Well what a wild first day of the State C Girls’ Basketball Tournament.
There was drama, there was suspense, and there was great basketball. The whole day was filled with crazy comebacks, fantastic plays, and never a moment you wanted to leave the gym.
So here I will attempt to preview the second day of the State C Girls’ Basketball Tournament here in Missoula.
Game 5 Circle vs. Cascade
Circle is coming off a near comeback against Broadview/Lavina where they were down 12 points at halftime and then got hot trying going on a 14-0 run. It will be interesting to see how Circle comes back after 22 hours away from the court. Their poor shooting, partly due to Dahlberg Arena being the largest venue they will most ever play in, and partly due to the run and gun tempo of the Lady Pirates forcing the issue on offense and defense.
The Lady Badgers had a real chance to be in the semifinals. In the second game of the day yesterday the Cascade squad under the direction of Robin McKnight and Roger Hatler played extremely well against Gardiner. Gardiner was led by PJ Thomas who scored 17 points in an obvious subbing-up move. Thomas should probably start for Coach Ben Johnson’s squad but provides more versatility and firepower playing that sixth-man role for the Bruins. I especially liked the way Calies Ludvigson played. She might not have scored too many points (3), but she grabbed 5 rebounds, dished out 6 assists, and had 8 thefts to her credit. She was the reason Cascade jumped out to an early lead against the Bruins.
Game 6 Park City vs. Belt
Park City surprised a lot of people in their game against Twin Bridges when they fell 53-48 after leading most of the game. Turnovers hurt Park City. And Belt will cause turnovers against Park City this afternoon after falling to Saco/Whitewater/Hinsdale last night 56-50. I expect Belt to bring their A game today after being “upset” against the team many thought would be in the State Championship game against Belt.
If Belt can shoot the ball in the next few days like they did in the second half they should be a shoe-in to play on Saturday night for the eighth straight year under Coach Graham.
Game 7 Broadview/Lavina vs. Gardiner
The first semifinal of this State Tournament should be a good one. Broadview/Lavina likes to run and gun. They defeated Circle 43-39 in yesterday’s opening game. The Schott twins, Krista and Kylie combined for 21 points and 15 rebounds in the win against Circle. And FYI they are just sophomores, so the Treasure State is officially on notice.
Gardiner beat Cascade but it wasn’t Carroll College commit Hannah Dean who beat them. It was foul trouble and PJ Thomas who scored 17 points. It might also have been that Cascade looked very uncomfortable outside 16 feet in Dahlberg Arena going 0 for 12 from three point land. Gardiner however executed and hit open shots against the box and one that Cascade played against Dean, knocking down 8 of their 16 field goals from downtown.
Game 8 Twin Bridges vs. Saco/Whitewater Hinsdale
Twin Bridges looked like they were going to play this early afternoon. They looked sloppy, missed shots, and Park City looked the real deal. Twin however ended the game on a 19-4 run. Twin might just be the toughest defensive team in the tournament. They play defense a lot like the old Fairfield Boys squads of yesteryear. They come out and play scrappy, ugly, and mean defense against their opponents and force the officials to call it right away. If they don’t then the official sets a high precedent for what he is going to call a foul and what is going to slide. It is a credit to Coach Rob Lott for teaching them that basketball isn’t about warm feelings and rainbows but about getting dirty and fighting for every possession like it might be your last. It wears on people.
Saco/Whitewater/Hinsdale was the real deal last night. Led my Tatum Moore’s 20 points the Lady Panthers got the best of three time defending champ Belt Huskies. The Lady Panthers extended their zone defense out just enough to take the Belt shooters out of rhythm.
Now this is going to get technical but hold on:
A large amount of Belt’s shooters shoot the ball from the hip. They used the 6 technique to get the ball into rhythm and shoot it. The 6 technique is like a side view of someone shooting the basketball. Like you would write a 6 is how they shoot the ball. It starts in the middle, drops down, and then they fire it back up in that motion (like the number 6). If that didn’t make sense I’m sorry. But watch Belt shoot tonight and you will see what I mean.
When the Lady Panthers came out on defense they made sure to have a hand up in the middle of the Belt shooters so they couldn’t get their 6 technique jump shots off.
Anyway that’s enough being technical. I’m off to the gym and I hope you are too because we have a great second day of the State C Girls’ Basketball Tournament ahead of us.