Another Billings Senior/Billings Skyview girls basketball game went down to the final possession.
Senior survived its yips at the free-throw line and hung on for a 38-36 victory Tuesday night at the Senior gym, and the Lady Broncs broke into the Eastern AA win column for the first time this season.
Skyview had a chance to tie it just before the final buzzer, but Jessica Spang’s 8-foot runner banked a little too hard off the glass, sending a big sigh of relief through a Lady Broncs squad that made just 5 of 14 free throws down the stretch to allow the Lady Falcons to stay in the game.
“It was definitely an ugly win, but, I mean, a win’s a win,” said Senior’s Jace Henderson, who scored eight points and had a game-high 12 rebounds. “Not only that, but we can take away that we’re a great defensive team at times and that we also need to step up to the line and shoot our free throws.
“We just need to stay mentally focused and mentally prepared every single game.”
The game was tied 15-15 after the first quarter, but it took each team more than two full quarters to double that output. Still, the biggest lead of the night for either side was four points, and the teams played to a two-point game for the second time this season. The Falcons won the first meeting, 40-38, at Skyview on Dec. 20.
“To me, that’s the Eastern AA right there,” Skyview coach Larry Newell said. “What you’re seeing is we physically beat on each other so hard that by the third quarter, you can see it in the kids, they’re a little bit gassed.”
Rachel Koehler scored 12 points to lead the Lady Broncs (5-3, 1-2). Marissa Van Atta added eight points, and it was Van Atta and Elayna Rice who had big offensive rebounds off missed free throws in the final 28 seconds that helped Senior keep possession.
Tenika Capouch, who scored 21 points in the first game between the teams, scored nine this time to lead Skyview (3-5, 1-2). Senior bottled up the 6-foot post player with a variety of defenders, limiting Capouch to just 3 of 10 shooting.
“As a team we played really good man defense,” Van Atta said. “We just focus on that and played denial when we needed to and we used our help defense when we had to. It worked out, obviously.”
Katie Hoff added eight points for Skyview, and Stephanie Fitch hit two 3-pointers for six points.
The Lady Broncs have been held under 40 points in three of their last four games. But they’ve given up more than 43 points just once in eight games overall. Three of the last four games in this series have been decided by four points or less.
“We just play so hard on defense that we forget to, like, score,” said Koehler. “We’re just up and down the court just playing so hard on defense that we just don’t do anything else but defense, defense, defense. I like playing defense. But it’s nice to score.”