TRACK AND FIELD
TRACK AND FIELD
NWMT 'A' LINKS
POLSON V RONAN PREVIEW
January 4, 2014Northwest Montana A Conference
MISSION MOUNTAIN MASCOT MEDDLING MAYHEM 2014:
REVVING UP FOR ANOTHER RIP-ROARIN RENDITION
OF A RAMBUNCTIOUS REZ RIVALRY ROUNDBALL WRANGLE
by John Heglie
GIRLS BASKETBALL - Ronan Maidens at Polson Lady Pirates on Friday, 3 January 2014 at 6:00 pm
When it comes to the girls basketball version of the Mission Valley rivalry game between Polson and Ronan, the outcome has disproportionately tended to favor the Polson end of the spectrum. Prior to the then 4-1 visiting Maidens carving out a 36-32 victory in their rivalry rendezvous on December 2012 last season over the then 0-4 Lady Pirates, one had to trace back to January 2007 to find the last time the Maidens beat Polson 32-31 back when Ronan was still part of the Northwestern A Conference. District 6B Ronan enters the present season rivalry contest with an even mark of 2-2 this season, while NWA Polson brings in tow an 0-4 record similar to the one in their preceding meeting. Irrespective of how rivalry rendezvous wrangles tend to unfold prior to the encounter itself, it tends to make little difference whether one team is perceived to be the stronger candidate while another may be at an earlier stage of development. The dynamics of the longstanding rivalry itself tends to level the playing field. In an effort to boost the appreciation levels of prospective basketball fans, it was felt that presenting a brief profile of the principle players on each team would not only help boost interest in the game, but also enhance the viewing pleasure of the contest itself.
2013-14 RONAN MAIDEN PLAYER PROFILES
When District 6B all-conference 2nd-team senior 5-9 forward “Ragin” Raymi Clairmont begins to establish her rhythm on a hardcourt, the forecast for the game suggests that a storm could be brewing. The nickname association conveys multiple entendres. At one end of the spectrum is the nuance that she is all the “rage” as in a basketball equivalent of an “it” girl or hoops “go to” gal when the Maidens need to make something happen. At another end of the spectrum is the suggestion that her game could elevate at any juncture of a contest much like a weather tempest can escalate into a category four storm like a tornado or hurricane. Whichever might be the case, her career high 29 point performance in a triple overtime victory over visiting 6B Florence last season as well as a trio of other twenty-something outputs exemplify both aspects. The past pair of seasons she has easily surpassed dual century club membership for both points and rebounds as well as has turned in eighteen career double figure scoring performances. Clairmont recently surpassed the 400 career point scoring threshold in the preceding contest and has a legitimate shot at cresting the 600th career point scoring plateau should she be able to maintain her baker’s dozen scoring average the remainder of the season.
When volleyball all-conference 1st-team senior 5-9 forward Alaina “Wheels” Madsen accelerates from one end of the court to another, it can sometimes seem that she can shift through multiple gears. The occasional tread marks left behind from some of the maneuvers she executes on the hardwood may call for some additional buffing by the custodial crew to recover that optimal sheen to the polish on the court once the game comes to a close. The more productive this set of “Wheels” spin in synch with the offensive rotation, the trend has been that the better the Maidens tend to roll themselves. Madsen is within reach of attaining the century mark for career scoring.
The Maidens will also be counting on volleyball all-conference (2nd-tm) junior 5-9 forward Kendra Starkel to unleash some SPARQL (Steals, Penetration, Assists, Resourcefulness, Quickness, Leadership) on the court in an effort to further dazzle their opponent. Her versatility tends to impact multiple facets of the game when she is on the floor while her career scoring is on the verge of surpassing the half century threshold. Starkel keeps her eyes peeled for opportunities where she can accentuate the level of play of her Maiden teammates as would be expected from any player whose heritage stems from raising spuds around the Mission Valley.
