Hardin shuts down Laurel offense, defeating No. 2 team in Class A

Thursday, January 31, 2019
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Yellowstone Newspaper photo by Connor Waddingham

Hardin guard Ivery Fritzler (left) and center Marie Five (right) cycle back to defense after a successful 3-point shot. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Laurel in part thanks to accurate 3-pointers by Fritzler and fellow guard Kamber Good Luck.

Hardin’s Lady Bulldog basketball team has gained a “good win…confidence-wise,” according to Head Coach Cindy Farmer, following its Friday defeat of the Laurel Locomotives, who were ranked second in the Class A conference.

Prior to the away game, the Locomotives had handed the Ladies their first loss at home in late December. This time around, Hardin led in three of four quarters, ending the matchup in a 62-47 victory.

The difference between the two games, Farmer said, was Hardin’s “tremendous” defense in the second. What Laurel players lacked in height, she continued, they made up for in quickness as their offense made strong drives toward the basket.

“They run a motiontype offense where they dribble-penetrate and set a lot of screens,” Farmer said. “They’re very good shooters…and we just knew we had to defend [from] the 3-point shot and also stop the dribble-penetration.”

In the December game, Laurel hit eight 3-pointers against Hardin. This time, Hardin moved to “contest every shot,” Farmer said, limiting Laurel to one.

Hardin’s averages for both 2-pointers and 3-pointers were close to 50 percent – at 54 percent and 45 percent respectively – and its free throw average, at 64 percent, was back up to Farmer’s goal for such shots.

She praised Ivery Fritzler and Kamber Good Luck, who serve as team guards, for their effective shooting abilities. Both tied for Hardin’s top player score at 17 points each.

Many teams are now double and triple-teaming Hardin center Marie Five to keep her from dominating the court, Farmer continued, so it’s important to maintain other avenues toward the basket.

“Ivery and Kamber were nine for 15 from the 3-point range, so that was huge,” she said. “They hit the shots when we needed to.”

The next day, the Ladies traveled to Sidney for an away game against the Eagles. To move forward, Farmer said, the Hardin team needed to keep itself mentally prepared.

“We were late getting back from Laurel, plus we had to drive four hours to Sidney,” she said, adding that being tired in that case is “more mental than it is physical.”

Against the Eagles, she said, the Ladies came “out with [the] same intensity and same focus” as when they played Laurel, taking the team 71-29.

The top shooters against Sidney were Fritzler with 16 points, Good Luck with 13 and Five with 10.

The Ladies are set to play a home game against Shepherd on Friday, followed by a game against Billings Central the following day at MetraPark in Billings. While the Billings Central game was scheduled in Hardin, it had to be moved to account for the high volume of fans from both teams.