By Bill Foley
For three quarters, the Montana Tech women’s basketball team was in striking distance of Carroll College.
Then, the No. 16 Saints blew the roof off the HPER Complex.
Carroll opened the fourth quarter with a 10-1 run to squash the Orediggers’ comeback hopes, pulling away for a 71-52 Frontier Conference victory. (Stats)
“We did a good job for three quarters on our defense where they were getting frustrated,” Montana Tech coach Carly Sanon said. “It was a close game all the way up until that fourth quarter. Then it kind of blew open.”
The Saints outscored Tech 26-14 in the fourth quarter, breaking open a game that Tech trailed 45-38 after three quarters.
Kamden Hilborn hit two big three-pointers early in the fourth quarter to help break the game open. She started the quarter with a three to make it a 48-38. Her second long ball made it 53-38.
In all, Carroll connected on 10 of 25 3-point attempts. The Orediggers, meanwhile, hit just 1 of 11.
Maddie Geritz, a 6-foot-2 freshman, came off the bench to have a monster night for the Saints. She hit 3 of 4 shots from 3-point range and scored a game-high 21 points.
“Geritz can hit threes,” Sanon said. “She got kind of hot and she kind of took over.”
The Geritz performance cane as a bit of a surprise for the Orediggers, who held Christine Denny to 10 points and five rebounds. She finished with 19 and 10 in the last meeting with the Orediggers.
That is a credit to true freshman Tavia Rooney, who posted yet another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Rooney is now seven rebounds behind the school record of 292 rebounds set by Connie Froke in 1982.
“She’s a great player, and she’s a freshman,” Sanon said. “She’s going against Christine Denney, who’s a heck of a player, who’s a junior who has a lot of experience. I’m really proud of how Tavia played. She played very well against an experienced player.
“She did a lot of good things, and she did give us a spark.”
Like in the previous two meets with the Saints — both in Helena — that spark was not enough for the Orediggers, who fell to 14-13 overall and 4-11 in conference.
Danielle Wagner scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Saints (19-8, 10-5). Hilborn joined Denny with 10 points.
Also for Carroll, Sienna Swannack scored eight points, and Emerald Toth and Genesis Wilkinson each scored two.
Mesa Williams scored 14 points for the Orediggers. That leaves the Oredigger junior with 999 points on her career. She will, in all likelihood, become the 18th Oredigger to join the 1,000-point club when Tech plays host to Lewis-Clark State Thursday night.
The last Oredigger to score 1,000 points was Kelsey DeWit, who hit the mark in 2014.
Senior Kaylee Zard scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds before leaving the game with an injury late in the fourth quarter.
Dani Urick tossed in five points, Hailey Crawford scored four, and Mollie Peoples finished with two. Celestina Faletoi also played for the Orediggers.