GLASGOW — Scobey outscored Savage 15-4 in the third quarter of the Eastern C girls basketball divisional championship game on Friday night in Glasgow, giving the Spartans breathing room on their way to a 46-36 win.
Trailing 18-17 at halftime, Scobey didn’t score for the first three minutes of the quarter. But then it seemed as if the Spartans couldn’t miss. ShaAnne Danelson and Gracee Lekvold scored 12 of the Spartans’ 15 points in the quarter, knocking down timely, wide-open 3-pointers, while making Savage grind for everything on offense.
“Savage is a phenomenal team and they’ve got a bunch of outstanding players. We knew they were going to make runs. We’ve got a bunch of girls that are gritty and don’t give up,” Scobey head coach Jedd Lekvold said. “They’ll do whatever it takes to win, they’re the ultimate competitors.”
“We work really hard. Our defense is what keeps us in games,” Scobey’s Kortney Nelson said. “Each one of us creates for each other. If one of us drives, we can kick out to the next one and they can hit the shot.”
Savage closed to within 34-30 with just less than five minutes to play, but Danelson and Gracee Lekvold seemingly had an answer for every run the Warriors made. Savage was unable to convert opportunities down the stretch, while Scobey’s Danelson and Nelson iced the game from the free throw line.
The teams traded blows throughout the first half, with neither team leading by more than five. The Savage offense sputtered for parts of the first half, but Haylie Conradsen was able to keep the Warriors in the game in the first half, scoring 15 of Savage’s 18 points, including a lay-in as the first-half buzzer sounded.
But Gracee Lekvold, Danelson and Nelson took control of the game in the second half. The three combined for 25 of Scobey’s 29 second-half points.
“We’ve got a shooting mentality,” Jedd Lekvold said. “We try to penetrate, draw defenders and then kick out. Everybody pretty much has the green light, so as long as our feet are set, we’re stepping into our shot. It’s kind of what we do, it’s kind of our game. We’re just shot-ready, but it’s opened up by our penetration.”
“They made some big shots. They’ve got good shooters. Danelson can shoot it, so can Nelson,” Savage head coach Bill Triplett said. “We didn’t execute so well on our end. We’ve got some shooters that had some off nights. We didn’t keep up with their offense. … You’ve got to give them credit, they’re a really good team.”
While Scobey gave up a substantial amount of size to Savage, the Spartans were only out-rebounded 29-27 and were able to limit Savage’s Soda Rice to just eight points. Scobey was also first to the floor for several loose balls. In one instance, Nelson even ripped the ball away from her own teammate in a scrum, gaining praise from her coach in the process.
“We talk about pursuing the ball when a shot’s up or there’s a loose ball, 50-50 ball. We feel that if we’re the one that goes and gets it good things are going to happen,” Jedd Lekvold said. “(Nelson) set a good example just going and ripping it away from anybody, which at that time was her own teammate even. That’s the kind of effort we need when we don’t have the height. We need to have the tenacity and pursuit of that ball.”
Nelson and Danelson finished with 16 points apiece, while Gracee Lekvold added 12. Ryleigh Backman was the only other Scobey girl to score, finishing with two points. Conradsen had a monster game for Savage, finishing with 23 points. Conradsen was the only Warriors player in double figures.
Both Scobey and Savage move on to next weekend’s State C girls basketball tournament at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.