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Butte Central Mixer - Butte 6:00 p.m. Mining City Duals - Butte CMR Holiday Classic - Great Falls Great Falls (JV) - Great Falls Lewistown/Glendive/Sidney - Sidney 1:00 p.m. Cut Bank Invite - Cut Bank Cut Bank Invite (JV) - Cut Bank Missoula Invite - Missoula John Fisher (JV) - Missoula Glasgow - Havre Class "A" Duals - Lewistown 1:00 p.m. Malta - Malta Divisionals - Lewistown State - Billings

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Havre Blue Pony wrestling ready to stay among Class A's elite this year Ponies' numbers down, but Havre still has plenty of firepower on the mat this winter

Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com The winter sports season is back in Havre and that includes one of the most physical sports out there, wrestling. Once again, the return of the Havre High wrestling team is here and the Ponies are ready to make some noise out on the mat. Last year went pretty well for the Ponies. HHS finished in second place at the state meet behind Sidney. While the second-place finish may not have been the end goal Havre had in mind, the team was quite a distance ahead in score from the teams behind them. Now, HHS second-year head coach Beau LaSalle is ready for his team to hit the mat once more. “I’m excited,” said LaSalle. “We got a little bit of a younger team than we had in the past, and I’m excited to see what these guys can do.” The Blue Pony grapplers graduated quite the senior class last year, including but not limited to, Lane Paulson, four-time state champion Martin Wilkie, Austin Ratliff and Taylor Gopher. Now, many returning members of last year’s squad are ready for more. The HHS returners include 103-pound state champion Mick Chagnon, AllStater Connor Harris, All-Stater Cameron Pleninger, Riley Pleninger, Kendall Pleninger, All-Stater Orion Thivierge, Randy Tommerup, Hunter Stadel, Hunter Velk, Wyatt Hansen, Jayce Jensen and Dominick Perkins. Newcomers to the mat will be freshmen Kyle Van Campen, Justin Rosette and Cole Adams. Havre will also challenge itself with a tough schedule. There is a lot of exciting competition this year for Havre. The Ponies opened their season at home with the Havre Invite. On top of that, the tough schedule will include the return of the CMR Holiday Classic, one of the more challenging meets in the state. Havre also attends the tough Cut Bank Invite, the Missoula Invite and the Class A Duals. With the last season ending on a good

note, there is a lot of anticipation to be back out on the mat and LaSalle knows what his team must do to succeed this year. “Biggest thing for us to succeed is to keep working hard every day and staying healthy,” LaSalle said. “Our numbers are a little bit down, so keeping everybody

healthy throughout the season will be a big key for us.” The Blue Ponies will once again be among the Class A's top teams. Sidney is a heavy favorite again this season, while Havre, Lewistown and Laurel will be stalwarts out of the Eastern A, and Polson and Frenchtown are expected to be top teams from the Western A.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High's Cameron Pleninger, top, wrestles in the state championship match last February in Billings. The Blue Pony wrestling team is short on numbers this season, but Havre should still be one of the best teams in all of Class A wrestling.


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Havre - 12:00 p.m. Great Falls - 4:30 p.m. Great Falls - 12:00 p.m. Class "A" Meet - Hardin - 1:00 p.m. Bozeman - TBD Great Falls - TBD Great Falls - TBD Butte - 11:00 a.m. Missoula Open State - Great Falls

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WINTER SPORTS

Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre High swim teams should be fast again

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com

Ladies and gentlemen, they are back. The Box Elder High girls basketball team is roaring and ready to go another year. After earning back-to-back Class C state championships last season, the Bears are excited to step back on the court and dominate once more. However, there will be a lot of changes to the Bears this coming season. The past two years have been nothing short of magical for Box Elder and to emulate that success once more would make a sure mark on Hi-Line sports history. Under new head coach Jerome Gopher, who takes over for longtime head man Joel Rosette, the Bears are looking to climb their way back to the top. Gopher is excited for his first year and another shot at the state

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson After winning back-to-back Class C state titles, Sarah Parisian, right, and a younger Box Elder team will have a lot of newness to it this winter.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Senior Morgan Flammond and the Havre High boys and girls swim teams are fired up for a brand new season. The season starts at the Havre Community Pool with the annual Havre Invitational.

derclassmen are Megan Miller, Nina Flores, Blakelee Lines and Taliya Manual, while junior Kobi Burchard is a top returning swimmer in Class A. The Class A swim spectrum is full of tough teams like Billings Central, Hardin, Columbia Falls and Whitefish, to name a few. The Ponies will also get to test themselves against not just Class A, but also to the Top AA competition all season long. Havre will have meets in Great Falls, Boze-

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Blue Pony swimmers Box Elder girls entering a new era excited to jump in the water for a brand new season