Track & Field throws dual accolade (Western B all-conference shotput/ all-state, twice all-conference javelin) and basketball District 6B all-conference 2nd-team junior 5-9 forward/post Aspen Jore reset the Ronan school record book for the javelin throw by over a dozen feet her freshman year. Much like some of the hefts she so adeptly heaves in such field events, Jore is also adept at throwing around a few roundball maneuvers when she is making a move toward the basket. A half dozen points will push Jore past the second century mark for career scoring. The next double digit scoring tally by Jore will be her dozenth career double figure scoring performance that also coincides with several double figure rebounding outings as well.
After being shorthanded on personnel who could play the post with a high level of proficiency for a number of years, the Maidens now find themselves rich with multiple options for rotating players with a penchant for productivity around the paint in senior 5-11 post Courtney Taylor (9+65), Mission St. Ignatius transfer junior 5-11 post Haley O’Hern (18+119) and Idaho transfer junior 5-6 post Lauren Rigby. Taylor contributed over five dozen points to the offensive machinery last season that included a strong double-double in one game. Last season O’Hern crested the century plateau for point scoring productivity which included a quintet of double figure career scoring performances as well as a handful of rebounding performances that either tickled the boundaries or trickled over into the tens column. Rigby has been supplementing as a reserve to spell starters and has already contributed to the offense at this early juncture of the season. Since O’Hern has been recuperating from an early season injury, her status for this rivalry game remains questionable, so (an)other player(s) yet to be designated may be called upon to supplement their contributions in her stead.
The Maiden guard corps includes fleet-of-foot senior 5-3 guard Angela North Piegan (4+39), Polson transfer senior 5-3 guard Malia “Shnookums” Hamel (4+122) and sophomore 5-3 guard Jordyn Clairmont. This trio of skilled ball handlers have an aptitude for picking the pocket of unprotected possessions. North Piegan pinched back-to-back steals from Florence ball handlers last season that were crucial in disrupting the Lady Falcon offensive rhythm in the waning minutes of an initial Ronan triple overtime victory. Hamel may have acquired her nickname in part because of her penchant for snookering taller players out of strategic ball possessions when she wades into traffic congestion and emerges from a pileup with the ball in her hands. The tenacious defensive efforts of Clairmont congest and clog up the breathing space that opposition ball handlers rely upon to move the ball up the court. The group as a whole have contributed over two dozen points to the offense thus far this season with Hamel factoring into the scoring of each of the games.
When a car breaks down, drivers often call upon Triple A to bail them out of a vehicular predicament. But when the Maidens need help in various aspects of their game, they are liable to call upon a variant form of this same acronym when they look to Alaina, Angela, and Aspen to offer their assistance should their game break down.
2013-14 POLSON LADY PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
Softball all-state (2012), thrice all-conference 1st-team (if 13, of 12, ut 11) and basketball all-conference honorable mention senior 5-8 guard Jessica Bagnell brings the most veteran experience among returnees to this year’s rendition of the Lady Pirate varsity, having turned in a single double figure scoring outing in one game last season and breached double digits for rebounding in another. More recently against the visiting AA Kalispell Flathead Bravettes, unofficial stat tallies had her ripping down just shy of a dozen rebounds off the boards.
Equestrian event competing senior 5-10 post Monika Frame rides in English saddle competitions during the offseason, but there is little horsing around when it comes to her penchant for maneuvering into position around the paint where she becomes a valuable rebounder as well as a force for picking up putback points. The kind of pictures that the Lady Pirates seek to paint inside with this Frame include backgrounds with strong boardwork, foregrounds with sound defensive brushstrokes and surrounding scenery with the scoring of a lot of high percentage shots inbetween.
Three-time all-state, four-time all-conference golfer and softball all-state, two-time all-conference (1st-tm 13, 2nd-tm 12) senior 5-7 wing Jaylin Kenney is a savvy competitor who displays an advanced aptitude for dissecting angles of approach, exploiting passing lanes as well as snaring misguided passes initially intended for an opponent. Kenney leads the team in steals as well as blocks, tied for the team lead when it comes to dishing assists and is among the team leaders in rebounding.
