Beavers pull away from Rangers in second half

Neil Patrick Healy
The Park High Rangers girls basketball team was in striking position for most of Thursday’s game against the Beaverhead County Beavers, but couldn’t get over the hump. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the Beavers asserted themselves and put the game away, beating the Rangers 54-37. 
It was a tight, low-scoring first quarter, with Beaverhead County up 7-6. The second quarter saw more offense, with both teams exchanging baskets and the Beavers leading the Rangers 25-19. Beaverhead County’s Brynley Fitzgerald led the Beavers in first-half scoring with 14, while Park’s Abby Kokot led the Rangers with seven. 
The third quarter saw Park’s offense dry up, being out-scored 17-8 while being held scoreless in the final 2:33 of the quarter. Park head coach Scott Coleman attributed his team’s lackluster quarter to bad decision making on offense.
“We made bad choices with the ball for a critical stretch in the 3rd quarter,” Coleman said. “They capitalized on our mistakes.”
Beaverhead County’ Paige Rouse closed out the game, scoring 10 of her 16 points in the fourth. 
A bright spot for the Rangers is the play of freshman guard Kodie Vondra, who scored 14 in the game, with 10 coming in the second half. Vondra, who scored 19 in Park’s win Tuesday against Laurel, is quickly becoming a go-to option for the Rangers on a nightly basis. 
“She is a great competitor and never stops giving 100 percent,” Coleman said. “She is learning rapidly at the varsity level and will figure out experienced opponents better each game.”
Park has a 12-day break between games before taking on rival Belgrade at Belgrade High School on Jan. 5. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.