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Northern Stars end Blue Sky's season with full-court pressure defense

It has been a very difficult season for both the Rocky Boy and Blue Sky boys basketball teams.

But for the Northern Stars, their season was extended for at least one more game as they thrashed the Eagles 79-61 on Wednesday night in loser-out action at the 2004 District 9C tournament at the Havre High gymnasium.

"This was real good win for our basketball team," said Rocky Boy head coach Martin Parker. "On the whole, I thought the entire team stepped up and played really well for most of the game."

Early in the game, the Stars were clicking on all cylinders as they got off to a very hot start behind sophomore guard Ivan Whitford, who scored 11 of Rocky Boy's 24 first quarter points, including a pair of three-pointers.

Despite Whitford's quick start, the Eagles were able to keep things close by going inside to Levi Wendland, leaving Blue Sky down 24-19 after the first period.

In the second quarter, the Stars got another offensive burst. This time from junior A.J. The Boy, who scored 11 of Rocky Boy's 18 second quarter points. Six of those points were a result of Blue Sky turnovers. Although the Eagles committed eight turnovers in the quarter, they were able to stay within striking distance at halftime, as the Stars led 42-31.

"We had a couple of different kids step in the first half and do a lot of the scoring," Parker said. "I thought we also played really good defense and that was a big factor tonight."

Turnovers would eventually be the Eagles' undoing in the third quarter. The Stars were able to capitalize on several Blue Sky mistakes as they reeled off a 10-2 run late in the period. And to compound matters, Bill Watson drilled a three-pointer with time running out in the quarter to give the Stars a 15-point lead.

Watson wasn't done either. On The Eagles' ensuing possession of the fourth quarter, Watson emphatically blocked Roald Aageson's layup attempt which led to an easy layup for Charles Walking Child. The final sequence in the third quarter gave the Stars a commanding 17-point lead at 60-43.

In the fourth quarter, The Boy scored eight more points and Rocky Boy's pressure defense continued to frustrate the Eagles and Blue Sky was never able to mount a comeback.

"I wanted the kids to be prepared to play tonight," Parker said. "I think they showed that they were ready because we played everyone and they all contributed to this win.

"We didn't execute out offense as well as I would have liked," Parker added. "But for the most part the kids played well and this was a really good win for us."

The Stars were paced by The Boy's game-high 20 points. Rocky Boy also got 13 from Ivan Whitford and nine from Walking Child. Kyle Windy Boy came off the bench to chip in with eight points.

Blue Sky got a team-high 15 points from Darius Wendland, including a pair of three-pointers. Jeremiah Moog and Levi Wendland added 11 points a piece, and Aageson added 10 in the losing effort.

The stat of the night for the Eagles was their game-high 25 turnovers, which led to several easy Rocky Boy transition baskets.

"I really thought our pressure got to them a little tonight," Parker said. "The kids were working very hard on defense. If we can play like that again in this next game, we should be able to stay in it no matter who we play."

The Eagles season is now over and they finish the year with a 1-19 record. Meanwhile, the Stars (6-14) will await the loser of Thursday's semifinal game between No. 1 ranked Big Sandy and fourth seeded Hays-Lodge Pole. The Stars will be back in loser-out action on Friday at 1 p.m.

Rocky Boy 79, Blue Sky 61

Blue Sky 19 12 12 18 - 61

Rocky Boy 24 18 18 19 - 79

Blue Sky - Jeremiah Moog 11, Darius Wendland 15, Conrad Wendland 6, Roald Aageson 10, Alex Frey 3, Levi Wendland 11, Joel Fladstol 5.

Rocky Boy - Kyle Windy Boy 6, Charles Walking Child 9, Eric Watson 8, A.J. The Boy 20, Upton Whitford 4, Ivan Whitford 13, Garrett Demontiney 2, Marty Watson 2, Ronnie Stump 2, Joel Parker 2, Chad Wolfchild 3, Bill Watson 6.

Total Fouls - Rocky Boy 27, Blue Sky 15. Technical fouls - Blue Sky coach. Three-point goals - D. Wendland 2, Windy Boy 2, Walking Child 1, E. Watson 2, I. Whitford 1.


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