Head Coach Farmer stresses need for team focus
Thursday, January 17, 2019
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Photo by Andrew Turck

Marie Five of Hardin wrestles the ball away from opposing Lodge Grass players. Five tied Ivery Fritzler as the Lady Bulldogs’ top shooter with 13 points.

On the bright side for Hardin’s Lady Bulldog basketball team, it swept all eight quarters of two away games last week. For its match-up with Lodge Grass last Thursday, Hardin won 58-40. In a second game on Saturday, it took down Lewistown 60-41.

Still, Hardin’s Head Coach Cindy Farmer said, the team needs to work on its first quarter play. Lodge Grass had ended the first period within three points of the Ladies and Lewistown within one.

“We need to just come out with more intensity and more fire in the first quarter,” Farmer said. “We’re just starting out really slow.”

Even when playing with teams the Ladies believe they’ll beat, Farmer said, it’s important to maintain consistent play and strong percentages. Two-point shots for the games hovered just below her goal of 50 percent or more, and the team’s free throw average – at about 50 percent – did not meet previous levels of more than 70 percent.

In addition, the team attempted to shut down Lewistown’s “all-around player,” Farmer said, but she still managed to score about 17 points.

“We have to focus mentally for every game, respect every opponent we play and play hard every game,” Farmer said. “Sometimes, we lax a little bit when we need to be more focused.”

For free throws, she said, Lewistown shot 25 where the Ladies only shot 12. Lodge Grass, for its part, gained 20 free throws to the Ladies’ 17. This, according to Farmer, showed her team needed to be more careful while on defense so as not to foul opponents.

Bolstering the Hardin team during the match-up with Lodge Grass’ Lady Indians, Lady Bulldog post player Alyssa Pretty Weasel managed to catch 10 of her team’s 40 rebounds, more double the number from her nearest teammate. This year, Pretty Weasel was upgraded from junior varsity to varsity and – through regular rotations in the Lodge Grass game – given a chance to shine.

“Rebounding is hustle and heart, and she was just right there,” Farmer said. “A couple of her baskets were getting off hits on boards and putting them back up.”

One of the Ladies’ strengths, Farmer said, was in limiting their opponents’ “second-shot opportunities.” Lewistown, she noted, “only had five offensive rebounds,” rather than the usual 10 or 11.

Moving into a Friday away game against Miles City and a Saturday home game against Glendive, Farmer said, “we already start the second half of our season.”

“We’re just preparing for them,” she said, “and trying to get better each day.”

Top shooters for Hardin at Lodge Grass were Marie Five and Ivery Fritzler, each tying at 13, followed by Sossity Spotted Wolf with 9. Five took the lead in Lewistown with 14, followed by Kamber Good Luck with 9 and Deidra Don’t Mix with 7.

In addition, Lodge Grass had its own high scorers with Jordan Jefferson at 10, and Tonna Amyotte and Shantell Pretty On Top with 9.