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Chinook (JV) ~ Chinook Mining City Duals ~ Butte Glasgow (JV) Invite ~ Glasgow Fergus/Great Falls ~ Havre ~ 5:00 p.m. CMR Holiday Classic ~ Great Falls Great Falls High (JV) ~ Great Falls Bozeman Invite ~ Bozeman Cut Bank Invite ~ Cut Bank Missoula Invite ~ Missoula Chinook (JV) ~ Chinook Class "A" Duals ~ Lewistown ~ 1:00 p.m. CMR ~ Great Falls ~ 5:00 p.m. / 6:30 p.m. Conrad ~ Conrad ~ 6:00 p.m. Malta ~ Malta DIVISIONALS ~ Browning STATE ~ Billings

Ponies out to defend Class A state title Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com It is not every year that a high school wrestling program can win a state championship, then turn around a year later and return most of its grapplers. That however, is the fortunate situation the Havre Blue Ponies find themselves in as they gear up for what will most likely be another dominating season. The story of the Blue Pony dynasty continues to be written. And as this season is just getting underway, the Ponies are looking to capture their second consecutive Class A state title. A year ago, the Ponies captured both the Central A and Class A state wrestling titles. They also had 11 individuals place at state, including two individual champions. The Ponies lost just two seniors from a year ago, a rarity at any level, meaning the expectations for this season are very high for veteran head coach Scott Filius’ talented team. HHS graduated state champ Grant Pattison (189) and Gilbert Bara. “I would think that since most of these kids have been around the program and have found a lot of success that the expectations would be high,” Filius said. “We typically lose more than just a couple of kids, but we really have a good crew back this year.

And the nice part about this crew is that they are working really hard, and I don’t care if you are talented or not, if you don’t work hard then you don’t have the success. They are all working hard and have good backgrounds, so we expect a lot out of them.” The key returners for the HHS squad include Grayson Brenna, Tyler Adams, Keegan Kennelly, Jace Billy, Dylan Stewart, Kody Pribyl, Logan Pleninger, Thomas Gruber and Travis Adams. The entire group of returners placed in the top six at state a season ago, while Brenna was a state champion last year, and Tyler Adams and Kennelly both finished second. Billy, Stewart and Pribyl all took third place a year ago. Gunnar Aageson, Jordan Schroeder, Jason Kohler, Jake Williams and Dustin Odegard also highlight the returning wrestlers, and all wrestled at the state meet last season. “We will be competitive,” Filius said. “We are going to have a few freshman in the lineup, but I have had all of these kids for a while, so I know they will all compete, I am confident in that. From top to bottom we have kids that will give great effort. “We have had some new guys stepping up already,” Filius added. “But what I really like is our freshmen class. We have some middle guys, little guys, and a couple

of big guys, so we are pleased with that.” Jase Stokes, Parker Filius, and Dane Flammond should lead what is a talented freshmen class. They have a ton of mat time already in their young careers and have shown they should be able to perform at the varsity level right away. But freshmen or seasoned veterans, the HHS schedule proves to be a test for any level of wrestler. Havre always wrestles a tough schedule and it started this winter with the annual Havre Invitational. The Ponies will also hit several major duals and tournaments before divisionals and state. Major dates will include the Mining City Duals, the CMR Holiday Classic, the Bozeman Invite,, and the Missoula Invitational Jan. 1718. The Ponies will also host Lewistown and Great Falls High Dec. 17 for their only other home matches. Divisionals will be in Browning on Feb. 8 and state will be in Billings Feb. 14-15. And the tougher the competition the better, for this Pony team that knows they will only get better as the season progresses. “The bottom line is that the competition brings the cream to the top,” coach Filius said, “So the faster we get into some competition, the quicker we can improve. find out how tough we really are.”

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Grayson Brenna, left, is a defending Class A state champion, as is his Blue Pony team. The Ponies are already underway this season.

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December 14th December 20th December 21st January 10th January 18th January 24th January 25th February 1st February 14th-15th

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Havre ~ 12:00 p.m. Great Falls ~ 4:00 p.m. Great Falls ~ 12:00 p.m. Class "A" Meet ~ Hardin ~ 1:00 p.m. CMR/Great Falls ~ Great Falls ~ 12:00 p.m. Great Falls ~ 4:00 p.m. Missoula Helena STATE ~ Butte

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com When the high school swimming season began, there was something noticeably different about the Havre High boys and girls swim teams as they practiced inside the Havre Community Pool. For the first time in two decades, legendary head coach Chris Inman isn't there…at least not coaching the Blue Ponies. After one of the most successful runs in MHSA history, Inman retired last spring, and is replaced by new head coach Jill Cammon. Cammon moved to Havre four years ago and has been coaching the Lions Swim Team for the last year. Now Cammon moves into the role as HHS head coach, and she takes over a relatively young and inexperienced Blue Pony program. And that's why Cammon says, at the beginning, and for much of the season, her boys and girls teams are working on skill and technique. Overall, because we have pretty young teams, the goal right away is to just develop the kids as swimmers," Cammon said. "So that we can be more competitive in years to come. That's not to say we won't be competitive this season. We have some very good swimmers in different areas, but we have so many young swimmer, and new swimmers, that we really need to work hard on their swimming skills right now." Both Blue Pony teams finished behind Billings Central at the Class A state meet last February, and the Rams are expected to once again be the

premier swimming power in Montana this winter. Meanwhile, the HHS girls, while still young, do return a solid core group of swimmers, and the Ponies will also have good depth with 18 girls on the roster. Leading the Pony girls this season will be Hannah Pepprock, Mackenna Barkus, Morgan Jappe, Leiza Reighard, Jackie Martin, Alara Vogel and Megan Smith, all of whom have a wealth of experience as varsity swimmers. Also expected to contribute right away are the likes of sophomores Lita Cammon and Rachel David, as well as Chinook's Aubri McCann, along with junior Jayden Korb. Coach Cammon also has a host of other swimmers in which she will help develop this season, including sisters Megan and Sarah Malone, Adrian Miller, Carleigh Rennick and Jaryn Winchell. "We don't have a lot of returning seniors on the girls team, but we have a lot of strong returning swimmers," Cammon said. "I think we have a lot of depth on the girls team, and hopefully, we can find the right places for different girls and put together some strong relay teams, and they can have a good season. "And while we don't have a big senior class," she added. "We have a lot of young swimmers who are ready to take off and show us what they've got this season, and I'm excited about that." The HHS boys team doesn't have the numbers the girls have, as graduation hit a talented Blue Pony squad hard last spring. Still, Cammon is excited about the boys that are out, led by junior Ben Sie-

gel. "The interesting part about the boys team is, we only have one returning boy who swam last year," she said. "Ben Siegel is a really strong swimmer, especially in the freestyle races. But we're going to have him be an all-around swimmer this year because we need him to be. "Our boys team will be very young this season," she added. "But we have kids who are working very hard right now." Joining Siegel on the HHS squad will be Sundance Lodge and senior exchange student Tomasso Perrone. After that, the Ponies will be young and new, with Clayton Twomble, Shandon Oberquell, Jimmy May, Logan Gardner, Kai Duque, Zach Barnes and Kyle Duitsman rounding out the roster. But even though the Ponies are young in the pool this season, and will compete against tough competition like Great Falls High and CMR, as well as Billings Central and Hardin all season long, Cammon is excited about the team, and excited to see what all her swimmers can do this winter. "I'm optimistic," she said. "But we understand we have a lot of really new swimmers, and we're a young team so it's going to take time to develop. "But the kids are working really hard and they are excited," she added. "We want to make sure we have a good season for the seniors and our goal is just to continue to develop as the season goes along." The Pony swim teams start their season at home, as they host the 2013 Havre Invitational Saturday at the Havre Community Pool.

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Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Morgan Jappe swims the breaststroke during the 2013 Class A Invite last January in Havre. The Blue Pony swim teams have a new head coach this season in Jill Cammon.

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Wildcats, Beeters will be tough again Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

It's a new era for Havre swim teams George Ferguson

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With another wrestling season gearing up, the Chinook and Harlem programs are sure to produce some of the top wrestlers in the state. In Chinook, the Sugarbeeters have 12 grapplers on the roster this season, including six returning standouts. But with no seniors on the team, a solid performance this year should mean a talented future as well. Donovan Moon leads the way in Chinook, and is coming off of a fifth-place finish at state at 98 pounds last year. Moon will wrestle up this season, but Jake Norby, Jesse Daniel, Kenny Pruttis, Kevin Young, and Flint Brewer also return for veteran head coach Perry Miller. Norby also placed in the top eight at state last season. “We are very heavily laden with freshmen and sophomores this year,” Miller said. “But even though they are freshman and sophomores, they have a lot of mat time, and that is a good thing. But all of our guys are looking good right now. One thing about a wrestling room, it is a team sport, but individually you are the only one that can make the difference. We are really pleased with the attitude and intensity in the room right now.” Freshman Dalton Niederegger, Wiley Sw-

enson, and Raja Singh also join the team, while sophomore Alexander Rimkus and sophomore Gage Haugen will also play major roles. Down the road in Harlem, the defending divisional champion Wildcats will also house a very talented roster for the Class B-C ranks. Thirteen individuals make up the roster this season, including seniors Gus Taylor and Cody Blackcrow. Shay Snider, Teague Jones, and Seth Adams also return after appearing in the state championships, as do state qualifying wrestlers Denton Cornell (Divisional Runner-up), Brenden Johnson (Divisional Champion), and T’Jay Allen (Divisional Runner-up). Trent Noel, Colten Stiffarm, John Bell, Franki Taylor, and Kevin Hawley also return, while freshman Tyus Hammett and Challence Jackson join the Wildcats. “The boys have been working very hard and seem to be ahead of schedule compared to other years,” Head Coach Lyle Faulkinberry said. “We have eight upperclassmen in the room and only five underclassmen so that changes your approach in the preparation in the room. It will take a lot of hard work and some of lady luck to win the (divisional) title again. There are some extremely tough teams in the Northern division again this year with Cut Bank, Chinook, and Conrad.” Both Harlem and Chinook will be contenders again in the Northern B-C come February.

HHS Girls: Blue Ponies will be very good, again ■ From Page 8 challenge from start to finish. This season the Ponies will face Malta, CMR, Great Falls High, Conrad, Rocky Boy and Fairfield in nonconference play. Mix those games in with the contests against the rest of the Central A, and the Ponies will see not breaks in the competition clear through the state tournament. “I think the league will actually be tighter this year than what it has been, but we love our kids and like our chances,” Kraske said. “And we tweaked our schedule a bit to add teams like Fairfield. But with Malta, Conrad, and Fairfield those are tough games, then you add Class AA CMR and Great Falls High. We also have our league games, so this could be a situation where we are playing the best teams we have ever played consistently every weekend. Some years we have a team on our schedule where it doesn’t matter how we play, we could beat them, but we don’t have that. We will have our hands full with a challenging schedule.” Success is something the Ponies have grown accustom to, and that goes for this season as well.

HHS has been to the state tournament six out of the last seven years, and continues to find a way to earn double digit wins each season. Two years ago the Ponies finished with 11 wins, while last year the Ponies put up 14. The Ponies are also looking for a third consecutive Central A

regular season and tournament championship as they open the season with one road game and one home game. Friday the Ponies will host Class B Malta at the Havre High gymnasium. And on Saturday the Ponies will take to the road to face the Class AA CMR Rustlers.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Morgan Mazurkiewicz and the Havre High girls are the two-time defending Central A champions.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Harlem's Seth Adams, right, competes at the 2013 Class B-C state tournament last February in Billings. The Wildcats are the defending Northern B-C champions and are poised for a big season on the mat.

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HLP boys know they T-Birds have a new coach Chinook boys have talent, but a new style can contend in the 9C George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com Hays-Lodge Pole continues to stay relevant in the District 9C boys basketball ranks, but the Thunderbirds are still looking for the edge necessary to take the program back to the next level. Last season, a 5-5 conference record left the Thunderbirds in the middle of the district pack, but they failed to advance to the Northern C tournament for yet another season. But playing the 20132014 season with a group of very good returning players, the Thunderbirds will look to build off of what they were able to accomplish last season. And while Box Elder is getting all of the talk as an early 9c favorite, the Thunderbirds

know they too will be tough. “We are going to be very competitive this year in the 9C,” Head coach Charlie Ereaux said. “We will be right up there with Box Elder, you can’t count us out.” A year ago, Hays-Lodge Pole returned just one varsity starter. But this year HLP has four returning players that could lead the way to a very solid season. Jaylyn Brockie graduated and took his 6-8 size with him, but returning guards Evan Horn, Sterling White Cow, Cody Kirkaldie, and Darnell Parisian give the team a lot of quickness and athleticism outside and on defense. The rest of the 9C also lacks a lot of size this season, setting the stage for the Thunderbirds to have a big advantage. Keenan Stiffarm and Nate Doney will give the Thunderbirds a pres-

ence inside on both sides of the court, and that could lead a standout season. “Our size is definitely going to be and advantage and probably our biggest strength,” Ereaux said. “But everybody still has to play, bigs and guards. We have to crash the boards and box out hard. We are looking to limit teams to one opportunity on offense and that is it. With this talented group of returning varsity players the Thunderbirds could break through to the next level and extend their post season past the 9C tournament in Havre. Hays-Lodge Pole will start the regular season at the annual Native American Classic at the MSU-N Armory Gymnasium in Havre. The Thunderbirds will face Kainia (Canada) and Harlem to open the new season.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Hays-Lodge Pole's Sterling White Cow, left, is one of many talented players on this year's Thunderbird squad, which is led by veteran head coach Charlie Ereaux.

