Cowgirls get defensive, defeat Midgets
From the first five minutes, the Dickinson High girls basketball team had trouble getting around the Custer County (Miles City, Mont.) full-court press.
The Cowgirls kept the pressure on, defeating the Midgets 65-55 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday at the DHS gymnasium.
"The press really saved us," Custer County head coach Jacqui Engstrom said. "Dickinson has some really tough posts and once they got past half court, they beat us."
Along with the full-court press, the Cowgirls used a 17-4 run to start the second half. The run was punctuated by back-to-back Shaylee Singleton 3-pointers. The junior forward finished with 22 points.
Dickinson (0-1) turned the ball over 30 times, while Custer County had 21 turnovers.
"When we ran our press break, we broke it," Dickinson head coach Dan Pender said. "We turned it over, we weren't meeting passes, we turned it over and we were scared. You can't have turnovers to win games."
Dickinson led 32-27 at halftime. But with 9 minutes remaining in the game Custer County took a 10-point lead, 46-36. Beth Sutter supplied 17 points, including 10 in the second half for the Cowgirls (1-0).
The Midgets, however, didn't go down without a fight. Senior forward Ali Moody and Rachel Schroeder combined for 40 of the team's 54 points.
"Offensively, I wasn't disappointed, but we probably missed eight to 10 bunnies," Pender said. "Our perimeter players have to step up. Our posts aren't going to score 40 points every night."
Moody finished with 27 points and Schroeder supplied 13. Moody said the two forwards work well together.
"We've played together since we were in the second-grade," Moody said. "We know where each other is going."
It wasn't until midway through the second half when Dickinson put on some full-court pressure of its own. Consequently, the Cowgirls started to get into foul trouble. Custer County had 13 fouls in the first half and had three players foul out.
"We just had to be a little bit smarter on defense," Engstrom said. "We just had to sit back a little bit, but keep up the pressure."
The Cowgirls' biggest asset was their ability to hit important 3-point shots.
When the Midgets scored a basket, the Cowgirls looked to respond with a 3-pointer. Custer County went 2 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half, but improved in the second half, going 4 of 6.
"We had a couple huge 3-pointers at key times," Engstrom said. "It really helped us out."
Dickinson travels to Turtle Mountain at 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Moody said the loss against Custer County is a clear wake-up call for everyone.
"I think we learned our lesson," Moody said. "Pender said that starting spots are all open. No one has a guaranteed spot, so that's going to make everyone work harder. I know I'm going to work harder in practice."
CC: Shaylee Singleton 22, Beth Sutter 17, Tori Swope 10, Ashlie Larson 7, Alecia Chamberlain 6, Kadie Hienle 2, Julie Jones 1,
D: Ali Moody 27, Rachel Schroeder 13, Sydney Gangl 4, Taylor Cooper 4, Shelby Stoltz 4, Lillie Meduna 2.
Halftime: D 32-27. 3-pointers: MC 6 (Singleton 2, Sutter 1, Swope 1, Larson 1, Chamberlain 1), D 0. Free throws: CC 13-19, D 18-30. Total fouls: CC 22, D 16. Fouled out: MC, Sutter, Singleton, Finn. Rebounds: CC 34 (Sutter 3), D 39 (Moody 4, Schroeder 4). Assists: CC 12 (Swope 4), D 10 (Cooper 4). Steals: CC 14 (Sutter 3, Singleton 3, Chamberlain 3), D 11 (Moody 2, Cooper 2). Blocks: none. Turnovers: CC 21, D 30. Records: CC 1-0, D 0-1.