Softball 14U ASA 2011 state champion as well as track & field all-conference shot and discus hurling senior 5-8 post Shelbi Mallon is adept at carving out space around the basket where she can reel in rebounds and net putback points. Once Mallon gets her fingers wrapped around a ball, opponents tend to need leverage comparable to that of a crowbar to pry it loose from her vise of a grip. She is among a quartet of team leaders in rebounding.
Golf twice all-state, all-conference junior 5-9 forward/post Peyton Anderson might opt to drive the lane for show, but it is her basketball equivalent of an accurate putting stroke that nets the dough. Anderson has been working at improving her positioning in order to reel in more rebounds as well as get her hands on putbacks. She holds down one of the higher shot conversion percentages on the team.
Softball 14U ASA 2011 state champion junior 5-5 guard Skyla Krantz seemingly exhibits a couple of extra gears in her transmission when accelerating up or down the basketball court. Her quickness opens up fast break opportunities for the Lady Pirates on offense. Krantz is currently the second leading scorer on the team, having tallied the majority of her points at the charity stripe where she is converting her attempts within the 60th percentile.
The optimal play of junior 5-9 wing Kaelen Wall (SB 14U ASA 2011 state champion ) tends to create nightmares for defenders when she finds her groove on the offensive attack. This Wall also becomes a formidable roadblock when she battens down the hatches on defense. She is among the leading shot blockers on the team and converted a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line in her only trips to the charity stripe thus far this season.
Junior 5-4 wing Dylan Quinn acquired the nickname of “quickster” during volleyball season on account of her quick cut capability that emerges on the roundball hardcourt when she picks off passes or slashes to the hoop. Maiden ball handlers could end up in a few pickles when confronted by the tenacious defense of this Dyl.
Sophomore 5-10 forward/post Nicole Lake supplements the Lady Pirate roster with a wide array of crossover athletic endeavors. In addition to her involvement in school sanctioned prep seasonal sports, Lake has participated in rodeo events like nanny slamming (aka goat tying), placing 15th at the 2012 National Junior High Rodeo Finals, as well as regularly competes in 4-H events showcasing steers, winning top prize as senior showmanship champion this past summer. Such diversity in range suggest a level of durability for holding her own against defenders around the basket so that she can reel in elusive rebounds, tie up loose balls or move some bodies around. Having also raised rabbits, she should be more adept than some at getting those bunnies near the rim to hop down the hole. Lake turned in a cumulative seasonal double-triple in both scoring as well as rebounding at the froshmore level last season and those tallies were further supplemented by the numbers she posted in games at the junior varsity level. After a quartet of games into this young season, Lake leads TEAM LP in scoring by a very slight margin and is tied for the lead when it comes to dispensing assists.
A quartet of sophomores which include 5-5 guard Lydia Dupuis (SB 14U ASA 2011 state champion), 5-8 post Erin Sampson (SB 14U ASA 2011 state champion / T&F throws event placer), 5-6 wing Hannah Potter (SB all-conf 2nd-tm ut) and 5-5 guard Marlee Congdon have been platooning as supplemental reserves thus far into the young season. Only Congdon has contributed to team scoring thus far when she netted a triple in one game. But all four are capable scorers, having cumulatively contributed to the frosh squad over 300 points, over 200 rebounds, over 12 dozen steals as well as over 5 dozen assists between them last year.
ANALYSIS OF THE PENDING GIRLS ROUNDBALL RIVALRY RENDEZVOUS
After dominating the rivalry contest for the past quintet of seasons, the shoe of victory ended up being worn on the other foot when the Maidens captured the rivalry contest last season 36-32. The Lady Pirates might feel inclined to inject a qualifier in that last year’s four point score differential almost certainly would have been much closer had Polson not been playing without their leading scorer and rebounder, but whether the ultimate outcome would have turned out any differently will have to remain a matter of speculation.