Last season, the HaysLodge Pole girls were a basketball team on the verge. HLP was stacked with talent and size, but the Thunderbirds came up just short at the District 9C tournament. Now, with a new head coach, and having to replace its two leading scorers, including a Class C All-State standout, HLP might be in for a rebuilding season. Shakayla White Cow, who led the 9C in scoring the last two seasons, graduated, along with Kallie Martin, and that leaves some big holes to fill for new head coach Charla Brown. However, HLP does return a few key parts from last year’s team, including 6-1 forward Chasanna Doney and 5-9 forward Brandie Kirkaldie. Pauline Siers, a 5-5 senior guard is also back for the T-Birds, and she was HLP’s third-leading scorer a year ago. And while the T-Birds have some talent and they do have size, which is a big advantage in the 9C, they will still have to contend with a rigorous schedule, which includes 9C stalwarts Chinook, North Star and Big Sandy. Still, HLP always seems to

Beeters should be right in the mix in the 9C race this winter Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

peak come tournament time, and don’t be surprised if the T-Birds are ready to make some noise come February in Havre. The T-Birds open the season with two games at this weekend’s Native American Classic in Havre.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Hays-Lodge Pole's Pauline Siers, right, looks to shoot during a District 9C girls loser-out game last February in Havre. The Thunderbirds will have size and athleticism for new head coach Charla Brown.

Losing players to graduation is something most teams have to deal with every year. But in the District 9C ranks, a true post player has been hard to come by in recent years, and the Chinook Sugarbeeters may feel the effects of those graduated players, invluding a dominat post, more than some. The Beeters have been near the top of the District 9C basketball ranks for some time now. And size down low has been a strength for the Beeters for the last half of a decade. But with Grant Tilleman now out of the Beeters’ lineup, the Chinook inside-out style may take a hit. Chinook also lost a key scorer in Dylan Surber from last year's team, as well as a few other key members of a team which played in several dramatic games at the 9C tournament last February in Havre. “That definitely changes what we do,” Head coach Mike Seymour said. “One way or the other, the ball still has to go inside, but without that height and without Grant’s strength and brute size, we have to play a little different. I think everybody has to step up this year, just one kid can’t step up, everybody and every area of our game has to improve. “This is a new year,” Seymour added. “A new season, and we have new players. That is what we are focused on, and we have to take this season game by game. We don’t have an easy schedule and every game is going to be a tough game for us, but that is what we need before the post season.” Last year, the Beeters finished the regular season 10-8 overall and 5-5 in the district ranks. And after an up-and-down 9C tournament, the Beeters’, who were an early favorite, ended the season with a heartbreaking loss to Big Sandy in a challenge game. Returning guards Zach Molyneaux and Lane Seymour will highlight the team this season, and both return after All-Conference honors a year ago. But Ty Simonson also saw decent minutes last year, and will join Jake Diemert and Jacob McLain as returning players. But without Tilleman’s size inside, the Chinook guards know they have quite the load to carry, especially facing a balanced field.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Chinook senior Zach Molyneaux looks to shoot during the 2013 District 9C boys basketball tournament last February in Havre. The Sugarbeeters have been in the top three in the 9C for the last four years, but they lost several key components from last year's team, which finished one win shy of reaching the Northern C Divisional tournament in Great Falls.

“I think Box Elder is the frontrunner and after that it is wide open,” Coach Seymour said. “The other teams are fairly close, and it is going to be a great season in the 9C.” Chinook will open the new season with two games at the Big Sandy Tournament. As always, the Beeters play a tough nonconference schedule.

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Beeters poised for a big season Big Sandy girls aiming higher George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

There’s no arguing the success the Chinook girls basketball team and head coach Charlie Robinson have had in the last few years. And there’s no reason to think that success won’t continue this winter. Chinook has reached the Northern C Divisional tournament in two of the last three season, and are poised to do it again. The Sugarbeeters return four starters from last year’s 19-5 squad which won the 9C regular season title and the 9C tournament championship. The Beeters added a fifth-place finish at the Northern C a year ago, and in the last three seasons, have won an astounding 49 games. “I feel we have a great chance to repeat as conference and district champs once again,” Robinson said. “Our goal now is to improve upon the past three years of success at the divisional level and advance to the state tournament and succeed at that tourney as well.” Reaching the Class C state tourney is a lofty goal, but Chinook certainly has a team capable of doing it. The Beeters return senior All-State forward Makhayla Farmer (6-2) to lead the way. Farmer, who’s committed to MSU-Northern next fall, has started every game of her high school career for the Beeters, and has done so leading them in scoring and rebounding. But she also has plenty of talent around her. Senior Emily Dennis, an All-Conference performer a year ago is also back, as is junior All-Conference guard Katelyn Neibauer, who had a strong season a year ago. And Chinook’s talent and depth doesn’t end there.

The Beeters have a big post presence in senior forward Tavin Schneider and senior forward Talya Johnson. Junior guard Hannah Weber and sophomore standout Brooke Nicholson are also back for the Beeters. Both are strong shooters and Nicholson played extensive minutes as a freshman last season. “Our strength is our depth and experience,” Robinson said. “We have four returning starters and a lot of experienced players who have played in the divisional tournament before.” Talent and experience should help the Beeters navigate the 9C again this season. Chinook is the early favorite, but Robinson has coached in the league for a long time and knows anything can, and usually does happen. Still, with all of the firepower the Beeters have this season, Robinson sees an exciting next few months on the horizon for Chinook basketball. “We need to develop our younger players as the season goes on to build more bench strength,” he said. “But the 9C should have some good teams again with Big Sandy, North Star, and Box Elder only losing two players off their teams due to graduation as we did that as well. Our non-conference schedule allows us to have some great competition as well.   “We just want to keep improving as the season progresses, hitting our peak come postseason time,” he continued. “It could be a real exciting year of basketball at Chinook.” The Beeters open their season with games against Power and Stanford-GeyserDenton at the Big Sandy Tournament.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Chinook junior Katelyn Neibauer, left, looks to pass during the 2013 District 9C girls championship game last February in Havre. The Sugarbeeters have been one of the top teams in the 9C in recent years, and figure to be again this season. Once again, the goal for head coach Charlie Robinson's team will be to play in the 9C title game this February. The 9C tourney will be held, as always, at the Havre High gymnasium.

For what must have seemed like forever to the rest of the District 9C, the Big Sandy girls basketball team reigned supreme. But it’s been a while since the Pioneers have sat on the 9C throne. In fact, it’s been five years already since the last Big Sandy girls team reached the Northern C Divisional tournament. Second-year head coach Serena Cator is hoping to change that fact this winter. Big Sandy returns a solid group of talented athletes this season, and the Pioneers, who finished third at the District 9C tournament a year ago, but missed out on reaching the Northern C, will certainly be in the mix for a 9C title this year. “We have great depth this year, we have several girls that can play several positions which makes it nice when we need to sub,” Cator said. “We have a great inside game as well as outside game. The girls are getting into great shape and we'll be looking to push the ball up the floor.” Big Sandy lost two starters from last year’s squad, but the Pioneers certainly have plenty returning, led by a loaded senior class which includes All-Conference standouts Molly Herron and Brooke Leader. Also back for their senior season is stars like Shanya Gilead, Shelby Gasvoda, Kylie Cline, Michelle Maxwell and Kiah Wilson, all of whom have seen extensive varsity experience in the past. The Pioneers’ depth will play a key role too. Juniors

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Big Sandy's Molly Herron, right, brings the ball up during the 2013 9C girls tournament last February in Havre. Herron is part of a stellar group of returnees in Big Sandy, while the Pioneers are hungry to return to the top of 9C. Cheyenne Johnson and Abby Gregory will be in the mix, as will sophomores Alyssa Ostrom, Maddy Reichelt and Cheyenne Pegar. Freshman Callie Fredenburg could also see action this season. And though Cator understands just how tough the 9C is, and with only two spots in the Northern C up for grabs, she still sees her team as a team that can achieve just that. “Just from what I learned

last year, the 9C is tough, and I still believe that it will be just as tough as it was last year, if not tougher,” Cator said. “Last year we focused on my goals as a coach. This year, we are focusing on the teams goals. We expect to make it to divisionals and hopefully to state.” Big Sandy opens the season at home I the Big Sandy Tournament. The Pioneers will play Stanford-GeyserDenton and Roy-Winifred.

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Pioneers ready to reload Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com Over the last decade and more, the Big Sandy Pioneers have turned in some very successful boys basketball seasons, mainly using just the five starters. But the problem the Pioneers may run into this year is that most of those starters have graduated, leaving young and inexperienced players to take over the normally dominant Class C program. “I think we will be competitive,” First-year head coach Ronnie Simpson, a former star for the MSU-Northern Lights said. “We lost a lot of talent over the last couple of years, but we are working each day to get better. “And the offensive and defensive philosophy might be a little different.” Simpson added about replacing veteran head coach Roy Lackner. “But as far as the intensity and the work the athletes put in, it will be comparable. I am hoping to have a part of Roy’s success, he is a hall of fame coach.” Absent from the roster this year will be former starters Kaden Beck, Zac Leader, Trevor Lackner and Jesse Bailey. Jerry Hanson, an AllConference performer from a year ago, will return as the only Pioneer with starting experience, while Kyle Strutz returns as the only other Pioneer with much of any varsity experience. Strutz is currently out after suffering

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Big Sandy's Jerry Hanson brings the ball up during the 2013 District 9C boys championship game last February in Havre. Hanson is the lone returning starter from a Pioneers' team which went to the Class C state tournament last season. an ACL injury during football, but could return late in the season. Filling those gaping holes will not be easy for first year head coach Ronnie Simpson, especially if the Pioneers hope to get back to the state tournament like they did a season ago. Some new players expected to step up on varsity include freshman Lawrence Alderdice and junior Cody Bailey. Last year the Pioneers were the No. 2 seed heading into the 9C tournament and advanced to the Northern C as the No. 2 seed after losing to Box Elder in the chipper, but holding on for a win over Chinook in the challenge

game. The Pioneers also upset Highwood in the Northern C challenge game to make it to the Class C state tournament where they went 1-2, ending their season and finishing with a record of 17-12 overall. If the Pioneers can’t find a way to replace their scoring inside (Beck and Leader) and their scoring from outside (Lackner and Bailey), Big Sandy could find themselves in a rebuilding year. Big Sandy opens the season with the two-day Big Sandy Preseason Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Big Sandy.

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Stars will shine

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Desmond Parker, left, is part of a strong returning group of players at Rocky Boy. The Stars will be favored to win the District 1B this season.

Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

It has been a few years since the Rocky Boy Stars have been a consistent force in the state ranks. But knocking on the door to a big season a year ago, the Stars will look to continue their growth in the Class B this year. But like so many teams have, the Stars will enter the season without a lot of familiar names. It is always hard to replace top tier talent, but

the Stars also return some very good basketball players. Senior Desmond Parker will highlight those who return for head coach Mike Morsette, but Elijah Gopher and Junior Day Child are also two very talented juniors who will help shoulder the load. Rocky Boys’ high-octane offensive style is typically difficult for teams to match, and that is what the Stars will rely on as they face a very tough District 1B. The Stars were favored last year

and entered the post season tournament as the No. 1 seed and went 2-0. But the Stars’ season came to a sudden end at the Northern B. If the Stars want to get back to the Northern B, as well as to the state tournament this year, they will first have to get past a very good 1B field. Conrad, Fairfield, Choteau, Cut Bank and Shelby will make for a very tough schedule. The Stars face Poplar and Box Elder to open the 2013-14 season at the NAC in Havre.

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Rocky Boy girls must reload George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com Graduation can certainly hit a basketball team hard. And that was the case for the Rocky Boy girls basketball team last spring. After a 10-win season, and a solid showing in the rigorous District 1B, the Morning Stars had to say goodbye to some major contributors, leaving this season as a one in which Rocky Boy will need to reload. Head coach Raymond Parker’s Morning Stars will be without the services of All-Conference standouts Brandi Buffalo and Leah Onco, Rocky Boy’s top two scorers from a year ago. But the list of great players from last season doesn’t end there. Also gone is power forward Caitlin Gamble, Tristan Parisian and Leah Gopher. So the new-look Rocky Boy team will have to basically start over, and especially find new scorers on offense. Jai Lynn Day Child returns as Rocky Boy’s only starter from a year ago. She will be looked on to carry the scoring load for the Morning Stars after a strong sophomore season. Also back is senior Kylee Raining Bird and senior Paula Mitchell, and their leadership will be key. The only other returning varsity player from the Morning Stars’ roster a year ago is sophomore Jude The Boy. And with a young, and

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Hawks are young, but still talented

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Rocky Boy's Jai Lynn Daychild is the only returning starter for what will be an inexperienced Morning Star team this season. much more inexperienced team, Rocky Boy will have its hands full in the 1B and beyond. The Morning Stars are in the same district as three-time defending state champion Fairfield, as well as upstarts Conrad, Choteau and Cut Bank, which means Rocky Boy plays in the strongest district of Class B basketball without questions. Rocky Boy’s non-conference schedule won’t make for any easy wins either. The Morning Stars face Harlem and Box Elder twice per season, and this year, they have added the Havre Blue Ponies

to their schedule. The Blue Ponies are one of the premier Class A squads in the state. So with a lot of new players, and with a brutal schedule, the 2013-14 season will be a learning experience in Rocky Boy. Still, the Morning Stars play a pressure style of basketball on both ends of the floor, and they will not be an easy out for any team they face. Rocky Boy opens its new season with two games at the Native American Classic this weekend at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre.