Aarron Thompson

With December here, winter sports are upon us, and that means swimming. And the Havre High swim team is ready to dive into a new season. Last year, the HHS boys team tied with Billings Central for the Class A state championship with 63 points, while the Pony girls team placed fifth with 19 points in Class A. It was a good season for the Blue Ponies and now, the teams look toward the 2019-2020 year. This season, the teams are excited to get back into the pool and so is HHS head coach Bill Kilgore. “I’m always excited to get to work with a new group of kids,” said Kilgore. “We graduated a lot of kids last year and have lots of newbies this year. I look forward to teaching this group of swimmers how to compete in every aspect of the word.  We are going to win, and we are going to lose, but there are lessons to be learned in both situations. I look forward to coaching them through every aspect and teaching them how to learn from each situation. Along the way, I expect us to get more resilient, tougher and harder to beat as a team.” The Pony teams have a decent handful of returning swimmers. For the boys team, seniors Jacob Miller and Troy Powell will be the leadership of the team, while underclassmen Riley Klein and Hiram Cammon will be back, too. For the newcomers, who are the lifeblood of the program at Havre, Riley Kilgore plans to be a nice addition to the very green boys’ team. On the HHS girls team, seniors Katelyn Maloughney, Carsyn Vogel, Morgan Flammond, Angela Rhines and Tori Messineo are all back to lead the way. The returning un-

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man, Missoula and Butte, as well. There is a lot of diversity among Class A and the Ponies will aim to reach new heights this season. Though the competition will be fiercely competitive, Kilgore always reminds himself and the team members of what should be key in this year’s season. “I want the kids to have fun,” Kilgore said. “Nobody is earning a living on this swim team, and I believe that the swim-

mers should just have fun while learning a few life lessons. If we have fun, compete and learn how to deal with victory and defeat in a mature manner, then I will consider the season a success.” And with that, the Havre swim season is right around the corner and the teams will start of the year with the annual Havre Invite. The Ponies also host the annual Class A Invite in Janury. The state meet is set for Feb. 14-15 in Great Falls.

championship, with his team looking quite good once more as the season approaches. “We have a young team,” said Gopher. “But the senior leadership is what’s going to help us win games. This year, that leadership is really helping the younger girls just learn the system and everything.” Box Elder may have a younger squad, but the roster is still made up of some great talent. Senior Sarah Parisian will play a key role in bringing the other girls into the state that the team will need to be in this year. Other players like Zayna Henderson, Annalise Johnson, Maia Henderson, Farrell Top Sky, Aysia LaMere and Makayla Kelly will aim to help the team reach a high standard. Parisian had a role in the Bears’ back-to-back championships, and now as a senior her skills are a major factor in the team’s goal to make it back to the top. She has made a name for herself among the Class C spectrum and to be back on the court will be exciting for her. Gopher is happy to have Parisian leading the squad and finds her to be a key element in the team’s work, especially considering the firepower the Bears lost from last year’s team.

“She had key roles in those two teams,” said Gopher. “Last year, she was starting and having Sarah there really helps them learn and pick it up easier.” Box Elder graduated a star player in Lilly Gopher last season, who left her mark on the program. She was a major key in the state championships that the Bears had and will be missed this year. Even so, the team in the 2019-2020 season has a lot to look forward to. But Parisian and the other girls will have a tough conference to face, as always. The 9C district is a difficult one to overcome and every team is hungry for a spot at the top. With teams like Chinook, Turner, North Star and Big Sandy in the path, Box Elder will have to get through each of them and more to stand back on top. The expectations for the Bears are high, but the team is ready for another shot at making some more noise. After all, a three-peat by Box Elder would be something that would rock the Class C world. Keep an eye out for the Bears because they will be ready to give it their all once again. The Bears opened their season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.


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T-Birds hope to still fly HLP girls look to be on the rise high after last year's magical run to state Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com

A new season has arrived for the Hays-Lodge Pole girls basketball team and with it comes another chance to improve. The Thunderbirds had a better season last year than previous years, including a win at districts. Now, HLP is excited to step back onto the court and compete once more in the Class C spectrum. Thunderbird's head coach Corey Morgan is happy with last years’ improvement but is ready to take advantage of the 2019-2020 season alongside his team. “We’re pretty excited,” Morgan said. “Of course, like every team, we’re shooting for first. Our realistic goal

