Class B District Basketball Action
The Columbus Cougar boys and girls basketball teams ended their seasons at the 4B district tournament in Red Lodge over the weekend.
Both teams suffered from offensive dry spells throughout the year and the scoring drought continued in the tournament, as the teams averaged only 34 points per game in a collective four losses.
The boys grabbed early leads in both games, leading Shepherd 11-9 early in the tournament opener. The game remained close until the fourth quarter but after Rily Livingston’s layup off a feed from Jace Aumueller pulled Columbus within 31-29, the Cougars would not score for the next six minutes and Shepherd pulled away to win 43-34.
Against the Huntley Red Devils, it was Zach Sutton’s 7 first quarter points that fueled an early Cougar 11-2 lead. But a pair of Project 3's cut the deficit to 11-8 at the end of the first quarter, and the Cougars lost the lead for good when Huntley scored the last five points of the third to take a 24-19 lead they would not relinquish as Project won 42-29.
“We had a real melting pot of a team this year. It’s very difficult to bring in two seniors (Absarokee-transfer Rily Livingston and exchange student Mario Sabo) and mold a team. But I‘m very impressed with how hard those two kids worked and how the rest of the kids worked with them,” said Coach Paul Barta as he summed up the year. “From beginning to end I felt like we came a long way and the kids grew and matured as individuals. I felt like we had a real chance to succeed at districts, but we just couldn’t score enough to win. Still, I’m very proud of these kids.”
The Cougar girls fell behind early in their two tournament games, trailing Shepherd 12-3 and never recovering on the way to a 41-31 loss, then falling behind Red Lodge 14-4. But the Cougars came out strong in the second half as sisters Megan and Brenna Rouane sank shots and Camryn Ault hit a pair of 3s. Brenna Rouane promptly stole an inbound pass and scored. Then Kayla Teeters scored on a drive from the high post and Maddi Carman stuck a putback. And when Morgan Kerch fed Ault for a layup to complete a textbook fast break, suddenly the Cougars led 33-32. Megan Rouane’s baseline jumper extended the lead to 35-32, but the Rams reeled off ten consecutive points and won 46-40.
The third quarter offensive surge provided a tantalizing glimpse of what this young girls team can be when they knock down shots (Columbus outshot Red Lodge 63-37 but made only one more basket than the Rams). Other bright spots included Carman’s career-high 10 rebounds, and point guard Alexa Riveland’s 6 steals while playing the entire second half with four fouls.
“Our district was so competitive,” said first-year coach Jeromey Burke. “The fact that we didn't advance out of the district tournament is no indication of how hard these girls worked. Anyone who watched us play this year knows the girls played hard and as a team every night. Those are the two most important things when building a competitive program. But it’s clear that each of our girls have skills they need to improve in order to turn effort and teamwork into wins. We lose a great senior in Megan Rouane, who provided leadership all year. But we return a great group who are hungry to take the next step and I look forward to helping them work towards that common goal moving forward.”
Shepherd 13 10 8 10 — 41
Columbus 3 10 7 10 — 31
Shepherd: Kylie Kinsey 7, Tonya Murray 9, Taylor Buyse 10, Tessa Barney 8, Caitlyn Moran 5, Jaycee Murdock 2.
Columbus: Megan Rouane 1, Alexa Riveland 1, Uluwehi Brooks 3, Morgan Kirch 12, Brenna Rouane 4, Camryn Ault 9.
Columbus 4 10 19 7 — 40
Red Lodge 14 13 5 14 — 46
Columbus: Megan Rouane 4, Alexa Riveland 5, Kayla Teeters 2, Morgan Kirch 5, Brenna Rouane 5, Camryn Ault 13, Maddi Carman 6.
Red Lodge: Taylor Hardiman 3, Portia Cortner 2, Jillian LaValley 15, Kylie Kelly 7, Zoe Cortner 4, Natalie Hilderman 15.
Columbus 11 10 6 7 — 34
Shepherd 9 14 7 13 — 43
Columbus: Rily Livingston 6, Eddie Foos 2, Brandon Horton 3, Mario Sabo 3, Jace Aumueller 11, Zach Sutton 9.
Shepherd: Chad Nebel 23, Griffin Butsch 2, Jake Trotter 6, Bryce Mocabee 2, Sam Barthuly 10.
Huntley Project 8 3 12 19 —42
Columbus 11 2 6 10 —29
Huntley Project: Breyden Rose 10, Chad Geck 6, Lane Sumner 2, Brad Graves 11, Colton Hudson 6, Bryce Peterson 7.
Columbus: Rily Livingston 8, Brandon Horton 8, Jace Aumueller 6, Zach Sutton 7.