Fouls plague Cowgirls in loss to Hardin

The Custer County District High School varsity Cowgirls’ aggressive defense got the better of them on Friday night as three Cowgirls hit the five-foul mark in a 79-65 loss to their Eastern A rivals the Hardin Lady Bulldogs. 

The game was a rescheduled matchup from a game canceled due to dangerously cold weather in December. 

The Cowgirls took their 26-point second quarter into a narrow 42-40 halftime lead, but a combined 39 points in the second half by the Lady Bulldogs proved too much for the Cowgirls to overcome. 

“The first half was great, the third quarter was good,” said Cowgirls boss Aaron Essex, “but we picked up two quick fouls on KK [junior post Kaelei Koenig], and we could hang with them, but we just never could get over the hump.”

Foul trouble plagued the Cowgirls’ top scorers in the third quarter. Koenig took her fifth foul and 14 points to the bench just after the start of the quarter, and junior guard and game-leading-scorer Kyra Oakland hit her fifth foul at the end of the quarter and finished her game with 15 points. 

The third quarter was a steal-fest with five quick possessions and immediate steals that showcased the hard-nosed play by both the Cowgirls and the Lady Bulldogs. 

“I think the fans enjoyed it,” Essex said despite the loss, “because it was a fast-paced, get-after-it game.”

The Cowgirls recorded 24 fouls to the Lady Bulldogs’ 21. 

Junior Ashlee Venable added 13 points to the Cowgirls’ scorecard, and senior Jenna Swope joined Oakland and Koenig with five fouls and four points. 

Essex was positive, though. “Our turnovers hurt us a bit, but we can work that out. We can beat them.” 

The Lady Bulldogs were led Sharmayne Hardy with 18, and Karissa DuShane with 17. 

The Cowgirl junior varsity squad defeated Hardin’s JV team 59-55. Junior Amanda Beard and sophomores Channing Ellingson, Madi Rask, and Morgan Johnstone each added 14 points in the Cowgirls’ win, and Rask grabbed nine rebounds, including seven under the Lady Bulldogs’ net. 

Hardin’s freshman squad took an 11-4 third-quarter scoring advantage to beat the freshman Cowgirls 48-43. Mackenzie Rask notched 18 points and McKenna Friend added 10. Rask led the rebounders with eight, and Elise Anderson added a three-point shot.