Taylor DeVries

Manhattan Christian senior Taylor DeVries drives between Gardiner's Leah Veress and Alexis McDonald Saturday in the Memorial Event Center.

CHURCHILL — After shaking off a sluggish start Saturday night in the Memorial Event Center, Manhattan Christian cruised to a conference rout.

The Eagles stretched a three-point lead after eight minutes of play to 18 by halftime en route to a 66-26 District 12C victory against Gardiner.

It was the first loss of the season for the Bruins, who scored just 15 points over the final three quarters after tallying 11 in the first.

Anna Keith

Gardiner's Sophia Darr leaps off the ground to try and prevent a shot by Manhattan Christian's Anna Keith Saturday.

“We missed a lot of easy shots there at the beginning of the game and still I think we were at 45 percent at halftime,” Eagles coach Jeff Bellach said. “So we shot it pretty well after that first bunch because I think we were about one for our first seven, maybe, and some point blank looks too.”

Gardiner (3-1) was within 16-14 early in the second quarter following a 3 by Sophia Darr. But the Eagles’ size, press and transition play quickly broke the contest open as they closed out the half on a 12-0 run for a 34-16 lead.

“We like to play fast, so that was kind of what we wanted to do. We settled in and got to run the floor a little bit,” said Bellach. “Early on we lacked a little bit of intensity, which we talked about and we got to fix that.”

Christian began the third quarter on a 12-2 run, featuring four points each by Hope Kenney and Kiersten Van Kirk and led by 38 entering the fourth.

“Third quarter I thought we played really well. Shared the ball,” said Bellach. “Twenty-three assists, that’s a lot for girls team, so I was proud of that. We’ve been talking a lot about getting that number up and getting the turnover number down.”

Van Kirk scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the first half. She added eight rebounds and pair of blocks by game’s end.

Eliana Kuperus finished with 14 points and nine boards, while Ava Bellach and Kenney each tallied 10 points.

Hope Kenney

Manhattan Christian junior Hope Kenney dribbles past Gardiner's Alexis McDonald on a drive to the basket Saturday.

Gardiner committed 21 turnovers and shot just 25 percent from the field, and is the fifth Eagles’ opponent to be held under 40 points this season.

“Our defense is getting better,” said coach Bellach. “We’re switching it up a lot and the girls are getting better at communicating.”

Christian also built a comfortable halftime lead Friday night, 31-14, en route to beating Three Forks in a non-conference road game 60-38.

Van Kirk tallied a game-high 21 points and eight rebounds, while Kuperus added a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards. Taylor DeVries chipped in with 11 points and three assists.

“It was kind of a similar flow to tonight’s game. We didn’t quite get that big lead until late in the second half,” said coach Bellach. “We had a few careless turnovers that we talked about and corrected at halftime.”

While the Eagles shot 45.5 percent from the field, they also committed 19 turnovers.

“We were looking to go to the right spots against their zone, but we weren’t making the right pass,” said coach Bellach. “We had a few go off our hands and out of bounds because it wasn’t on target, so we talked about that. But I thought we played pretty good defense.”

Christian (5-0, 3-0 District 12C) returns to action Tuesday with a conference game at Lone Peak.

Manhattan Christian 60, Three Forks 38

Christian                   18  13  15  14  -  60

Three Forks                4   10  15   9  -  38

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN (4-0) - Anna Keith 1 0-0 2, Taylor DeVries 4 0-0 11, Hope Kenney 2 0-0 4, Alexis DeVries 0 0-0 0, Eliana Kuperus 6 0-0 12, Kiersten Van Kirk 8 4-9 21, Katelyn Van Kirk 1 0-0 2, Ava Bellach 1 0-0 3, Grace Aamot 1 0-0 2, Natalie Walhof 0 0-0 0, jadyn VanDyken 1 0-0 3. Totals: 25 4-9 60.

THREE FORKS (1-4) - Kinzee Howey 3 0-0 6, Addison Pestel 0 0-0 0, Natalie Pestel 0 0-0 0, Jayden Woodland 5 2-5 13, Brianna Warren 0 0-0 0, Ashlyn Swenson 3 1-3 9, Fallon Page 0 1-2 1, Jasmyn Murphy 1 3-4 5, Eva Parker 1 0-0 2, Genesis Parker 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 7-14 38.

3-point goals: MC 6 (DeVries 3, Ki. Van Kirk 1, Bellach 1, VanDyken 1), TF 3 (Swenson 2, Woodland 1).

Manhattan Christian 66, Gardiner 26

Gardiner                     11   5    6   4  -  26

Christian                     14  20  26  6  -  66

GARDINER (3-1) - Leah Veress 0 0-0 0, Megan Otis 0 0-0 0, Alexis McDonald 2 1-2 6, Signe Saunders 0 0-0 0, Ellie Reinertson 4 0-0 8, Echo Saunders 0 0-0 0, Fiona Roberts 0 0-0 0, Josie Thomas 4 0-1 9, Zoey Wilner 0 0-0 0, Pray Yegge 0 0-0 0, Emily Potts 0 0-0 0, Sophi Darr 1 0-0 3. Totals: 11 1-3 26.

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN (5-0) - Anna Keith 0 0-0 0, Taylor DeVries 1 0-0 2, Hope Kenney 4 2-5 10, Alexis DeVries 0 0-0 0, Eliana Kuperus 7 0-0 14, Kiersten Van Kirk 9 0-1 18, Katelyn Van Kirk 3 0-2 6, Ava Bellach 4 0-0 10, Grace Aamot 3 0-0 6, Natalie Walhof 0 0-0 0, Jadyn VanDyken 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 2-8 66.

3-point goals: Gar 3 (McDonald 1, Thomas 1, Darr 1), MC 2 (Bellach 2).