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Another year on the hardwood is here and so is the Hays-Lodge Pole High boys basketball team. There has been some incredible highs for the Thunderbirds in recent years, including making it to the state tourney last season, and the team is excited to change things up. It has been a great summer for HLP and now the team will get to prove how hard it has worked. Thunderbirds head coach Derrick Shambo is ready for his team to step out onto the court once again. “We’re going to be young and scrappy,” Shambo said. “We’ll be quick and our strength will be our quickness. We don’t have much for height, so we’ll have to make up with our pressure and our press. Once we get some more games under our belt, I think we’ll settle into our roles and positions. This is basically a new team I’m starting over with. We’ll still be competitve.” HLP has no returning starters on the team, but there are six returning players. Siris Grandchamp, Wyman Bringing Good, Deshon Shambo, Tyshawn Shambo, Estevan Granados and Lane Kirkaldie are the returning members, along with others like Ethan Werk. The young team has a lot of excitement for the year. The Thunderbirds, as always, will have a very tough

this year is to be top three in our conference.” The team may have lost two seniors, but HLP will have four of five starters from last year returning, with its only senior this season being standout Muleeah Stiffarm. Other returners include Tahtianna Morgan and Cassidy Perez. There is a lot of excitement that most of the team will be back for another year. And as always, the Thunderbirds will be up against some tough opponents within the 9C district. Many teams like Chinook, Turner, North Star and Box Elder will be obstacles in HLP’s climb to the top three. But there has been some big improvements on the team in recent years and the anticipation to prove how much the team has grown is very present.

To make it to the top three is easier said than done in the 9C, but Morgan has key aspects that he will be looking for in his team to reach their goal. “Our keys are working on protecting our defense,” Morgan said. “And fix our focus a lot on transition. I think we’re able to do that. Teamwork is the biggest thing I’ve been preaching so far this season — a lot of teamwork.” There is a lot to look forward to when it comes to the Thunderbirds’ upcoming season. With the majority of last years’ squad back on the court again and a great look for the teams’ future, it will be a year for HLP to work hard and make some noise. The T-Birds opened their season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Wyman Bringing Good returns to a Hays-Lodge Pole boys team that reached the Class C state tournament last season, but then lost all five starters to graduation. schedule in the 9C district. Teams like Chinook, Fort Benton, Big Sandy, Turner, Chester-Joplin-Inverness, North Star and Box Elder will all be fighting for a top spot this year. For HLP, it will not be easy to get to the top, but it is not impossible. When it comes to the challenging season, Shambo has some key elements that can help his players stay ahead in the race to the top. “If we stay on the same page, support and cheer for each other, we’ll go a long

way,” Shambo said. “These kids are trying to celebrate each other’s success. We’ve been trying to emphasize that at practice. This is probably one of the most vocal teams I’ve had in practice and these kids are good.” It is a big stage in the 9C district and HLP will be hungry to make some noise. There will be lot to look forward to this year for the Thunderbirds and it all starts with the season opener, where they will look to set a good tone right away.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Hays-Lodge Pole's Tahtianna Morgan, right, is part of a stellar group of returning Thunderbirds. After wining a game at the 9C tournament last season, HLP has its sights set on even more success this winter.

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Beeters are back for more Youthful Chinook girls still

aiming high this season

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Last season was a big one for the Chinook High boys basketball team. The Sugarbeeters owned the District 9C, won the Northern C and went back to state for the first time in decades. This year, Chinook aims to repeat the great year and go above it. When the team goes 25-2, wins the district tournament championship for a second year, wins the divisional tourney and wins in the quarterfinal game at state, it is a pretty big deal. Head coach Mike Seymour, who has been with Chinook for nine years, is excited for his team to go out and play once more. “I think the team’s been working very hard,” Seymour said. “We’re getting good leadership out of our lone senior, which is Hunter Neibauer. We’re not the same team we were last year. Anytime you lose six seniors, especially when you have two all-state players, there’s some changes to be made. We’re back in the gym and getting better after every practice to compete.” The Beeters may have graduated six seniors, but the team still carries some great talent on the court. Neibauer will have a big role in this year’s climb to try making it to the top once more, but he is aided by players like Ethan Bell, Damon Hannum, Braden Eoff, Benton Elliot and Toby Niederegger. On top of that, other teammates like star center Reese Elliot, Ethan MacLeod, Oskar Pula and Hunter Molyneaux will help make the Beeters better, too. There is a lot of anticipation to live up to expectations this year and Chinook is poised to step up to the challenge. Of course, that goal is always easier said than done when it comes to the 9C dis-

Mike Jones is Chinook's new head coach George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

A year ago, the Chinook girls basketball team was loaded with senior talent. But, as often is the case, graduation can hit a team hard and it did last year. Chinook lost standouts Megan Molyneaux, Kourtney Hanson, Lincy Johnson, Rachel Gunderson and Ash-

ley MacLeod to graduation, with Hanson and Molyneaux being four-year varsity players. So, it would stand to reason that this season, under new head coach Mike Jones, who is also Chinook's football coach, the Sugarbeeters will have their struggles. But the cupboard isn’t bare in Chinook, and after an outstanding volleyball season, Chinook is hoping to do the same in basketball. Jones’ team returns some standouts in Delaney Kellam, Ginger Hauer and Lily Surber, who all saw extensive playing time a season ago. Jayden Miller and Al-