The Ronan Maidens (2-2) enter this current January 2014 contest averaging just over 38 points per game, while the host Polson Lady Pirates (0-4) have been averaging over a dozen less. Such a discrepancy would be cause for concern to the aspirations of any team that intends to place a competitive game on the court that challenges their opponent for the spoils of victory. While this particular comparison between points per game productivity initially appears to cast a bleak shadow over the host Lady Pirates being able to field a competitive contest, the discrepancy may appear more pronounced than it may actually play out on the basketball court. As mentioned earlier on, extrapolating such trends so early in a season tend to make little difference in a rivalry of such magnitude as this Mission Valley mascot mayhem because irrespective of whether one team enters the contest with evident strengths that appear to give one of them an upper hand, the dynamics of any rivalry tend to level the playing field. In the case of the Lady Pirates, it is to be conceded that their shot attempts from the floor could use a boost in productivity of the higher percentage variety in comparison to the games they have played thus far. This aspect might be a cause for graver concern if not for the fact that the host purple & gold team have been excelling at splitting the net with their free throws at the charity stripe to such an extent that a quartet of the players are ranked among the TOP 10 of the Northwestern A Conference for their free-throw shooting proficiency while a fifth who has been perfect at the line did not make the list on account of having less attempts than the minimal parameters. Polson charity stripe shooting performance tends to coincide with what has been periodically observed in their practice sessions where many of them are routinely observed draining shot after shot from the floor through the net. The disparity between actual game performance in comparison to the team practice regimen observations as well as their charity stripe success during games played thus far strongly suggests that the Lady Pirate players may be merely bogged down in a transitional phase, still in the process of adapting to the faster pace of real-time varsity-level play and stiffer defensive strategies than can be simulated in ordinary practices. If one did not have the free-throw shooting proficiency or the practice session observations to draw upon, one might be inclined toward drawing less optimistic conclusions. The question that remains is whether the dynamics of this rivalry wrangle will be enough to overcome whatever seems to be ailing their shooting touch from the floor during games or whether several of the players will continue to shank their shots under sub-par conversion rates until a latter juncture in the schedule. Another aspect that would have to be conceded is that the host Lady Pirates lack a comparable level of experience when it comes to varsity seasoning as their incoming visitors. Couple that consideration with the difficulty level of their early Class A scheduling and all of these factors go far to explain why the Polson offense has been sputtering like an engine with its timing in need of some adjustment to get it calibrated back into synch.
The current rendition of the Maidens seem to exhibit a more pronounced sprinkle of spunk and splash of gamegirlship than has been often typical of seasons past. Lending benefit to the Ronan cause is nice blend of maturing skill, mental focus and a healthy dose of confidence that seem to forge the mettle of these Maiden into a team that must be reckoned with. Polson will have the familiarity of their own gym and a home crowd as perceived advantages, but the crowd aspect will be somewhat neutralized by a swell in attendance from the orange & black fan base coming to watch their team play. Neither team has a decided height advantage over the other as both appear to match up pretty evenly. The inclination of this analysis is that the outcome of the game will likely hinge on which team does a better job of executing basic fundamentals like boxing out an opposing player around the basket, shot selectivity of a higher percentage variety and the playing of sound defense. In order for either team to remain competitive in this one, each will need to propel team shooting percentages out of teen or twenty doldrums into a higher percentage range to hold the other at bay.
Girls action commences at 6 o’clock on Friday evening at Linderman Gym.
BOYS BASKETBALL MAYHEM MODES - CHIEFS on CONQUEST or PIRATES on PILLAGE?
Ronan Chiefs at Polson Pirates on Friday, 3rd of January 2014 7:30 pm
Similar to their Maiden counterparts, it had been a while since the Ronan Chiefs had emerged victorious after an encounter with county rival Polson prior to last year‘s squeaker. More often than not, most of these boys basketball rivalry contests end up being decided in the waning minutes of the final quarter. A trio of the closest within a half dozen year span have been a Polson 64-62 OT victory January 2008, a Pirate 50-48 regulation triumph January 2009 and a Ronan 47-44 win February 2009. The most dominating games of recent vintage trace back to the 2006-07 winter campaign when Ronan beat their county rivals both times during the regular season while part of the Northwestern A Conference. The game with the biggest point spread took place in Polson on 20 February 2010 when the Pirates placed five players in double figures for an 88-50 win. The biggest single player scoring extravaganza within recent memory goes to Ronan when then sophomores Mike Fisher and Nolan Harris combined to drop ten triples on the Pirates in Polson in their 65-55 road triumph. The Chiefs only placed two players in double figures in that contest, but the numbers were huge. Harris scored 31 points including 8-12 treys in what had to have been a special scoring dispensation accorded to him on account of it being his birthday. The other player who scored double figures that night was then senior Cameron Barber with 17 points.
