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Defense carries Billings Skyview girls past Butte in play-in game

March 1, 2017 GMT

The shots, they came and went.

The free throws, well they took a while to get there, but came around just in time.

The one constant, for most of the game, was Billings Skyview’s defensive intensity.

And that defensive pressure carried the Falcons to a 45-33 win over Butte in the first round of the Eastern AA playoffs for girls basketball.

Skyview (8-12) will play at Billings Senior on Friday for a berth in the eight-team Class AA state tournament in Great Falls.

The Falcons and Broncs split during the regular season.

The Bulldogs finish 2-19. It is the second year in a row they have lost to Skyview in the first round. The Falcons won all three meetings this season.

Skyview used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to break open the game. The Falcons defense helped created 11 turnovers in the first half.

“Our defensive intensity was good in the first half,” Skyview senior Hannah Stubson said. “We wanted to pressure them when they got the ball across halfcourt.”

“Our defensive intensity was awesome in the first half,” Falcons coach Jim Wilsey added. “We controlled the tempo of the game.”

The Falcons outscored the Bulldogs 22-7 in the middle quarters.

“They just took us out of our offense,” Butte coach Maury Cook said. “They had a lot of ball pressure. We’re 20 games into the season but we made a lot of freshmen and sophomore mistakes. We just dug ourselves into too deep a hole.”

Stubson and Ashley Pomroy each had 10 points for Skyview. Briana Guse and Jacey Reiter had eight apiece.

The Bulldogs turned the tables defensively in the second half as the Falcons had 12 turnovers in the final two quarters.

“It was our defensive intensity,” Stubson said. “It dropped down a little bit. And we started getting lazy with the ball.”

Butte got within nine twice -- “We panicked a little,” Stubson said -- but Skyview answered each answered.

The first was a Stubson drive to the basket from the left side.

“Jacey is really good at setting screens and once I get going, it’s kind of hard to stop,” she continued. “I saw the opening and took it hard to the basket.”

Reiter made two free throws when Butte got within 40-31.

“Those were huge,” Stubson said. “We weren’t hitting our free throws and she stepped up made them.”

After Skyview had missed six straight free-throw attempts, Reiter made all four and Stubson added one in final 90 seconds.

“We’ve got to play great defense,” Wilsey said of his team’s game against Senior. “They’re a good team. The defensive intensity has to be there for four quarters, not two and a half.”

Ally Cleverly led Butte with 12 points. Brittney Tierney had 10. Abby Dodge was the lone senior to play for the Bulldogs.