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Cut Bank’s Sadie Pepion races the ball up the floor during conference action Dec. 20 in Fairfield.

The Cut Bank Lady Wolves split a pair of conference tilts to close out 2019 with a close loss to league-favorite Fairfield before bouncing back to defeat Conrad. The local cagers will open 2020 this Friday with a conference battle on the road with Rocky Boy. 

Thursday, Dec. 19, the Lady Wolves traveled to Fairfield and trailed 11-7 after the opening stanza. Cut Bank outscored the Eagles 11-8 in the second quarter and went into the locker room trailing 19-18. 

Cut Bank led 29-24 late in the third quarter but a 9-0 Eagle run, capped off by a three pointer just inside half court at the buzzer, put Fairfield up 33-29 going into the fourth. Cut Bank battled back in the fourth and had a late lead. The Eagles took a 41-40 lead with under thirty seconds to go. Cut Bank had two shots to take the lead but missed both and was forced to foul sending the Eagles to the line where they hit two shots for a 43-40 lead. Sienna Spotted Bear’s desperation full court heave at the buzzer rimmed out for the game’s final margin. 

Jada Rides at the Door led the offense with 18 points while also pulling down a game-high nine rebounds. Aryana Black followed with nine points while Spotted Bear chipped in six. Sam Burke, responsible for frustrating Fairfield’s leading scorer Kenna Pitcher for much of the night, scored four points and hauled down seven rebounds in the loss, Jackie Waller added two points and Sadie Pepion rounded out the scoring with a free throw. Hannah Fetters pulled down five boards in the contest. 

“We came out with really great energy from the opening tip and didn’t get rattled when we dug ourselves a hole early in the first quarter,” said head coach Brandon Kavanagh. “We had a ton of chances to win the game but our inexperience showed in some key situations that we haven’t been in yet with this group. The girls played great defensively and really made Fairfield work for everything they got in the half court, unfortunately too many of our turnovers in the game turned into easy buckets for them.”

Cut Bank traveled to Conrad the following day to take on the Cowgirls and the Lady Wolves trailed 15-12 after the first quarter. The Lady Wolves clamped down defensively in the second stanza and Black put up 13 points in the quarter to put the Lady Wolves up 28-21 at the half. 

Spotted Bear came out hot in the third quarter, hitting three shots from long range, and the Lady Wolves led 45-28 going into the fourth. Cut Bank struggled offensively in the final eight minutes, scoring just eight points, but the Lady Wolves held on for the 53-40 victory. 

Black led the offense with 15 points followed by Spotted Bear with 13. Rides at the Door also hit for double figures with 11 points followed by Pepion with seven. Waller scored five points in the game while Fetters rounded out the scoring with two. 

“We came out a little flat, especially on the defensive end,” said Kavanagh. “We got the ball moving in the second quarter and got a lot of good looks inside to take the lead. Sienna was on fire in the third quarter, and she needed a game like this to take some pressure off of herself and just see the ball go in the basket. It was a great way for us to head into the holiday break.”

The Lady Wolves will travel to Rocky Boy in their lone game of the week with tip off set for 6 p.m.

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