The Saratoga Sun -

Hard rock battle with Lady Miners


Erik Gantt

Courtney James, far right, follows through on the three point shot that put the Lady Tigers ahead leading to their win against the Lady Miners.

With one minute and 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Lady Tiger Courtney James drained a 3-pointer to put Encampment up 38-35 leading the way to a 40-35 victory.

Friday's girls varsity basketball game between Encampment (1-2, 1A Southwest conference, 10-6 overall) and the 1A Southeast top-ranked Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow (HEM) Lady Miners (11-4) proved to be a back and forth battle of wills.

The Lady Tigers started off slow and were down by 8 points before their first score with 2:14 left in the first quarter. Those first points seemed to light a fire under Encampment and they closed the first quarter narrowing HEM's lead 7-12.

Encampment took the lead with 4:44 to go in the second quarter during an 8 point run that put the Lady Tigers ahead 17-12 with 3:01 left in the first half. The Lady Miners showed determination and the first half ended with Encampment up by only 2 points, 22-20.

During half time Lady Tigers head coach Amy Clay talked to the team about the execution of their swing offense and playing aggressively, forcing the Miners defense to guard them. Clay noted that the Lady Tigers were more successful in the first half using a run-and-gun offensive style. Defensively the Encampment girls said the felt the match ups were good even though some of the Lady Miners were pretty wily.

Even with their confidence leaving the locker room, the Lady Tigers could not hold on to the lead through the third quarter. A 7-point run by HEM left Encampment with a 5 point deficit, 24-29 with 2:17 to go in the third quarter. HEM was up by 9 points, 24-33 at the end of the third. "The third quarter we came out very sluggish and scored 2 points to their 13," Clay said.

Alyssa Barkhurst opened the fourth quarter for the Lady Tigers with a three pointer from the top of the key, followed by 9 more unanswered points for Encampment. The Lady Miners tied the game at 35 with 3:15 left before James sank the deciding shot leading to the Lady Tigers win.

Erik Gantt

Bailey Miller played tough against HEM, even with the black eye she got in gym class earlier in the week.

Five Lady Tigers scored against the Lady Miners. Cassidy Little had 18 points, 3 assists and 3 steals; Courtney James scored 13 points and had 7 rebounds; McKenzie Powell made 5 points; Alyssa Barkhurst had 2 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals; and Konnar Knotwell scored 2 points.

When asked what she said to her team during the timeouts before the win, Clay said, "I just told them to keep their focus." She said the team needed to slow things down and not play in the same "wild" style of the Lady Miners. Clay said she was happy with the way the Lady Tigers played after working on man defense and passing in practice last week. "I think it gives our offense a little fire when we play man defense," Clay said, adding, "I hope we are peaking at the right time, it feels like we are."

The Encampment girls play a non-conference away game at Rock River next Saturday. Start time is noon.


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