanson, Norman, Donovan, T. Parisian, G. Eagleman. 3-point goals: R. Eagleman, Umbach.