Wildcats fall to Lodge Grass 77-74, bounce Huntley 49-45
December 15, 2021
The Wildcats were back at full strength this past weekend as they were in Billings taking part in the Class B Tip Off Tournament at Lockwood High School in Billings this past weekend. The tournament featured a bevy of top tier teams from District 2B, 3B and 4B including the two time defending State Class B Champion Lodge Grass Indians. Harlem opened the tournament Friday night against the Indians, Saturday afternoon they faced Huntley Project.
In what some feel may be a preview of state tournament contest in March, the Wildcats and Indians meeting on the court in December was an early Christmas present to basketball fans across the region. The Indians return a veteran team with sites set on a three-peat. Harlem was looking to make a statement early in the season and bounce back from a season opening loss when the team was shorthanded.
Senior Deshon Shambo helped the Wildcats stay within striking distance of the high octane Indians with three triples in the first quarter. Shambo scored 10 in the opening frame while sophomore Lance Morgan added four. Lodge Grass started fast and put 31 first quarter points on the board to take a double digit lead early.
Harlem is a veteran team and responded as you would expect. Senior Daniel Lawrence drained his second three ball of the contest and senior RJ Ramone added seven second quarter points to Wildcat attack as they began to \chip away at the deficit. Shambo connected once again from downtown and Morgan maintained his steady play. Harlem outscored the Indians in the second quarter 20-12 to trim the Indian lead to 43-38 by halftime.
The two teams would continue to match each others effort on the court in what was a game that lived up to all the hype. Ramone added nine more in the third quarter, including another from long range. Shambo connected on his fifth triple of the game. Senior Teagan LeValdo joined the three point barrage with three from distance in the third quarter to keep the Wildcats close.
Harlem added 21 points in a solid third quarter effort and closed out the contest with a 15 point fourth quarter but in the end their comeback bid would fall short in a tough 77-74 loss. Ramone paced the way for the Wildcats in the loss with 22 points. Shambo finished with 18 and LeValdo nine.
Saturday the Wildcats found themselves in another tough battle, this time with Huntley Project. The Red Devils opened up a 18-10 lead after eight minutes of action, but the Wildcats responded with a solid second quarter to lead 29-25 at the break.
Huntley Project cut the lead to 38-37 entering the fourth, but the Wildcats finished strong in earning a 49-45 win over the Red Devils to secure their first win of the new season. Ramone again paced the Wildcat attack, leading the way with 20 points in the contest. Shambo added nine more for the Wildcats in the win.