Defense ruled early in the second round of the Civil War girls basketball game Tuesday at Bonneville High School with the Knights leading undefeated Bonneville 11-9 after the first quarter.
While holding Bonneville’s Sadie Lott and Maunayia Harrigfeld in check, the Knights rode hot shooting by Hallie Tueller, Maycee Stenquist and Livia Wood and solid foul line performances by Stenquist and Jaycee Weathermon. By the second quarter, the Knights appeared to have kicked the hive as the Bees poured in 17 points en route to a 26-13 halftime lead and ultimately a 47-29 win.
Sparking the Bees, who moved to 18-0 overall and 8-0 in 4A District 6 with the win, was the junior-sophomore duo of Sage Leishman and Sydnee Hunt. In the first quarter, Leishman helped carry the Bees with four points as Hillcrest keyed in on Harrigfeld and Lott. She teamed up with Hunt for a big second half, finishing the night with eight points while Hunt finished with 10.
“Hillcrest always defends well and they don’t let up,” Bonneville head coach Amy Wood said. “(Hillcrest head coach) Alan (Sargent) and (assistant coach) Mike (Jorgensen) are too good of coaches. We know teams are gonna key in on (Lott and Harrigfeld). The thing about these kids is, it doesn’t matter who teams key in on. The next kids will step up. Tonight it was Syd and Sage. The spark Sage gives is quiet, but it’s powerful.”
Leishman, who finished the night with eight points, said like Wood, she knew Tuesday’s game would be much different than the Dec. 7 contest due to the Bees losing starter Brooklyn Cunningham to an ACL tear in late December. When scoring opportunities presented itself Tuesday, she took advantage.
“I feel like that was an opportunity to score more because they left me open and unguarded,” Leishman said. “I had a better chance to get more shots.”
Lott and Harrigfeld combined to score 13 of Bonneville’s 17 points in the second quarter. In the second half, Lott put Bonneville ahead 33-14 midway through the third quarter before Leishman and Hunt stepped in. Leishman made it 35-20 at 1:55 and Hunt sank a fast break layup and a 3 in the final 30 seconds to make it 40-20 Bonneville.
After holding the Bees to two points in the second quarter, Hillcrest scored seven in the third while being held to two field goals.
“You have to shoot well in order to beat Bonneville. That’s all there is to it,” Hillcrest coach Alan Sargent said. “Defensively, we were where we wanted to be, but we laid an egg in the second quarter.”
Fouls piled up quickly Tuesday as a combined four starters ended the first half with two or more fouls each, and that number grew to seven in the second half. Both teams toed the line frequently in the fourth quarter, where Hillcrest cut the deficit to 44-27 at the 3:43 mark. The Bees never relinquished a double-digit lead, however, to finish off the win.
Stenquist had seven points while Weathermon added five points for Hillcrest (9-8, 4-4), which plays Thursday at Blackfoot. Harrigfeld had 16 points to lead Bonneville, which plays Thursday at Shelley.
Sargent said he is amazed at what Bonneville has done this season with one senior (Harrigfeld) and losing Cunningham.
“Those young kids are playing well,” Sargent said. “There’s not a selfish bone on anybody on that team.”
Wood said there is a chemistry that is ‘indescribable’ about the 2018-19 Bees, a chemistry Leishman said is forged by friendships off the court.
“I feel like being on the team this year has brought me the strongest friendships I’ve ever had,” Leishman said. “We don’t play for ourselves. We play for each other. We hang out outside of basketball and school. I think that helps us bond.”