By Heidi Boyum
The Blue Sky Eagles, though still recovering from various injuries, were able to capitalize on Rocky Boy's youth and inexperience as they put the Morning Stars away in the fourth quarter Friday night.
The Rocky Boy girls basketball team trailed by only one at the half and four after the third quarter, but was outscored by the Eagles 19-6 in the last eight minutes.
Blue Sky's only senior, Cassidy Han, had the first point of the ballgame after drawing a shooting foul and connecting with one of two free shots. Han, who had ACL surgery in January, completed her six months of doctor-ordered inactivity just two weeks before practices began, Eagle coach Darin Hannum said. Han has had two 20-point games so far this season.
"It takes a lot of guts from her to come back," said Hannum. "She's sore every day, but is gradually gaining more confidence and playing rougher every game."
After a Rocky Boy timeout just four minutes into the game, the Stars combined good offensive ball movement and inside passing with some fast- break action for a quick six points. However, the Eagles answered back with strong inside jumpers from Jessica Patrick and conversions of offensive rebounds to take the lead 11-9.
Sophomore, floor leader and lone Star returnee Shana St. Pierre tied things up with a short jumper 10 seconds into the second quarter. But Rocky Boy's lead from two fast-break lay-ins was squelched by offensive rebounding and patient team ball movement by the Eagles as they tied things up at 15.
Trisha Day Child's banked jumper once again put Rocky Boy on top, but a post-time-out three by Eagle guard Holly Haas and an executed inbounds play turned the score back in Blue Sky's favor.
Rocky Boy coach Martin Parker credited Trisha Day Child and Ronni Jo LaMere with picking up a lot of the scoring slack and stepping it up as leaders on the court.
"We're coming along pretty good," said Parker. "We're still inexperienced, but by tournament time we'll be looking good."
The Stars, who have no upperclassmen on their varsity squad, temporarily took their last lead of the game off a pair of lay-ins, but Eagle offensive boards prevailed as freshman Kilee Patrick drew the foul, completing a three-point play just seconds before the half that put the Eagles up 24-23.
Though Rocky Boy tied up the game early in the third, the Eagles met the Stars' full-court pressure with composure and smart ball handling to go on a nine-point run snapped by two jumpers from Rocky Boy's Shoshana Saddler.
Unfortunately for the Stars too little, too late. The fourth quarter belonged to Blue Sky, which went on to down the Stars 57-40.
Blue Sky Holly Haas 3, Cassidy Han 15, Lindsay Anderson 14, Heather Wendland 2, Jessica Patrick 16, Kaila Warren 2, Heather Haas 2, Kilee Patrick 3.
Rocky Boy Shoshana Saddler 7, Trisha Day Child 8, Ronni Jo Lamere 4, Brittany St. Pierre 2, Shana St. Pierre 10, Allie Sunchild 7, Deidra Sunchild, 2.