Lady Broncs BB Make SoDak 16 in Playoff Run

Belle Fourche News Sports

For their final regular season game, the Broncs traveled down to Wall to play the Class B powerhouse. The Eagles and Broncs fought hard for majority of the game, but it was the guests who slowly garnered a lead by the final buzzer. 

Belle Fourche took home the final regular season win with a score of 71-56 and a season record of 15-4. Mataya Ward, Lily Nore, and Sloan Young turned in big numbers for the win with 26, 20, and 18 points respectively. 

The Lady Broncs defeat over Wall helped them jump to the number one seed in region 8A. This gave them a first round bye for playoffs and the home court advantage in round two.  

The Rapid City Christian Comets were seeded number 4 and defeated the Custer Wildcats in the first round, so got to travel to the Edwin Petranek Gymnasium. The Comets put the first points on the board with a three pointer, but Mataya Ward answered with a layup to keep within one, 3-2. Rapid City Christian scored a layup, but Sloan Young dropped a jumper, Reese Larson put a rebound back in, and Lily Nore put in a jumper in consecutive plays. The Broncs then had the lead 8-5 mid-way through quarter one. The Comets would score another layup within the last few seconds, but Nore would offset that with four points of her own, giving the Broncs the lead, 12-7. 

Ward, Young, Larson, and Nore would add more points to the book during the second quarter and the Broncs would go into the locker room with the ten point lead 27-17. 

Ward opened the second quarter off a feed from Sarah Juelfs. The Comets answered with a layup of their own followed by another Ward layup and the extra point on her free throw. The Comets made a three pointer a few possessions later to bring themselves back within 10 at a score of 32-22. Young made it short lived, taking the Broncs up another two points 15 seconds later. Rapid City Christian made some big plays before Juelfs dished to Larson at the elbow for another two points. However, that play was followed by two Comet three pointers in a row taking the score to 38-35 with three minutes left of the third. A pair of free throws by the Comets brought them within one point before Ward answered on the following play. Before the end of the quarter, each team would score once more and the Broncs would keep the tight lead at 42-39 going into the final period of play. 

Ward and Young opened the fourth quarter and extended the lead to 46-39. The score would remain there until Rapid City Christian made a free throw followed by a Nore layup with 5:20 left to play. A score of 51-45 and less than two minutes remaining, Larson would sink two free throws and Young would add one of her own to take the 9 point lead. With less than a minute left, the Comets would fail to get a scoring possession. Nowowiejski went to the free throw line for final point of the night and the win at 55-45. Ward scored 27 points followed by Nore with 10, Young for 9, and Larson for 8. The win clinched their place in the SoDak 16 for a chance to play at the State Tournament. 

Playing the undefeated the Mahpiya Luta Crusaders, the Broncs traveled to Hot Springs on February 29th for a chance at State. Following an intense quarter and a half of play, Mahpiya Luta would separate themselves with their artillery of three point shooters to take away the Lady Bronc’s chance and win the game, 81-49. 

The game opened with a minute and a half of defensive stops for both teams before Nore hit a jumper to open the hoops. Another minute and a half later she hit another on the baseline off a dish from Young. Mahpiya Luta finally found their own basket with back-to-back 3 pointers to take the lead 6-4. Nore tied it up followed by Ward for 2 more points to reclaim the Bronc lead 8-6 with just two minutes left in quarter one. The Crusaders had a put-back to tie again at 8-8, then followed with a free throw for the lead to change hands again. Ward scored a layup and her own free throw on an old fashioned three point play to go up 11-9. It was short-lived, as Mahpiya Luta would tie it up again on the following possession. The Crusaders drained a 3 pointer and a layup in the final minute to find their biggest lead of the night at 16-11. Nore hit a turn-around, fade-away jumper at the buzzer to put the Broncs two points closer, 16-13, to end the first quarter of play. 

The start of the second quarter found the Broncs outscoring the Crusaders 5-2 to tie the game for the fourth time at 18-18. The teams answered back and forth for the next two possessions and Young’s jumper brought the score to its final tie of the night at 22-22. In the final minutes of the half, Mahpiya Luta took the reins and scored 16 points while Belle Fourche could only secure 4 more. The score at half time favored the Crusaders at 38-26. 

Nore opened the second half with a 3 pointer of her own followed by a Crusader layup for a score of 40-29. Midway through quarter three, Young hit back-to-back buckets to get Belle Fourche to 33 points. Ward scored two then found Nowowiejski for a 10 foot jumper and two more points to take Belle Fourche to 37. However, the Crusaders were unstoppable behind their own arc and had accumulated 14 points of their own to increase their lead at 54-37. The score by the end of the third quarter was 66-42. The same patterns ensued throughout quarter four as all the seniors came off the court together for their final time and underclassmen were subbed in. At the final buzzer, Belle Fourche was handed the loss and Mahpiya Luta was awarded a trip to the State Tournament. 

Only three teams in each class will get to end their season on a win this year. Despite the heartbreaking loss in the SoDak 16, the Lady Broncs had an amazing season, finishing at the top of their region and with a record of 16-5. Once the pain of the end subsides, we hope the Lady Broncs will look back on their season with pride and forward to the future with determination to do even better. Thank you Belle Fourche Girl’s Basketball, it’s been a fun ride.