lison Powell will also be expected to step up for the young Chinook squad, which doesn’t have a returning senior on the roster. And while Chinook is talented, being young is not easy in the District 9C. Defending 9C champion Fort Benton returns a loaded roster, while North Star will be a dangerous team this winter, and Box Elder can’t be counted out, and neither can Turner. Hays-Lodge Pole and Chester-Joplin-Inverness could be much-improved this season as well. The 2020 9C tourney will be held at the Havre High gymnasium in February.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Reese Elliot is part of a talented Chinook boys team that enters the 2019-2020 season fresh off one of the most successful years in Sugarbeeter history. The Beeters won the 9C and Northern C titles a year ago, and will contenders to do so again. trict. Teams like Box Elder, Big Sandy and Fort Benton are all looking to disrupt the Beeters’ plans to make it back on top of the district. The 9C is a tough conference to be in, but the teams that come out on top are definitely considered a difficult team to best. Even so, Seymour has his team focused on some key aspects that can lead them back to a top spot. “On the defensive end, we’ve got to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the basketball,” Seymour

said, “and have the defense get us some easy transition baskets. I think that we need to stay healthy, and we’ve got some younger kids with only one senior. My juniors and sophomores are going to need to step up a little bit and grow up quick.” The season is almost here for Chinook and there will be a lot of eyes on them to see if the team can emulate last year’s success. It will be a tough road back to the top, but the Beeters have a lot of promise to do it again.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Ginger Hauer, left, is a key returning player for a Chinook team under the direction of new head coach Mike Jones. Chinook will be young this season, but the Sugarbeeters still have plenty of talented athletes.


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Young Stars ready Morning Stars hoping to rise up yet again to shine bright again George Ferguson

Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports editor

Havre Daily News sports

WINTER SPORTS

Big Sandy boys poised for a big hoops season

gferguson@havredailynews.com

gferguson@havredailynews.com The Class B basketball season is back in action and the many teams within it are ready to get back on the hardwood for a chance at the title. It is always an exciting season in the Class B spectrum and there is sure to be some heated competition once more. Among the competition is the Rocky Boy boys basketball team, who after making a great run in the postseason last year, are ready for another shot at the title. There is never a dull moment for the Stars and another season comes with a lot of excitement. Rocky Boy head coach Adam Demontiney, who is glad to be back on the court with his team, is excited for another seson. “We’re young,” said Demontiney. “We’ll be pretty fast. We don’t have much size, so we have to use our quickness to our advantage and playing in the 1B is going to be pretty tough being undersized. I think we’re going to take some lumps early on, but I think we’ll learn from them and we should be ready to go come February tournament time.” The Stars are made up of a variety of players. Only one senior, Blake Cantrell, will play a big role for the team, along with the only junior, Devin Johnson. There is a decent-sized sophomore class made up of Ben Crebs, Joe Demontiney, Sean Gibson, Isiah Limberhand, Tip Baker and Sarinas Mithlo, while the freshmen on the

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Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Joe Demontiney is a young returner for the Rocky Boy Stars, who once again went deep into the Class B state tournament last season. squad are Jo Jo Standing Rock, Kellen Colliflower and Keenan Gopher. With a young team, there will be a lot of growing that will happen and definitely some great experiences alongside it, esocaiclly in the 1B district. With teams like Choteau, Fairfield, Shelby, Conrad and Cut Bank in the mix, there is bound to be many trials for Rocky Boy. Even so, Demontiney has some key factors that can give his young team a boost in the coming year. “Just staying positive and having positive attitudes,” said Demontiney. “They’re

young and they have some meltdowns, so just having positive attitudes and being ready to go each game — not looking at anybody and just staying positive.” The Stars will aim to align quickly and come out on top in the tough 1B district. It is certain that the year will test the boys, but it will make them stronger going forward, as well. As the season continues, Rocky Boy will look to find the force that propelled them through the postseason last year. Rocky Boy opened the season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

Class B winter sports are back and that means that Rocky Boy girls basketball is excited for another year in the court. Last year was rough for the Morning Stars, who ended the season with a 3-15 record and were knocked out of the postseason by Choteau in a 50-38 loss. This year, Rocky Boy will look to get back on the hardwood and give it everything they have to win. Stars head coach Dwyane Gopher and his team will have a bit of a difficult season on their hands this year, too. After all, Rocky Boy plays in the hardest district in Class B. The 1B district contains challenging teams like Choteau, Fairfield, Conrad and Shelby, who will all be ready to fight for the top spot in the district. Class B in general is tough on its own, so having

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com Both the Chinook and Harlem wrestling programs have a long and storied tradition, and that's because they are both led by great head coaches. Recently though, both teams have struggled with numbers. Last year, Harlem tied for 26th with Bigfork and Three Forks at state, while Chinook finished second in Class C, but scored just five points overall. It was not the best year for both teams, but the 2019-2020 season has a lot of potential to give the teams a boost.

