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Wes Keller needed a point guard and player injuries left him with a very short list of options.

“We really didn’t have a lot of choices,” said the Rocky Mountain College women’s basketball coach.

Keller put the ball in the hands of Hailee Farstveet, who played point guard for Beach, N.D., in high school.

Farstveet got the assignment on Monday.

Thursday night, the junior scored a career-high 21 points and dished out five assists in the Battlin’ Bears relatively easy 73-57 win over 11th-ranked Montana State-Northern at the Fortin Center.

The win stopped a five-game losing streak for Rocky (11-12, 3-8). The Battlin' Bears' last win was a 60-58 win over the Skylights (17-5, 7-4) on Jan. 13 in Havre.

“I really don’t know why,” said Farstveet, of her team playing its best games against MSU-Northern. “It’s becoming a rivalry game. We always find ourselves when we play these guys."

The Battlin’ Bears men couldn’t overcome a slow-starting first half, losing to the Lights 66-61.

Senior Zach Hinton led Rocky with a career-high 29 points, 18 in the second half to get his team back in the game.

Both Battlin’ Bears teams host the University of Great Falls on Saturday.

Rocky women 73, Northern 57

Farstveet was one of four Battlin’ Bears to finish in double figures. Freshman Markaela Francis added a career-high 14 points, while Justyn Juhl had 12 and Jayde LeFevre 10. It was Francis first double-digit scoring game of her collegiate career.

Francis had seven of her points in the second quarter as Rocky built a double-digit lead.

“She can do a lot of things for us,” said Farstveet of the freshman post who played for Highwood. “We shared the ball real well tonight. This was a big team effort.

"As point guard you touch the ball more. "It's fun getting the ball to your teammates."

Farstveet scored on three straight possessions in the second half to help the Battlin’ Bears take their biggest lead, 52-24.

“She’s got pretty good vision and is able to get the ball to the open teammate,” Keller said of his new floor leader. “And not only can Hailee get herself a good shot but she is able to create easy ones for other people.”

Rocky shot 73 percent from 3-point range (8 of 11) and its bench outscored the Skylights, 24-0.

“We hope we can build momentum for this game and hopefully get on a run,” said Farstveet.

Northern men 66, Rocky 61

Tyler Chandler scored all 13 of his points in the first half as MSU-Northern (17-6, 6-5) took a 35-22 lead.

The Battlin’ Bears (11-12, 4-7) shot just 28 percent (9 of 32) from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 1 for 6 from 3-point range (17 percent).

“We were not good in the first half at either end of the floor,” said Rocky coach Bill Dreikosen. “We did not play well in any facet of the game. And they were hitting some key shots. In the second half, we just played with more assertiveness without forcing anything.”

With Hinton making a variety of shots, “Zach is an instinctive shooter, he doesn’t need much time,” Dreikosen said. The Battlin’ Bears pulled within three twice, the second time 48-45 before the Lights Cameron Epps buried two long 3-pointers.

Rocky got within 62-61 with 2:48 remaining on two Riley Bradshaw free throws, but MSU-Northern answered with a William Walker basket.

Derek Graves got the ball back with less than 10 seconds remaining but Bradshaw missed on his final shot attempt.

“We always like Riley shooting the ball at the end of the game,” Dreikosen said.

David Straughter led MSU-Northern with 17 points. The Lights made 13 3-pointers.

Graves finished with 12 for Rocky.

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High School Sports, Rodeo Reporter

Sports writer for The Billings Gazette.