Red Lodge boys grab 2nd at Districts

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, February 27, 2020
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Photo by Colleen Vomund
Red Lodge's Austin Heimer was on fire against Columbus, taking them for 22 points and dumping them into a Consolation playoff.

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Photo by Colleen Vomund
Jay Jetmore, Red Lodge, has an attempted shot blocked by a Huntley Project player.

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Photo by Colleen Vomund
Red Lodge's Corby Mann is thwarted from a field goal by Huntley Project.

After taking 3rd last year at the 4B Districts tournament, the Red Lodge boys went one better this year to take 2nd courtesy of a glorious and stunning victory over 2nd seed Columbus in the semi-finals.

The Rams started their campaign in relatively easy style with a crushing 65-51 win over Shepherd.

The game started with pace seeing the Rams take a 6-2 lead only for Shepherd to edge back in at 6-8. It was a temporary blip as Red Lodge blitzed their opponents with several turnovers to make it 16-8.  

Shepherd clawed back some points and was within 6 of the Rams when Braden Tomlin fired home 3 points right before the end of the half to make it 29-20 and demoralize the opposition.

The second half continued like the first for the Rams as Jay Jetmore scored a 3 pointer to make it 34-23.

Fine work by Tomlin continued to put miles between the two sides, and coming into the 4th quarter, Red Lodge was at 46-32.

Shepherd made things interesting with 6 minutes on the clock with a three-pointer bringing the score to 49-37 but Red Lodge was having none of it and continued to pound down Shepherd’s basket with point after point.

Corby Mann scored 16 points from 6 shots out of 12 and 4 of his 5 free throws, while Jetmore and Tomlin made 12 each, Jetmore maintaining a 100 percent record on his 4 free throws.

Following up were Elijah Reynolds and Trey Allen both on 8.

The victory set up a meeting against Columbus in the semi-finals. A tough draw but the Rams were equal to it and stepped on the gas the moment the buzzer went.

Within 3 minutes the Rams led 12-4 after another blistering performance by Jetmore and a remarkable display of shooting by Austin Heimer who netted two 3 pointers with his first two shots.

Columbus was stunned, on the ropes and staggering.

To add to their woes Mann stepped up with a 3 pointer and sent Columbus into a tailspin causing their coach to call a time out in the first 3 minutes of the game.

Towards the end of the first quarter, the Rams led 21-9, 5 of these from 3 pointers.

Columbus attempted to stabilize things, drawing to within 8 points of Red Lodge but the Rams remained the fly in the ointment knocking in points courtesy of Heimer, Allen, Jetmore, Mann and Reynolds and taking the lead further away from a visibly shell shocked Columbus team.

By half time the Rams stood at 42-30.

A Rams free throw started the 3rd and then Jetmore got fouled to make it 44-30.

A nice spin away from an opponent by Allen enabled Mann to make it 48-32.

Throughout the Rams were first to the ball, be it a rebound or a loose pass. Their hands gripped the ball like Velcro.

Their passing game was simply superb as Mann made it 50-32.

By the 4th quarter, the Rams started to slow things down but Columbus took the hint and came back at them, chipping away at what had been an 18 point gap till they had it down to 8 but it was the closest Columbus was to get.

The Rams realizing that ‘parking the bus’ might not be the best plan to preserve the lead stepped up another gear and decided adding to their lead was the best preservation.

Allen added 4 more points as Heimer added salt into the wound with 4 more himself to finish off Columbus at 74-59.

The roof of the Red Lodge High School gym nearly lifted off with the roar from the crowd and the boys celebrated.

Heimer was on fire this night scoring 22 points off 8 shots and three 3 pointers.  Mann got 17 points from 7 shots, and Jetmore 16 off 6 shots.

Red Lodge made 17 points off turnovers and 15 off 2nd chances.

Into the Championship came the Rams went to face Huntley Project, the top-seeded team. This time though they had more or less had their final and sheer exhaustion showed as Huntley did to them what the Rams had down to Columbus with unrelenting pressure. The Rams could simply not get the ball and could not get their passing lanes in sync. Time and again the ball slipped from their grasp allowing Huntley to take a 14-0 lead by the 4th minutes.

Jetmore put the Rams' first points on the board quickly followed by Tomlin and Mann.

Rams coach Steven Morales was forced into 3-time outs inside 6 minutes to try and salvage something from this game.

The Rams still struggled with the onslaught into the 2nd quarter as Huntley pulled away from an unassailable lead at 39-13.

Red Lodge was living off any scraps they could find and there weren’t many going around.

By the 3rd quarter, the Rams were making better use of their skills, showing some fight but still making crazy mistakes.  They battled on, Tomlin fighting to regain the ball and setting Mann up to make it 43-17.

Mann tried to return the favor for Tomlin but the attempt frustratingly came to nothing.

Coming into the final quarter the Rams were halfway back as Huntley held on to their 50 points.

Huntley let up slightly in the 4th as Red Lodge bucketed 9 more points to keep things respectable at 56-34.

Celebrations after were muted as Heimer held aloft the 2nd place plaque.

Jetmore led in scoring with 11 points from 4 shots and 1 free throw. Mann got 10 off 3 shots and Tomlin 6 from 3 shots.

Both teams along with Columbus will head to Southern B Divisional at Metra Park, Billings, March 5-7.