However, most of these Polson vs. Ronan rivalry games tend to be decided by under 10 points like those of the trio mentioned. Both teams come into the current contest fairly evenly matched with the Chiefs at 1-3 and the Pirates at 0-4. Where the Chiefs tend to excel is at running that high octane offense which can be a challenge for any team to keep pace with let alone contain. But the Pirates also have some wheels that can shift through the gears, so this matchup could get very exciting.
2013-14 RONAN CHIEF PLAYER PROFILES
District 6B all-conference honorable mention senior 5-9 guard Tim Woll is a savvy player when it comes to game strategy, a dual threat to either score himself or dish off an assist to an open teammate should the path to the basket be obstructed. Woll is currently almost averaging double figures in scoring thus far into the young season, has racked up multiple dozens of career rebounds as well as career steals and has already surpassed the half century mark for career assists. He is the leading Ronan returnee for completing his calls after dialing the operator long distance from beyond the arc and could crest the 200 career point scoring plateau during this first contest of the new year based upon his per game scoring average.
Senior 6-4 post Daniel Aylesworth has been averaging five points per contest and provides the Chiefs with a post presence around the basket. Among returning Ronan Chiefs, he is the third-leading rebounder among the team with a free-throw conversion percentage from the charity stripe of close to the 70th percentile. Aylesworth recently notched his first varsity career double figure scoring performance against visiting District 7B foe Eureka.
Although he saw limited action last season in a reserve role, senior 5-9 forward Jared Dupuis was one of the few players among the Chiefs to tally a combined shooting percentage north of the 50th percentile. Over the course of a trio of games in which he factored into the scoring column this season, Dupuis is averaging close to a half dozen points per contest.
Junior 5-5 guard Alex Quequesah is the second-leading returnee among the team for converting treys from behind-the-arc as well as for dishing out assists. Quequesah was a 70th percentile free-throw shooter from the charity stripe last season who just crested the century mark plateau for career scoring with a pair of double figure scoring performances prior to the Christmas break.
A pair of players who have taken on a substantially expanded role this season from their reserve minute contributions last year include football twice offensive and once defensive all-district 6B (WR - 1st-tm 13, hm 12 / SS - 1st-tm) junior 6-2 forward Bryce Cullen and junior 5-7 guard Colton McCrea. Both have factored into the scoring fortunes of each of the quartet of Chief games played thus far into the season. Cullen has been averaging close to a half dozen points per contest, while McCrea was the leading scorer for the team during their most recent loss.
Junior 6-3 forward Rhett Duffey, freshman 6-3 forward Jeremiah North Piegan, freshman 6-1 guard Aaron Misa and sophomore 6-0 guard July Sorrell round out the remnant of the active Ronan roster. The trio of Dupuis, Duffey and North Piegan are all sub-20 performers on the cross-country circuit during the Fall, suggestive that they infuse the team with a high level of endurance that adds further fuel to some of the fast paced Chief high octane offense. Misa plays as a receiver and defensive back in football, suggesting not only good hands for ball handling, but also durability when wading into traffic. The freshman North Piegan is averaging just a scratch over a half dozen points per contest thus far into the young season, while Duffey netted a perfect seven in one contest during the NWA vs SWA Tip-Off Tournament. McCrea, Cullen and Sorrell share in common a 2012 Babe Ruth League Championship when they were on the Ronan Mustangs baseball team.
A pair of players who are not anticipated to contribute to the roundball rivalry rotation this time around include junior 6-5 forward Kollin Wroblewski and Polson transfer junior 6-2 forward/post Cedric Earthboy. Wroblewski averaged close to double figures in games he played in last season and had the highest conversion rate for scoring deuces on the team. Endowed with a soft shooting touch and leaping ability, Earthboy turned in a pair of double digit scoring outings last season while averaging about four points per contest along with contributing a trio of rebounds per game.
