Scottie Boys Bill Nye-ing This Week
By J. Levi Burnfin Courier Sports
Published: Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Like everyone's favorite scientist, the Scottie boys will be experimenting in the final two games of their regular season.
The Scotties are coming off a 2-1 week with a loss in Harlem, 46-44, on Thursday, then defeated Plentywood, 40-35, at home on Saturday and finished with a 67-48 victory in Poplar on Monday.
"The Harlem game was disappointing. We had a couple of really controversial, very poor calls at the end by officials. But what makes it worse is it's our own fault. We should have never been that close. We blew 8, 9 and 10-point leads. We've got to get over that," said Head Coach Norm Braaten.
They responded to the tough loss admirably with a big win over Plentywood and followed it up with the win over Poplar.
The loss in Harlem inflicted more damage than the two wins could make up for, though. If the Scotties had won that game in Harlem, they would have been in prime position to take the third seed at the district tournament. Now, they need some help to get there. And as it always seem to be the case, Harlem is the one team that could help the Scotties out the most.
The Scotties have two home contests this week, the first on Thursday against Poplar and the second on Friday against Malta. The two teams couldn't be more different.
Poplar is young and inexperienced, were easily defeated by the Scotties in their previous matchup and haven't won a game in 2B all season. In contrast, Malta is a veteran, battle-hardened team that easily defeated the Scotties earlier this season and hasn't lost a game in 2B all season.
The chances of seeing an upset in either game is not great at this point in the season, even if the Scotties have a few ideas on how to attack the Mustangs.
"If we end up with them in the district tournament, we know right now what we want to do but we're not going to do it Friday night," said Braaten. "There's a couple of little things we can do to see if it counters their pressure. If it does, we'll move forward with our ideas."
The Malta game will most likely have little affect on the final standings in district 2B, allowing the Scotties to experiment a little.
There is a remote scenario where Glasgow beats both Malta and Poplar this week and Wolf Point loses to both Harlem and Malta, which would result in Glasgow taking the second seed in 2B, but that's a long shot. Instead, here are the two likely scenarios for Glasgow:
The Scotties get the third seed
- Glasgow beats Poplar, loses to Malta.
- Plentywood loses to either Harlem or Poplar.
The Scotties get the fourth seed
- Beat Poplar
There is also another scenario where Wolf Point, Plentywood, Glasgow and Harlem all end the season at 5-5. If that happens, the seedings will be decided by a list of tie-breakers. The biggest domino that would have to happen for this scenario to take place would be Harlem beating both Wolf Point and Plentywood to close out the regular season. That is unlikely considering Harlem lost to both teams previously by a combined 38 points.
Braaten isn't focusing on those convoluted scenarios this week, though.
"We've got to take care of what we can do and we'll be fine," said Braaten.
The first item on the agenda is Poplar, who Braaten says they aren't overlooking, despite the big win on Monday.
Braaten noted that the Indians are young, but also athletic and have a couple of good shooters that could light it up and keep Poplar in the game.
After that game stands Malta. Even if there isn't much on the line in terms of standings, the Scotties will still be facing their bitter rivals on senior night and will most likely be trying to knock off an undefeated in District 2B team.
The last time the two teams met, the Scotties were unable to hang with Malta for the entire game and fell 59-40.
"They're a quality basketball team. They are as good as we've seen in years," said Braaten.
The Scotties' biggest problem in Malta was handling the Mustangs intense ball pressure.
"We've got to be able to handle their pressure whether it's Friday or next Friday," said Braaten, referring to a possible matchup with the Mustangs in the district tournament next weekend in Glasgow.
Another big key could be the play of Chase Fossum, who has really turned it on the last few games – Fossum combined to score 34 points in his last two contests while providing great defense in the middle of the Scotties' D.
"Chase has done a nice job for us all year," said Braaten. "It's nice to see him finish on offense."
Fossum will have to have another big game against Malta if they are going to pull the upset.
For now, the Scotties will stick to trying a few things out, preparing for the district tournament and letting the standings take care of themselves.
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