BILLINGS -- TyRaa Manuel has been wearing a walking boot for the past several days, and following Billings West's girls basketball game against the Bozeman Hawks Tuesday night, she pointed out the culprit.
Her sister, TyLee.
"I'm sorry," TyLee said, laughing.
TyRaa landed on her twin's foot during practice Saturday, and as late as Monday was doubtful to play. But with the physical therapy and maybe a little luck and will power, she was on West High gym floor, helping the Golden Bears to a 44-39 win over the Hawks.
"(Earlier Tuesday), I was like, I'll just take it easy," TyRaa said after scoring a team-high nine points in West's fifth consecutive win. "But I always want to play, so of course I'm going to try my best to get in the game and help the team out as much as I can."
TyRaa's impact was most felt at the end of the third quarter after Bozeman, which trailed 15-2 early in the second quarter, whittled the deficit to 29-27 late in the third. TyRaa scored consecutive baskets to start an 8-0 run, and Bozeman got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
"She rolled her ankle on Saturday and if the game was Monday there was no way," West coach Charlie Johnson said. "But she gutted it through. We talked about being tough and she played great tonight."
Shayla Montague and Willa Albrecht added eight points for West (5-1, 1-0 Eastern AA).
Though Bozeman dropped to 2-5 and 0-1, coach Erika Gustavsen had few complaints, except for maybe the hole her team dug at the start. Still, she said, results are better than they look, due to an early schedule that has seen the Hawks play No. 1 Helena twice, No. 2 Missoula Sentinel (a Bozeman win) and No. 3 Helena Capital. West entered Tuesday's game No. 5, and fourth-ranked Billings Senior travels to Bozeman on Saturday.
"Ah, you mean my first eight games?" Gustavsen deadpanned when asked about her schedule. "It's a tough, tough schedule. To lose is not an easy thing, but I think the kids understand we'd rather play that schedule than a bunch of easy games."
Alex Carey scored a game-high 14 points for the Hawks. Ayla Embry chipped in with 11.
West returns to action Friday for its first Crosstown Classic game. The Bears play Billings Skyview at 6 p.m. at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.