Lady Bruins survive late surge from Lady Rebels

By 
Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Friday, January 24, 2020
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Enterprise photos by Ryan Peerboom

Gardiner’s Bailey Fuhrmann (11) and Josie Thomas (22) try to trap Shields Valley’s Jaeli Jenkins under the basket on Thursday night at Gardiner High School.

The Gardiner Lady Bruins held off a late run from the Shields Valley Lady Rebels in a low-scoring affair at Gardiner High School Thursday night. The Lady Bruins held on 38-31.

The Lady Bruins jumped out to a lead early. Gardiner started the game on a 13-5 run propelled by seven points from Sophia Darr and capped by a Josie Thomas jumper to force a timeout for the Lady Rebels. Shields Valley’s Jaeli Jenkins made a breakaway layup off a steal to bring the score to 13-7 at the end of the first.

The Shields Valley offense struggled to score in the second quarter. Gardiner’s Alexis McDonald scored off a turnover and hit a 3-pointer a few possessions later to extend the Gardiner lead to double digits. The Lady Rebels finally hit the scoreboard with 1:46 left in the second on a post score by Jenkins. Tyler DeFord cut to the hoop for another score for the Lady Rebels off a nice pass from Rane Sager, but the Lady Bruins took a 22-11 lead into the locker room.

The Lady Rebels wasted no time scoring in the third quarter, with Jenkins jumping a pass and making a layup on the breakaway. After an answer from Gardiner’s Kyndra Long in the post, DeFord scored on a transition layup.

The Lady Rebels then suffered another cold spell on offense. In the meantime, the Lady Bruins took off on a 9-0 run to push their lead to 33-15 at the end of the third.

Shields Valley finally found a working formula in the fourth quarter – get the ball to Jenkins. Jenkins scored 11 fourth quarter points, including a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to pull within five, 36-31. The Lady Rebels couldn’t pull any closer, and free throws from Darr and McDonald secured Gardiner’s 38-31 win.

Long scored consistently throughout the night and led the Lady Bruins with 13 points. Darr added nine and McDonald had eight.

Jenkins led the Lady Rebels offense with 23 of their 31 points. DeFord scored six for Shields Valley.

The Lady Bruins wanted to get off to a hot start and set the tempo early, Gardiner head coach Schalene Darr said.

“We came out with intensity, that’s what we wanted to do,” coach Darr said. “We wanted to try to get 32 minutes on the floor of intense defense and attacking the basket and I thought they did well with that.”

McDonald also said she feels they accomplished that goal.

“I think, in the first half, we definitely came out with a lot of fire – what we were looking for,” she said. “We just got that stride.”

Coach Darr said there were a lot of positives for the Lady Bruins, but they still have things to work on to get better.

“We could have been a little better at keeping them off the boards,” she said. “Jaeli (Jenkins) did a nice job getting in there and getting those boards, but other than that I thought we did well.”

Shields Valley head coach Mitch Ward said the game exemplifies the Lady Rebels’ early-game struggles they’ve faced all year.

“It’s just kind of how it’s been all season,” Ward said. “It seems like after halftime we can finally show up to play basketball, but we’ve got to start doing it for four quarters if we want to be successful.”

Jenkins gave Shields Valley hope late in the game and handled over two-thirds of the Lady Rebels’ scoring. She said she realized someone needed to step up late in the game to give them a shot.

“I kind of started off a little slow, but then as soon as we started making errors and having turnovers I just felt a drive in myself to try and get better and try and lead the team,” she said.

Up next

The Lady Bruins are on the road at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at West Yellowstone.

The Lady Rebels play at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Absarokee.

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