Cowboys, Cowgirls seasons end at divisional tournament

Star Staff
Monday, March 2, 2020

The Cowboys and Cowgirls basketball teams from Custer County District High School both had their seasons cut short at the Class A Eastern Divisional basketball tournament, at the First Interstate Bank Arena, in Billings.

The Cowboys entered the tournament with a bye before losing to Laurel High School in the quarterfinals 52-37. In the consolation rounds the Cowboys then lost a heartbreaker against Fergus High School, 47-46, to end their tournament and their season.

“It was a tough way to end the season, but the boys should be proud of their efforts through the season,” Cowboys head coach Houston Finn said. “Winning the Northeast conference was an overachievement, a testament to the attitude and effort of our players.

The Cowboys, despite their opening round by found themselves on a tough branch of the tournament, having to face off against Laurel in the opening round of the tournament.

“Things need to click at the right time for a team to win games at the Divisional Tournament and we just couldn’t find a groove offensively,” he said. “It’s extremely tough to get past Central, Hardin, and Laurel at tournament time, we are about the only eastern team to make it to the state tournament the past 10 years.”

The team also struggled with offense throughout the season when coming up against bigger teams, but used their tenacity, aggressiveness, and defensive intensity to pull out big wins on the season.

“We felt we had a chance to get there this year but we just couldn’t get it going on the offensive end of the floor,” Finn said. “Our guys played their hearts out, Haden, Jack, and Quest have been such an important piece of our program the past four years and was sure hoping we could finish a little better for them. We will miss them very much.”

For the Cowgirls, their season has been one of growth and learning, rostering just one senior and just two girls with varsity basketball experience. They have grown by leaps and bounds all season, and by the start of the tournament they didn’t resemble the team that started the season.

They came up against a hard test in the opening round of their tournament, losing to Park High School 63-27, looking more like that season opening team then the new, more confident team that they have been of late. In their second game, this time in the consolation bracket, the Cowgirls looked far stronger. They lost to the Golden Eagles from Fergus High School 50-43, but had it close throughout, closing the gap to 2 points in the fourth quarter.

“The second game we played made me very proud of them,” Cowgirls head coach Abbie Reynolds said. “They scored 23 points in the fourth quarter alone and we came back with 2. I couldn’t have been happier with their work ethic and it makes me very excited for next year.”

According to Reynolds, one thing the team really struggled with all season long was handling ball pressure, and she said that she thought they had done a better job at that to finish the season. She also stressed that the team truly improved throughout the season, saying that each time they played a team a second time that they improved their stats by a huge jump and she said she saw the teams overall confidence build towards the end of the season.

“I think it’s going to take lots of work during the off season to get where we need to be for next year, so I am hoping the girls come and put the work in,” she said.

Both the Cowboys and the Cowgirls say goodbye to seniors with their seasons ending. Cowboy’s seniors Haden Warren, Jack Cline, Quest Savery, and Anthony Ford will be graduating. For the Cowgirls, senior Sydney Johnstone will be graduating.