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The Chester/J-I Hawks are no strangers to success in girls basketball. And last season was a testament to that. But as a new season begins, the Hawks will have to reinvent themselves a little bit, in order to keep their District 10C crown. Head coach Pat Goldhahn’s squad went a sparkling 21-4 last season, winning both the 10C regular season and tournament championship. C/J-I then made a dramatic run to a third-place finish in the Northern C, including winning three straight overtime games. IN all, C/J-I has won 41 straight games in the District 10C, a winning streak that dates back to 2010. However, as magical as last season was, graduation also hit the Hawks pretty hard, and with only two seniors on the roster this season, C/J-I is heading into the new year as a young and inexperienced squad. “We are going to be a very young and inexperienced team heading into the 20132014 season,” Goldhahn said. “Our two seniors will be called upon for immediate contributions as well as their leadership. We knew our off-season was going to have to be very productive, especially trying to form some chemistry with such a young group.” C/J-I’s seniors are certainly capable of leading the way. All-Conference standout Denerey Haaland (5-7) and fellow All-Conference performer Haley Harmon (5-8) form a stellar back court. But after that, C/J-I’s lineup will be made up of sophomores and freshman, including Erin Wolfe and Madeline Woods, who both saw playing time

as freshman. Sophomore forward Payton Cole (5-11) will provide some size in the middle, while sophomore Kristina Dahinden also moves up to the varsity level. The Hawks also have some outstanding talent in their freshmen class, including guard Allix Goldhahn and Kylee Vinson, both of whom should contribute right away. Bailey Lesiak and Jeraca Temple could also see time in their freshmen season as well. But being young and inexperienced means the season may have some speed bumps, but C/J-I still has the 10C title until someone takes it away. And with Haaland and Harmon leading a young and athletic group, by season’s end, don’t be surprised to see the Hawks right where they’ve always been. Goldhahn said that SimmsAugusta is the definite front

runner in the 10C this year, while Dutton-Brady and Valier will also be strong again, and Power could be the surprise team in the league this season. But he also knows that the season is a marathon, and he hopes to have his Hawks playing their best basketball come tournament time. “We were able to get about 25 games in through team camps, tournaments and other scheduled games, so we basically got to play another season with this group,” Goldhahn said. “I look forward to seeing the improvement we will make each and every game, and we will just have to keep in mind that February is when we want to be playing our best basketball.” C/J-I opens its season at home with two games at the Chester/J-I Preseason Tournament.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Chester/J-I's Denerey Haaland is one of two returning AllConference players for the Hawks, who bring a 41-game, District 10C winning streak into the new season.

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C/J-I boys look to contend Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com As the fourth-place team in the District 10C a year ago, the Chester-J-I boys basketball team is hoping to continue moving up. This year the Hawks are under the guidance of firstyear head coach Spencer Fartorie, but return the talent to stay in the mix. The Hawks missed out on a trip to the Northern C last season and did lose Mike Henke, Jordan Oraw, and Dustin Romain, but still house plenty of talent. “We have a solid team this year especially with all of the returning talent that we’ve got,” Fartorie said. “And it is great to have all of these seniors because we have a team with a lot of great leadership. And we need that leadership, and we need to buy into a team mentality and I think that will help us out a lot into getting deep into the post season.” Dell Harmon, Tim Stokes, and Steven May are three very talented seniors, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for the Hawks. Seniors Clayton Moore, Cody Ramberg, Kasey Kinyon, Sion Norick, and Mathew Woods also return for a final season of action, and should propel the Hawks into a nice season. Mixed in with the seniors are Justin May, Brady Hawks, Gavin Miles, Troy Harmon, Brandon Richter, and Brandon Theele, adding depth and more talent to the lineup.

Havre Daily News/Lindsay Brown Chester/J-I's Dell Harmon is part of a strong senior class for the Hawks, who have a new coach, and are looking to contend for the 10C title this winter. Dutton-Brady, Heart Butte, Power, Simms, Valier and Sunburst will make for a very tough 10C, but the Hawks like their chances. They still have work to do, but they have a shot at emerging as a top program. “We match up well,” Fartorie said. “We still have some things to work on, but teams match up with us well too. We just have to prepare for ev-

ery game. I don’t think there is a clear cut favorite, and it could be anybody’s year. And it could be our year too, especially if we don’t look too far ahead and make sure we prepare for every team like they are No. 1 in the state.” The Hawks open up with Centerville at the Chester/J-I Preseason Tournament in Chester this weekend.

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Turner girls hope to make more noise this season George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com For the last couple of years, the Turner girls basketball team was thankful just to get the chance to play a varsity season. With numbers fluctuating in Turner, it’s become difficult to field a team year-in-and-year out. But entering the 2013-14 season, the Tornadoes aren’t worried about numbers. Instead, they’re focused on having a good season on the court and making some noise in the District 9C. Jeff Nix is now the man in charge of the Turner girls basketball team and he’s optimistic about his team heading into the new season. “We have an exciting group of freshmen and upper class girls that are working hard as this is only their second year in fielding a team,” Nix said.  “While we do not have experience in play, I see agility from each player on my team. This gives me the versatility to put any player at any position. Our biggest team strength is all eight girls know each other and work to complement one another.” Turner returns most of the key components from last year’s squad, which didn’t win a game, but certainly competed hard every night. Veterans Lindsey Hutton and Kristina Conlan  were both starters a year ago, and though she’s just a freshman, so was Ella Billmeyer. She played as an eighth grader last year, and that trio of returning starters gives the Tornadoes a solid nucleus to

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Ella Billmeyer is part of a strong nucleus of returning players for the Turner girls basketball team. The Tornadoes have their sights set on being competitive in the District 9C this season. build on, and some key experience. After that trio, Turner will be young. Freshmen Tyler Anderson, Charley Anderson and Rennay Watkins will all play significant minutes this season, as will eighth graders Jay Anderson and Koreanne King. As for what kind of team the Tornadoes will be, Nix sees his team playing fast and putting up points on offense. He also sees his team having to contend with Chi-

nook and North Star as the top teams in the 9C.   “I would expect Chinook and North Star to have bulls eyes on their backs,” Nix said. “I expect us to be a fast-paced tempo offense and defense in order to have the pressure placed on the other team.” Turner doesn’t open the season until Dec. 19 against the Havre High freshman. The Tornadoes also play Dodson and North Star the following two nights.

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Tornadoes could be a force Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com If there was ever the time for the Turner Tornadoes to come up big in the district standings, that time is now. The District 9C graduated a lot of talent from last year to this year, but the Tornadoes brought a lot of individuals back. And while the 9C field will be chasing a dominant Box Elder program this season, the Tornadoes think they have what it takes to match up fairly well with the remaining Big Sandy, North Star, Chinook, and HaysLodge Pole teams. And there is plenty of room for improvement as the Tornadoes were the fifth seed and ended the season with a 4-16 record after going 0-2 at the 9C tournament in Havre a year ago. Last year was definitely a rebuilding year, but for the Tornadoes’ sake, hopefully that key playing time paid off. “From what I have been gathering, Box Elder is at the top,” Head coach Kevin Van Valkenburg said. “But after that I think it is wide open between the rest of us. I think if we could get six or seven wins we would be right at the top, and that could make quite the difference before the district tournament.” Dylan Welsh returns for his fifth year of varsity basketball after getting ample time as an eighth grader, and should lead the Tornadoes from the guard position. Junior post Lucas Reed will also be an important component with his size on both sides of the ball, while other key returning players include Bret Van Valkenburg, a post, and Tyler Humphreys, a sophomore guard. A couple of freshman will also get big minutes this year. Both Reece Hutton and Zack Hutton got minimal minutes last year, but will pitch in more and more moving forward. Junior Tristan Billmayer also returns after missing

last year to an injury. With several experienced returners, the Tornadoes should match up with most of the 9C very well. If they can find a way to consistently score points using their speed, and limit the opposition, it could be Turner’s year to make some noise. “I hope we can take advantage,” Van Valkenburg said.

“We have the experience, so hopefully our kids will compete. We have some outside shooters and we have Reed and Van Valkenburg down low with some size, so I hope we can work with the inside-out game.” Turner will open the season on Dec. 19 when they host the Havre High freshman as part of a three-game week.

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North Star girls aim to be at the top of the 9C George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Dylan Welsh of Turner tries to save a ball from going out of bounds during the 2013 9C boys tournament last February. Welsh is part of a strong returning group of Tornadoes this season.

Last season, the North Star Knights made a run in the Northern C Divisional tournament, playing some dramatic games before their season came to an end at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. And for years now, the Knights have been one of the top District 9C programs, routinely making it to Saturday night of the 9C tourney. The 2013-14 season should be no different. North Star head coach Griff Bye has a deep, athletic and talented team returning for a brand new season, and he envisions a ball club with plenty of strengths. “We lost two seniors, two girls who did a great job for us last year,” Bye said. “But we bring back a lot of talent. We have a lot of depth. I think we can be even better this year. “I think we’ll be more balanced, with our inside-out offense,” he continued. “I think we’ll be a better shooting team this season. I expect that to improve. But we’ll still have that quickness on defense too.” North Star is led by a strong senior class and a host of players who saw plenty of playing time last season. Bettie Carlon, Delainey Spicher, Kristyn Lavery and Whitney Wendland all return for their senior season, and all aren’t just athletic and talented, but will also provide the Knights with great leadership. Juniors Mackenzie Hansen, Tylynn Rettig and Alissa

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Tylynn Rettig and the North Star Knights will be a big contender for a District 9C championship during this winter. Borlaug add to North Star’s depth and create a strong nucleus of upperclassmen, with great experience. Graysen Spicher, Kiera Miller and Sheridan O’Neil all played significant minutes as freshman last season, and will certainly give the Knights even more talent, depth and experience this season. As always, the Knights will have to contend with a vicious 9C schedule, as well as tough non-conference games. But at the end of the day, Bye believes he has a team which will compete for a 9C championship and even more.

“The 9C will be a really good conference again,” he said. “Chinook has a lot of talent, Big Sandy is tough, and I think Box Elder only lost one key player, so they should be improved this season. “But I also don’t think there is a game on our schedule we can’t win if we play well,” he continued. “I think we have a very good team with a lot of depth and without questions, we expect to be right in the mix this season.” The Knights get started with non-conference games against Roy-Winifred and Power at the Big Sandy Tournament.

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Knights are on the rise Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com It has been a couple years of rebuilding for the North Star boys basketball program, but this year the Knights are looking to regain a spot at the top of the District 9C. A three-win season was all the Knights were able to come up with a year ago, but with quite a few key returners, they will look to take a couple more steps forward this year. The Knights were also the No. 6 team in the 9C last year, but with what looks like a level playing field behind Box Elder, the Knights should remain competitive. North Star lost Donoven Ulmen to graduation, but return a couple of speedy guards in Cooper Spicher and Quinn Spinler. Spicher was without a doubt the Knight’s best player a year ago and will carry the load again in his final season. Jaxon Simonson gives the Knights a presence inside, but they will struggle against teams with a dominating post player, making the guard play even more important moving forward. Gavin Spinler and Sam Ulmen also return this year, and Gavin Spinler should be a spark for the Knights, adding solid defense, even more speed to the guard position, and the ability to knock down shots from behind the 3-point arc. The Knights have to play

well on both sides of the ball, but if they can do that, they should be competitive this year, and should be able to add a few more wins to the win column. North Star will join a tal-

ented field at the Big Sandy Preseason tournament to start the season. Friday they will face Roy-Winifred at 1 p.m. and on Saturday North Star will face Power at 2:30 p.m.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton North Star's Gavin Spinler dribbles against Hays-Lodge Pole during a 2013 District 9C game last February in Havre. The Knights could be a surprise team in the 9C this season.

