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Vote for Hellgate boys for region's top basketball program

Vote for Hellgate boys for region's top basketball program

Missoula Hellgate is in the running for Best Boys Basketball Program of 2015 in a poll conducted by the USA Today and the Knights have already made the regional round.

That makes Montana’s State AA front-runner one of the top seven programs in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho and Wyoming — but they need your help to reach the national finals.

Just vote online here as many times as you want. The second round (regionals) runs through noon on Thursday, Jan. 29.

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2013-14 Montana all-state boys' basketball teams

The following is a full list of Montana all-state boys’ basketball teams as released following the 2013-14 season.

The list will be updated as new information is provided.

A compilation of all-conference teams for western Montana can be found here.

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Frenchtown's John Chapman: more than just a scorer

With 2 1/2 minutes remaining in what would turn out to be a Frenchtown 81-74 victory over Loyola Sacred Heart on Friday night, Bronc John Chapman drove to the basket from the top of the 3-point arc before giving the Rams’ defense a lesson in respecting his all-around ability.

Chapman had 28 points at that moment and everyone in the key closed in on the senior guard to keep him from reaching an even 30. Instead, Chapman took a hard step to his left, turned his body squarely to face his teammates on the Frenchtown bench and tucked a nifty pass under his right elbow to Bridger Truett beneath the basket.

Truett’s easy lay-in gave Chapman nine assists for the night, nearly a double-double when coupled with his eventual 33 points. Continue reading

Sentinel boys quick to match season win total from '12-13

What do the dates January 3 and February 22 have in common?

Before you go digging through your encyclopedia (do those still exist outside of school libraries?!), let me break the spell for you. The two dates are the days on the calendar in which the Missoula Sentinel boys’ basketball team earned their third wins of the season in each of the last two years.

The Spartans did so just this Friday (Jan. 3) with a 57-55 victory over last year’s Western AA front-runner Kalispell Glacier to improve to 3-2 on the young season.

Needless to say, there’s been a whole lot of improvement between Jay Jagelski’s first and second seasons at the helm of the Spartans. Continue reading

Players of the Week: Feb. 21-25

Boys’ basketball

Kalispell Glacier junior Ryan Edwards nearly recorded a triple-double in Tuesday’s 56-52 victory over Missoula Hellgate. He had 19 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks in the Western AA win. The 6-foot-11 Edwards added 11 points and 20 rebounds in Saturday’s regular-season finale, a 24-point win over rival Flathead that sewed up the conference crown.

My honorable mention: Robert Stone, Deer Lodge, sr.

Who’s your honorable mention? (give player’s name, school and reason why in comments section below).

Girls’ basketball

Missoula Big Sky senior Elle Tinkle had a pair of stellar games back-to-back Friday and Saturday. The future Gonzaga player had 26 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Helena Capital, then capped off the regular season with a 16-point effort in a 41-38 victory over No. 2-ranked Helena High.

My honorable mention: Kiernan Haggarty, Loyola Sacred Heart, sr.

Who’s your honorable mention? (give player’s name, school and reason why in comments section below).

Players of the Week: Feb. 14-18

Boys’ basketball

Troy senior Cory Orr scored a career-high 42 points in a 74-59 win over Eureka in a District 7-B tournament game last week. Orr hit four 3-pointers in the game and was 12 of 14 from the foul line. Orr, a 5-foot-11 guard, added 11 points in a 38-36 victory over Bigfork in the tourney title game two nights later.

My honorable mention: Kyle Ball, Victor, jr.

Who’s your honorable mention? (give player’s name, school and reason why in comments section below).

Girls’ basketball

Deer Lodge sophomore Dani Walker scored 12 points on back-to-back nights to help the Wardens capture their first district tournament title in nearly a quarter century. The 5-foot-8 Walker, who is coached by her legendary father Kirk, hit 6 of 8 shots from the floor in Saturday’s 44-35 championship game victory over Loyola Sacred Heart.

My honorable mention: Olivia Roberts, Missoula Sentinel, so.

Who’s your honorable mention? (give player’s name, school and reason why in comments section below).


Game of the Week: Florence at Bigfork

Sport: Boys’ basketball

Tipoff: Friday, 7 p.m.

The eighth-ranked Falcons (15-2), having wrapped up the District 6-B title, take to the road to complete their regular-season schedule. Waiting are the sixth-ranked Vikings (13-3), who already beat the Falcons, 44-41, in Florence back on Jan. 14.

Coach Sam Baerlocher has guided the Falcons to seven straight wins since that first meeting, while Bigfork knocked off District 7-B threat Troy to rebound from a nonconference loss to Columbia Falls recently.

Junior guard Chris Landon had 15 points for the Vikings in their first head-to-head with the Falcons. Bigfork closes its regular season with a game at Thompson Falls on Saturday.

This game could be a preview of the Western B divisional championship, which will be hosted by Hamilton.

Players of the Week: Jan. 31-Feb. 4

Boys’ basketball

Florence junior Aaron Ward scored 59 points in three wins this past week. The 6-foot-3 guard began his busy week with 19 points in a make-up game victory over Thompson Falls (Jan. 31), then tossed in 18 points in a win over Class A Frenchtown (Feb. 2) and finally capped it off with a 22-point, nine-rebound, six-assist night against fellow District 6-B member Deer Lodge (Feb. 4).

My honorable mention: Josh Schultz, Stevensville, sr.

Who’s your honorable mention? (give player’s name, school and reason why in comments section below).

Girls’ basketball

Drummond senior Ayla Martell had 56 points in leading the Trojans to three wins last week. The 5-foot-6 guard saved her best for last, scoring 26 points in a rout of league foe Alberton on Saturday (Feb. 4). Martell dropped in 20 points in the first quarter alone in that one. She tallied 15 points in each of Drummond’s other two wins.

My honorable mention: Rachel Hoyt, Charlo, jr.

Who’s your honorable mention? (give player’s name, school and reason why in comments section below).


Recent Posts

  • 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.