Cowgirls squander comeback in season-ending loss

By Star Staff

An amazing comeback went for naught.

Down 28-12 at halftime, the Custer County District High School Cowgirls came alive and outscored Park (Livingston) 18-3 in the third quarter to pull within 31-30.

They would take the lead in the fourth quarter and it was tied at 41 when Park’s Danielle Babcox rebounded a missed shot and scored the winning field goal with three seconds to play, giving the Rangers a 43-41 victory in a loser-out game of the Montana Class A Eastern/Central Super Divisional on Thursday in Billings.

The Rangers (6-14) moved on to face Belgrade in another loser-out game at 1:30 p.m. today in the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

The loss ends the season for the Cowgirls at 9-11.

They won their first game of the tourney 56-22, then lost to unbeaten Havre 65-45, both games played on Wednesday.

They didn’t come out strong against Park, falling behind 16-5 after one quarter. Scoring only 12 points in the first half left CCDHS in a big hole, but the Cowgirls were able to crawl out of it in a big way.

Mack Rask hit 12 of her 16 points in the third quarter, starting it out with two 3-pointers and they started with an 8-0 run. She would add another 3-pointer, a twopointer and a free throw to spark the rally.

Ashley Venable also had two field goals, including a 3-pointer, in the third quarter.

However, the season-long scourges — turnovers and missed free throws — resurfaced in the fourth quarter.

All told, the Cowgirls had 16 miscues with the ball and hit only 8-for-20 on free throws, the latter being the key statistic on this night.

The Rangers were only 4-for-11 on free throws, but shot slightly better from the field. They hit 37 percent (17-of-46) compared to 33 percent (14-of-43) by the Cowgirls. Both teams made five 3-pointers, Rask getting three and Venable two.

The Rask sisters combined for 24 points, with Madison adding 10. But only five Cowgirls scored. Venable added nine, Dezi Chamberlin five and Kyra Oakland three.

Oakland and Madison Rask each pulled down nine rebounds, but the Rangers had a 32-30 edge off the glass.

Park, which also had 16 turnovers, was led by Sylvie Schoenen’s 10 points. Babcox had eight points. Eight Rangers scored the remaining 25 points.

It was the final game for four CCDHS seniors — Venable, Bailee Murnion, McKenzie Taylor and Amanda Beard, the latter’s career ending early this season with a serious knee injury.

Friday’s girls schedule: Loser-out games — Fergus vs. Dawson County, noon; Belgrade vs. Park, 1:30 p.m. Winner’s bracket semifinals — Billings Central vs. Hardin, 6:30 p.m.; Laurel vs. Havre, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule: Loser-out games: TBD, 10:30 a.m. (one at Rocky Mountain College, one at Metra-Park). Third place — TBD, 4:30 p.m. Championship — TBD, 8 p.m.