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Pioneers should be improved George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com It’s been a long time since the Big Sandy Pioneers ruled District 9C girls basketball. But, make no mistake, for a long time the Big Sandy girls were the 9C. Recently though, Big Sandy has been through rough times, having gone seasons without winning a conference game, and the annual 9C tourney in Havre hasn’t been much fun for the Pioneers either. Still, Big Sandy has a proud

basketball tradition, and the Pioneer girls program is trying its best to return to glory. While the Pioneer will be an underdog team again this season, they will be a team with talent and finally, some veteran experience. Big Sandy graduated just two players a year ago, and return four starting seniors. Amanda Cline, Stacey Allderdice, Lainey Gregory and Seanna Demontiney have been longtime standouts for the Pioneers, and they form a strong nucleus. Big Sandy will also have

young talent to mix with the veterans. Laynee Ophus saw extensive playing time as an eighth-grader a season ago, while fellow freshmen Caydence Pleninger, and Mattie and Amy Gasvoda also played high school basketball a season ago. And, even though the 9C is still a district with starstudded teams like Fort Benton, North Star, Box Elder and Turner, with what the Pioneers return, don’t be surprised of they make more noise in the 9C than they have in a long, long time.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Sasha Coffee, right, and the Rocky Boy Morning Stars should have a much more successful season this winter.

a district that becomes difficult to find footing in if a team is not careful can be even harder. But, Rocky Boy has been known to persevere in tougher times, especially in basketball. In the end, the team will be striving to do better and is most likely anxious to

be back on the hardwood another year. The Morning Stars will be led by the trio of Sasha Coffee, Kirsten Lamere and Jaynah Gopher, all who started last year. So there's no reason to think that Rocky Boy won't be much-improved this winter.

Chinook, Harlem led by mat legends George Ferguson

December 2019

Chinook, led by longtime head coach Perry Miller, returns J.T. Hauer and Rebecca Stroh, among others, while Harlem's biggest returner is Lyle Faulkinberry, who came out of retirement to take over for the now retired Joe Shupe. And Faulkinberry will, no doubt, light a fire under the Harlem mat program. Chinook and Harlem will battle it out at the Northern B-C this year in Conrad, along with CJI and the Fort Benton-Big Sandy co-op, which are two more local wrestling programs. Of course, everything wil culminate with the All-Class State Tournament Feb. 14-15 in Billings.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

J.T. Hauer and the Chinook Sugarbeeters will once again battle for a Class C trophy in the B-C division at state in Billings.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Ryan Roth and the veteran Big Sandy Pioneers have high hopes for this coming season. The Pioneers are loaded with talent and have a lot of depth, something they haven't had in quite some time.

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com It is another year on the basketball court and the Big Sandy boys basketball team is ready to go once again. The Pioneers are poised to rise up and own the moment this season. Last year was a big improvement for the boys compared to previous seasons. Big Sandy finished 8-8 in conference and 11-10 overall on the year. This year, all five starters are back on the court and ready to make some noise. With head coach Thomas Dilworth at their side, the Pioneers are happy to have another go at the title, too. “We’re pretty excited with what we got coming back,” Dilworth said. “I am extremely excited for this year. Our goal is to try and fly under the radar a little bit and have teams overlook us, but unfortunately, I think our first four

or five games are against the top teams in the conference this year. We’re going to know exactly where we stand and what we’re made of after Jan. 4.” First off, Big Sandy picked up another big Hi-Line talent in Chris Burns, a senior who transferred from Box Elder. Other players like Ryan Roth, Kade Strutz, Brock Proulx, Jeremiah Genereux, Elijah Wagoner and Clint Darlington will be making their return to the court. Secondly, freshmen Kody Strutz, Braydon Cline and Rusty Gasvoda will be ready to fill in wherever need be. But there is an unfortunate injury that has happened to the Pioneers already. Junior Parker Proulx is out for a majority of the season with a hand injury. Even so, the team looks in a prime position to aim higher this year and give it their all. With teams like Chinook, Chester-Joplin-Inverness and Fort Benton among the dis-

trict, it will not be an easy task. But Big Sandy has a knack for persevering in many key moments of the season. Success for Dilworth and his team is key and Dilworth knows what his team must accomplish to make it far into the year. “We have to be willing to share the basketball,” Dilworth said. “We have a lot of kids that can score, so putting our ego aside and playing as a team is key. Defensively, we just have to step it up and just be an outstanding defensive team. If we can control the glass and out-rebound other teams this year, with no turnovers, I think we’re going to be a pretty competitive team.” The competition will be fierce for the Pioneers, but with the fire the team has, it can go very far if they put its mind to it. With the season fast approaching, Big Sandy has a lot on its plate and are ready to tackle the season head-on.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Amanda Cline handles the ball during a Big Sandy District 9C tournament game last February in Havre. The Pioneers have struggled as of late, but they are hoping to make some noise in the 9C this winter.


