Lady Heat breeze by Lincoln, Seeley-Swan

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Hot Springs players Sage Jackson and Brianna Gray head for a loose ball during a Western C Tip-Off Tournament game against Lincoln in Frenchtown. The Lady Heat won, 36-23, and defeated Seeley-Swan 40-28 the next day. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent)

Holding their first two opponents to an average of just 25 points per game, the Hot Springs girls posted two wins in the Western C Tip-Off Basketball Tournament last weekend in Frenchtown.

The Lady Savage Heat started slowly against Lincoln, then held a 15-7 halftime lead en route to a 36-23 victory on Friday.

Sparked by the overall play of McKennzie Cannon, Hot Springs led Seeley-Swan by eight points at intermission and went on to a 40-28 win.

“The first game we were a little rusty,” head coach Richard Jackson said. “My 6-footer (Cannon) sprained an ankle on her steps at home. We got by Lincoln without her.”

Hot Springs held Lincoln to six points in the third period.

Katelyn Christensen paced the Lady Heat with 12 points, and Sage Jackson added eight.

Cannon did not start against Seeley-Swan on Saturday, but entered the game in the first quarter. “She just went to work down low,” coach Jackson said.

“They really came together in the second game,” Jackson added.

Cannon had a big game with 18 points, going 10-for-14 from the foul line, and she grabbed eight rebounds. Christensen led in boards with 10 and had three assists. Sydney Jackson had seven points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Using a man-to-man defense against Seeley-Swan, the Lady Heat did a “heckuva lot better” than the night before.

However, taking care of the ball was not a plus. “It was simply outrageous, especially in the Saturday game,” Jackson said.

Hot Springs is idle this weekend, then plays Dec. 13 at Arlee to open the conference season. “Four teams on our side are going to be solid,” Jackson said.

The Lady Heat host Two Eagle River on Dec. 15 in their home opener.

Hot Springs girls boast experience

Hot Springs has four returning starters from last season — all juniors. They are the twins, Sage and Sydney Jackson, 6-foot Cannon and Brianna Gray.

There are eight juniors on the team, including Danielle Graham, plus sophomores like Christensen and Lizzie Fisher.

“We have some short, quick ones (players) and some tall, strong ones,” Jackson said. “They’re hungry to win.

“We’re trying to make it to (the) divisional,” Jackson said, and he believes they’re in the toughest district in Class C. “We’re going to be the ones to watch. I have six outstanding kids and three solid ones on the bench. You’re only as good as your bench can offer you.”

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