WORDEN — The Bouchard brothers and strong team defense fueled No. 2 Huntley Project in a 60-45 Southern B boys basketball win over Lodge Grass, the No. 1 Class B team in the 406mtsports.com rankings.
Project junior Noah Bouchard scored a game-high 25 points on Tuesday, and his senior brother Isaiah Bouchard added 17 for the Red Devils (13-2), who handily held the Indians (12-3) to their lowest point total of the season. Lodge Grass averaged 80.6 points per game going into Tuesday, and their lowest single-game scoring output had been 61.
“For us to hold Lodge Grass to 45… our defense and rebounding is what set the tone,” Project coach Randy Robinson told 406mtsports.com in a phone interview. “We came in zeroed in, ready to play in all aspects of the game. We continued to play very consistent for all four quarters.”
The Red Devils controlled the tempo, contained Lodge Grass’ zone offensive execution and prevented second-chance opportunities, Robinson said. Lodge Grass sophomore Damon Gros Ventre, who is averaging almost 25 points per game, scored 15 on Tuesday, including six through three quarters.
Project led 29-17 at halftime and 47-23 going into the fourth quarter.
“This definitely shows how good we can play,” Robinson said. “Just a great experience for these kids to come together and gel at the right time."
Lodge Grass’ two losses before Tuesday came against Wyoming Indian School and Hardin, the top-ranked Class A team. The Indians beat the Red Devils 66-35 in Lodge Grass on Jan. 10, when Lodge Grass was ranked No. 2 and Project was No. 1.
That is Project's only loss to a Class B team this season. Its other defeat: 55-54 against Class A Lewistown (4-9) on Jan. 25 in Worden.
The Red Devils won 54-38 at Three Forks (now No. 4 in Class B) to open the season, 58-41 at Columbus (No. 8) on Jan. 9 and 55-48 at home against Colstrip (No. 3) on Jan. 17. They also won 70-53 at Lewistown on Jan. 19, so they've defeated every team on their schedule.
"We know we’ve always had the potential to take it to the next level," Robinson said. "We just need to carry this momentum into tournament time."
After demolishing every Class B opponent to start the season, the Indians have slowed down. They beat under-.500 Baker 61-51 on Jan. 24 and went to overtime at Colstrip on Thursday.