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Wildcats looking to move Talented Harlem girls keep improving up in the District 2B race Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

For many years, finding success has been a struggle for the Harlem girls basketball team. Yet, each year, the Wildcats have kept plugging away, and the last couple of season, Harlem has started to get better and better. And head coach Frank Benson is pointing the Wildcats towards continuing that trend as the 2013-14 season gets going. Harlem returns a handful of talented and experienced players from a team which became very tough in the District 2B as last season progressed. The Wildcats will have some size and athleticism this season, but they will also rely heavily on shooting and a pressure defense to help them stay in the 2B race. Harlem returns leading scorer Coco Moore this season, who averaged around 14 points per game a year ago. Jaycee Werk is also back, and together, the duo gives the Wildcats a potent scoring punch. Also back is Monique Doney, who, like Moore and Werk, had a strong 2012-13 season. Alongside Doney, Erin Lamere also has varsity experience, while the talented duo of Mary and Tasha Ereaux will give the Wildcats even more firepower on both ends of the floor. Still, as talented as Harlem is this season, the Wildcats still play in the Northern B’s District 2B, and that’s not easy. Malta is once again one of the best teams in the state, while Wolf Point and Plentywood will certainly need to be reckoned with this season. Add in a tough

The District 2B is as tough as they come for boys basketball, and after a couple of tough years, the Harlem Wildcats are still looking for that statement season to get them back to the top of the Class B ranks. Facing teams like Wolf Point, Poplar, Plentywood, Glasgow, and Malta, the Wildcats will have a tough season ahead of them. And after their season ended at the district tournament last

Glasgow squad and a steadily improving team from Poplar, and Harlem has a tough road ahead of it. Still, if the last two years have shown anything, it’s that the Wildcats are headed in the right direction, and they could really be the dark horse in the 2B race this season. Harlem opened the season with a win at Shelby, and will play two games at this weekend’s Native American Classic at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Harlem's Coco Moore is a returning All-Conference performer for the Class B Wildcats. Harlem also returns several other key players from a team which should be on the rise this winter. Harlem will play two games at the seasonopening Native American Classic which takes place this weekend at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre. The event runs Thursday-Saturday.

year, entering as the No. 5 seed, Harlem knows there is plenty of room for growth moving forward though the remainder of 2013 and into 2014 under the guidance of second-year head coach Gilbert Mountain Chief. Like most teams, the Wildcats lost some talent to graduation, but they also return a group of very talented seniors. Stanley Irvine has been a staple in the Wildcats’ offense for years now, and headlines the returning group of seniors. But also returning is Isaiah Laurence,

Isaiah Doney, Jordan Snow, and Corey Stiffarm. The group of seniors will have to carry the load, and a trip deeper into the postseason will depend on how they execute on both sides of the ball. But 6-5 junior Clay Doney will also play key minutes for the Wildcats. Doney gives Harlem some decent size inside, something that a lot of smaller schools seem to be missing this year. Harlem hosted Shelby to open the season, and will play two games at the annual NAC in Havre.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Harlem's Stanley Irvine goes up for a layup during the 2012 Native American Classic last December in Havre. The Wildcats look to stay in the District 2B race this season.

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Box Elder boys Lady Bears look to loaded for a run surprise the 9C

Daniel Horton

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com At the beginning of every season there is an early favorite to win the District 9C and advance to the Northern C tournament, and even possibly the Class C state basketball tournament. This season, the early talk is about the talented Box Elder Bears. A year ago, the Bears rolled through the regular season and entered the 9C tournament as the No. 1 seed. They won 15 games during the regular season and won the 9C championship before heading into the Northern C tournament in Great Falls. The Bears missed out on the state tournament, but did finish the season with an 18-5 record. The goal this year is to maintain that high level of play, but go one step further and compete for a state title. “We are pretty deep this year, and should have about a nine man rotation,” Head Coach Jeremy MacDonald said. “And we are looking to build off of what we did last year. Last year we made it to the divisional semifinals, so if we improve on that, then we think we can take the next step after that. We have a lot of work to do, but we have the talent.” Box Elder did lose four seniors from a year ago, but also return some of the top area basketball players including all five starters. This year the team should be led by the likes of seniors Randal Gardipee and Thomas Parisian, and juniors Clayton Morsette, Lonnie Plain Bull, and standout sophomore point guard Brandon The Boy. Plain Bull will miss action until January, but is still expected to be factor down the stretch. And The Boy and

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Randall Gardipee is one of four returning All-Conference players from a Box Elder team which captured the 9C tournament last season. Gardipee have the ability to knock down shots from all over the floor, including from behind the 3-point arc. But with the run and gun style the Bears like to play, teams will find it very difficult to keep up with the extremely productive offense. And with a defense that can pressure the opposition for four quarters, the Bears have all the weapons necessary to have what could turn out to be another successful regular and post season. And if that is not enough, Chris LaMere, Jake Jones,

and Jarod Four Colors also have the skills to push for starting jobs. “We are just working on getting better each day in practice,” MacDonald said. “We are still working on our execution and conditioning and strength. Teams want to play us physical and since we are bringing everybody back and are the favorite, we know we will get everybody’s best game.” The Bears play Harlem and rival Rocky Boy at the season-opening Native American Classic in Havre.

Just two years ago, the Box Elder girls basketball team won a school-record 23 games and came within one more win of going to the Class C state tournament. But following that season, graduation hit the Bears hard. Box Elder, which has been a District 9C power still had a respectable showing in 2012-13, going 11-10 overall and finishing fourth in what was a very competitive 9C tournament last February. But with the dawn of a brand new season, the Bears are setting out to be even better, and make sure last year was the rebuilding year in Box Elder. Veteran Box Elder head coach Joel Rosette returns four starters from last year’s squad. Krista Chief Stick was one of Box Elder’s leading scorers a year ago, as was Alicia Wolf Chief. Also back is Stephanie Sutherland and Leilani Gardipee. All four returnees are guards who can shoot and drive the ball, while they also give the Bears veteran leadership. Kiona Gardipee is also expected to step up and contribute this season. Box Elder won’t be a tall team this season, but that’s

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Box Elder's Lelaini Gardipee, left, looks to pass during the 2013 District 9C girls tournament last February in Havre. The Bears will be a 9C contender this season. nothing new for the Bears. They also won’t have a ton of depth, but they will have speed, talent and they will be play pressure defense, a trademark of Rosette’s teams. As for how the season will turn out, Rosette said Chinook, North Star and Bog Sandy will all be tough once again, but he also sees his squad right in the mix. And

if the Bears are anything like they have been in recent years, they certainly will be, especially come 9C tournament time. “We will be competitive this,” Rosette said. “We will be looking to surprise some people.” The Bears open their 201314 season with two games at the Native American Classic in Havre.

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December 13th December 14th December 20th December 21st January 3rd January 4th January 10th January 11th January 17th January 18th January 24th January 25th January 30th February 1st February 7th February 8th February 15th February 22nd February 27th-March March 13th-15th

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vs. Malta ~ Malta, MT ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. CMR ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Park ~ Havre, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. vs. Belgrade ~ Havre, MT ~ 3:30 p.m. vs. GFHS ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Malta ~ Havre, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. vs. Conrad ~ Conrad, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Lewistown ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Browning ~ Browning, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Rocky Boy ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Park, Livingston, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Belgrade ~ Belgrade, MT ~ 3:30 p.m. vs. GFHS ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. CMR ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 4:30 p.m. vs. Fairfield ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Lewistown ~ Lewistown, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Rocky Boy ~ Rocky Boy, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Browning ~ Havre Central ~ 5:00 p.m. 1st DIVISIONALS ~ Belgrade STATE ~ Great Falls

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Lacey Waid is part of a standout Blue Pony roster. The HHS girls are looking for a third straight Central A championship, and return to the Class A state tournament this season.

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HHS girls are ready for another great season Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

In recent history, the Havre High girls basketball program has been right on the brink of Class A supremacy. And losing just one senior from last year, and returning five seniors this year, the Blue Ponies could be well on their way to run at a state title. Neya Bischoff graduated and took her physical presence in the post with her. But losing just one athlete is a great situation to be in for head coach Dustin Kraske as he embarks on his eighth season at the HHS helm. “We have great kids returning and have good senior leadership,” Kraske said. “We are real pleased with where things are at right now, as happy as we can be just 11 practices into our season. But the kids are practicing hard and playing well. It has been a good process so far. And I would like to think that what we have been doing over the years has been okay, we are pleased with it. But this is my eighth year, and this should be comparable to maybe the oldest team that we have had. And it is nice having the five seniors. We are older than we have been, but it will be fun to watch all of these kids play together.” Breck Don and Haley Ohm return for

their senior seasons and are primed to perform very well. Don adds to the guard depth, while Ohm’s post play will greatly benefit the Ponies on offense and defense. But Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne, and Lacey Waid also return for their senior seasons. Filius, Lambourne, and Waid have been varsity players since their freshmen seasons, and have proved to be some of the better talent in all of Class A basketball. Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Tori Mazurkiewicz also return for Kraske, while Dani Wagner, Rachel Majeres, and Lindsey Kudrna also add to the varsity roster. “Everybody who steps on to the floor is expected to play well,” Kraske said. “That is the bottom line. I don’t care if they are a senior or a freshman, they just have to play well. Every kid needs to contribute to the success of the program.” And with the strength of the schedule, success won’t just come easy to the talented Ponies. Belgrade, Lewistown, Livingston, and Browning should all show improvement this season. And while the Blue Ponies are garnering all of the early attention after capturing the last two Central A titles, their conference and non-conference schedules will be a

■ See

HHS Girls Page 15

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December 13th vs. Malta ~ Malta, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. December 14th vs. CMR ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 4:30 p.m. December 20th vs. Park ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. December 21st vs. Belgrade ~ Havre, MT ~ 11:00 a.m. January 3rd vs. GFHS ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. January 4th vs. Malta ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. January 10th vs. Conrad ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. January 11th vs. Lewistown ~ Lewistown, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. January 17th vs. Browning ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. January 18th vs. Rocky Boy ~ Havre, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. January 24th vs. Park, Livingston, MT ~ 5:30 p.m. January 25th vs. Belgrade ~ Belgrade, MT ~ 2:00 p.m. January 30th vs. GFHS ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. February 1st vs. CMR ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. February 7th vs. Fairfield ~ Fairfield, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. February 8th vs. Lewistown ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. February 15th vs. Rocky Boy ~ Rocky Boy, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. February 22nd vs. Browning ~ Browning, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. February 27th-March 1st DIVISIONALS ~ Belgrade March 6th-8th STATE ~ Great Falls

Pony boys more experienced now Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com Curt Leeds is heading into his second season as head coach of the Havre High boys basketball team, and the Blue Ponies are looking to improve after an up-and-down 2012-13 season. The Central A Blue Ponies will get rolling on Friday when they travel to Malta to take on the Class B Mustangs. The Ponies will remain on the road on Saturday where they will take on the Class AA CMR Rustlers in Great Falls. It is a tough road trip to open the season, but it may be just what the Ponies need if they want to stay relevant in the Central A. Last season the Ponies went 0-2 at the divisional tournament and finished with a record of 5-15 overall. “We have more experience this year,” Leeds said. “We are older than last year, and the kids have just gotten to know my staff and I better. I think we will just be more familiar with each other and with the program too.” Ramsey Drew graduated, as did Thurman Holdsclaw, leaving a couple of holes to be filled. But a young team last year should hopefully equal an experienced team this year. The Ponies return seniors Kade Rismon and Brian Smith, as well as sophomores Nate Rismon and Dane Warp. Those four

should be key for HHS, but Jace Kato, Jon Faber, Mike Bakke, Alec Drew and Wyatt Lindbloom are also players to watch. Each player who earns varsity minutes will have to play well if the Ponies hope to get past a very difficult schedule. This season the Ponies will face teams like Malta and CMR, as well as Great Falls High, Conrad, Rocky Boy and Fairfield in nonconference action. Mix in Belgrade, Livingston, Lewistown, and Browning in conference matchups, and the Ponies look to have a schedule which never lets up. “I think our schedule will be tougher this year, I think we might match up better at the same time,” Leeds said. “Rocky Boy is going to be a tough game, they are a good team, but you want to see those upgrades, you want to see the best teams on your schedule because that is how you get better when it comes tournament time.” Belgrade and Browning share some attention for Central A early favorites, but the Ponies should challenge Livingston and Lewistown for a spot near the top of the conference. Guards like Rismon and Smith give the Ponies some solid outside shooting, while Kato, Rismon, Warp, and Bakke give the Ponies a presence inside. And that is where the Ponies like to set the tone, in the blocks with

an inside-out style. Having size, speed, and solid jump shooting ability; the Ponies will find themselves fighting for wins. And if the Ponies can put complete games together, including a defensive presence that mixes a lot zone, man, and full court looks, then they should add to the five wins they earned a year ago. “We will have seven or eight guys rotating, and from there we will slowly see who we can develop into another three or four spots,” Leeds said. “I think we match up well with most teams. I think Kade is physical enough to handle himself down low, and Jase is getting there. We aren’t too big, but we aren’t small either, we are a good size with some ability. I have four guys that I can trust inside, and we are looking to get those touches in the low block. I think that will help us get a good mix of inside out basketball this year.” And while two very tough teams await the Ponies out of the gate, Havre is optimistic. “The whole season is just about getting better every weekend,” Leeds said. “We are really focused on improving each week before tournament time, nobody remembers December, but everybody remembers February. It is a building process, and hopefully we can get to the state tournament this year. I think the boys are capable, but it will depend on how much better we get as we go.”

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Blue Pony sophomore Dane Warp, right, is part of a wealth of returning experience for the Havre High boys basketball team and second-year head coach Curt Leeds.

