Skylights top shorthanded Diggers

Kelsey DeWit has been a Skylight killer in her career at Montana Tech.

Friday night, the injured junior center could only watch as the Orediggers battled MSU-Northern in a key Frontier Conference women’s basketball game at the HPER Complex.

The Skylights never trailed, beating the Orediggers 56-47 to take over sole position of third place in Conference standings by completing the season sweep of Tech.

DeWit, who scored 19 points against Northern last time and 32 points in Havre last season, sprained an ankle in practice Thursday. She watched from the bench with key reserve Lisa Laslovich, who bruised a knee in practice Tuesday.

Tech coach Kerie DePell said both players are expected to be back next week. They’ll miss Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. game against Lewis-Clark State College, though.

“It’s tough the day before a game to change all of our strategies because she’s out,” DePell said of losing the team’s leading scorer. “We definitely could have done a lot of things better.”

Dannii Devenny scored 12 of her team-leading 14 points in the second half to lead the Oredigger charge. That effort included a pair of 3-poiners, one that she hit while falling back as the shot clock expired.

The Orediggers also got 10 points from Shaye Murphy and seven apiece from Mandy Machinal and Erika Jenkins, five from Laini Kalumbi and four from Brooke Pokorny.

“Dannii was great in the second half,” DePell said. “Shaye was good, Brynne Kambich off the bench was good and Erika Jenkins hit some big shots for us.”

The Orediggers, though, didn’t get any closer than within six points after trailing 27-19 at halftime.

“Our defense was good at times,” DePell said. “We started to make some runs and then we’d have a bad turnover or a missed opportunity. We just couldn’t put it together.”

Nikki Tresch hit a 3-pointer with 1 minute, 18 seconds into the game to put the Skylights on top for good at 5-2. The Skylights led by as many as 12 points in the first half.

“They’re tough,” DePell said of the Skylights. “They play hard. They know what to do every situation they see. They’re very well coached. If you make a mistake they’ll make you pay, and that’s what good teams do.”

Tresch scored 14 points to lead three Skylights in double figures as Northern Improved to 7-4 in league play and 15-8 overall. Kylee Denham scored 11 points, while Laci Keller scored 10.

Jordan Bruursema added nine points, while Taylor Cummings scored six.

Kacie McKeon also contributed for the Skylights. At some points during the game, three Butte Central graduates were on the floor together — McKeon for Northern and Pokorny and Kambich for the Orediggers.

Montana Tech fell to 6-5 in conference and 13-10 overall.

Tech is now looking up at Westminster College, Carroll College and Northern in the Frontier Conference standings. The top two teams receive a first-round bye, while the third- and fourth-place teams play a home playoff game.

Tech has five games remaining in the regular season, beginning with Saturday’s battle with Lewis-Clark State.

Tech beat the Warriors 60-55 Dec. 22 in Lewiston, Idaho. Of course, that was when the Orediggers were at full strength.

Tech-Northern stats