2013-14 POLSON PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
Football all-state, twice defensive all-conference (1st-tm 13 S, 2nd-tm 12 CB) as well as offensive all-conference (1st-tm WR) and basketball all-conference 2nd-team senior 5-11 guard Cedrick Smith seems to periodically exhibit some X-Men-like metamorphic qualities on the hardcourt when he finds his groove - a pinch of Magneto when he seems to magnetically part defenders on a drive to the basket, a dash of Archangel when he elevates above outstretched arms to unleash a unobstructed shot at the basket or a dose of Gambit when the ball is flicked like a playing card to an awaiting teammate for an assist. Based on per game averages, Smith could very well dish off his fifth dozen career assist during the course of this rivalry game and he has already crested the double century career scoring plateau on his way to the next century mark. Smith turned in eleven double figure career scoring performances with a pair of career high 23 point games last season against SWA Anaconda and NWA Whitefish.
Football two-time all-conference (QB - 2nd-tm 13, hm 12) senior 6-2 guard/forward Andrew Weltz connected on over 150 attempts for over 2000 career yards as a gridiron quarterback for the Pirates and has been adding to his completion ratio by dishing an additional half dozen assists on the basketball hardcourt thus far this season. In a Marvel Comics world of analogies, one might draw comparisons between Weltz and Beast of X-Men when the former morphed into beast mode during an overtime game against Anaconda earlier this season when he turned in a career high double-double that included two dozen points.
Junior 5-10 guard Chris McDonald exhibits multiple threat capabilities with a basketball - able to net points on the attack with his shooting touch or dishing off the ball for an assist when his peripheral court awareness indicates that another teammate has a chance at a better high percentage shot. McDonald accentuates the quality of his playmaking with an aptitude for anticipation, evident from his ability to read situations by reeling in a rebound or swooping in on a ball handler to swipe a steal.
The quickness of junior 5-10 guard Zadin Bautista adds another prong on the fork of the pillaging Pirate fast break attack. His slashing capability opens up opportunities for penetrating opposing defensive alignments, while his go-go-Gadget-like reach and leaping ability hamper the offensive efforts of opponents attempting to score.
Football all-conference (hm IL) junior 6-1 post/forward Joe Gallatin adds athletic versatility to the Pirate lineup with multi-faceted capabilities. Attempts to goad this Gallatin are liable to backfire on opponents when they instead end up galvanizing him into action such as when he waded through traffic and crashed the boards to come up just shy of posting a double-double in an earlier game that went into overtime.
Junior 5-8 guard Andrew Curley adds some gears to the transmission of the backcourt engine as well as provides the Pirates with a deep threat option for dialing the operator long distance when it comes time to place a call from behind the arc. Curley is averaging close to a handful of points per game thus far into the young season and his quickness as well as sense of anticipation have intercepted about half as many rebounds that would have otherwise ended up in other hands.
Football all-conference (hm CB) sophomore 6-2 forward Hudson Smith has a long reach that often forces shooters to alter the trajectory of their shot attempts as well as good hands for making things happen around the basket at the offensive end of the spectrum.
Sophomore 5-9 guard Payton Lefthand provides the Pirates with multiple contributions comparable to those of a quintessential concierge of ant fine establishment - sometimes setting the table for others by keeping a wary eye on the lookout for an assist when he is not shaping the tempo of the offense with deceptive quickness as well as sound ball-handling skills. His shooting touch from mid-range as well as long distance mark him as a scoring threat when left unattended.
Football all-conference (hm WR) freshman 6-0 guard/forward Tanner Wilson infuses the team with an extensive AAU basketball resume. Wilson was part of a quartet of talented freshman players who went undefeated to win their bracket at the Spokane 3-on-3 tournament this past summer, dispatching teams from Seattle, Spokane and Bozeman among others. Exhibiting a lot of poise under pressure for an incoming freshman, Wilson has already notched a double figure scoring outing that bodes well for the future of the Pirate penchant that prides itself on being able to pilfer, pillage and pummel its opponents with precision.
