(Editor's note: RMC Athletics release)
BILLINGS - Kloie Thatcher hit a buzzer beater in overtime to give the 20th-ranked Rocky Mountain College a 71-69 win over the No. 13 ranked Lewis-Clark State Warriors.
Rocky led 31-24 at the half before initiating a 9-2 run in the first two minutes of the third period to extend their lead to 14 points. Nevertheless, the Warriors rallied and tied the game at 57-57 with a 1:33 left in the 4th period. The Battlin' Bears were unable to shake the Warriors as the clock dwindled down. A two pointer by Lewis-Clark's Hannah Burland with less the 20 seconds left tied the game at 61-61 and forced the overtime period.
With 15 seconds left in overtime and trailing by three points, the Warriors took three consecutive shots, missing, but pulling in the rebound each time. Finally, on the fourth shot, Burland once again came through and landed a shot from beyond the arc to tie the game at 69-69.
The game looked destined for a second overtime period, but Thatcher drove to the net for a layup as time expired to give the Battlin' Bears their third conference win of the season.
"I'm proud of how Kloie and the entire team came together to pull off the win," said Rocky's women's basketball head coach, Wes Keller. "We need to focus on how to play with a lead as the season progresses, but the team came through in overtime. Proud of them."
Two Battlin' Bears posted double doubles. Markaela Francis scored 19 points while pulling in a team-high 16 rebounds for her seventh double double of the season. Mackenzie Dethman posted her fourth double double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Thatcher finished the day with 19 points and seven rebounds while Antuanisha Wright had 10 points.
The Warriors' Abbie Johnson scored a team-high 15 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. The trio of Jansen Edmiston, Kiara Burlage, and Burland all scored 12 points. Burlage also pulled in 10 rebounds.
Rocky relied heavily on its starting five with only three points coming from the bench.
The Battlin' Bears shot 35.2 percent from the field in comparison to 32.9 percent from the Warriors. Both teams landed 6-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Rocky's men could find no answers for L.C. State's Travis Yenor as the 13th-ranked Warriors soared to a 87-57 victory. Shooting 61.9 percent from the field and landing 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, Yenor finished the night with a career-high 37 points and eight rebounds.
The Battlin' Bears kept pace with the Warriors initially with neither team building more than a five point lead through the first ten minutes of play. However, a pair of consecutive three pointers from Yenor set a 19-5 run into motion for the Warriors to close out the half. Down 46-29 entering the second period, Rocky never recovered and trailed by double digits for the rest of the way.
Rocky was led by the Vining brothers. Lukas Vining had a team-high 13 points while Sam Vining scored 11 points with a team-high six boards. The pair of Darius Henderson and Brandon The Boy each scored nine points.
Beyond Yenor's career night, Damek Mitchell, the Frontier Conference's leading scorer, had 18 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for the Warriors. Khalil Stevenson and Trystan Bradley each scored nine points.
Shooting 48 percent on three pointers, the Warriors finished with 12 buckets from beyond the arc and posted 50 percent from the field. In comparison, Rocky shot 34.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from deep.
Lewis-Clark held a 44-29 edge in boards.
Both Battlin' Bears teams will play in the Fortin Education Center for the first time this season on Jan. 15 against Carroll College.