Hardin defeats Billings Central in basketball for top Class A slot
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Photo by Andrew Turck

Guard Jaxon McCormick of the Hardin Bulldogs searches for an open passing opportunity during Saturday’s game with Billings Central.

Photo by Andrew Turck

Hardin guard Famous Left Hand soars toward the basket during a Saturday away game against the Billings Central Rams. He was one of the Hardin Bulldogs’ top shooters, scoring 17 points.

Hardin’s Bulldog basketball team is now No. 1 in Class A following a Saturday matchup at the Billings Metra where it defeated Billings Central’s Rams 75-67.

Initially, within the stadium, the Bulldogs utilized their run-and-gun play style to bypass Central’s defense in one of the team’s usual strong starts, amped by effective passing-and-shooting coordination among the players. By about the 2:50 mark of the first quarter, Hardin led the Rams 18-7, its score spurred upwards by back-to-back 3-pointers.

Not a team to take Hardin’s lead sitting down, Central upped their own fullcourt press backed by quick drives from point guard Chrishon Dixon (who scored 15 points for the Rams overall) and 70 percent shooting accuracy from the team’s jack-of-all trades Cade Herriford (who scored 17). The only player whose shooting accuracy topped Herriford’s for the game was Hardin forward Cayden Redfield at 71 percent with 12 points.

To lock down Hardin’s offense – and thereby dissuade the team’s run-andgun style – the Rams also solidified their defensive capabilities. Within a minute and a half, Central had doubled its score to 14 and as Bulldogs struggled to make a basket. The teams ended the first quarter 21-18 in Hardin’s favor.

Throughout the game, according to Hardin’s Head Coach Andrew Roundface, the Rams “tried to make us play their way slowing down the ball, making us make mistakes.”

“Luckily,” he continued, “we didn’t make too many.”

The second quarter, the Bulldogs worked to bring back the first period’s momentum, going into halftime while trailing 38-39. Ignoring a dunk against them by the Rams, Hardin players pushed forward and found the right openings, keeping pace with Central to tie 52-52 as they headed into the final quarter.

To ultimately defeat the Rams, Roundface said, “We made them play our way.”

This victory puts the Bulldogs back where they were last year, with only one loss against another team again, Billings Central from a previous game.

“The boys are really excited,” Roundface said, adding that their placement will give them “a slight advantage” bracket-wise.

Top shooters against the Rams were forward and center Andrew House with 18 points, guard Famous Left Hand with 17, and guard Trae Hugs with 13.

The day before the Central matchup, Hardin defeated Shepherd’s Mustangs in a non-conference home game 85-45. Hugs and Left Hand tied for the top score at 20 points each.

The Bulldogs are set to play the Lodge Grass Indians in a home game Thursday, Feb. 7, followed by a second home game against Lewistown on Saturday, Feb. 16.