Hot Springs girls basketball suffers two defeats

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley press | January 13, 2021 12:00 AM

It was a rough start to the season for the Lady Savage Heat as they struggle to fill roster spots and develop young talent.

Two bright spots remain on this year’s team, Katelyn Christensen, arguably one of the best players in the region, and senior post Lizzy Fisher, a powerful presence on the court.

But it wasn’t enough to avoid a pair of losses, including a 52-37 loss to visiting Clark Fork Thursday evening and a 57-49 setback on the road Friday night in St. Regis.

In their season opener Thursday against Clark Fork, the Lady Heat fell behind early on and could not overcome an 18-4 first quarter deficit against the Lady Mountain Cats.

In that opening quarter, Fisher and Christensen scored two points each in the face of a smothering Clark Fork defense that scrambled for every loose ball and won the battle of the boards.

Clark Fork sophomore guard Darby Haskins poured in a trio of 3-pointers in the opening quarter and added three more in the second frame to stake the visitors to a 32-15 lead by the end of the first half.

The two teams pretty much traded baskets the rest of the game, but the initial deficit proved to be too much to overcome against the disciplined, young team from Superior.

Fisher, who had a team-high 17 points, scored seven points in the third quarter for the Lady Heat, while Christensen threw down a half-dozen in the final quarter but Hot Springs could slice only two points off the Lady Mountain Cats’ first half advantage.

Haskins finished with a game-high 20 points, while teammate Lanie Crabb chipped in 15 for Clark Fork. The Lady Cats dressed only seven players for the 14C conference game due to practice minutes requirements and other issues related to virus problems earlier this year.

Friday night the Lady Savage Heat traveled to St. Regis for a game against the 1-0 Lady Tigers, who opened their season last week with a road win over Darby.

In that game, Christensen went off for eight points in the first quarter to help stake Hot Springs to a 16-13 lead at the end of the opening eight minutes of play.

However, the second quarter was all St. Regis as junior guard Baylee Pruitt, who was plagued by injuries most of last year, returned to home court action with a 14-point second period outburst that included four 3-pointers.

St. Regis outscored Hot Springs 23-6 in the second quarter to grab a 36-22 halftime lead. But the damage had already been done and the Lady Heat, despite outscoring St. Regis in the second half, could not climb out of the halftime deficit.

The Lady Heat shaved six points off that halftime disadvantage with Fisher and Christensen scoring five and four points respectively.

Pruitt who scored five more of her game-high 25 points in the third quarter, added four free throws in the fourth quarter to help seal the win for the Lady Tigers, who improved to 2-0 on the young season.

Fisher led Hot Springs with 19 points, including a four for five night at the free throw line. Christensen finished with 16 points.

Hot Springs returns to action this Friday with a home game against the 2-0 Charlo Lady Vikings.