HELENA— In a game that saw five Capital High girls basketball players score eight-or-more points, led by Sydney Sheridan's 21, the Bruins doubled up visiting Missoula Big Sky in at least four categories.

The only area that really counts, of course, is on the scoreboard, which showed Capital on top 70-34. 

But the Bruins also outrebounded Big Sky 40-20, posted twice as many steals 16-8, and doubled the Eagles shooting percentage from the floor, 58 percent (24-for-41) to 23 percent (10-for-43).

The contest in the Bears' Den on Saturday also witnessed Capital's first legitimate female hook shot in five years.

Once-beaten Capital maintains its hold on second-place in the Western AA standings, improving to 11-1 overall and 5-1 in conference play. Big Sky slips to 1-11, 0-6.

The Bruins led from wire-to-wire, holding a 19-6 advantage after the first period, and 39-16 at halftime.

Following Sheridan in Capital's scoring column were Taylor Sullivan with 15 points, and Kacie Gross at 11. Big Sky was led by Mia Sandau's 13 points.

"At that point we just wanted to keep playing well," said Capital coach Bill Pilgeram, when asked about his team's mindset when they got 20 points ahead midway through the second quarter. "Yes, you can work on a couple different plays and get everybody into the game, but you don't want to lose the momentum. I just really liked how the team has responded after that tough loss (to No. 1 Sentinel a week ago) with two good wins.

"We've outrebounded our last two opponents 99-40, which we've really worked on. I felt our strengths tonight were getting into transition and our depth."

The positives for coach Michela Anderson's Eagles were free throws and turnovers. Big Sky held a distinct advantage at the charity stripe, swishing 12 of 16 for a sparkling 75-percent accuracy in free throws.

Sandau went 5-for-6, while Keri Peterson and Jade Litchel were both a perfect 2-for-2.

And Big Sky kept it fairly close in the turnover department, losing the ball 16 times to Capital's 12.

After the home team sped out to an early 11-2 lead on a basket by Gross, moments later Sandau's bucket closed the gap to five, 11-6. But then Capital went on a 10-0 run, for a 21-6 cushion right after the start of the second period.

The hosts got the lead to 20 points, 31-11 on a 3-pointer from downtown by Emily Kidder. One of the game highlights occurred at 34-14 when Sheridan's shot was blocked in the paint, she quickly grabbed the deflected ball and put it up and back in.

After the intermission, when Sandau's bucket made it 43-18, it was Big Sky's first field goal since the initial frame after 10 successful free throws.

Sheridan finished hitting 9 of 14 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from 3-point land. She had a fine all-around effort, posting game-highs of four assists and four steals. Next in Capital's scoring column were Katie Culver and Dani Bartsch, at nine and eight points, respectively. Culver, a 5-foot-10 ball hawk, speared a game-high nine rebounds, followed by Sullivan's seven boards.

Chasity Foote was the Garden City crew's No. 2 scorer with six points, while Sydnee Zanto topped MBS with four rebounds.

The final points of the game was a left-handed sky hook by Bartsch, a 6-foot-1 freshman.

"Katie (Culver) got off to a hot start and maintained it — she owned the paint in rebounding and putbacks," Pilgeram said. "And Sydney (Sheridan) did a great job leading the breakaways."   

Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynness_IR and can be reached at curt.synness@lee.net or curt52synness@gmail.com

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