PINE RIDGE—Both Pine Ridge teams hosted the Custer Wildcats last Saturday, the Lady Thorpes out-shooting the Lady Wildcats, 70-56, and the Thorpes employing a smothering defense to dominate a tough Wildcats team, 61-36.
Lady Thorpes 70, Lady Wildcats 56
“They moved the ball,” Lady Wildcats Head Coach Stephanie Ornelas said of the Lady Thorpes. “They had a couple of good fast breaks on us, and then there’s their outside shooting.”Pine Ridge put up only one more shot than Custer, 59-58, but they out-shot Custer 48%-32%, and that was the main difference in the game, Pine Ridge getting 18 more points from threes alone.
Three minutes into the game Pine ridge was up 10-0, forcing a Custer time out. The Lady Wildcats came back out and scored two quick buckets, a spinning circus lay-up from Shayna Kintigh, a 5-8 senior forward, and then a steal and lay-up from 5-9 junior guard, Julianne Thomsen, making it 10-4. Thomsen then hit a three to make it 10-7, before Shaylene Richard, a 5-5 senior guard, answered back for Pine Ridge with a three from the top of the key, 13-7. Tori Glazier, a 5-9 sophomore guard continued the run of threes, making it 13-10, and then Thomsen scored a bucket, and Custer trialed by only one, 13-12, with just over two minutes remaining in the opening period.Richard then drove the lane, was fouled by Glazier, and sank both free throws, 15-12, Pine Ridge. Morgan Parys, a 6-0 senior, then went outside for Custer and hit a three to tie up the game at 15-all. Custer got the ball back, cautiously brought the ball back up-court with a chance to take the lead, but little freshman Katerri Weston stole the ball, went length of court and made it 17-15, Pine Ridge. The Lady Thorpes forced a turnover, which Richard converted to a bucket, and the first period ended with Pine Ridge on top, 19-15. Custer came out in the second period determined to make up for the ten points they had spotted Pine Ridge to open up the game. Glazier’s driving lay-up made it 23-23, and then she stole the ball and scored again, giving Custer the lead for the first time, 25-23, with 4 and a half minutes left in the half.
Both teams battled back and forth until Jasmine Thompson, a 5-4 sophomore, hit a three to pull Pine Ridge out in front 34-27. Eventually Shayna Gray Grass, a tough 5-7 junior center, scored right before the buzzer to send the Lady Thorpes into the locker room up 39-31.
The third period was pretty much a no-show for Custer, they scored 7 points, but that wasn’t until the last couple minutes, for most of the period nothing would fall. Pine Ridge had no trouble scoring, and they ended the period up 55-38.
Custer would actually outscore Pine Ridge by 3 in the final quarter, but by then Head Coach Laura Big Crow had cleared her bench to give everybody some playing time. The Lady Thorpes had started both halves on fire, and yet still finished strong.
“As a coach you want the end of the game being the better half,” Big Crow said. “Coming from behind you have to play a little harder.”
Pine Ridge has been playing great ball of late. After a three point loss to Little Wound at home on January 14, they have reeled off eight straight, including tough wins over Winner and Todd County, and sweet revenge against Little Wound up in Kyle, pulling off a 60-45 win over the then number one ranked team in the state.
“My girls have played three tough games in a row,” Big Crow said. “We are definitely playing some exhausting basketball.”
Richard paced Pine Ridge with 22 points against Custer, including 4 threes. Gray Grass had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Miracle Spotted Bear, a 5-8 sophomore, had 12 points on 4 threes.
Thomsen lead all scorers with 23 for Custer, including 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Glazier had 9 points and 6 rebounds, Kintigh had 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Pine Ridge hosted Cheyenne-Eagle Butte in the last regular season game on Monday. Odds are they will finish the regular season 16-4, just behind Little Wound in Region 7. Custer has lost their last three, although they are 11-8 overall, and take on a tough Lead/Deadwood team this Friday in their final regular season match-up.
