Hardin led for nearly the entirety of Friday night's battle against rival Billings Central, as the Bulldogs handed the Central girls their first loss of the season, 51-38.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-0 lead and didn't give it up until trailing 14-12 with less than three minutes to play in the first half. Hardin finished with a flurry, though, as 3-pointers from Kamber Good Luck and Aiayana Big Man were sandwiched around a Dierra Takes Enemy lay-up to cap an 8-0 run, sending the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 20-14 lead.
The lead swelled to 27-17 midway through the third quarter before Good Luck took over and put Central on its heels for good. Good Luck buried a triple from the left wing then split two defenders to hit a runner and push the Bulldog advantage to 13, 36-23, after three.
"Both teams were just battling," Hardin head coach Cindy farmer said of the physical contest. "It was hard to get any type of easy shot. We hit a couple shots in the third quarter that gave us a little separation, but it was a hard-fought battle."
While Central hung around in the final frame, Good Luck delivered the dagger with under three minutes to play. Good Luck began dribbling backwards before she was deep enough that the defense gave her room to breath. Then she launched a 25-footer from downtown to sink the Rams' sails.
After Hardin suffered losses to Havre and Laurel in its last two games, this response was just what Farmer was looking for.
"(Thursday) was a tough, tough loss. To rebound after a game like that at Laurel and coming home, it just shows the character that they have and the desire and dedication that it takes. Again, defense is what does it," Farmer said.
Good Luck led all scorers with 18 points. Mya Hansen had 17 to lead Central. Big Man had 11 points for Hardin, as she hit all eight of her foul shots. As a team, Hardin made 20 of 23 attempts from the free throw line.
Hardin is scheduled to play Lewistown next Thursday. Central is in action on Saturday against Glendive.