Faupel, Skylights go down fighting

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Butte High graduate Natalee Faupel closed the season with a bang Friday.

The true freshman scored a season-high 28 points to lead Montana State-Northern in the second round of the NAIA National women’s basketball tournament at the Frankfort Civic Center.

Unfortunately for the Skylights, though, the big game by Faupel came in a losing effort. Oklahoma City edged the Skylights 58-55. Stats

Oklahoma City grabbed the lead for good on a made free throw from junior guard and Sooner Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year Yvonte Neal, making the score 56-55 with 24 seconds remaining in the contest.

After two failed Skylight possessions, senior guard Kayla MacKenzie hit two clutch free throws to give the Stars a three point lead, 58-55, with just three seconds on the clock.

Autumn Hoffman’s 15 points paced Oklahoma City, which improved to 24-4. Neal and Ouleymatou Coulibaly each scored 13 points. Coulibaly pulled down 11 rebounds.

Faupel hit 6 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from the 3-point line. She made 13 of 15 free throw attempts. Faupel also pulled down four rebounds.

Rachelle Bennett added nine points in the loss. A’Jah Edwards, who was held to four points, grabbed 15 rebounds.

Butte Central graduate Kacie McKeon, who scored 14 points in Wednesday’s first round win, also played for the Skylights.

Northern, which is coached by former Butte High girls’ head coach Chris Mouat, closed the season at 22-10.

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