You are here: Home » Basketball » Lady Spartan seniors finish amazing 4-year run of success

Lady Spartan seniors finish amazing 4-year run of success

Lady Spartan seniors finish amazing 4-year run of success

Here’s a quick look at what the girls of Missoula Sentinel’s class of 2014 have done in four years on the basketball court:

  • Four straight State AA title game appearances

  • Three straight State AA championships

  • A four-year combined record of 83-10

So is it safe to call this group the greatest girls’ basketball class in Sentinel history?

“Oh for sure – by far,” said Spartans coach Karen Deden, a Sentinel alum as well. “We’ve been blessed with a group of kids that have really pushed it to a new level – and it kind of started with Olivia. Those kids have worked hard and they play year-round since they got here and vastly improved. They’re a team and they play well together.”

Senior guard/forward/superstar Olivia Roberts led the Spartans to a 48-30 beat down of Billings West on Saturday to win the third of those three state championships. Roberts led all players with 18 points and nine rebounds.

The future 5-foot-11 Wyoming Cowgirl was around for most all those 80-plus wins since her freshman year as the only frosh to see major varsity minutes in the 2010-11 season.

But soon her fellow classmates at Sentinel High School joined her on the court. Five other varsity seniors will graduate with Roberts this spring.

They include 6-1 Sam Harper and 5-10 Emily Beach, a pair of heightened starters defending the key for the Spartans this year; 5-8 guard Maddie Keast, a Lady Griz signee and threat from anywhere on the court; 5-9 forward/post Jess Henning, a reserve who ensures Sentinel won’t drop its defensive intensity when starters check out for a rest; and 5-0 guard Brittani Wulf, the speediest and smallest Spartan on the roster.

Keast has only experienced the last two Sentinel seasons – albeit the most successful ones – though she missed most of Saturday’s title game with an ankle injury.

She transferred from Loyola Sacred Heart before her junior season.

The group weathered the storm of expectations again this year with another charge through the state bracket.

“I said to the kids, to be proud of where you’re at. I mean think of the whole season playing with a target on your back and to persevere through that,” Deden added. “Because every time somebody plays us, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They can go out there and play out of their heads, because what’s the worst that’s going to happen? They’re going to lose.”

On the eve of her fourth state championship appearance in as many seasons, one of Sentinel’s all-time great athletes struggled to put the grandeur of her prep career into words. Roberts’ awe at her past path couldn’t keep her from focusing on the immediate future, though.

“I can’t believe it. It’s so weird to think that I’ve been to the state championship every single year,” Roberts said after her Spartans outlasted Kalispell Glacier in Friday’s semifinal. “I’m so blessed to have such a great coach and such great teammates.

“But all I’m thinking about is I just want another state championship. I want a three-peat and I want to get it done.”

Consider that job very well done, Lady Spartans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • 03 Feb 2015

    UPDATED: 2015 national signing day's western Montana football commits

    UPDATED: With fall camps just around the corner, the list of western Montana natives in the Missoulian's coverage area has swelled near 50. Take a look:
      It’s national signing day 2015 and the National Letters of Intent were flying around this morning with local athletes securing their spots with college football programs. We’ll keep you updated with the area players who have made their commitments known throughout the day. Here’s a quick look at what we have so far. Don’t forget this is just a bare bones list right now and it will be updated often. Don’t see your name or your kid listed here? Leave it in the comments, or get in contact with us at or on twitter (@ajmazzolini).   MONTANA (4) TE Colin Bingham, Missoula Big Sky DE Andrew Harris, Kalispell Glacier S Josh Sandry, Bigfork DE Jesse Sims, Corvallis MONTANA STATE (5) LB Josh Hill, Kalispell Glacier LB Tanner Hoff, Hot Springs WR Logan Jones, Kalispell Glaicer QB Brady McChesney, Kalispell Glacier DE Byron Rollins, Missoula Sentinel EASTERN WASHINGTON (1) TE Jayce Gilder, Corvallis NORTH DAKOTA (1) TE Brock Shaide, Missoula Big Sky CARROLL COLLEGE (1) WR Paul Wilson, Missoula Hellgate MONTANA TECH (9) WR/RB Nate Gray, Hot Springs RB Jackson King, Missoula Sentinel WR/RB Danny Mannix, Flint Creek WR Sam McCamley, Kalispell Glacier WR Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls OL Matt Murphy, Missoula Big Sky OL Truman Pisk, Kalispell Glacier DB Tucker Rauthe, Kalispell Glacier LB Ike Schweikert, Columbia Falls MONTANA WESTERN (12) OL Zach Brown, Hamilton RB/LB Joe Caicedo, Darby WR Devin Cochran, Kalispell Glacier RB Cory Diaz, Missoula Big Sky RB/LB Jason Ferris, Dillon QB/S J.D. Ferris, Dillon WR/DB Justin Ferris, Dillon QB/DB Bo Hughs, Loyola Sacred Heart (transfer) RB/LB Raymond Matt, St. Ignatius LB Connor McKillop, Missoula Sentinel WR/DB Austin Ray, Corvallis OL Spencer Ross, Columbia Falls MONTANA STATE-NORTHERN (6) RB Zach Crace, Libby LB Travis Crawford, Missoula Big Sky FB Lane Foster, Hot Springs DL Trevor Frandsen, Missoula Big Sky MLB Jonathan Gragg, Missoula Hellgate OL Ryan Handley, Missoula Hellgate ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (3) LB Joe Gallatin, Polson DE Jesse Grabowska, Florence RB Marty Pigeon, Loyola Sacred Heart DICKINSON STATE (1) DB Cain Boschee, Kalispell Glacier LEHIGH (1) OL Harrison Kauffman, Kalispell Glacier MACALESTER COLLEGE (1) WR Jack Streibich, Whitefish
  • 23 May 2014

