Longhorns roll past the Hawks


Last updated 2/16/2023 at 8:39am

Havre Daily News/Kason Clark

Fort Benton's Emerson Giese drives the ball against CJI at Havre High Gymnasium on Wednesday night. The Longhorns defeated the Hawks, 65-23, to start the District 9C Girls Basketball Tournament.

On Wednesday night at Havre High Gymnasium, the District 9C Girls Basketball Tournament continued with a matchup between the Fort Benton Longhorns and the Chester-Joplin-Inverness Hawks. In this meeting between the No. 3 and No. 6 seeds, the Longhorns got rolling to win 65-23. In the first game of the tournament, Fort Benton head coach Eddie Fultz liked what he saw from his team.

"Something I talked to them about earlier this week was giving full effort," Fultz said. "Just everybody giving it their full effort all the time and I feel like tonight might be the first night where I've seen that all come together at one time."

The Longhorns got hot as they shot 48.8 percent from the field and 61.1 percent from the free-throw line. Emerson Giese led Fort Benton with 19 points as she went 9-for-15 from the field. Ang Riener also played well with 13 points and six rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Hawks struggled on offense as they shot 9.3 percent from the field. The majority of their points came at the charity stripe where they shot 53.8 percent. The leading scorer for the Hawks was MaRae Smail with only six points. Heading into the game, the Longhorns looked to get the Hawks out of their offensive rhythm.

"We had a game plan that we weren't going to let them get to the spots that they liked to get to without having to go through us," Fultz said. "I think we were able to redirect them and they caught the ball a lot of times in spots they weren't comfortable having it and made it tough for them to score."

After the Longhorns took a 2-1 lead to start the game, Giese made back-to-back buckets to push the lead to 8-1. Casha Corder then knocked down a 3-pointer to make it an 11-1 game. The Hawks responded with a pair of baskets to cut their deficit to 11-5. But in the closing seconds of the quarter, Riener made a pair of free throws to give Fort Benton a 13-5 lead.

The Longhorns carried their momentum into the start of the second quarter with a 6-0 run. The Hawks responded to cut their deficit to 21-10, but Hailee Wang knocked down a three to push the lead to 24-10. Brie Mattson made a free throw, but the Hawks took a 24-11 lead into halftime.

The Longhorns continued to roll in the third quarter and all the Hawks could do in response was knock down some free throws. Even with a 28-13 lead, the Longhorns made back-to-back threes to push their lead to 34-13.

Over the rest of the third, the Longhorns continued to roll. By the end of the frame, Fort Benton had a 50-18 lead. The Longhorns eventually pushed their lead to 40 points to start a running clock in the fourth quarter and pull away for the win.

With their loss, the CJI Hawks had to play Hays-Lodge Pole in a loser-out game today. After a tough loss, CJI head coach Jordan Miller knows the Hawks will need to get past it quickly if they want to stay alive in the tournament.

"We just have to come back the next day and wash the game off," Miller said. "That's our game plan. To wash it off and start over."

With their win, the Fort Benton Longhorns advanced to the semifinal where they will face the North Star Knights. With a spot in the District 9C championship game on the line, Fultz knows that the Longhorns will need to play with effort.

"We just have to keep playing that hard all the time. If we do that, good things will happen," Fultz said. "Of course we'll have a game plan and everything else but if the girls play hard, the sky's the limit."

Fort Benton will play North Star in the semifinal at HHS Gymnasium tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Fort Benton 65, CJI 23

FB 13 11 26 15 - 65

Havre Daily News/Kason Clark

CJI's Wrien Wolery dribbles the ball against Fort Benton.

CJI 5 6 5 7 - 23

FB - Emerson Giese 19, Ang Reiner 13, Casha Corder 10, Hailee Wang 7, Addison Reichelt 7, Lina Vaughn 2, Kylynn Nack 2, Laela Borero 2, Zoe Donner 2, MyCal Lane 1.

CJI - MaRae Smail 6, Brie Mattson 3, Ally Leach 3, Aaliyah Standiford 3, Jayla Ramberg 3, Sydney Hawks 2, Natalie Jackson 2, Layne Green 1.

3-pointers: Casha Corder 2, Hailee Wang 1, Emerson Giese 1, Ally Leach 1. Fouls: FB 21, CJI 20. Fouled Out: None.


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