Lady Beavs end season with win

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Looking for room Dillon senior Josey Jones, the Southwestern A Most Valuable Player, looks for a shot against Billings Central in the first round of the State A tourney. Behind Jones is Central’s Olivia Moten-Schell, a 6-1 post who dominated the game with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Dillon lost the opener, 24-47, as the Eastern A posted a 4-0 record over the Western A in the first round. Ryan Peerboom/Yellowstone Newspapers photo

Looking for room Dillon senior Josey Jones, the Southwestern A Most Valuable Player, looks for a shot against Billings Central in the first round of the State A tourney. Behind Jones is Central’s Olivia Moten-Schell, a 6-1 post who dominated the game with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Dillon lost the opener, 24-47, as the Eastern A posted a 4-0 record over the Western A in the first round. Ryan Peerboom/Yellowstone Newspapers photo

The Dillon Lady Beavers ended their season with a win, a sign in any other year that the team brought home state tourney hardware. Unfortunately for players in the eight high school state basketball tournaments being held across the state, the season ended prematurely with the cancelation of the events due to safety reasons in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Our girls were absolutely heartbroken about it,” said Dillon coach John Hansen. “It was something that each day we thought might come, so it wasn’t a complete shock.”

The NBA, NCAA and NAIA had all suspended or canceled their seasons leading up to news last Friday that Montana had four citizens test positive for COVID-19.

“Once those cases were confirmed, we had a feeling it was probably going to happen,” continued Hansen. “The girls were heart-broken, especially after we beat Hamilton. We were 1 of 6 teams left, but in the end safety obviously takes precedence over basketball.”

The Lady Beavers opened the tourney with confidence, taking a 14-13 lead over Billings Central, the Eastern A Divisional Tournament champions. But the strong opening act faded and Dillon lost, 47-24, scoring 10 points over the final three quarters.

Dillon rebounded on Friday with a 45-39 win over Hamilton, their third win of the season over the Southwestern A Conference rival. The win set-up a consolation semifinal game against Livingston, a team that had swept Dillon in two regular season meetings.

Both Dillon and Hamilton were coming off disappointing losses in the first round when they met Friday at noon in the loser out bracket. Dillon utilized the game plan that resulted in two previous wins over Hamilton.

Taryn Searle, a freshman point guard, is the present and future of Hamilton girls basketball. She made first team all-conference and her brother Trey, a senior, was named MVP of the Southwestern A.

“Every time we played them our plan was to shut Searle down,” explained Hansen. “If we shut her down, we were able to win the game.”

Searle scored 2 points in the state tourney rematch before fouling out. Consequently, Dillon won the contest, 45-39. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

The Beavers jumped out to a 21-4 lead, and then Hamilton roared back with a 20-1 run to go ahead for the only time in the game, 24-22, in the third quarter.

“We executed very well for about the first quarter and a half,” said Hansen. “We got some good inside-out threes, we got some lay ups, our press was effective.”

Foul trouble for Dillon turned things around for Hamilton. The Beavers had to pull off their press and according to Hansen, Dillon began “to get lazy on defense,” and the Beavers had their backs against the wall.

“We were able to get back into our press and our senior leadership, and I guess our intensity and our heart, kind of took back that game,” recalled Hansen.

Entering the fourth quarter, Dillon led 29-27, a danger zone time for the Lady Beavers who struggled in the regular season in the fourth quarter of close games.

“We wanted to play to win and that was the difference in the fourth quarter,” said Hansen. “We put the game away.”

Dillon won the game from the free throw line, hitting 14 of 20 compared to Hamilton’s 5 of 12 game from the charity stripe. Dillon added a 6 point advantage in points off turnovers (19-13), but the rest of the critical stat figures were close.

Dillon’s first round game against Billings Central started great with the Beavers leading 14-13 after the first 8 minutes. But even in the first quarter, Dillon defenders were getting abused in the post by Central’s 6-1 Olivia Moten-Schell, and it only got worse as the game played out and Dillon totaled 10 points over the final three quarters.

“We attacked once again right away and we made some good shots,” said Hansen. “Their size started to get to us a little bit. Once they started to hit some shots we were in trouble. Moten-Schell, we just couldn’t match up against her.”

Dillon hit 6 of 16 shots from the field in the first half, but faded to 1 of 13 success in the second half.

“We just could not make a basket in the second half,” pointed out Hansen. “I would say the biggest thing was their size. They didn’t do anything different and we didn’t do anything differently, but we were a little shell shocked.”

Dillon Tylia DeJohn led Dillon with 18 points in the two games. Josey Jones added 15 as the two seniors accounted for almost half of their team’s state tournament point total.

“I’m extremely proud of our girls,” said Hansen. “We put up quite a bit of time this summer. We went to Butte every Monday and built up a lot of chemistry. Our goal was to make it to state and we ended the season on a win.

“I’m very proud of their character and for buying into this team and putting the team first above themselves.”

STATE A GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT AT BILLINGS

FIRST ROUND

DILLON 24, BILLINGS CENTRAL 47 Dillon scoring – Tylia DeJohn 5, Ainsley Ship

Dillon scoring – Tylia DeJohn 5, Ainsley Shipman 3, Lauryn Petersen 5, Josey Jones 5, Kylee Pittman 3, Clara Edholm 0, Jordyn Walker 3, Emily Hansen 0, Abby Brevig 0, Madalen Shipman 0, Kassidy Broere 0.

Dillon three-pointers (4-17) – DeJohn 0-1, A. Shipman 0-2, Petersen 1-3, Jones 1-2, Edholm 0-1, Walker 1-2, Pittman 1-4, Hansen 0-1, M. Shipman 0-1. Rebounds (26) – A. Shipman 5, Walker 4. Steals (12) – Jones 5. Assists (4) – DeJohn 1, A. Shipman 1, Petersen 1, M. Shipman 1. Turnovers (22). Blocks (2) – A. Shipman 2.

LOSER OUT

DILLON 45, HAMILTON 39

Dillon scoring – Tylia DeJohn 13, Ainsley Shipman 7, Lauryn Petersen 5, Josey Jones 10, Kylee Pittman 2, Jordyn Walker 3, Abby Brevig 0, Madalen Shipman 5. Dillon three-pointers (5-19) – DeJohn 2-3, A.

Dillon three-pointers (5-19) – DeJohn 2-3, A. Shipman 0-1, Petersen 1-3, Jones 0-2, Walker 1-1, Pittman 0-3, M. Shipman,1-6. Rebounds (29) – Jones 6. Steals (8) – M. Shipman 3. Assists (7) – A. Shipman 3. Turnovers (15). Blocks (0) .

THE BRACKET

CHAMPIONSHIP – Billings Central and Hardin, co-champions (tourney canceled due to COVID-19.)

SEMIFINALS – Billings Central 50, Havre 43. Hardin 64, Livingston 40.

FIRST ROUND – Havre 62, Hamilton 33. Billings Central 47, Dillon 24. Hardin 64, Browning 38. Livingston 51, Corvallis 48.

LOSER OUT – Dillon 45, Hamilton 39. Browning 48, Corvallis 41.

CONSOLATION SEMIFINALS – Dillon vs Livingston and Havre vs. Browning not played due to cancelation of tournament.

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