Patient offense leaves Lady Herders victorious

A loss Friday, Jan. 15, in Manhattan dropped the Herder girls basketball team to 1-4 in the District 5B standings, but a win at home Saturday, Jan. 16, against the Park High Rangers improved Big Timber’s record in non-district games to 5-0.

In a very tough District 5B with Manhattan, Three Forks and Townsend, all 4-1 in district play, the Lady Herders find themselves in fifth place of the six-team league, one game behind Jefferson, which has a 2-3 district record.

In Saturday’s 36-28 win over a Class A opponent in Park, the Lady Herders played a patient game and forced their opponents to make mistakes.

“We’ve been focusing in practice on being patient, making the defense work and getting the best shot we can get,” head coach Kim Finn said. “We really want to focus in practice on reversing the ball, trying to get it inside, then outside and back inside. That breaks down the defense so we can get a good shot.”

The Lady Herders’ patience wasn’t paying off as much in the first quarter, when they trailed 4-3 after eight minutes. Mesa King, who is second in the district with 14.4 points per game, scored all three of Big Timber’s points in the quarter.

But they didn’t get away from their game and in the second quarter, Big Timber outscored Park 13-7. The Lady Herders’ inside out game started to frustrate Park in the second quarter, which led to more points.

“We have some good outside shooters,” Finn said. “If we make the defense work, then they have a better chance of making those shots. If we can get it into Mesa, she does a good job. Then when they start collapsing down on her, the guards are good about letting her know that they are open. Mesa knows if there are two on her, somebody is open. She does a good job of getting it back out, and then they are ready to shoot.”

The Lady Herders only allowed 15 points during the first three quarters, highlighting their top defense in the district. Big Timber only allows 34.4 points per game, while no other team in the district allows less than 40 points per game.

With a 26-15 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Herders allowed Park to go on a 7-0 run to make it a four-point game. With the pressure on, Big Timber went back inside to King on two straight possessions for four points to re-establish their lead.

“She’s a good target because she’s taller than most players,” Finn said of King. “She gets her hands up, so we know if we get into trouble, we look to her.”

King had 19 points in the game to lead all scorers. TediJo Todd was the balance on the outside to King on the inside. She hit four big 3-pointers in the game to account for all 12 of her points.

Tanna Campbell and Madilyn Emter added two points each in the fourth quarter, and Sydney Prather scored a point on a free-throw in the second quarter to round out the scoring.

In Friday’s 46-39 loss to Manhattan, a lack of patience was the difference.

“We ran up and down the court and threw the ball away,” Finn said. “They capitalized on our turnovers. We started the game really well. We were right there and even ahead two or three points the first four or five minutes, but that is because we were patient and making the defense work. As soon as we got impatient and threw it away, they would get a layup. We had too many turnovers.”

Prather led the Lady Herders with 13 points in the game. She scored seven of her 13 points in the third quarter when she hit one of the team’s two 3-pointers. Todd made the other 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. She had eight points in the game.

King had 10 points, Campbell scored six and Emter added two points.

With two more games this week, the Lady Herders know they are close, so they are going to continue to work on the finer points of their game.

“The games we have lost — we lost two by two points, one by three and one by seven — we are right there with them,” Finn said. “We are trying to work on the little things because they lead to big things. We just want to control our turnovers and make the defense work to get our best offensive shot. Hopefully we can do that over the second half of the season and at the district tournament.”

Big Timber faces Three Forks on the road Thursday, Jan. 21, and Townsend at home the next day.

To read full recaps of the games and see our staff pick favorite photo, pick up the Jan. 21 edition of the Pioneer or subscribe to our e-edition. Current subscribers are provided complimentary access to the e-edition with registration.

By Thomas Watson / Yellowstone Newspapers

LINDSEY ERIN KROSKOB / Big Timber Pioneer

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