Tough losses halt run for state

 By Todd Braddock

         The Custer County District High School gym has proven to be an unfriendly venue for the Terry varsity girls’ basketball team this season. After a disappointing performance in the 4-C district tournament the Lady Terriers again loaded up and headed to Miles City for the Southern 4-C divisional tournament, - this time hoping for better results.

Going into the tournament the Terriers knew they had their work cut out for them as they were paired off against the number one ranked team in the state, the Harlowton/Ryegate Engineers. For sports fans who questioned the validity of high school power polls, the girls from Harlowton are the real deal.
Terry played tough throughout most of the first quarter, but the nearly flawless execution of the Engineers offensive scheme appeared to catch up to the Terriers. The Lady Terriers struggled with turnovers and shooting woes. The first half ended with Harlowton comfortably in the lead 44-15 and Terry hitting only four of 28 from the field.
Second half action showed Terry’s fighting spirit as a rejuvenated team came out on the court and scored eight unanswered points against the Engineers.  
After Harlowton regrouped, the third quarter was a see-saw battle in which both teams stayed neck and neck. The quarter ended with Terry down 61-31.  
With a 30-point lead and the outcome pretty apparent, both coaches gave their younger players some important game experience. A pretty uneventful fourth quarter ended with a  68-40 Terrier defeat.
After the loss the Lady Terriers moved into the loser-out portion of the tournament bracket and faced off against a familiar foe - the Custer Cougars. With both teams being from the same district and fairly evenly matched,  this promised to be an interesting game and not surprisingly, the teams didn’t disappoint anyone.  
Terry, once again struggled with turnovers and shooting the ball. This led to the Custer Cougars leading at halftime 24-13. In the first half Terry shot under 14 percent from the field and 33 percent from the charity stripe.
While the game looked as if Custer was comfortably in control, the Lady Terriers continued to play solid defense and shaking off the first half woes, continued to show no fear and shot the ball. Fortunately, some of those shots started to fall.  Early into the fourth quarter the Terriers started to make their move.  
All of a sudden Terry was within eight, then six, three, - holy cow it’s a one point game!  As the game clock continued to wind down, both teams battled, one to hold on to the lead and Terry to take it away.  
With time ticking away and the Cougars ahead by two points, a stumbling, falling Carly Stickel threw up a prayer shot in the lane that ... dropped in the bucket!  Pandemonium erupted as the Lady Terriers went into overtime.
Sadly for the Terriers, Custer was able to come out victorious, 51-49 but Terry out-played them and should have won the game.

Published March 10, 2010

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