By Kim Staudinger
Saturday was a night of exciting games around the Hi-Line and the Montana State University-Northern Skylights' game with Lewis-Clark State was no different.
Trailing for the entire game, the Skylights climbed back and made the game a shooting contest from three-point range. The Skylights made 18 three-pointers on the game, while the Warriors made eight.
Taking their first lead of the game with just 54 seconds left on the clock thanks to a Tamecia Watkins three-point basket from the right corner, Northern knew it had a chance to win. Watkins made one of two free throws with 41 seconds left to give Northern a two-point lead.
Lewis-Clark tied the game with 16 seconds remaining as senior Brianne Kottwitz drove the lane and scored with a lay-in. The game remained tied and overtime appeared unavoidable until Shanta Coleman fouled Northern's Angee Thomas on a three-pointer. Thomas made the first two free throws before the Warriors decided to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Warriors were set up in preparation for Thomas to make her last free throw. Thomas missed, and by the time Lewis-Clark could grab the rebound, time had expired, giving the Skylights a 77-75 win.
The Skylights were down by as many as 12 in the first half, but were able to cut the Warrior lead to 37-31 at the half. Despite getting down by 10 once again early in the second half, Northern kept the game to within five for most of the second half.
Paula Owens led the Skylights with 25 points and Thomas added 21. Watkins (12) and Balgua (11) also scored in double figures for the Skylights. Sarah Gaugler also added six points.
Northern improved to 2-0 in conference play, while Lewis-Clark State fell to 1-1.
The Skylights and Lights will face the University of Great Falls on Saturday. The women's game is slated for 6 p.m. with the men's game to follow at 8.