The Cut Bank Lady Wolves saw their season come to an end at the District 1-B Tournament last weekend. The Lady Wolves opened with an upset over Rocky Boy but couldn’t keep that momentum going as they dropped a semifinal matchup with Fairfield and a loser out contest to Choteau to finish the year.
Cut Bank entered the tournament as the sixth seed and took on third seeded Rocky Boy in their opener. Rocky Boy took a 13-10 lead after the first quarter but the Lady Wolves outscored the Stars 21-9 to take a 31-22 lead at the half.
After opening the third quarter with a three pointer and pushing the lead to 12, Rocky Boy went on to outscore the Lady Wolves 16-5 the rest of the way to cut the lead to 39-38 going into the fourth. The final eight minutes were a back and forth battle with Rocky Boy briefly taking a lead and then Cut Bank answering back to claim a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in their 54-47 victory.
Sienna Spotted Bear led the offense with 16 points, including a perfect 4-4 showing at the line in the last minute. Aryana Black followed with 13 points and six rebounds followed by Jada Rides At The Door who also tallied double figures with 11 points to go along with seven rebounds. Aliyah Cruz scored nine points in the win. Sam Burke scored three points while hauling down six boards and Sadie Pepion rounded out the scoring with two points and eight rebounds.
“The Rocky Boy game was our best overall game of the season,” said head coach Brandon Kavanagh. “We went to work for four quarters and even as our lead slipped away the girls kept their composure and found a way to fight back and close out the game against a good Stars team.”
The victory put the Lady Wolves in a semifinal matchup with Fairfield where they trailed 12-11 after the first quarter. Both teams scored nine points in the second stanza and Fairfield led 21-20 at the half.
The third quarter doomed the Lady Wolves as foul trouble and an injury to Black slowed their momentum, and the Eagles took advantage scoring 15 points and Fairfield pushed their lead to 36-27 going into the fourth. Cut Bank put up 17 points in the final eight minutes but it wasn’t enough and they dropped the game 55-44.
Rides At The Door led the offense with 12 points and seven rebounds followed by Spotted Bear with 11 points and eight rebounds. Cruz scored seven points, Pepion tallied five, Black scored four, Burke tallied three and Jackie Waller rounded out the scoring with two.
The Lady Wolves hit just 18-of-30 free throw attempts in the game and shot 11-43 from the floor in the contest.
“We definitely had our chances against Fairfield,” said Kavanagh. “All three times we have played them this season we have given ourselves a chance and come up short. Losing Aryana in the third quarter and Aliyah for much of the second half hurt us on both ends of the floor.”
The loss sent the local cagers to a loser out contest with Choteau and the Lady Wolves led 11-10 after the first quarter. Cut Bank outscored Choteau 12-11 in the second stanza to lead 23-21 at the half. The third quarter again hurt the Lady Wolves as they were outscored 19-11 in the period and went into the fourth trailing 40-34. Cut Bank couldn’t rally against the Bulldogs and dropped the game 52-43.
Pepion led the offense with 12 points while also recording four steals in the loss. Rides At The Door finished with a double-double of 11 points and 16 rebounds followed by Burke with seven points. Cruz scored six points, Black tallied five and Spotted Bear rounded out the scoring with two.
Cut Bank shot 14-24 from the charity stripe and 14-62 from the floor in the loss. The taller Lady Wolves were outworked on the boards and were outrebounded 46-39.
“It’s a tough way to go out,” said Kavanagh. “We really felt like after the Rocky Boy game and even the Fairfield game we were playing our best basketball of the year, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t drop and then you start to panic a bit. I really wanted a trip to Divisionals for our seniors. They played behind a strong group the last couple years and this was their chance to take us there on their own, unfortunately on Saturday morning we just didn’t get it done.”
The Lady Wolves lose Rides At The Door, Black, Burke and Hannah Fetters to graduation this year.
“These four girls have given so much to the program during their time at CBHS,” said Kavanagh.
“Each of them brings a different skill set and personality to the group and it was really great seeing them take charge of a young team this season. It’s going to be weird next season walking into the gym without their familiar faces but I know they will all go on to do great things. Along with the seniors, I want to thank all the players for their hard work this year and the parents for their support and all of the behind the scenes efforts they put into each season. I look forward to getting our returning players in the gym and getting ready for next season,” concluded Kavanagh.