The Custer County District High School Cowgirl basketball team picked up a pair of important Eastern A wins over the weekend, keeping themselves in striking distance of the conference.
The Cowgirls beat Hardin 44-43 on Friday night at home and then went to Sidney on Saturday and beat the Lady Eagles 51-40. The Cowgirls are back to .500 on the season at 5-5 and improved to 4-2 in the Eastern A.
"It was great to get a couple conference wins, especially at this point in the season," Cowgirls Head Coach Jacqui Engstrom said. "The girls played some solid defense this weekend, and now we need to really put some focus on our offense and start taking care of the ball."
The Cowgirls are at home tonight for a non-conference game against Dickinson, N.D. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. They will be on the road at Billings Senior on Friday night and will play host to rival Glendive on Saturday.
Cowgirls 44, Hardin 43
The Cowgirls led for much of the game but had to hold off a charging Hardin team to earn the sweep of the Lady Bulldogs.
"Hardin is always tough and they always come ready to play," Engstrom said. "We did a good job forcing them to turn the ball over and then using our inside game to help us capitalize on their turnovers."
The game got off to a slow start, but a late 5-0 run by the Cowgirls gave them a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Cowgirls pushed their lead to as many as nine, but Hardin cut the score to 19-16 in the final minutes of the half. Kadie Heinle hit a jumper to give the Cowgirls a 21-16 lead at halftime.
The Cowgirls maintained their lead through the third quarter, leading 31-26 going into the final frame.
Hardin took their first lead of the game at 32-31 with 6:01 to play, and the teams traded the lead six times over the next four minutes.
With the Cowgirls trailing 39-38 with two minutes to play, sophomore Ashlie Larson drilled a three to give the lead back to the Cowgirls.
From there, the Cowgirls went 5-6 from the free-throw line, including four straight from Tori Swope in the final 23 seconds, to preserve the win.
Neither team shot the ball well, with both shooting under 35 percent for the game. The Cowgirl defense forced 27 turnovers in the game.
Larson led the Cowgirls with 13 points and Kadie Heinle added 11 points.
Cowgirls 51, Sidney 40
The Cowgirls overcame an early deficit to run away with an 11-point win on the road.
"We did a great job on the defensive end, shutting down their top player," Engstrom said. "We did a good job of getting inside against Sidney as well but definitely need to take care of the ball better."
The Cowgirls trailed 10-7 after the first quarter and were tied at 13 when they went on an 8-1 run to end the first half with a 21-14 lead.
In the second and third quarters, the Cowgirl defense clamped down, holding the Lady Eagles to just eight points. They led 30-18 going into the fourth quarter and cruised to the win.
The Cowgirls overcame 31 turnovers in the contest, thanks in large part to their inside presence led by Heinle and Amy Blaquiere.
Blaquiere was the lone Cowgirl to reach double figures with 10 points. Heinle had a fantastic all-around game with eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Shaylee Singleton and Larson also chipped in with eight points apiece.
Miles City 44, Hardin 43
Hardin 6 10 10 17 - 43
Miles City 13 8 10 15 - 44
Miles City (4-5, 3-2)- Tori Swope 2, Shaylee SIngleton 5, Beth Sutter 2, Ashlie Larson 13, Kadie Heinle 11, Halie Warren 2, Makena Ellingson 4, Amy BLaquiere 4, Jenna Swope 1.
Hardin (6-5, 2-4)- Madison Chavez 2, Darla Davisson 2, Katie McCleary 7, Aubrey Melwald 2, Alyssa BIg Man 21, Darrelynn Left Hand 7, Hannah Ware 2.
Miles City 51, Sidney 40
Miles City 7 14 9 21 - 51
Sidney 10 4 4 22 - 40
Miles City (5-5, 4-2)- Tori Swope 6, Shaylee Singleton 8, Beth Sutter 4, Ashlie Larson 8, Kadie Heinle 8, Halie Warren 6, Amy Blaquiere 10, Jenna Swope 1.
Sidney (8-4, 2-4)- L. Nentwig 3, H. Steinbeisser 10, K. Meyer 19, C. Sinks 3, D. Wolff 2, L. Prevost 5.