PROGNOSTICATIONS ON THE BOYS RIVALRY WRANGLE
With just a handful of games to draw upon thus far into a young season, emerging trends are still in their nascent infancy, but may yet provide just enough fodder to serve as an appetizer. Visiting Ronan enters this rivalry rendezvous with a 1-3 record, while host Polson seeks to defend their home court advantage with an 0-4 mark. Both teams have played inconsistently if not rather poorly in a pair of losses against very difficult opponents and both teams have played fairly well against another pair of more evenly matched opponents. The Chiefs enter the contest with a 46.5 point per game average, while the homestanding Pirates have been averaging 45.25 points per game. The differential between the two is less than a single scoring play, which coupled with their won-loss record similarity suggests that this rivalry contest could come down to the wire much like it did last year. The orange & black visitors would like to show their opponent that their 29-28 win last season was not by fluke, while the host purple & gold defenders would like to deny their opponent any of the breaks they caught at their expense during the course of their last matchup. The Pirates didn’t do themselves any favors last year when their conversion rate at the charity stripe fell below the 50th percentile. That equates to a single free throw being enough to tie a one point game, where netting a pair of freebies could have tilted the contest in their favor. Polson is performing much better this season at the charity stripe, so they no longer appear to be vulnerable in this category like they were last season.
The Ronan Chiefs will want to execute their game plan on par with how they played in their victory over NWA Libby and their narrow single point loss to 7-B Eureka. The Polson Pirates are advised to play this rivalry game along the lines of how they matched up against SWA opponents Anaconda and Hamilton, two games they could have emerged from on the other side of the W-L ledger with a few strategic adjustments. If both teams optimize their capabilities on the court during this rivalry rendezvous, the outcome is likely to hinge on how either team handles a few critical possessions at strategic junctures of the game. If one team incurs an ill-timed bout of hoop hiccups, the other team is unlikely to cut the other any slack by waiting around for them to sort matters out and get their basketball act back in synch. Any perceptible chink in the armor will be pressed to the advantage of the other as they seek to put as much distance on the scoreboard between them and their rivals. Should a player on either side get hot and the other team fail to make the necessary adjustments to cool them off before they get burned too badly, all bets will be off as to how close the margin between scores can be held in check. The suspicion of this analysis is that the two Mission Valley rivals are going to treat the crowd to a see-saw barnburner that could hinge on a few critical possessions.
Boys basketball action commences at 7:30 on Friday evening at Linderman Gym.
Stat input courtesy of the respective coaching staffs
NWA stats courtesy of Terry Werner culled from nwmta <ihigh.com/nwmta> website archives
Ronan 41, Polson 30
At Polson, the visiting Maidens shut out the host Lady Pirates through the first quarter, then boosted their advantage to a dozen before the host team could counter for a tally to notch on the scoreboard. Thereafter, the two Mission Valley rivals played each other fairly evenly the rest of the way. Maidens “Ragin” Raymi Clairmont and Malia “Shnookums” Hamel led all scorers with 11 apiece. Aspen Jore contributed a half dozen, while a trio of other Maidens chipping in a quartet followed by a lone free throw from freshman reserve Lee Camel round out the scoring for Ronan. Polson’s Shelbi Mallon led the Lady Pirates with 8 points, followed by Nicole Lake with 7. Senior Jessica Bagnell snared a half dozen rebounds along with a pair of steals and a block. Fellow senior Jaylin Kenney spread her fingerprints throughout the stat categories by scoring a deuce, gathering in a quartet of rebounds, dishing an assist and swiping a trio of steals. If one casts aside the first quarter, Polson almost played Ronan evenly 30-31. The Lady Pirates even happened to outscor the Maidens in the middle quarters by a combined total of 21-17. When the host team was merely behind by single digits of the higher end of the scale, Polson had some great chances to tighten the scoring even further to reduce the deficit into the lower end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, their almost 60th percentile team charity stripe conversion average eluded them at a critical juncture in the game by plummeting into a fissure for about a third of that, causing the score differential to expand once again. The Maidens travel down to Missoula to face Loyola Sacred Heart early next week, while the Lady Pirates tangle with the ferocious AA Kalispell Glacier Wolfpack next Tuesday.