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Fort Benton girls primed to take the next step George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

The Fort Benton girls basketball team has been really good since joining the District 9C. Try three 9C championships in five years kind of good. Now though, Fort Benton doesn’t just have its sights set on repeating as 9C champions, the Longhorns, who return a starstudded team, want to finally go to state. A year ago, Fort Benton went a spectacular 20-4, won the 9C title again and advanced to a third straight Northern C tournament. There however, the Longhorns fell short of reaching the state tourney, and now, with so many veteran players returning, longtime head coach Cassie Pimperton’s team is ready to move past the Northern C. “We are an older team and the girls are working hard and have the drive to push to the post season,” Pimperton said. The Longhorns are a veteran group, led by returning standouts McKenzie Clark,

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Young Hawks look to soar CJI girls ready to make

strides on the hardwood

Cassie Nack, McKenna Hanford, Megan Clark and Maci Molinario. The return of junior Aspen Geise, who saw her season cut short early last year with an injury, will also be huge. Geise was All-State as a freshman. Fort Benton also has something that’s key in Class C basketball and that’s depth. The Longhorns will be 10-deep off the bench, and that will play a big role as they try to repeat as 9C champs. Still Pimperton said, the 9C will once again not be easy. “The 9C will be competitive with Turner and North Star returning some key players,” Pimperton said. The District 9C Tournament will be held in February in Havre.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Being a young team in the District 9C is tough, so last season was certainly a learning experience for the Chester-Joplin-Inverness girls. After all, the Hawks had just one senior on their roster last winter. But the good thing about being young is the Hawks return a ton of talent as the 2019-2020 season gets underway, and they certainly will be looking to make some noise. Under returning head

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Fort Benton's Cassie Nack dribbles the ball during a Northern C tournament game last year in Great Falls. The Longhorns are the defending 9C champions and return a wealth of talent for a season they hope will be a magical one.

coach Kristie Pulst, CJI will be a team on the rise in the 9C this year. The Hawks will still be young, but juniors Emma Wickum, Abby Fraser and Molly Nelson have a lot of experience, while the Hawks also return leading scorer and rebounder Tatum Hull. Hull started for CJI as a freshman last year and was outstanding from start to finish. Fellow sophomore Averie Mattson will also be key for CJI as will freshman Haddie Woods, who saw varsity action as an eighthgrader a year ago. And while CJI will have

plenty of talent to work with this season, not only will the Hawks still be young, but they also play in the 9C, which is perhaps the top district in all of Class C girls hoops. Defending 9C champion Fort Benton returns a loaded roster, while North Star will be a dangerous team this winter. Box Elder and Turner can’t be counted out, while Chinook and HaysLodge Pole could be muchimproved this season, as well. Of course, all of the 9C will meet in February for the annual 9C tourney in Havre.

Talented Longhorns hoping it's their year Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Fort Benton's Logan Giles goes up for a shot during the 2018 District 9C tournament last February. Giles and the talented Longhorns are going to make plenty of noise this winter, and it will be fun to see just how far they can go.

The Fort Benton Longhorns have been building for this — a season with so much promise. It has now been some time since Fort Benton has been in the District 9C and each year has shown a lot of promise for the team. But last year was a season that gave the Longhorns a lot of hope moving forward. Fort Benton had an overall 19-5 record, reached the 9C chipper and advanced on to the Northern C. But this year, veteran head coach Tyler Pasha has a lot he is looking forward to when his team takes the court. “We’re looking forward to getting the season going,” Pasha said. “I’m excited and I think they are, too. We should feel pretty good about who we’re returning. We got

to make sure injuries don’t plague us too much, but we got to come ready to go.” The Longhorns have a good amount of returning players on the squad this year. Seniors Garett Diekhans, Logan Giles and Max Lane will look to lead the team forward. Other players like Hayden Diekhans, Jace Thompson, Andrew Valentine and Tim Lane will aim to make an impact on the squad, as well. With 18 kids on the roster, there is a lot of promise for Fort Benton this year and, after last season’s run, it would be no surprise if the team did well again. But, as always, the 9C district does not go easy on its fellow teams. The Longhorns will have to face teams like Chinook, who they lost to three times in the previous year, Big Sandy, Box Elder, Turner and others. Each team has a goal to make it to the top and Fort Benton will have to get through each

of them to stay ahead in the conference. Pasha knows that the 9C will be one of the most difficult sets of games the team will have this year. “Our conference is going to be pretty darn tough,” Pasha said. “Big Sandy, Chinook, North Star are teams that are hungry and want to keep going, so we got to make sure that we don’t take days off in practice or think that when we walk into a gym, we’re just going to walk over somebody. We got to make sure we show up and are ready to roll. We got to keep momentum that we get from games and keep it going from week to week.” Fort Benton will look to make another great run in the postseason, starting with the 2020 District 9C tournament, which returns to Havre in February. Then, it's on to the Northern C, which will return to Great Falls.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Chester-Joplin-Inverness' Andrew Woods shoots over the Chinook defense during a District 9C tournament game last February in Havre. Woods is one of a handful of returners for the Hawks and new head coach Joe Horel.