    Makena Morley gets creative to fund trip to track nationals

    Ever wanted an autographed photo of one of Montana's all-time record-breaking prep runners? Now's your chance. Bigfork High School junior and State B champion of champions Makena Morley is raising money through technology and grass roots to help her reach the New Balance Outdoor High School Track & Field Nationals meet in Greensboro, North Carolina in mid June. And any donors of $25 or more through the fundraising website receive a Morley original complete with signature.  As of this posting, Morley is about 75 percent of the way to her goal of $2,300 for travel and lodging costs for her and her father to the national meet. Events run June 13-15. Morley isn't new to the national running scene, but she appears to be getting create in funding her trips there. She won the West Regional of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships back in December and then finished eighth in the ensuing national race. "As a junior I have been to 4 national championship races (three in cross country and one for indoor track) but I have never won a national title, so this one is very important to me because I would love for this to be the year for me to win," Morley wrote on her fundraising page. "It is an important year for my college recruiting process, because this is the year when all colleges are looking at you and at what you have accomplished!" IndieGoGo is a kind of online kickstarter to raise money for a cause or idea. It's "the world’s most established crowdfunding platform," according to the organization's website. Crowdfunding is the process of pooling money from many different people for a cause. Morley, a three-time winner of the State B cross country title and Gatorade Runner of the Year for Montana, plans to run the 5,000 meters at the New Balance Nationals along with either the one or two mile. For more about her trip to nationals, or to donate, you can visit her page here.

  • 12 Feb 2015

    Entry to Montana wrestling's Four-Timers Club just got tougher

    Winning four straight state wrestling titles is hard enough, but the reclassification of weight classes in Montana that began this year will likely make the feat decidedly more difficult. When the Montana High Schools Association shifted from 15 to 13 wrestling classes, it eliminated the weight at which many four-timers wrestled as freshmen. The 98 and 105 weights were combined -- as were 195 and 220 on the upper end -- to form a new hybrid weight of 103 that will leave fewer holes in brackets and dual lineups. But it also adds new competition for the lightest weight, the one typically housing freshmen, by doubling the participants. "It's going to be interesting with the weight changes," said Columbia Falls wrestling coach Jesse Schaeffer, who has a senior in his wrestling room chasing state title No. 4 this week in Shonn Roberts. "I think that's going to maybe reduce that." Twenty-three Montana wrestlers have completed their four-peats and 11 of those started at 98 pounds of lower -- Gene Davis of Missoula County High, the state's first four-timer, won his freshman year at 95 pounds in 1960 before a similar weight shift later in the decade. Add in Roberts, who will compete at 138 pounds when state action begins Friday in Billings but won at 98 in 2012, and that's exactly half. "It's kind of weird since that's what I wrestled at as a freshman," Roberts began, "but 103, the 98-105 mix, I think that's reasonable. It'll make things a little bit tougher." That's hardly the thinking behind merging weights, though. At either extreme ends of the weight scale (195 and 220 became the 205 class) fewer teams -- especially at lower classifications -- could field a full lineup. Many times, too few entrants there led to a state bracket marred by automatic byes and regular season duals that might as well skip on to 105 pounds anyway. The unintended consequence is that 2015 may be near the last time wrestling fans will get a trio of four-time possibles all on the mats at the same time. Sidney's Gresh Jones joins Roberts in the Class A tournament this week at 126 pounds searching for his fourth, while Forsyth's Matt Weber will be the talk of Class B-C with a potential fourth title. Both boys won their first -- and lightest -- at 112 pounds, though.