RONAN - Raymi Clairmont 11, Malia Hamel 11, Aspen Jore 6, Jordyn Clairmont 4, Angela North Piegan 4, Kendra Starkel 4, Lee Camel 1.
POLSON - Shelbi Mallon 8, Nicole Lake 7, Skyla Krantz 4, Kaelen Wall 4, Jaylin Kenney 2, Monika Frame 2, Dylan Quinn 2, Peyton Anderson 1.
3FG - Ronan 2-10 (Hamel 2), Polson 0-2. REBOUNDS - Ronan at least 31 (Jore 9, Courtney Taylor 6, R. Clairmont 5, Ali Madsen 4, Hamel 2, J. Clairmont, Angela North Piegan, Lauren Rigby, Kendra Starkel, Lee Camel), Polson 27 (Bagnell 6, Lake 5, Kenney 4, Krantz 3, Mallon 3, Frame 2, Wall 2, Anderson). ASSISTS - Ronan at least 3 (North Piegan, Jore, Hamel), Polson 7 (Lake 2, Quinn 2, Kenney, Krantz, Mallon). STEALS - Ronan at least 10 (Hamel 3, J. Clairmont 3, R. Clairmont, Jore, Taylor, Rigby), Polson 13 (Krantz 3, Kenney 3, Wall 2, Bagnell 2, Lake 2, Quinn). BLOCKS - Ronan at least 2 (Jore 2), Polson 1 (Wall). DEFLECTIONS - Polson at least 5 (Wall 3, Bagnell, Lake, a couple almosts by Kenney).
Unofficial game rendition submitted by John Heglie with Polson stat data input courtesy of statistician team Kenney. Some details may vary from official summary, particularly in the case of Ronan as there were a couple of sequences with multiple events transpiring between multiple players during which some details may not have been recalled in their entirety.
Polson 51, Ronan 37
At Polson, the visiting Chiefs rocked the host Pirates back on their heels in the first period and looked for a time as if they would take a slightly reduced lead into the locker room at halftime on the basis of a highly efficient propulsion by their high octane offense. That is, except for the late quarter heroics of guard Cedrick Smith, who drained a key deuce from the field as well as chimed in a pair of free-throws to tilt a game into Polson’s favor of what was at the time in listing the other way. Ronan would recapture the lead at 22-23 early into the third period, but the Pirates engineered a couple of scoring drives to swing the pendulum back their way. Thereafter, the Pirates would not trail. Several Polson players contributed some key momentum swinging plays, but a couple that stand out were executed by Zadin Bautista, who twice swooped in to either recover a rebound of a missed shot or pick off an ill-timed deflection to reset the offense that would pay off with another score. Those seemed to function like a small vacuum that sucked some of the wind out of the sails of the Chiefs.
SCORING specs can be obtained from newspaper accounts.
REBOUNDS - Ronan at least 27 (Daniel Aylesworth 6, Colton McCrea 5, Kollin Wroblewski 4, Jeremiah North Piegan 3, Bryce Cullen 3, Alex Quequesah 2, Jared Dupuis, Tim Woll, Aaron Misa, July Sorrell), Polson 34 (Andrew Weltz 7, Chris McDonald 7, Zadin Bautista 5, Cedrick Smith 4, Hudson Smith 3, Tanner Wilson 3, Joe Gallatin 2, Payton Lefthand, Andrew Curley). ASSISTS - Ronan at least 4 (Tim Woll 2, McCrea, Quequasah), Polson 8 (Ced Smith 2, Weltz 2, Curley 2, Lefthand, Wilson). STEALS - Ronan at least 5 (Woll 3, McCrea 2), Polson 7 (Ced Smith 2, Bautista 2, Weltz, Lefthand, Wilson). BLOCKS - Polson at least 2 (Weltz, Bautista).
Unofficial game rendition by John Heglie. Some details may vary from official summary.