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Among the many winter sports teams ready to go on the Hi-Line is the ChesterJoplin-Inverness boys basketball team. Last season, the Hawks found a lot of struggles, only winning a few conference games while trying to work their way to the top. But now, the 2019-2020 season is one in which CJI is hoping to battle back. Hawks’ head coach Joe Horel has a good feeling about the upcoming year. “We’re young,” Horel said, “but the kids are eager to learn and full of energy. They do everything we ask them to try to do, so it’s a really, really good bunch of

kids. We’re also aware of the fact that the 9C is tough, top to bottom. There’s no easy games.” Many young players will make up the team, and every member will look to give their best every game they play. With the readiness to step up and work hard, CJI will have an exciting atmosphere around the team. The Hawks do return some experience from last season led by Spencer Richter and Andrew Woods. But as every coach in the 9C district knows, it is never an easy ride to the top. Instead, the teams within the conference are always battling to see who will come out on top by the time the postseason comes around. Teams like Big Sandy, Box Elder, Chinook, Fort Benton, Hays-Lodge Pole, North Star

and Turner will be ready to battle to the last shot every game. It will be a rough ride for the Hawks, but there is a lot of upside for the young team. After all, those players will progress and get better throughout the years they play, providing some good experience and leadership for the future. With that, Horel has some good key elements that will look to give the team a needed boost this year. “We need to execute what we’re good at,” Horel said. “We’ll have to do the little things right. I know this is cliché stuff, but it could never be so true. We can’t make mental errors. We just got to stay on top of everything we do well. That’s kind of it in a nutshell.”

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Tatum Hull, left, and the Chester-Joplin-Inverness girls basketball team will be young by grade again this year, but the Hawks will also be talented enough to be a very difficult matchup for everyone else in the District 9C.


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Turner girls hungry for more Tornadoes will keep fighting North Star boys will be a Knights will be dangerous Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com The Turner boys basketball team has always had its ups and downs. As always, the 9C district is a ruthless one that can be difficult to find much footing in. And last season was another one of those toough ones for Turner. The Tornadoes went 5-15, losing out in the 9C to North Star. It was a tough year for Turner and the team will be facing the same district once again. Tornadoes’ head coach and former standout player Dylan Welsh, who will look to help Turner regain some traction in his first-year of coaching the team, is excited to have the team back on the

court. “It should be a pretty good group of boys,” Welsh said. “They’ve come a long way. Got a lot of young guys. We’ll be pretty competitive all season.” Turner currently has seven boys on its roster. Senior Jack Harmon, juniors Austin Welsh and Shane Kimmel, sophomores Trevor Kimmel and Shay Humphries, and freshmen Carter Calvert and Colden Honey make up the squad. One major thing that the Tornadoes will have to prepare for this year is a relentless 9C district. There is never an easy way to the top in the 9C and every team is bent on getting there. Opponents like Big Sandy, Chester-Joplin-Inverness, Chinook, Fort

Benton, Hays-Lodge Pole and North Star will all be familiar rivals to Turner. Welsh knows the toughness of the district but has key elements that will help his team throughout the year. “We’re going to have to control the game,” Welsh said. “We’re going to have to control the ball on offense and our defense is going to have to be pretty good. We got to control the boards and make our shots.” In the end, the Tornadoes have another challenging year in the 9C, where the teams will give it their all in every game. Turner will have their hands full but will look to make some noise and get to the top, as well. Turner kicked off the year at the Class C Showcase in Glasgow.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Turner's Shyan Krass shoots during a District 9C tournament game last February in Havre. Turner has finished third in each of the last two 9C tournaments, and while the Tornadoes lost three starters to graduation from last year's team, which came so close to going to state, they will still be a force again this season.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

The Turner girls have been on a meteoric rise the last two years — a rise that included back-to-back thirdplace finishes in the District 9C. Of course, those finishes also came with coveted trips to the Northern C Divisional, and that’s where Turner made a huge splash a year ago, coming within a game of getting to play for a trip to state.

And while Turner did graduate key players off of last year’s squad, the Tornadoes should still be right in the hunt to challenge for District 9C supremacy again this season. Veterans Sarah Billmayer and Shyan Krass are both back to lead the Tornadoes. Billmayer, a senior, is in her fifth season of varsity basketball, while Krass, a junior, is playing her fourth. Krass is also considered one of the top post players in Class C basketball.