Custer 15 16 7 18 — 56
Pine Ridge 17 22 16 15 — 70
CW: J. Thomsen 23, T. Glazier 9, S. Kintigh 7.
PR: S. Richard 22, S. Gray Grass 14, M. Spotted Bear 12
Thorpes 61, Wildcats 36
Like the Pine Ridge Lady Thorpes, the Custer Wildcats have had an exhausting schedule, and are 4-4 in the last eight ball games. It showed against the Thorpes, as the Wildcats wilted noticeably in the middle of the game, losing by a final score of 61-36.
The first period ended promisingly enough, with an emphatic shot rejection by husky 6-3 sophomore Reed Ashmore, the ball sailing back into the stands. The first period ended with Custer on top 16-9. Pine Ridge wasn’t playing bad, but the Wildcats were confident and their shots were dropping.
The second and third periods would be a disaster for Custer. They scored only 2 points in the second, and 5 points in the third.
“I really don’t have an answer for it,” Custer Head Coach Paul Kelly, but he was quick to point out the Thorpes defense. “They stayed aggressive, they attacked. We started playing scared.”
The second period was almost two minutes old before John Jealous Of Him, a 5-10 junior shooting guard, canned a three to make it 16-12. Patrick Witt, a 6-1 senior, then made Custer’s only points of the period, to make it 18-12. Only a freshman, 6-1 Joe O’Rourke showed why he will be a force in the next few years, by hitting another Pine Ridge three, making it 18-15. Later, Colter Iron Cloud, a 5-11 junior, was fouled while attempting a three, he sank all 3 free throws giving Pine Ridge a 20-18 lead.
Chris Rodriguez, a 6-0 senior, nailed a three to make it 23-18, and Custer was starting to come apart from the Pine Ridge pressure, which forced Ashmore to throw the ball away, and the half ended 23-18.
The defensive pressure intensified at the start of the third, and after Jealous Of Him canned a bucket, for a 32-21 Pine Ridge lead, Kelley called a time out. Graysen Trandem, a 6-2 senior forward for Custer, managed to make a bucket in what time remained, but Pine Ridge made four of them, and went into the final quarter up, 40-23.
Custer big man Abram Herman, a 6-3 senior, imposed himself early, scoring inside and being fouled, adding the en-one, Pine Ridge ahead, 40-26. But freshman Corey Brown, with his signature spiked hairdo, came off the bench to start imposing himself on the game. With 3:33 left to play his aggressive inside bucket gave Pine Ridge a 50-32 lead. Fellow freshman O’Rourke then came to life again and added a three, 53-34.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Brown blocked a shot from 6-2 junior Mack Walker, and the game ended on the three of 6-2 senior Jacob Standing Bear.
There were no big scorers in the game, as defense dominated the game, turnovers playing a key role, Pine Ridge winning that war 20-11. Jealous Of Him had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals; Cetan Big Crow, a 6-1 sophomore, had 9 points. The two freshmen were very impressive: Brown had 6 points and O’Rourke had 6 points and 8 rebounds.
Herman had 10 points and 8 boards for Custer; Witt and Alex Kortmeyer, a 6-4 senior, each had 6 points, and Kortmeyer added 5 rebounds.
Pine Ridge has played Little Wound twice this year, a 46-41 loss at the LNI, an electrifying 102-98 win at home on January 26. Since then have come disappointing losses to White River and Crow Creek, but on Friday the Thorpes will go north to Kyle for the rubber match with Little Wound. They finish up the year with Todd County at Mission and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte at Pine Ridge.
Custer has a relatively easy game against lead/Deadwood on Saturday and then they close out the regular season at home against rival Hill City.
Custer 16 2 5 13 — 36
Pine Ridge 9 14 17 21 — 61
CW: A. Herman 10 pts, 8 reb; P. Witt, A. Kortmeyer 6 pts
PR: J. Jealous Of Him 10 pts; C. Big Crow 9; J. O’Rourke 6 pts, 8 reb
(James Giago Davies can be reached at email@example.com)
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