OVER-POWERED: Fillies, Tigers oust Lady Herders
The Lady Herders’ impressive run to divisionals ended after just two games as Big Timber was defeated by Shepherd and Manhattan at the Southern B Division Tournament in Billings.
Big Timber opened the tournament with a tough task — trying to beat the undefeated Shepherd Fillies.
The Fillies were 23-0 and won their district tournament going into divisionals. Shepherd beat Big Timber 65-40 and went on to win the division tournament. Then the Lady Herders lost 64-47 against Manhattan.
“We played hard and we stuck with them in the beginning, but they just out-powered us,” head coach Kim Finn said of Shepherd. “They were a very good team. We played hard, hustled and never gave up. It was a great game for us.”
The Fillies were led by their six-foot, three-inch center, Janie McRae, who had 20 points and nine rebounds.
McRae helped Shepherd to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, but Big Timber’s TediJo Todd did everything she could to keep the Lady Herders close. She scored 15 of her 17 points on 3-pointers, making five shots from beyond the arc.
Mesa King finished with a double-double, recording 13 points with 10 rebounds while doing battle with McRae in the post.
“TediJo shot extremely well against Shepherd,” Finn said. “Her five 3s kept us somewhat in the game, and Mesa played really hard. They just had a lot of bench players, so they could rest. And they had a lot of experienced, good players. It was tough for us, but we never gave up. I got a lot of compliments on how hard we worked.”
Sydney Prather and Madilyn Emter both finished with four points, and Kate Indreland scored two points against Shepherd. Todd and Prather also had six rebounds, and King led the team with three steals.
In Friday’s loss to Manhattan, the Lady Herders hung in there for the first half, but slowly watched Manhattan pull away during the second half.
“It was right there, a five or six point game at halftime,” Finn said. “We were causing a lot of turnovers and frustrating them, but then in the second half Savannah Carr (got hot) and hit several 3s. It was a super-close game in the third quarter, then in a matter of about three minutes we were 10 points down because Savannah went on like a 12-0 run scoring 3s.
“But the girls did play hard, and even though it was a 17-point game, it seemed like it was a two-point game the way our girls were playing,” she added. “They never gave up, things just didn’t go for us. And Manhattan ended up in the consolation game, so both of the teams we played ended up in the championship game or in the consolation game.”
Carr led all scorers in the game with 24 points. She was 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, and as a team Manhattan was a perfect 4-of-4 on 3-pointers during the third quarter.
Todd and Emter both had 10 points to lead the Lady Herders. Prather had nine points and nine rebounds, and Mesa King added eight points with six rebounds. Tanna Campbell and Halley Stratton both finished with four points, and Indreland added two points to round out the scoring.
Making it this far in the season was unexpected for this Lady Herder team. They spent much of the early part of the season learning new schemes in their first year with Finn as the team’s head coach, and the growth throughout the year is Finn’s biggest point of pride.
“From early on, the thing I noticed (the most improvement) was our mental toughness,” Finn said. “We went from not thinking we were a good team or a team who could compete with hardly anybody to a team who thought they could compete with anybody. I could see that they were driving to the basket confidently, knowing they could do it or make things happen on defense. Our mental toughness was the biggest thing, and our confidence. They started realizing they were good ball players.
“This was a great group of girls to work with. They listened and were very coachable,” she added. “I didn’t have to get on them very often to give it all they had. It was just an awesome year for work ethic.”
This team only loses two seniors, and only Todd finished the season. Holly Emter was injured earlier in the year.
“TediJo Todd went from a quiet offensive player to one to really be reckoned with,” Finn said. “Her defense improved as the season went. She showed a lot of leadership as a senior, and she’ll really be missed next year. Even though Holly didn’t get to play most of the season, her encouragement, enthusiasm and motivation for us from the sidelines was outstanding. We couldn’t have asked more from someone keeping us in games emotionally when things are going tough.”