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December 13th December 14th December 20th December 21st January 3rd January 4th January 10th January 11th January 17th January 18th January 24th January 25th January 30th February 1st February 7th February 8th February 15th February 22nd February 27th-March March 13th-15th

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vs. Malta ~ Malta, MT ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. CMR ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Park ~ Havre, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. vs. Belgrade ~ Havre, MT ~ 3:30 p.m. vs. GFHS ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Malta ~ Havre, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. vs. Conrad ~ Conrad, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Lewistown ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Browning ~ Browning, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Rocky Boy ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Park, Livingston, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Belgrade ~ Belgrade, MT ~ 3:30 p.m. vs. GFHS ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. CMR ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 4:30 p.m. vs. Fairfield ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Lewistown ~ Lewistown, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Rocky Boy ~ Rocky Boy, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Browning ~ Havre Central ~ 5:00 p.m. 1st DIVISIONALS ~ Belgrade STATE ~ Great Falls

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Lacey Waid is part of a standout Blue Pony roster. The HHS girls are looking for a third straight Central A championship, and return to the Class A state tournament this season.

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HHS girls are ready for another great season Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

In recent history, the Havre High girls basketball program has been right on the brink of Class A supremacy. And losing just one senior from last year, and returning five seniors this year, the Blue Ponies could be well on their way to run at a state title. Neya Bischoff graduated and took her physical presence in the post with her. But losing just one athlete is a great situation to be in for head coach Dustin Kraske as he embarks on his eighth season at the HHS helm. “We have great kids returning and have good senior leadership,” Kraske said. “We are real pleased with where things are at right now, as happy as we can be just 11 practices into our season. But the kids are practicing hard and playing well. It has been a good process so far. And I would like to think that what we have been doing over the years has been okay, we are pleased with it. But this is my eighth year, and this should be comparable to maybe the oldest team that we have had. And it is nice having the five seniors. We are older than we have been, but it will be fun to watch all of these kids play together.” Breck Don and Haley Ohm return for

their senior seasons and are primed to perform very well. Don adds to the guard depth, while Ohm’s post play will greatly benefit the Ponies on offense and defense. But Peyton Filius, Brandy Lambourne, and Lacey Waid also return for their senior seasons. Filius, Lambourne, and Waid have been varsity players since their freshmen seasons, and have proved to be some of the better talent in all of Class A basketball. Morgan Mazurkiewicz and Tori Mazurkiewicz also return for Kraske, while Dani Wagner, Rachel Majeres, and Lindsey Kudrna also add to the varsity roster. “Everybody who steps on to the floor is expected to play well,” Kraske said. “That is the bottom line. I don’t care if they are a senior or a freshman, they just have to play well. Every kid needs to contribute to the success of the program.” And with the strength of the schedule, success won’t just come easy to the talented Ponies. Belgrade, Lewistown, Livingston, and Browning should all show improvement this season. And while the Blue Ponies are garnering all of the early attention after capturing the last two Central A titles, their conference and non-conference schedules will be a

■ See

HHS Girls Page 15

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December 13th vs. Malta ~ Malta, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. December 14th vs. CMR ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 4:30 p.m. December 20th vs. Park ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. December 21st vs. Belgrade ~ Havre, MT ~ 11:00 a.m. January 3rd vs. GFHS ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. January 4th vs. Malta ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. January 10th vs. Conrad ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. January 11th vs. Lewistown ~ Lewistown, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. January 17th vs. Browning ~ Havre, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. January 18th vs. Rocky Boy ~ Havre, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. January 24th vs. Park, Livingston, MT ~ 5:30 p.m. January 25th vs. Belgrade ~ Belgrade, MT ~ 2:00 p.m. January 30th vs. GFHS ~ Great Falls, MT ~ 7:30 p.m. February 1st vs. CMR ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. February 7th vs. Fairfield ~ Fairfield, MT ~ 7:00 p.m. February 8th vs. Lewistown ~ Havre, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. February 15th vs. Rocky Boy ~ Rocky Boy, MT ~ 6:30 p.m. February 22nd vs. Browning ~ Browning, MT ~ 5:00 p.m. February 27th-March 1st DIVISIONALS ~ Belgrade March 6th-8th STATE ~ Great Falls

Pony boys more experienced now Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com Curt Leeds is heading into his second season as head coach of the Havre High boys basketball team, and the Blue Ponies are looking to improve after an up-and-down 2012-13 season. The Central A Blue Ponies will get rolling on Friday when they travel to Malta to take on the Class B Mustangs. The Ponies will remain on the road on Saturday where they will take on the Class AA CMR Rustlers in Great Falls. It is a tough road trip to open the season, but it may be just what the Ponies need if they want to stay relevant in the Central A. Last season the Ponies went 0-2 at the divisional tournament and finished with a record of 5-15 overall. “We have more experience this year,” Leeds said. “We are older than last year, and the kids have just gotten to know my staff and I better. I think we will just be more familiar with each other and with the program too.” Ramsey Drew graduated, as did Thurman Holdsclaw, leaving a couple of holes to be filled. But a young team last year should hopefully equal an experienced team this year. The Ponies return seniors Kade Rismon and Brian Smith, as well as sophomores Nate Rismon and Dane Warp. Those four

should be key for HHS, but Jace Kato, Jon Faber, Mike Bakke, Alec Drew and Wyatt Lindbloom are also players to watch. Each player who earns varsity minutes will have to play well if the Ponies hope to get past a very difficult schedule. This season the Ponies will face teams like Malta and CMR, as well as Great Falls High, Conrad, Rocky Boy and Fairfield in nonconference action. Mix in Belgrade, Livingston, Lewistown, and Browning in conference matchups, and the Ponies look to have a schedule which never lets up. “I think our schedule will be tougher this year, I think we might match up better at the same time,” Leeds said. “Rocky Boy is going to be a tough game, they are a good team, but you want to see those upgrades, you want to see the best teams on your schedule because that is how you get better when it comes tournament time.” Belgrade and Browning share some attention for Central A early favorites, but the Ponies should challenge Livingston and Lewistown for a spot near the top of the conference. Guards like Rismon and Smith give the Ponies some solid outside shooting, while Kato, Rismon, Warp, and Bakke give the Ponies a presence inside. And that is where the Ponies like to set the tone, in the blocks with

an inside-out style. Having size, speed, and solid jump shooting ability; the Ponies will find themselves fighting for wins. And if the Ponies can put complete games together, including a defensive presence that mixes a lot zone, man, and full court looks, then they should add to the five wins they earned a year ago. “We will have seven or eight guys rotating, and from there we will slowly see who we can develop into another three or four spots,” Leeds said. “I think we match up well with most teams. I think Kade is physical enough to handle himself down low, and Jase is getting there. We aren’t too big, but we aren’t small either, we are a good size with some ability. I have four guys that I can trust inside, and we are looking to get those touches in the low block. I think that will help us get a good mix of inside out basketball this year.” And while two very tough teams await the Ponies out of the gate, Havre is optimistic. “The whole season is just about getting better every weekend,” Leeds said. “We are really focused on improving each week before tournament time, nobody remembers December, but everybody remembers February. It is a building process, and hopefully we can get to the state tournament this year. I think the boys are capable, but it will depend on how much better we get as we go.”

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Blue Pony sophomore Dane Warp, right, is part of a wealth of returning experience for the Havre High boys basketball team and second-year head coach Curt Leeds.

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Wildcats looking to move Talented Harlem girls keep improving up in the District 2B race Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

For many years, finding success has been a struggle for the Harlem girls basketball team. Yet, each year, the Wildcats have kept plugging away, and the last couple of season, Harlem has started to get better and better. And head coach Frank Benson is pointing the Wildcats towards continuing that trend as the 2013-14 season gets going. Harlem returns a handful of talented and experienced players from a team which became very tough in the District 2B as last season progressed. The Wildcats will have some size and athleticism this season, but they will also rely heavily on shooting and a pressure defense to help them stay in the 2B race. Harlem returns leading scorer Coco Moore this season, who averaged around 14 points per game a year ago. Jaycee Werk is also back, and together, the duo gives the Wildcats a potent scoring punch. Also back is Monique Doney, who, like Moore and Werk, had a strong 2012-13 season. Alongside Doney, Erin Lamere also has varsity experience, while the talented duo of Mary and Tasha Ereaux will give the Wildcats even more firepower on both ends of the floor. Still, as talented as Harlem is this season, the Wildcats still play in the Northern B’s District 2B, and that’s not easy. Malta is once again one of the best teams in the state, while Wolf Point and Plentywood will certainly need to be reckoned with this season. Add in a tough

The District 2B is as tough as they come for boys basketball, and after a couple of tough years, the Harlem Wildcats are still looking for that statement season to get them back to the top of the Class B ranks. Facing teams like Wolf Point, Poplar, Plentywood, Glasgow, and Malta, the Wildcats will have a tough season ahead of them. And after their season ended at the district tournament last

Glasgow squad and a steadily improving team from Poplar, and Harlem has a tough road ahead of it. Still, if the last two years have shown anything, it’s that the Wildcats are headed in the right direction, and they could really be the dark horse in the 2B race this season. Harlem opened the season with a win at Shelby, and will play two games at this weekend’s Native American Classic at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Harlem's Coco Moore is a returning All-Conference performer for the Class B Wildcats. Harlem also returns several other key players from a team which should be on the rise this winter. Harlem will play two games at the seasonopening Native American Classic which takes place this weekend at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre. The event runs Thursday-Saturday.

year, entering as the No. 5 seed, Harlem knows there is plenty of room for growth moving forward though the remainder of 2013 and into 2014 under the guidance of second-year head coach Gilbert Mountain Chief. Like most teams, the Wildcats lost some talent to graduation, but they also return a group of very talented seniors. Stanley Irvine has been a staple in the Wildcats’ offense for years now, and headlines the returning group of seniors. But also returning is Isaiah Laurence,

Isaiah Doney, Jordan Snow, and Corey Stiffarm. The group of seniors will have to carry the load, and a trip deeper into the postseason will depend on how they execute on both sides of the ball. But 6-5 junior Clay Doney will also play key minutes for the Wildcats. Doney gives Harlem some decent size inside, something that a lot of smaller schools seem to be missing this year. Harlem hosted Shelby to open the season, and will play two games at the annual NAC in Havre.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Harlem's Stanley Irvine goes up for a layup during the 2012 Native American Classic last December in Havre. The Wildcats look to stay in the District 2B race this season.

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Box Elder boys Lady Bears look to loaded for a run surprise the 9C

Daniel Horton

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com At the beginning of every season there is an early favorite to win the District 9C and advance to the Northern C tournament, and even possibly the Class C state basketball tournament. This season, the early talk is about the talented Box Elder Bears. A year ago, the Bears rolled through the regular season and entered the 9C tournament as the No. 1 seed. They won 15 games during the regular season and won the 9C championship before heading into the Northern C tournament in Great Falls. The Bears missed out on the state tournament, but did finish the season with an 18-5 record. The goal this year is to maintain that high level of play, but go one step further and compete for a state title. “We are pretty deep this year, and should have about a nine man rotation,” Head Coach Jeremy MacDonald said. “And we are looking to build off of what we did last year. Last year we made it to the divisional semifinals, so if we improve on that, then we think we can take the next step after that. We have a lot of work to do, but we have the talent.” Box Elder did lose four seniors from a year ago, but also return some of the top area basketball players including all five starters. This year the team should be led by the likes of seniors Randal Gardipee and Thomas Parisian, and juniors Clayton Morsette, Lonnie Plain Bull, and standout sophomore point guard Brandon The Boy. Plain Bull will miss action until January, but is still expected to be factor down the stretch. And The Boy and

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Randall Gardipee is one of four returning All-Conference players from a Box Elder team which captured the 9C tournament last season. Gardipee have the ability to knock down shots from all over the floor, including from behind the 3-point arc. But with the run and gun style the Bears like to play, teams will find it very difficult to keep up with the extremely productive offense. And with a defense that can pressure the opposition for four quarters, the Bears have all the weapons necessary to have what could turn out to be another successful regular and post season. And if that is not enough, Chris LaMere, Jake Jones,

and Jarod Four Colors also have the skills to push for starting jobs. “We are just working on getting better each day in practice,” MacDonald said. “We are still working on our execution and conditioning and strength. Teams want to play us physical and since we are bringing everybody back and are the favorite, we know we will get everybody’s best game.” The Bears play Harlem and rival Rocky Boy at the season-opening Native American Classic in Havre.

Just two years ago, the Box Elder girls basketball team won a school-record 23 games and came within one more win of going to the Class C state tournament. But following that season, graduation hit the Bears hard. Box Elder, which has been a District 9C power still had a respectable showing in 2012-13, going 11-10 overall and finishing fourth in what was a very competitive 9C tournament last February. But with the dawn of a brand new season, the Bears are setting out to be even better, and make sure last year was the rebuilding year in Box Elder. Veteran Box Elder head coach Joel Rosette returns four starters from last year’s squad. Krista Chief Stick was one of Box Elder’s leading scorers a year ago, as was Alicia Wolf Chief. Also back is Stephanie Sutherland and Leilani Gardipee. All four returnees are guards who can shoot and drive the ball, while they also give the Bears veteran leadership. Kiona Gardipee is also expected to step up and contribute this season. Box Elder won’t be a tall team this season, but that’s

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Box Elder's Lelaini Gardipee, left, looks to pass during the 2013 District 9C girls tournament last February in Havre. The Bears will be a 9C contender this season. nothing new for the Bears. They also won’t have a ton of depth, but they will have speed, talent and they will be play pressure defense, a trademark of Rosette’s teams. As for how the season will turn out, Rosette said Chinook, North Star and Bog Sandy will all be tough once again, but he also sees his squad right in the mix. And

if the Bears are anything like they have been in recent years, they certainly will be, especially come 9C tournament time. “We will be competitive this,” Rosette said. “We will be looking to surprise some people.” The Bears open their 201314 season with two games at the Native American Classic in Havre.

