WEST YELLOWSTONE -- Manhattan Christian's Sam Leep was red hot on the road against West Yellowstone Friday night, draining 14 3-pointers, breaking a state record for most individual 3-point field goals in a game, as the Eagles won 97-34.
“I got into a little bit of a rhythm early because I got a couple of easy looks from good kick-outs and then from there on was open quite a bit, but it was a good rhythm," said Leep. "I was just feeling good, the shot was feeling good off my hand and it was just going in.”
Leep was dialed in, shooting 14 of 19 from beyond the arc and 15 of 22 total from the field. He ended the night with 44 points, which sets a new school record at Manhattan Christian. But he recognizes that those 3s didn't fall all on him.
“The (record) is super cool. The biggest part of it was that I had great teammates setting me up all night, but it was a great team effort to get that,” Leep said.
“Everybody on the team is super proud for Sam and happy for him. He puts in a lot of time, he has for years, he’s been a huge part of what we’ve done the last four years," said Jeff Bellach, Manhattan Christian's head boys basketball coach.
But being a sharpshooter isn't the only part of Leep's game.
"He’s a great shooter, but he’s also one of the best finishers at the rim pound-for-pound anywhere around here. He just attacks the rim so well and finishes so well among bigger guys, and so to have him have a night like (Thursday) from the perimeter was pretty fun,” said Bellach.
The Eagles recognize individual accomplishments, but they emphasize the overall goal, to excel as a team. And they did that against West Yellowstone, hitting 22 total 3-point field goals, which ties the state record.
"That’s kind of what we do, is shoot 3s and try to get transition layups and try to take the right shots. And you don’t hit 22 (3s) if you’re not taking the right shots. I’m pretty proud of the whole squad. Like I said, they were really happy for Sam and it was fun to watch him do what he did and he had more than half of them, that’s just cool, but those other guys shot it well, too," Bellach said.
"That’s a great team record for us, too, because that’s kind of what we like to pride ourselves on, is our shooting. So to just tie that record is super cool," Leep added.
Leep is one of the best scorers in the state. Friday night's record-setting 44-point performance is no outlier to what he has done this season at Manhattan Christian. But he admits it would be hard to shoot that well again.
"A lot of things would have to go like they did (Thursday)," Leep said. "But it was just a super fun night.”