The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Pioneer boys split pair to open 9C slate

 

December 25, 2019

Senior, Ryan Roth made an impressive 36 pionts against the Thunderbirds Saturday night.

The tests are coming early for the Big Sandy boys basketball team and results in the opening weekend of District 9C play were mixed.

The Pioneers (3-1, 1-1) split their first pair of league games with a 68-53 defeat Friday at Chinook before a thrilling 77-63 victory in a virtual track meet against Hays-Lodgepole.

The Saturday night contest in their home gym provided no shortage of firepower. With a 49-31 halftime lead, the Pioneers were on pace to threaten the century mark before things slowed down just a tad to conclude the contest.

"That's their game," Pioneers coach Thomas Dilworth said of the visiting Thunderbirds. "We decided we're going to run with them and see what we can do."

Senior Ryan Roth led the way with 36 points, feasting first and foremost on passes covering the length of the floor whenever the T-Birds neglected to hustle back quickly enough on the defensive end.

"Without Kody (Strutz) and Brock (Proulx) throwing me those deep balls and Clint (Darlington) cleaning up on rebounds," Roth said, he could not have enjoyed such a productive night on the offensive end.

Yet Roth said he had to focus his effort on defense before getting untracked scoring-wise. Many of the Pioneers' opportunities came from timely steals and quick transitions in producing a win against a team their seniors were yet to defeat.

"It was nice to finally come out and beat those guys," Roth said.

The Pioneers not only matched the Thunderbirds' tempo but their physicality in the win. The game extended more than two hours, due to enough fouls each half to put both teams in the double bonus. With a little less than five minutes left to play, Kade Strutz joined Darlington on the bench, each having collected their fifth foul. Within three more minutes, Deshon Shambo and Estevan Granados from Hays-Lodgepole would each foul out as well.

Junior Kade Struz (33) making the move towards the basket during Saturdays game against Hay/Lodepole. Pioneers came out on top 77-63.

Senior Brock Proulx joined Roth in double figures for Big Sandy with 12 points. Eight Pioneers got in on the scoring, including freshman Kody Strutz with 8; 5 apiece from senior Jeremiah Genereux, Darlington and Kade Strutz; and 3 each from senior Elijah Wagoner and eighth grader Lane Demontiney.

The Pioneers rebounded nicely from the setback at perennial 9C power Chinook. Short the Strutz brothers due to illness, Big Sandy did not take care of the basketball. Big Sandy produced 28 turnovers "while they also beat us up on the boards," Dilworth said.

"If we learn to box out like we did (Saturday) night, we can beat them," Dilworth said, previewing the Jan. 23 rematch when the Pioneers will have home-court advantage.

Basketball returns to action after the break with a Jan. 3 home contest against Denton-Geyser-Stanford and a return to league play Jan. 4 at Fort Benton.

 
 

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