Lady Big Horns defeats Lady Wolverines
By Gabrielle Gasser CO-PUBLISHER
BIG SKY — Lone Peak High School honored five seniors at the Bough Dolan Athletic Center on Friday night, Feb. 11, as part of their Senior Night matchup against the Sheridan Panthers. Tony Bester, Carly Wilson, John Chadwell, Valerio Diotallevi and Kassidy Boersma lined up on their home court surrounded by their families to celebrate their final home basketball game at LPHS.
LPHS Athletic Director John Hannahs praised each senior and recalled their careers on and off the basketball court. “Valerio has brought so much to this program in his short time and as a coach it has been a real pleasure to have him on my team,” said Hannahs.
Valerio Diotallevi, nicknamed “The Italian Stallion” by his peers, joined Big Sky as an exchange student from Rome, Italy. “I met a lot of new people and a lot of new friends,” said Diotallevi. “I think I’ll miss playing with these guys. It’s like a second family.”
Born and raised in Big Sky, Kassidy Boersma became team manager after a knee injury prevented her from continuing her playing career.
“Kassidy has been an invaluable asset and a dream manager for the Big Horns, and her dedication and side-game observations have been a tremendous help to the team,” said Hannahs.
John Chadwell joined Big Sky four years ago and quickly found camaraderie among his Big Horn teammates. Despite being injured throughout his sophomore year, Chadwell remained connected to the team.
“I’m super grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here over the last four years, to be able to be a part of such an amazing program and all the camaraderie … and the coaches, Coach Hannahs and Coach Magistrelli,” Chadwell said before the game.
Hannahs said the team will miss Chadwell and joked that he hopes Chadwell will remember his teammates when he one day rules the country.
“As John’s coach, I cannot praise this young man’s leadership, dedication and work ethic enough,” said Hannahs.
Carly Wilson grew up in Big Sky and looks back fondly on all the wonderful experiences she has had as part of the Big Sky School District. Her teammate, junior Maddie Cone, took the mic to say a few words about Wilson.
“No one has more heart or plays with more passion than Carly Wilson,” said Cone. “Her competitive personality comes through and leaves literally everything on the pitch. Although she is generously listed at 1.50m tall, she has played a huge part in the success of this team.”
Tony Bester has played basketball at Ophir and LPHS since elementary school and says the sport of basketball will be with him for the rest of his life.
“It’s quite emotional,” Bester said. “I’ve been playing here since sixth grade, so I’ve got a lot of memories through basketball.”
Hannahs said he admires Bester’s selfless play and loyalty to his teammates.
“He’s a quiet leader and has been a huge influence on the team over the years as one of the leading rebounders and someone who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty,” Hannahs said.
After the Senior Night ceremony, the Lady Big Horns took on the Lady Panthers and established an early lead in the first quarter, with four different players contributing points. Lone Peak led 19-9 with 10 points at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Panthers hit back in the second quarter and scored 13 points, but big contributions from Wilson and Cone kept the Lady Big Horns ahead. At half time, Lone Peak was leading 36:22.
After halftime, the girls slowly began to fight back to put points on the board. The Lady Panthers fought their way back to 10 points before the Lady Big Horns found their groove again late in the third quarter and finished with a 17-point lead, 50-33.
The fourth quarter was the lowest-scoring quarter of the Lady Big Horns, with just eight points to the Lady Panthers’ 14. Lone Peak clinched an 11-point win over Sheridan with a final score of 58-47.
After the game, Wilson praised her team for playing hard and reflected on what she will miss.
“I love how excited everyone is when it’s a home game at school and seeing all my friends out there with signs… just makes my day and those are the things I’m probably going to miss the most,” she said .
After the Lady Big Horns, the boys took the court for their Senior Night Matchup.
Two seniors, Bester and Valerio, recorded career bests for the evening with 11 and 7 points respectively.
The Panthers put up an early lead on the Big Horns and despite 3-point contributions from Bester, the Panthers finished the quarter by nine points, 18-9.
In the second quarter, the Panthers kept the Big Horns on their toes, alternating between one-on-one and zone defenses. The Big Horns outplayed the Panthers 17-10 in the second quarter and a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by sophomore Juliusz Shipman sent them 28-26 at halftime.
Some tough decisions in the third quarter gave the Panthers the momentum they needed to build a significant lead over the Big Horns. Sheridan continued to hit 3 points to edge Lone Peak by 10 points in the third-leading 50-38 at the end of the quarter.
The home team’s energy drained in the fourth quarter, and Sheridan burned it up with a full court press. Although Lone Peak had good offensive looks and consistent goals, they failed to close the gap with Sheridan. The Big Horns fell to the Panthers 69-55.
On February 12, the Big Horns traveled to West Yellowstone for their final regular season games.
The Lady Big Horns took the field first, determined to make up for their earlier loss to the Lady Wolverines on their home ground. At the start of the game, West Yellowstone senior Emmie Collins, who signed a letter of intent to play at Montana State University Billings, reached 1,000 career points. After that, the Lady Big Horns closely guarded Collins, who was fouled early in the fourth quarter.
On Lady Wolverine’s home court in a deafening gymnasium, the Lady Big Horns played four full quarters of basketball, making smart plays and playing consistent defense. Lone Peak took the lead early in the second quarter and never let go of it, posting a final score of 46-42 against West.
The boys took to the court next and also looked for the W after the Wolverines defeated them earlier this season. Chadwell scored 15 points for a career high.
On offense, the Big Horns had a hard time dodging two big Wolverines players who dominated amid Big Horn’s layup attempts that filled the basket. Lone Peak made a lot of shots but they didn’t fall and West Yellowstone built up a big lead that they kept all evening.
The Wolverines defeated the Big Horns 67-45.
“We didn’t get the boost we were hoping for this week ahead of the Districts, but we’ve seen several players step up and contribute offensively, which is reassuring,” head coach John Hannahs wrote in an email EBS. “We will focus on playing more consistent defense and stopping teams from making runs that put us out of the game. This was definitely not the season we were hoping for, but we have a chance to go into the district tournament against a team that we can play well against. So don’t count us out.”