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THUNDERBIRDS RISING

HLP blitzes Turner to reach the 9C semifinals yet again

 

February 15, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Hays-Lodge Pole's Jeffrey Stiffarm shoots during Thursday's District 9C boys first round game between the Thunderbirds and Turner Tornadoes inside the HHS gymnasium. The T-Birds got revenge for an earlier loss to Turner with an 88-46 win, advancing to today's semifinal in the process.

Just two weeks ago, the Turner Tornadoes pulled off their biggest win of the season when they upset the Hays-Lodge Pole Thunderbirds. Fast forward a few days, and things looked very different when the two teams met again.

Thursday, in the opening round of the District 9C boys tournament, the Thunderbirds put on an offensive display, and got some revenge, by thrashing the Tornadoes 88-46 in the HHS gymnasium. The win pushed HLP into tonight's semifinal where the T-Birds will meet second-seeded Fort Benton for a third time this season.

But before the T-Birds could get to the semis, they had a little unfinished business.

"When we played them (Tornadoes) the last time, they played a really good game," HLP head coach Derrick Shambo said. "But I don't think we were very focused that night. We had some kids who weren't playing to the level they normally can. And our season has been like that at times. We've gone through really good stretches, but also times where we're not as focused, or practicing as hard as we should be.

"But this last week, our kids have been really focused," he continued. "And they sure came ready to play today."

HLP was indeed ready.

After an early back-and-forth sequence, the T-Birds seized the lead on back-to-back buckets from Jeremy Pretty Paint. Then, Gilbert Snow closed the first quarter with two scores of his own to give HLP a 15-6 edge.

That, however, was only the beginning.

The T-Birds ripped off a 15-0 run in the second quarter before Shane Kimmel stemmed the tide for Turner. However, HLP went on another 9-0 run, sparked by a 3-pointer from Kyle Young, and, the T-Birds wound up exploding for 28 points in eight minutes, which gave them a 43-21 lead at intermission.

"The first four minutes, I was a little worried," Shambo said. "But that's tournament time. You never know how you're going to come out in the first game of a tournament. But after that, I thought we really started to click. We got things moving up and down the floor, and we got a lot of good layups. And defensively, I thought our switching maybe threw them off a little bit."

Turner was thrown off offensively. The Tornadoes would only shoot 34 percent from the field and make two threes the entire game. Meanwhile, HLP kept on going, with a 26-12 run in the third period to put Turner away for good.

And while HLP's many different defensive looks helped hold Turner's offense off, as the Tornadoes committed 21 turnovers, while Kimmel scored 19 points and Cody Welsh added 17, the T-Birds were extremely balanced offensively.

Young led the T-Birds with 16 points, while Pretty Paint scored 13 and grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double. Wyman Bringing Good also scored 11 for HLP, while Kenneth Black Crow added 10, and 12 different T-Birds got into the box score.

"I was really happy with how focused our guys were today," Shambo said. "We really brought a lot of intensity to this game, and that's what we needed because we knew Turner is a very dangerous team."

Turner (5-14) is still a dangerous team, and the Tornadoes will look to prove that this morning when they play Box Elder in a loser-out game.

Meanwhile, the T-Birds are looking very dangerous right now. HLP (13-6) will take their shot at knocking off Fort Benton in today's second semifinal which tips at 5:30 in the HHS gymnasium. The winner of that game moves on to the championship, and to the Northern C.

"We're going to come back tomorrow and play our game," Shambo said. "That's always been my approach. We worry about what we can control and that's playing our game. This tournament is tough, but I think we're playing good basketball right now."

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Turner's Shane Kimmel, left, goes up for a tough shot during Thursday's 9C tourney game against Hays-Lodge Pole.

Hays-Lodge Pole 88, Turner 46

Hays-Lodge Pole 15 28 26 19 - 88

Turner 6 15 12 13 - 46

HLP - Gilbert Snow 8, Jeffrey Stiffarm 9, Jeremy Pretty Paint 13, Desmond Shambo 1, Siris Grandchamp 2, Kenneth Black Crow 10, Kyle Young 16, Moke Cliff 5, Deshon Shambo 4, Tyshawn Shambo 5, Wyman Bringing Good 11, James Brockie 4. Totals: 38/68 7-19.

Turner - Austin Welsh 6, Kurt Calvert 2, Cody Welsh 17, Shane Kimmel 19, Tracer Helig 2. Totals: 18-52 8-18.

3-pointers: Stiffarm 1, Young 2, Cliff 1, Bringing Good 1, Kimmel 2.

 

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