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Turner girls hope to make more noise this season George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com For the last couple of years, the Turner girls basketball team was thankful just to get the chance to play a varsity season. With numbers fluctuating in Turner, it’s become difficult to field a team year-in-and-year out. But entering the 2013-14 season, the Tornadoes aren’t worried about numbers. Instead, they’re focused on having a good season on the court and making some noise in the District 9C. Jeff Nix is now the man in charge of the Turner girls basketball team and he’s optimistic about his team heading into the new season. “We have an exciting group of freshmen and upper class girls that are working hard as this is only their second year in fielding a team,” Nix said.  “While we do not have experience in play, I see agility from each player on my team. This gives me the versatility to put any player at any position. Our biggest team strength is all eight girls know each other and work to complement one another.” Turner returns most of the key components from last year’s squad, which didn’t win a game, but certainly competed hard every night. Veterans Lindsey Hutton and Kristina Conlan  were both starters a year ago, and though she’s just a freshman, so was Ella Billmeyer. She played as an eighth grader last year, and that trio of returning starters gives the Tornadoes a solid nucleus to

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Ella Billmeyer is part of a strong nucleus of returning players for the Turner girls basketball team. The Tornadoes have their sights set on being competitive in the District 9C this season. build on, and some key experience. After that trio, Turner will be young. Freshmen Tyler Anderson, Charley Anderson and Rennay Watkins will all play significant minutes this season, as will eighth graders Jay Anderson and Koreanne King. As for what kind of team the Tornadoes will be, Nix sees his team playing fast and putting up points on offense. He also sees his team having to contend with Chi-

nook and North Star as the top teams in the 9C.   “I would expect Chinook and North Star to have bulls eyes on their backs,” Nix said. “I expect us to be a fast-paced tempo offense and defense in order to have the pressure placed on the other team.” Turner doesn’t open the season until Dec. 19 against the Havre High freshman. The Tornadoes also play Dodson and North Star the following two nights.

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Tornadoes could be a force Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com If there was ever the time for the Turner Tornadoes to come up big in the district standings, that time is now. The District 9C graduated a lot of talent from last year to this year, but the Tornadoes brought a lot of individuals back. And while the 9C field will be chasing a dominant Box Elder program this season, the Tornadoes think they have what it takes to match up fairly well with the remaining Big Sandy, North Star, Chinook, and HaysLodge Pole teams. And there is plenty of room for improvement as the Tornadoes were the fifth seed and ended the season with a 4-16 record after going 0-2 at the 9C tournament in Havre a year ago. Last year was definitely a rebuilding year, but for the Tornadoes’ sake, hopefully that key playing time paid off. “From what I have been gathering, Box Elder is at the top,” Head coach Kevin Van Valkenburg said. “But after that I think it is wide open between the rest of us. I think if we could get six or seven wins we would be right at the top, and that could make quite the difference before the district tournament.” Dylan Welsh returns for his fifth year of varsity basketball after getting ample time as an eighth grader, and should lead the Tornadoes from the guard position. Junior post Lucas Reed will also be an important component with his size on both sides of the ball, while other key returning players include Bret Van Valkenburg, a post, and Tyler Humphreys, a sophomore guard. A couple of freshman will also get big minutes this year. Both Reece Hutton and Zack Hutton got minimal minutes last year, but will pitch in more and more moving forward. Junior Tristan Billmayer also returns after missing

last year to an injury. With several experienced returners, the Tornadoes should match up with most of the 9C very well. If they can find a way to consistently score points using their speed, and limit the opposition, it could be Turner’s year to make some noise. “I hope we can take advantage,” Van Valkenburg said.

“We have the experience, so hopefully our kids will compete. We have some outside shooters and we have Reed and Van Valkenburg down low with some size, so I hope we can work with the inside-out game.” Turner will open the season on Dec. 19 when they host the Havre High freshman as part of a three-game week.

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North Star girls aim to be at the top of the 9C George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Dylan Welsh of Turner tries to save a ball from going out of bounds during the 2013 9C boys tournament last February. Welsh is part of a strong returning group of Tornadoes this season.

Last season, the North Star Knights made a run in the Northern C Divisional tournament, playing some dramatic games before their season came to an end at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls. And for years now, the Knights have been one of the top District 9C programs, routinely making it to Saturday night of the 9C tourney. The 2013-14 season should be no different. North Star head coach Griff Bye has a deep, athletic and talented team returning for a brand new season, and he envisions a ball club with plenty of strengths. “We lost two seniors, two girls who did a great job for us last year,” Bye said. “But we bring back a lot of talent. We have a lot of depth. I think we can be even better this year. “I think we’ll be more balanced, with our inside-out offense,” he continued. “I think we’ll be a better shooting team this season. I expect that to improve. But we’ll still have that quickness on defense too.” North Star is led by a strong senior class and a host of players who saw plenty of playing time last season. Bettie Carlon, Delainey Spicher, Kristyn Lavery and Whitney Wendland all return for their senior season, and all aren’t just athletic and talented, but will also provide the Knights with great leadership. Juniors Mackenzie Hansen, Tylynn Rettig and Alissa

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Tylynn Rettig and the North Star Knights will be a big contender for a District 9C championship during this winter. Borlaug add to North Star’s depth and create a strong nucleus of upperclassmen, with great experience. Graysen Spicher, Kiera Miller and Sheridan O’Neil all played significant minutes as freshman last season, and will certainly give the Knights even more talent, depth and experience this season. As always, the Knights will have to contend with a vicious 9C schedule, as well as tough non-conference games. But at the end of the day, Bye believes he has a team which will compete for a 9C championship and even more.

“The 9C will be a really good conference again,” he said. “Chinook has a lot of talent, Big Sandy is tough, and I think Box Elder only lost one key player, so they should be improved this season. “But I also don’t think there is a game on our schedule we can’t win if we play well,” he continued. “I think we have a very good team with a lot of depth and without questions, we expect to be right in the mix this season.” The Knights get started with non-conference games against Roy-Winifred and Power at the Big Sandy Tournament.

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Knights are on the rise Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com It has been a couple years of rebuilding for the North Star boys basketball program, but this year the Knights are looking to regain a spot at the top of the District 9C. A three-win season was all the Knights were able to come up with a year ago, but with quite a few key returners, they will look to take a couple more steps forward this year. The Knights were also the No. 6 team in the 9C last year, but with what looks like a level playing field behind Box Elder, the Knights should remain competitive. North Star lost Donoven Ulmen to graduation, but return a couple of speedy guards in Cooper Spicher and Quinn Spinler. Spicher was without a doubt the Knight’s best player a year ago and will carry the load again in his final season. Jaxon Simonson gives the Knights a presence inside, but they will struggle against teams with a dominating post player, making the guard play even more important moving forward. Gavin Spinler and Sam Ulmen also return this year, and Gavin Spinler should be a spark for the Knights, adding solid defense, even more speed to the guard position, and the ability to knock down shots from behind the 3-point arc. The Knights have to play

well on both sides of the ball, but if they can do that, they should be competitive this year, and should be able to add a few more wins to the win column. North Star will join a tal-

ented field at the Big Sandy Preseason tournament to start the season. Friday they will face Roy-Winifred at 1 p.m. and on Saturday North Star will face Power at 2:30 p.m.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton North Star's Gavin Spinler dribbles against Hays-Lodge Pole during a 2013 District 9C game last February in Havre. The Knights could be a surprise team in the 9C this season.

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Stars will shine

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Desmond Parker, left, is part of a strong returning group of players at Rocky Boy. The Stars will be favored to win the District 1B this season.

Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

It has been a few years since the Rocky Boy Stars have been a consistent force in the state ranks. But knocking on the door to a big season a year ago, the Stars will look to continue their growth in the Class B this year. But like so many teams have, the Stars will enter the season without a lot of familiar names. It is always hard to replace top tier talent, but

the Stars also return some very good basketball players. Senior Desmond Parker will highlight those who return for head coach Mike Morsette, but Elijah Gopher and Junior Day Child are also two very talented juniors who will help shoulder the load. Rocky Boys’ high-octane offensive style is typically difficult for teams to match, and that is what the Stars will rely on as they face a very tough District 1B. The Stars were favored last year

and entered the post season tournament as the No. 1 seed and went 2-0. But the Stars’ season came to a sudden end at the Northern B. If the Stars want to get back to the Northern B, as well as to the state tournament this year, they will first have to get past a very good 1B field. Conrad, Fairfield, Choteau, Cut Bank and Shelby will make for a very tough schedule. The Stars face Poplar and Box Elder to open the 2013-14 season at the NAC in Havre.

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Rocky Boy girls must reload George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com Graduation can certainly hit a basketball team hard. And that was the case for the Rocky Boy girls basketball team last spring. After a 10-win season, and a solid showing in the rigorous District 1B, the Morning Stars had to say goodbye to some major contributors, leaving this season as a one in which Rocky Boy will need to reload. Head coach Raymond Parker’s Morning Stars will be without the services of All-Conference standouts Brandi Buffalo and Leah Onco, Rocky Boy’s top two scorers from a year ago. But the list of great players from last season doesn’t end there. Also gone is power forward Caitlin Gamble, Tristan Parisian and Leah Gopher. So the new-look Rocky Boy team will have to basically start over, and especially find new scorers on offense. Jai Lynn Day Child returns as Rocky Boy’s only starter from a year ago. She will be looked on to carry the scoring load for the Morning Stars after a strong sophomore season. Also back is senior Kylee Raining Bird and senior Paula Mitchell, and their leadership will be key. The only other returning varsity player from the Morning Stars’ roster a year ago is sophomore Jude The Boy. And with a young, and

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Hawks are young, but still talented

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Rocky Boy's Jai Lynn Daychild is the only returning starter for what will be an inexperienced Morning Star team this season. much more inexperienced team, Rocky Boy will have its hands full in the 1B and beyond. The Morning Stars are in the same district as three-time defending state champion Fairfield, as well as upstarts Conrad, Choteau and Cut Bank, which means Rocky Boy plays in the strongest district of Class B basketball without questions. Rocky Boy’s non-conference schedule won’t make for any easy wins either. The Morning Stars face Harlem and Box Elder twice per season, and this year, they have added the Havre Blue Ponies

to their schedule. The Blue Ponies are one of the premier Class A squads in the state. So with a lot of new players, and with a brutal schedule, the 2013-14 season will be a learning experience in Rocky Boy. Still, the Morning Stars play a pressure style of basketball on both ends of the floor, and they will not be an easy out for any team they face. Rocky Boy opens its new season with two games at the Native American Classic this weekend at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre.

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The Chester/J-I Hawks are no strangers to success in girls basketball. And last season was a testament to that. But as a new season begins, the Hawks will have to reinvent themselves a little bit, in order to keep their District 10C crown. Head coach Pat Goldhahn’s squad went a sparkling 21-4 last season, winning both the 10C regular season and tournament championship. C/J-I then made a dramatic run to a third-place finish in the Northern C, including winning three straight overtime games. IN all, C/J-I has won 41 straight games in the District 10C, a winning streak that dates back to 2010. However, as magical as last season was, graduation also hit the Hawks pretty hard, and with only two seniors on the roster this season, C/J-I is heading into the new year as a young and inexperienced squad. “We are going to be a very young and inexperienced team heading into the 20132014 season,” Goldhahn said. “Our two seniors will be called upon for immediate contributions as well as their leadership. We knew our off-season was going to have to be very productive, especially trying to form some chemistry with such a young group.” C/J-I’s seniors are certainly capable of leading the way. All-Conference standout Denerey Haaland (5-7) and fellow All-Conference performer Haley Harmon (5-8) form a stellar back court. But after that, C/J-I’s lineup will be made up of sophomores and freshman, including Erin Wolfe and Madeline Woods, who both saw playing time

as freshman. Sophomore forward Payton Cole (5-11) will provide some size in the middle, while sophomore Kristina Dahinden also moves up to the varsity level. The Hawks also have some outstanding talent in their freshmen class, including guard Allix Goldhahn and Kylee Vinson, both of whom should contribute right away. Bailey Lesiak and Jeraca Temple could also see time in their freshmen season as well. But being young and inexperienced means the season may have some speed bumps, but C/J-I still has the 10C title until someone takes it away. And with Haaland and Harmon leading a young and athletic group, by season’s end, don’t be surprised to see the Hawks right where they’ve always been. Goldhahn said that SimmsAugusta is the definite front

runner in the 10C this year, while Dutton-Brady and Valier will also be strong again, and Power could be the surprise team in the league this season. But he also knows that the season is a marathon, and he hopes to have his Hawks playing their best basketball come tournament time. “We were able to get about 25 games in through team camps, tournaments and other scheduled games, so we basically got to play another season with this group,” Goldhahn said. “I look forward to seeing the improvement we will make each and every game, and we will just have to keep in mind that February is when we want to be playing our best basketball.” C/J-I opens its season at home with two games at the Chester/J-I Preseason Tournament.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Chester/J-I's Denerey Haaland is one of two returning AllConference players for the Hawks, who bring a 41-game, District 10C winning streak into the new season.

