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Skylights ground a pair of birds

 

November 13, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Peyton Filius, left, goes up for a shot during Sunday's game against San Diego Christian inside the Armory Gymnasium. Northern beat the Hawks, who hail from California, less than 24 hours after destroying Northwest University in Great Falls.

The Montana State University-Northern women's basketball team knew that beating San Diego Christian College wasn't going to be easy and it wasn't.

However, after a dominant second-half performance, the Skylights ran away from their GSAC opponent, defeating the Hawks 74-47 Sunday afternoon inside the Armory Gymnasium. MSU-N improved its record to 5-1. The No. 21 Skylights will be in action again this weekend, with back-to-back games, Saturday and Sunday against the University of Colorado Mesa and Dixie State. Both games will be played in St. George, Utah.

Yet before the Skylights turn their attention to a pair of NCAA Division II foes, MSU-N still had to take care of business against San Diego Christian and, at the start, the Hawks were ready to play. The two teams traded buckets early, but after two 3-pointers and another hoop by Danna Robles of SDC, the Hawks grabbed a 12-10 lead about midway through the first quarter. However, a triple by Peyton Filius put Northern in front as the first stanza came to a close 17-16.

"They have a solid program," Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. "It was good to have my friend Shawn Chaffin back in town and he is doing good things there. I think those kids are really responding to him."

Chaffin, a former assistant coach at Northern and former coach at the University of Providence, had his team playing with no fear in the Armory, so even when the Hawks got behind 28-23 after a runner by Filius, with 2:49 left in the first half, they didn't flinch, closing on a 7-2 run to even things up at 30-30 going into the intermission.

After the two teams came back onto the floor, things stayed tight, with the score tied 34-34 with 5:08 left in the stanza. Yet, an offensive rebound and a put back by Shiloh McCormick got Northern the lead and sparked an 11-0 run, that featured a trey by Filius, one by Jacy Thompson, then another from Filius, her third of the night, as MSU-N grabbed a 45-34 lead.

"Those two, Peyton (Filius) and Jacy (Thompson) played really well," Mouat said. "We started to hit a couple of shots and once that starts happening, they seem to start falling for everyone. But as well as they played offensively, they were even better defensively. We didn't really change our game plan or anything in the second half. We just really started to get after it."

Up 50-37 starting the fourth quarter, Filius put even more distance between the Skylights and the Hawks, as she made another 3-pointer early in the final stanza, her fourth make from downtown, putting her team up 16, 53-37.

"I am really happy for Peyton because she works so hard at it," Mouat said. "She is such a good shooter, that I expect her to make it every time. I actually get mad at her when she doesn't shoot it. But the other thing people don't realize, is that she is doing that, while she is guarding the best player from the other team. That takes a lot of effort, so it was impressive to see her shoot that way on top of that."

Soon after Filius extended the lead to 16, freshman Naomi Terry, who played 27 minutes due to an injury to starting point guard Brandy Lambourne, connected on a 3-pointer and when another freshman, Peyton Kehr hit from deep, the Skylights lead was 64-42 with 4:24 left and the game was all but decided.

"I tell all my kids, if you are going to play as a freshman, you can't be a freshman," Mouat said, "and when Naomi came in for Brandy, we didn't miss a beat. She did a good job in a pressure situation and that was a good learning experience for her."

While Northern was good on the offensive end in the second half, connecting on 53 percent of its shots, the Skylights defense was even better, limiting the Hawks to just 17 points on 17-percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Thompson, who led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, also contributed with six assists and six rebounds in the win. Filius, who was 4-of-7 from 3-point range, finished with 18. She also had four assists and five boards. Both guards also finished with just one turnover.

"Jacy was Jacy," Mouat said. "She played great defense, just like I would expect from the Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Year a couple years ago. But she also did a great job on offense. She led us in assists and there was one play where she could have scored a two, but passed it out for Peyton for a three and that was kind of a dagger. We traded a two for a three and that was a big play, a good decision by her."

Jessica Curl was also solid inside for the Skylights, notching 14 points, five rebounds and one block. McCormick also had a productive night, posting a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 13 boards. Robles was the leading scorer for the Hawks with 10.

The Skylights picked up two wins this weekend, as they also handled Cascade Conference foe Northwest University Saturday night in Great Falls.

Behind a balanced scoring attack, MSU-N ran away from the Eagles 77-48 in the McLaughlin Center. Lily Hilderbrand came off the bench to score 15 points, while Peyton Filius and Shiloh McCormick each scored 12 and Brandy Lambourne added five.

The Skylights will play the University of Colorado Mesa this Saturday at 6 p.m. in St. George, Utah.

Skylight 74, San Diego Christian 47

SDC 16 14 7 10 - 47

MSU-N 17 13 20 24 - 74

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

MSU-Northern's Jessica Curl, right, shoots over a San Diego Christian defender during Sunday's game in Havre.

MSU-N - Jessica Curl 6-10 2-4 14, Jacy Thompson 7-12 3-4 19, Brandy Lambourne 1-4 0-0 2, Peyton Filius 7-13 0-0 18, Shiloh McCormick 6-16 0-0 13, Naomi Terry 1-4 1-2 4, Peyton Kehr 1-2 0-0 3, Kealani Sagapolu 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 30-64 6-10.

SDC - Abigail Vargas 1-4 0-0 2, Jazmine Bradley 2-7 0-0 4, Danna Robles 4-8 0-4 10, Anessa Wolfblack 3-12 0-2 7, Erica McCarter 2-9 2-2 7, Kaitlyn McKinney 2-7 2-2 7, Dayna Hansen 2-5 0-1 5, Krista Bulgion 0-3 0-0 0, Ashley Hibbard 0-1 2-2 2, Kylie Mendez 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 17-58 7-14.

3-pt FG: MSU-N - 8-23 (Jacy Thompson 2-6, Brandy Lambourne 0-1, Peyton Filius 4-7, Shiloh McCormick 0-4, Naomi Terry 1-3, Peyton Kehr 1-2; SDC 6-21 (Jazmine Bradley 0-2. Danna Robles 2-3, Anessa Wolfback 1-6, Kaitlyn McKinney 1-5, Erica McCarter 1-3, Kylie Mendez 1-2. Rebounds: MSU-N 43 (McCormick 13) SDC 30 (Wolfblack 7). Fouls: MSU-N 12, SDC 14. Fouled out -- none.

 

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