by Gary Noland
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
The Ladyhawks come back Saturday night with The Third Place District 5-B Tournamet Trophy! G. Noland photo
The Seeley-Swan Ladyhawks surprised Valley Christian 68-59 in the consolation matchup at the District 5-B tournament in Florence Saturday to grab third place away from the team that had humbled them by 25 points just three days earlier.
The Ladyhawks were already assured of a berth in the Western B Divisional tournament at Hamilton this week (four from District advance), but the win gave the Ladyhawks the Third Place District Trophy, and a better seed in the Divisional, which matches them against Plains (13-8) who finished second in the 6-B district tournament instead of first-place 6-B Superior (17-3).
The Ladyhawks play Plains in the first game of the Divisional Tournament at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Hamilton High School (see bracket on back page).
"I think our chances are pretty good," Ladyhawk coach Les Gordon said. "Our district (5-B) is stronger than 6-B, and we beat Plains earlier in the season 69-59," he added.
Plus, Gordon is feeling better about his Ladyhawks who stumbled badly against Valley Christian in the first game of the District tournament, fought back valiantly to hold onto a 46-43 win against Darby in second-round action that propelled them into the consolation finals with Valley Christian who had lost to Frenchtown.
"Our kids gained confidence and played better as we went along," Gordon said.
In taking third place, the Ladyhawks, behind a powerful performance by senior Becky Kyle, took control early on, but were pressed hard by Valley Christian who even took the lead temporarily with three minutes left in the third period.
Valley Christian watched their comeback lead vanish with 10 unanswered points by Kyle, but they stayed within reach until the final minute or two of play. Kyle, in addition to dropping key baskets (20 in the second half) and free throws, made play passes to other Ladyhawks who scored crucial points in the final minutes to hold off Valley Christian.
In fact the Ladyhawks, as they've done all year when they're on, put three players in double figures. Behind Kyle with 25 was Shyanne Feucht with 13 and Shannon O'Brien with 10. Annaliese Pena added five and Deborah Cahoon 2.
In the final minutes, Pena, Cahoon and Feucht fouled out, but strong support was provided by the Ladyhawk bench with Marlee Brown adding six points, Debbie Boone 5, and Beth Copenhaver 2.
Shannon O'Brien pumped in 16 points, six of those in the crucial fourth quarter, to lead the Blackhawks in a 46-43 win over Darby in second round action last week. In a squeaker of a game, Shyanne Feucht put the Ladyhawks in the lead with a layup in the final minute and Darby was unable to capitalize on opportunities to tie the game.
Fuecht added 11 points to O'Brien's effort, followed by Becky Kyle with 8, Deborah Cahoon 4, Marlee Brown 2 and Annaliese Pena 1.
The Ladyhawks had no players in double figures in the first round game with Valley Christian and Becky Kyle's eight points were high. Shannon O'Brien and Shyanne Feucht each had 7, Deborah Cahoon 6, Marlee Brown 5, Annaliese Pena 4, and Beth Copenhaver 2.