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C/J-I boys look to contend Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com As the fourth-place team in the District 10C a year ago, the Chester-J-I boys basketball team is hoping to continue moving up. This year the Hawks are under the guidance of firstyear head coach Spencer Fartorie, but return the talent to stay in the mix. The Hawks missed out on a trip to the Northern C last season and did lose Mike Henke, Jordan Oraw, and Dustin Romain, but still house plenty of talent. “We have a solid team this year especially with all of the returning talent that we’ve got,” Fartorie said. “And it is great to have all of these seniors because we have a team with a lot of great leadership. And we need that leadership, and we need to buy into a team mentality and I think that will help us out a lot into getting deep into the post season.” Dell Harmon, Tim Stokes, and Steven May are three very talented seniors, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for the Hawks. Seniors Clayton Moore, Cody Ramberg, Kasey Kinyon, Sion Norick, and Mathew Woods also return for a final season of action, and should propel the Hawks into a nice season. Mixed in with the seniors are Justin May, Brady Hawks, Gavin Miles, Troy Harmon, Brandon Richter, and Brandon Theele, adding depth and more talent to the lineup.

Havre Daily News/Lindsay Brown Chester/J-I's Dell Harmon is part of a strong senior class for the Hawks, who have a new coach, and are looking to contend for the 10C title this winter. Dutton-Brady, Heart Butte, Power, Simms, Valier and Sunburst will make for a very tough 10C, but the Hawks like their chances. They still have work to do, but they have a shot at emerging as a top program. “We match up well,” Fartorie said. “We still have some things to work on, but teams match up with us well too. We just have to prepare for ev-

ery game. I don’t think there is a clear cut favorite, and it could be anybody’s year. And it could be our year too, especially if we don’t look too far ahead and make sure we prepare for every team like they are No. 1 in the state.” The Hawks open up with Centerville at the Chester/J-I Preseason Tournament in Chester this weekend.

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Beeters poised for a big season Big Sandy girls aiming higher George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

There’s no arguing the success the Chinook girls basketball team and head coach Charlie Robinson have had in the last few years. And there’s no reason to think that success won’t continue this winter. Chinook has reached the Northern C Divisional tournament in two of the last three season, and are poised to do it again. The Sugarbeeters return four starters from last year’s 19-5 squad which won the 9C regular season title and the 9C tournament championship. The Beeters added a fifth-place finish at the Northern C a year ago, and in the last three seasons, have won an astounding 49 games. “I feel we have a great chance to repeat as conference and district champs once again,” Robinson said. “Our goal now is to improve upon the past three years of success at the divisional level and advance to the state tournament and succeed at that tourney as well.” Reaching the Class C state tourney is a lofty goal, but Chinook certainly has a team capable of doing it. The Beeters return senior All-State forward Makhayla Farmer (6-2) to lead the way. Farmer, who’s committed to MSU-Northern next fall, has started every game of her high school career for the Beeters, and has done so leading them in scoring and rebounding. But she also has plenty of talent around her. Senior Emily Dennis, an All-Conference performer a year ago is also back, as is junior All-Conference guard Katelyn Neibauer, who had a strong season a year ago. And Chinook’s talent and depth doesn’t end there.

The Beeters have a big post presence in senior forward Tavin Schneider and senior forward Talya Johnson. Junior guard Hannah Weber and sophomore standout Brooke Nicholson are also back for the Beeters. Both are strong shooters and Nicholson played extensive minutes as a freshman last season. “Our strength is our depth and experience,” Robinson said. “We have four returning starters and a lot of experienced players who have played in the divisional tournament before.” Talent and experience should help the Beeters navigate the 9C again this season. Chinook is the early favorite, but Robinson has coached in the league for a long time and knows anything can, and usually does happen. Still, with all of the firepower the Beeters have this season, Robinson sees an exciting next few months on the horizon for Chinook basketball. “We need to develop our younger players as the season goes on to build more bench strength,” he said. “But the 9C should have some good teams again with Big Sandy, North Star, and Box Elder only losing two players off their teams due to graduation as we did that as well. Our non-conference schedule allows us to have some great competition as well.   “We just want to keep improving as the season progresses, hitting our peak come postseason time,” he continued. “It could be a real exciting year of basketball at Chinook.” The Beeters open their season with games against Power and Stanford-GeyserDenton at the Big Sandy Tournament.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Chinook junior Katelyn Neibauer, left, looks to pass during the 2013 District 9C girls championship game last February in Havre. The Sugarbeeters have been one of the top teams in the 9C in recent years, and figure to be again this season. Once again, the goal for head coach Charlie Robinson's team will be to play in the 9C title game this February. The 9C tourney will be held, as always, at the Havre High gymnasium.

For what must have seemed like forever to the rest of the District 9C, the Big Sandy girls basketball team reigned supreme. But it’s been a while since the Pioneers have sat on the 9C throne. In fact, it’s been five years already since the last Big Sandy girls team reached the Northern C Divisional tournament. Second-year head coach Serena Cator is hoping to change that fact this winter. Big Sandy returns a solid group of talented athletes this season, and the Pioneers, who finished third at the District 9C tournament a year ago, but missed out on reaching the Northern C, will certainly be in the mix for a 9C title this year. “We have great depth this year, we have several girls that can play several positions which makes it nice when we need to sub,” Cator said. “We have a great inside game as well as outside game. The girls are getting into great shape and we'll be looking to push the ball up the floor.” Big Sandy lost two starters from last year’s squad, but the Pioneers certainly have plenty returning, led by a loaded senior class which includes All-Conference standouts Molly Herron and Brooke Leader. Also back for their senior season is stars like Shanya Gilead, Shelby Gasvoda, Kylie Cline, Michelle Maxwell and Kiah Wilson, all of whom have seen extensive varsity experience in the past. The Pioneers’ depth will play a key role too. Juniors

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Big Sandy's Molly Herron, right, brings the ball up during the 2013 9C girls tournament last February in Havre. Herron is part of a stellar group of returnees in Big Sandy, while the Pioneers are hungry to return to the top of 9C. Cheyenne Johnson and Abby Gregory will be in the mix, as will sophomores Alyssa Ostrom, Maddy Reichelt and Cheyenne Pegar. Freshman Callie Fredenburg could also see action this season. And though Cator understands just how tough the 9C is, and with only two spots in the Northern C up for grabs, she still sees her team as a team that can achieve just that. “Just from what I learned

last year, the 9C is tough, and I still believe that it will be just as tough as it was last year, if not tougher,” Cator said. “Last year we focused on my goals as a coach. This year, we are focusing on the teams goals. We expect to make it to divisionals and hopefully to state.” Big Sandy opens the season at home I the Big Sandy Tournament. The Pioneers will play Stanford-GeyserDenton and Roy-Winifred.

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Pioneers ready to reload Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com Over the last decade and more, the Big Sandy Pioneers have turned in some very successful boys basketball seasons, mainly using just the five starters. But the problem the Pioneers may run into this year is that most of those starters have graduated, leaving young and inexperienced players to take over the normally dominant Class C program. “I think we will be competitive,” First-year head coach Ronnie Simpson, a former star for the MSU-Northern Lights said. “We lost a lot of talent over the last couple of years, but we are working each day to get better. “And the offensive and defensive philosophy might be a little different.” Simpson added about replacing veteran head coach Roy Lackner. “But as far as the intensity and the work the athletes put in, it will be comparable. I am hoping to have a part of Roy’s success, he is a hall of fame coach.” Absent from the roster this year will be former starters Kaden Beck, Zac Leader, Trevor Lackner and Jesse Bailey. Jerry Hanson, an AllConference performer from a year ago, will return as the only Pioneer with starting experience, while Kyle Strutz returns as the only other Pioneer with much of any varsity experience. Strutz is currently out after suffering

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Big Sandy's Jerry Hanson brings the ball up during the 2013 District 9C boys championship game last February in Havre. Hanson is the lone returning starter from a Pioneers' team which went to the Class C state tournament last season. an ACL injury during football, but could return late in the season. Filling those gaping holes will not be easy for first year head coach Ronnie Simpson, especially if the Pioneers hope to get back to the state tournament like they did a season ago. Some new players expected to step up on varsity include freshman Lawrence Alderdice and junior Cody Bailey. Last year the Pioneers were the No. 2 seed heading into the 9C tournament and advanced to the Northern C as the No. 2 seed after losing to Box Elder in the chipper, but holding on for a win over Chinook in the challenge

game. The Pioneers also upset Highwood in the Northern C challenge game to make it to the Class C state tournament where they went 1-2, ending their season and finishing with a record of 17-12 overall. If the Pioneers can’t find a way to replace their scoring inside (Beck and Leader) and their scoring from outside (Lackner and Bailey), Big Sandy could find themselves in a rebuilding year. Big Sandy opens the season with the two-day Big Sandy Preseason Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Big Sandy.

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HLP boys know they T-Birds have a new coach Chinook boys have talent, but a new style can contend in the 9C George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com Hays-Lodge Pole continues to stay relevant in the District 9C boys basketball ranks, but the Thunderbirds are still looking for the edge necessary to take the program back to the next level. Last season, a 5-5 conference record left the Thunderbirds in the middle of the district pack, but they failed to advance to the Northern C tournament for yet another season. But playing the 20132014 season with a group of very good returning players, the Thunderbirds will look to build off of what they were able to accomplish last season. And while Box Elder is getting all of the talk as an early 9c favorite, the Thunderbirds

know they too will be tough. “We are going to be very competitive this year in the 9C,” Head coach Charlie Ereaux said. “We will be right up there with Box Elder, you can’t count us out.” A year ago, Hays-Lodge Pole returned just one varsity starter. But this year HLP has four returning players that could lead the way to a very solid season. Jaylyn Brockie graduated and took his 6-8 size with him, but returning guards Evan Horn, Sterling White Cow, Cody Kirkaldie, and Darnell Parisian give the team a lot of quickness and athleticism outside and on defense. The rest of the 9C also lacks a lot of size this season, setting the stage for the Thunderbirds to have a big advantage. Keenan Stiffarm and Nate Doney will give the Thunderbirds a pres-

ence inside on both sides of the court, and that could lead a standout season. “Our size is definitely going to be and advantage and probably our biggest strength,” Ereaux said. “But everybody still has to play, bigs and guards. We have to crash the boards and box out hard. We are looking to limit teams to one opportunity on offense and that is it. With this talented group of returning varsity players the Thunderbirds could break through to the next level and extend their post season past the 9C tournament in Havre. Hays-Lodge Pole will start the regular season at the annual Native American Classic at the MSU-N Armory Gymnasium in Havre. The Thunderbirds will face Kainia (Canada) and Harlem to open the new season.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Hays-Lodge Pole's Sterling White Cow, left, is one of many talented players on this year's Thunderbird squad, which is led by veteran head coach Charlie Ereaux.

Last season, the HaysLodge Pole girls were a basketball team on the verge. HLP was stacked with talent and size, but the Thunderbirds came up just short at the District 9C tournament. Now, with a new head coach, and having to replace its two leading scorers, including a Class C All-State standout, HLP might be in for a rebuilding season. Shakayla White Cow, who led the 9C in scoring the last two seasons, graduated, along with Kallie Martin, and that leaves some big holes to fill for new head coach Charla Brown. However, HLP does return a few key parts from last year’s team, including 6-1 forward Chasanna Doney and 5-9 forward Brandie Kirkaldie. Pauline Siers, a 5-5 senior guard is also back for the T-Birds, and she was HLP’s third-leading scorer a year ago. And while the T-Birds have some talent and they do have size, which is a big advantage in the 9C, they will still have to contend with a rigorous schedule, which includes 9C stalwarts Chinook, North Star and Big Sandy. Still, HLP always seems to

Beeters should be right in the mix in the 9C race this winter Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

peak come tournament time, and don’t be surprised if the T-Birds are ready to make some noise come February in Havre. The T-Birds open the season with two games at this weekend’s Native American Classic in Havre.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Hays-Lodge Pole's Pauline Siers, right, looks to shoot during a District 9C girls loser-out game last February in Havre. The Thunderbirds will have size and athleticism for new head coach Charla Brown.

