BIG HORN — For a stretch of the first half Saturday afternoon, the Big Horn High School girls basketball team resembled a stampede.
The Lady Rams forced turnover after turnover from Newcastle High School to take full command of the game. Big Horn scored 19 unanswered points in a little more than six minutes on the way to a 50-36 victory in a nonconference matchup. The fifth-ranked Lady Rams improved to 11-6 overall with the win.
As is often the case, Big Horn’s effective full-court press jumpstarted its offense in the double-digit victory.
“We kind of flipped the script on them halfway through that first quarter and just got after it,” Big Horn head coach Kip Butler said.
By the time the run ended, Big Horn had turned a five-point deficit into a 20-6 lead, one they kept for the rest of the contest.
Alisyn Hutton scored a game-high 19 points, including a 3-pointer as the final buzzer expired. Hutton’s 3 wasn’t the only time Big Horn made outside shots in the final seconds of a quarter. Courtney Wallach hit a 3-pointer to cap off an excellent first frame and bring the Lady Rams’ advantage to 11 points; Madison Butler drained a 3 right before halftime to put Big Horn ahead 28-13; and Hutton hit a long jumper to give the Lady Rams a 36-19 lead after three quarters.
The Lady Rams led by double digits almost the entire second half but could never quite put the game away for good.
The Lady Dogies hung around, thanks in part to several 3-point shots. Big Horn had some trouble putting the ball in the hoop during the final two quarters, though the Lady Rams did have plenty of good looks near the rim.
“We missed a lot of little bunnies and free throws,” Wallach said. “We just couldn’t execute as much as we did in the first half. We didn’t get out and run as much.”
Newcastle scored seven consecutive points in the final quarter to cut the Big Horn lead to eight points and momentarily make things interesting, but Wallach put an end to the run by hitting two freebies with 1:26 left.
“At first I had a little bit of doubt in my head, but then as soon as I went up (to the free throw line), I looked at my team and was like, ‘I know I can do this,’” Wallach said.
Butler said the team did a nice job adjusting to Newcastle’s different defensive schemes and figuring things out on the fly. He added that the team showed quality patience and control with the ball during most of its offensive possessions.
Butler and Wallach said the team displayed resilience after a 29-point loss Friday to Buffalo, the No. 2 team in 3A. The Lady Rams went 2-1 in three consecutive home games this week, setting the stage for postseason competition later this month.
“It definitely took a lot physically and mentally, but I think it was good for us to get ready for [regionals],” Wallach said.
Big Horn travels to Moorcroft Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Newcastle..…6 7 6 17 — 36
Big Horn….17 11 8 14 — 50
Newcastle — L. Voelker 15, Wagoner 7, Steveson 6, Sweet 5, M. Voelker 3
Big Horn — Hutton 19, Wallach 10, Trabert 8, Frank 4, Cook 4, Butler 3, Schmidt 2