Losing players to graduation is something most teams have to deal with every year. But in the District 9C ranks, a true post player has been hard to come by in recent years, and the Chinook Sugarbeeters may feel the effects of those graduated players, invluding a dominat post, more than some. The Beeters have been near the top of the District 9C basketball ranks for some time now. And size down low has been a strength for the Beeters for the last half of a decade. But with Grant Tilleman now out of the Beeters’ lineup, the Chinook inside-out style may take a hit. Chinook also lost a key scorer in Dylan Surber from last year's team, as well as a few other key members of a team which played in several dramatic games at the 9C tournament last February in Havre. “That definitely changes what we do,” Head coach Mike Seymour said. “One way or the other, the ball still has to go inside, but without that height and without Grant’s strength and brute size, we have to play a little different. I think everybody has to step up this year, just one kid can’t step up, everybody and every area of our game has to improve. “This is a new year,” Seymour added. “A new season, and we have new players. That is what we are focused on, and we have to take this season game by game. We don’t have an easy schedule and every game is going to be a tough game for us, but that is what we need before the post season.” Last year, the Beeters finished the regular season 10-8 overall and 5-5 in the district ranks. And after an up-and-down 9C tournament, the Beeters’, who were an early favorite, ended the season with a heartbreaking loss to Big Sandy in a challenge game. Returning guards Zach Molyneaux and Lane Seymour will highlight the team this season, and both return after All-Conference honors a year ago. But Ty Simonson also saw decent minutes last year, and will join Jake Diemert and Jacob McLain as returning players. But without Tilleman’s size inside, the Chinook guards know they have quite the load to carry, especially facing a balanced field.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Chinook senior Zach Molyneaux looks to shoot during the 2013 District 9C boys basketball tournament last February in Havre. The Sugarbeeters have been in the top three in the 9C for the last four years, but they lost several key components from last year's team, which finished one win shy of reaching the Northern C Divisional tournament in Great Falls.

“I think Box Elder is the frontrunner and after that it is wide open,” Coach Seymour said. “The other teams are fairly close, and it is going to be a great season in the 9C.” Chinook will open the new season with two games at the Big Sandy Tournament. As always, the Beeters play a tough nonconference schedule.

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December 14th December 20th December 21st January 10th January 18th January 24th January 25th February 1st February 14th-15th

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Havre ~ 12:00 p.m. Great Falls ~ 4:00 p.m. Great Falls ~ 12:00 p.m. Class "A" Meet ~ Hardin ~ 1:00 p.m. CMR/Great Falls ~ Great Falls ~ 12:00 p.m. Great Falls ~ 4:00 p.m. Missoula Helena STATE ~ Butte

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com When the high school swimming season began, there was something noticeably different about the Havre High boys and girls swim teams as they practiced inside the Havre Community Pool. For the first time in two decades, legendary head coach Chris Inman isn't there…at least not coaching the Blue Ponies. After one of the most successful runs in MHSA history, Inman retired last spring, and is replaced by new head coach Jill Cammon. Cammon moved to Havre four years ago and has been coaching the Lions Swim Team for the last year. Now Cammon moves into the role as HHS head coach, and she takes over a relatively young and inexperienced Blue Pony program. And that's why Cammon says, at the beginning, and for much of the season, her boys and girls teams are working on skill and technique. Overall, because we have pretty young teams, the goal right away is to just develop the kids as swimmers," Cammon said. "So that we can be more competitive in years to come. That's not to say we won't be competitive this season. We have some very good swimmers in different areas, but we have so many young swimmer, and new swimmers, that we really need to work hard on their swimming skills right now." Both Blue Pony teams finished behind Billings Central at the Class A state meet last February, and the Rams are expected to once again be the

premier swimming power in Montana this winter. Meanwhile, the HHS girls, while still young, do return a solid core group of swimmers, and the Ponies will also have good depth with 18 girls on the roster. Leading the Pony girls this season will be Hannah Pepprock, Mackenna Barkus, Morgan Jappe, Leiza Reighard, Jackie Martin, Alara Vogel and Megan Smith, all of whom have a wealth of experience as varsity swimmers. Also expected to contribute right away are the likes of sophomores Lita Cammon and Rachel David, as well as Chinook's Aubri McCann, along with junior Jayden Korb. Coach Cammon also has a host of other swimmers in which she will help develop this season, including sisters Megan and Sarah Malone, Adrian Miller, Carleigh Rennick and Jaryn Winchell. "We don't have a lot of returning seniors on the girls team, but we have a lot of strong returning swimmers," Cammon said. "I think we have a lot of depth on the girls team, and hopefully, we can find the right places for different girls and put together some strong relay teams, and they can have a good season. "And while we don't have a big senior class," she added. "We have a lot of young swimmers who are ready to take off and show us what they've got this season, and I'm excited about that." The HHS boys team doesn't have the numbers the girls have, as graduation hit a talented Blue Pony squad hard last spring. Still, Cammon is excited about the boys that are out, led by junior Ben Sie-

gel. "The interesting part about the boys team is, we only have one returning boy who swam last year," she said. "Ben Siegel is a really strong swimmer, especially in the freestyle races. But we're going to have him be an all-around swimmer this year because we need him to be. "Our boys team will be very young this season," she added. "But we have kids who are working very hard right now." Joining Siegel on the HHS squad will be Sundance Lodge and senior exchange student Tomasso Perrone. After that, the Ponies will be young and new, with Clayton Twomble, Shandon Oberquell, Jimmy May, Logan Gardner, Kai Duque, Zach Barnes and Kyle Duitsman rounding out the roster. But even though the Ponies are young in the pool this season, and will compete against tough competition like Great Falls High and CMR, as well as Billings Central and Hardin all season long, Cammon is excited about the team, and excited to see what all her swimmers can do this winter. "I'm optimistic," she said. "But we understand we have a lot of really new swimmers, and we're a young team so it's going to take time to develop. "But the kids are working really hard and they are excited," she added. "We want to make sure we have a good season for the seniors and our goal is just to continue to develop as the season goes along." The Pony swim teams start their season at home, as they host the 2013 Havre Invitational Saturday at the Havre Community Pool.

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Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Morgan Jappe swims the breaststroke during the 2013 Class A Invite last January in Havre. The Blue Pony swim teams have a new head coach this season in Jill Cammon.

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Wildcats, Beeters will be tough again Daniel Horton Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com

It's a new era for Havre swim teams George Ferguson

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With another wrestling season gearing up, the Chinook and Harlem programs are sure to produce some of the top wrestlers in the state. In Chinook, the Sugarbeeters have 12 grapplers on the roster this season, including six returning standouts. But with no seniors on the team, a solid performance this year should mean a talented future as well. Donovan Moon leads the way in Chinook, and is coming off of a fifth-place finish at state at 98 pounds last year. Moon will wrestle up this season, but Jake Norby, Jesse Daniel, Kenny Pruttis, Kevin Young, and Flint Brewer also return for veteran head coach Perry Miller. Norby also placed in the top eight at state last season. “We are very heavily laden with freshmen and sophomores this year,” Miller said. “But even though they are freshman and sophomores, they have a lot of mat time, and that is a good thing. But all of our guys are looking good right now. One thing about a wrestling room, it is a team sport, but individually you are the only one that can make the difference. We are really pleased with the attitude and intensity in the room right now.” Freshman Dalton Niederegger, Wiley Sw-

enson, and Raja Singh also join the team, while sophomore Alexander Rimkus and sophomore Gage Haugen will also play major roles. Down the road in Harlem, the defending divisional champion Wildcats will also house a very talented roster for the Class B-C ranks. Thirteen individuals make up the roster this season, including seniors Gus Taylor and Cody Blackcrow. Shay Snider, Teague Jones, and Seth Adams also return after appearing in the state championships, as do state qualifying wrestlers Denton Cornell (Divisional Runner-up), Brenden Johnson (Divisional Champion), and T’Jay Allen (Divisional Runner-up). Trent Noel, Colten Stiffarm, John Bell, Franki Taylor, and Kevin Hawley also return, while freshman Tyus Hammett and Challence Jackson join the Wildcats. “The boys have been working very hard and seem to be ahead of schedule compared to other years,” Head Coach Lyle Faulkinberry said. “We have eight upperclassmen in the room and only five underclassmen so that changes your approach in the preparation in the room. It will take a lot of hard work and some of lady luck to win the (divisional) title again. There are some extremely tough teams in the Northern division again this year with Cut Bank, Chinook, and Conrad.” Both Harlem and Chinook will be contenders again in the Northern B-C come February.

HHS Girls: Blue Ponies will be very good, again ■ From Page 8 challenge from start to finish. This season the Ponies will face Malta, CMR, Great Falls High, Conrad, Rocky Boy and Fairfield in nonconference play. Mix those games in with the contests against the rest of the Central A, and the Ponies will see not breaks in the competition clear through the state tournament. “I think the league will actually be tighter this year than what it has been, but we love our kids and like our chances,” Kraske said. “And we tweaked our schedule a bit to add teams like Fairfield. But with Malta, Conrad, and Fairfield those are tough games, then you add Class AA CMR and Great Falls High. We also have our league games, so this could be a situation where we are playing the best teams we have ever played consistently every weekend. Some years we have a team on our schedule where it doesn’t matter how we play, we could beat them, but we don’t have that. We will have our hands full with a challenging schedule.” Success is something the Ponies have grown accustom to, and that goes for this season as well.

HHS has been to the state tournament six out of the last seven years, and continues to find a way to earn double digit wins each season. Two years ago the Ponies finished with 11 wins, while last year the Ponies put up 14. The Ponies are also looking for a third consecutive Central A

regular season and tournament championship as they open the season with one road game and one home game. Friday the Ponies will host Class B Malta at the Havre High gymnasium. And on Saturday the Ponies will take to the road to face the Class AA CMR Rustlers.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Morgan Mazurkiewicz and the Havre High girls are the two-time defending Central A champions.

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Harlem's Seth Adams, right, competes at the 2013 Class B-C state tournament last February in Billings. The Wildcats are the defending Northern B-C champions and are poised for a big season on the mat.

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Chinook (JV) ~ Chinook Mining City Duals ~ Butte Glasgow (JV) Invite ~ Glasgow Fergus/Great Falls ~ Havre ~ 5:00 p.m. CMR Holiday Classic ~ Great Falls Great Falls High (JV) ~ Great Falls Bozeman Invite ~ Bozeman Cut Bank Invite ~ Cut Bank Missoula Invite ~ Missoula Chinook (JV) ~ Chinook Class "A" Duals ~ Lewistown ~ 1:00 p.m. CMR ~ Great Falls ~ 5:00 p.m. / 6:30 p.m. Conrad ~ Conrad ~ 6:00 p.m. Malta ~ Malta DIVISIONALS ~ Browning STATE ~ Billings

Ponies out to defend Class A state title Daniel Horton

Havre Daily News sports writer gferguson@havredailynews.com It is not every year that a high school wrestling program can win a state championship, then turn around a year later and return most of its grapplers. That however, is the fortunate situation the Havre Blue Ponies find themselves in as they gear up for what will most likely be another dominating season. The story of the Blue Pony dynasty continues to be written. And as this season is just getting underway, the Ponies are looking to capture their second consecutive Class A state title. A year ago, the Ponies captured both the Central A and Class A state wrestling titles. They also had 11 individuals place at state, including two individual champions. The Ponies lost just two seniors from a year ago, a rarity at any level, meaning the expectations for this season are very high for veteran head coach Scott Filius’ talented team. HHS graduated state champ Grant Pattison (189) and Gilbert Bara. “I would think that since most of these kids have been around the program and have found a lot of success that the expectations would be high,” Filius said. “We typically lose more than just a couple of kids, but we really have a good crew back this year.

And the nice part about this crew is that they are working really hard, and I don’t care if you are talented or not, if you don’t work hard then you don’t have the success. They are all working hard and have good backgrounds, so we expect a lot out of them.” The key returners for the HHS squad include Grayson Brenna, Tyler Adams, Keegan Kennelly, Jace Billy, Dylan Stewart, Kody Pribyl, Logan Pleninger, Thomas Gruber and Travis Adams. The entire group of returners placed in the top six at state a season ago, while Brenna was a state champion last year, and Tyler Adams and Kennelly both finished second. Billy, Stewart and Pribyl all took third place a year ago. Gunnar Aageson, Jordan Schroeder, Jason Kohler, Jake Williams and Dustin Odegard also highlight the returning wrestlers, and all wrestled at the state meet last season. “We will be competitive,” Filius said. “We are going to have a few freshman in the lineup, but I have had all of these kids for a while, so I know they will all compete, I am confident in that. From top to bottom we have kids that will give great effort. “We have had some new guys stepping up already,” Filius added. “But what I really like is our freshmen class. We have some middle guys, little guys, and a couple

of big guys, so we are pleased with that.” Jase Stokes, Parker Filius, and Dane Flammond should lead what is a talented freshmen class. They have a ton of mat time already in their young careers and have shown they should be able to perform at the varsity level right away. But freshmen or seasoned veterans, the HHS schedule proves to be a test for any level of wrestler. Havre always wrestles a tough schedule and it started this winter with the annual Havre Invitational. The Ponies will also hit several major duals and tournaments before divisionals and state. Major dates will include the Mining City Duals, the CMR Holiday Classic, the Bozeman Invite,, and the Missoula Invitational Jan. 1718. The Ponies will also host Lewistown and Great Falls High Dec. 17 for their only other home matches. Divisionals will be in Browning on Feb. 8 and state will be in Billings Feb. 14-15. And the tougher the competition the better, for this Pony team that knows they will only get better as the season progresses. “The bottom line is that the competition brings the cream to the top,” coach Filius said, “So the faster we get into some competition, the quicker we can improve. find out how tough we really are.”

Havre Daily News/Daniel Horton Havre High's Grayson Brenna, left, is a defending Class A state champion, as is his Blue Pony team. The Ponies are already underway this season.


Area High School Winter Sports 2013-2014