The Tornadoes also have Juniors Brandy Calvert and Brooke Reed returning, while several newcomers should keep the Tornadoes among the best in the 9C. And yet, staying atop the 9C, and or getting back to Great Falls won’t be easy. Defending 9C champion Fort Benton returns a loaded roster, while North Star will be a dangerous team this winter, and Box Elder can’t be counted out, while Chinook and Chester-Joplin-Inverness could be much-improved this season, as well. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Turner's Shane Kimmel shoots over the North Star defense during a District 9C boys game last February in Havre. The Tornadoes are always battling in the 9C, and while they lost some key players to graduation last year, the Tornadoes will once again be a tough opponent for everybody in the district.

factor in the District 9C Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com The 2019-2020 basketball season is back and the teams are ready to get on the court, including the North Star boys. Last year, the Knights lost to a team that went to state in an exciting 9C consolation game, but the season as a whole went fairly well. North Star placed fifth in conference, fourth at districts, went 7-11 in the regular season and 4-10 in the district. This time around, head coach Cody Donoven is ready for more opportunities for his team to succeed on the court again. “I’m excited,” Donoven said. “We’re returning all of our starters from last year, except for the one that got injured, so we’re pretty excited. Our district is going to be pretty loaded again this year, so it’s going to be a battle every single night.” With 11 players starting on the varsity squad, North Star will have a lot of talent and depth on the court. Returning players include All-Conference Caden Rettig, senior Hayden Massar, senior Austin Hansen, junior Payne Ditmar, senior Brody Wendland and senior Ethan Federspiel. The only player to not return from last year’s junior class is Bailey Spicher, a senior, now, who suffered an injury during the football season. The Knights will have many young guys getting minutes this season, as well. As Donoven mentioned and as many know, the 9C district is ruthless. Teams like Hays-Lodge Pole, Big Sandy, Chinook and Chester-Joplin-Inverness will be common rivals for North Star. The Knights will be

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson North Star senior Caden Rettig has seen it all when it comes to the District 9C. Now in his final season of basketball, Rettig is ready to lead the Knights to a trophy in the 9C. put through another intense year on the court, but the team knows that will only make them stronger. On top of that, Donoven knows the other key factors will help North Star push its way to the top. “We just got to take care of the ball,” Donoven said. “And try to cause some turnovers, try to make some extra possessions. I think it’s

going to be big for us because we’re a little undersized, so maybe speed the game up a little bit.” With the season nearing, the Knights will look to stand up proud and tall in front of the competition. The team looks to improve on a lot and this is the year to do so. If North star can conquer the conference, then it will be quite the improvement.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com The North Star Knights have always been tough in District 9C girls basketball. But with the conference being so loaded, it’s been tough for the Knights to make any headway in recent years. Now, as a new season dawns, the Knights are aiming to push their way through the crowded 9C field, and back to Great Falls for the Northern C tournament. That’s the goal for a talented and tough North Star team. “The team would like to end up in the top at Districts and make a run at Divisionals,” North Star head coach Jennifer Wendland said. “One of our main concerns is free throws. We want to be over 70 percent as a team. We are short numbers, but we feel we can maintain each game by staying out of foul trouble and playing smart.” North Star finished fourth at district last year, but the Knights return a solid core group from that run, including Jade Wendland who was All-Conference a season ago. Shayla Borlaug and Kenidee Wolery are also returning starters for the Knights while coach Wendland listed Rainee Watson, Laynie Sattoriva, and Kaytlyn Domire as key returnees, as well as newcomer Kenzie Sargent as a key addition to the Knights. Of course, all of North Star’s key players and more, will be needed this season as

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Shayla Borlaug and the North Star Knights will be a strong contender in the District 9C this winter. the 9C figures to be a very demanding and difficult league once again. “It’s going to be another exciting 9C,” Wendland said. “As always I believe we have one of the most competitive Districts around. With Joel leaving Box Elder and Turner losing some key players, it is still going to be a tough season. Hays is return-

ing players and after playing them over the summer, be on the lookout for them to be great contenders. Fort Benton will be tough as always, but I believe in this league when it comes tournament time … anything can happen. I look forward to our girls being a contender on championship night.”


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Wildcats will be really good, again Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson L'Tia Lawrence and the Harlem Wildcats had a special season last year. But with so much talent returning, Harlem could go even further this winter.

The Harlem girls basketball team has made some impressive leaps over the past few seasons. Now, another year approaches fast and the Wildcats are ready to go all out. Harlem has been known to put up a strong team in the recent seasons, including a first-ever Northern B title and state berth last year, and another year means another chance at making it to the top. It should be a wild ride for Wildcats this season. Harlem head coach Marlin Lawrence is excited to see his team back in action after a hard-working summer. “I’m feeling pretty confident and pretty good about the girls,” said Lawrence. “They worked again this summer, put a lot of time in the gym and I think each year going into the

season has gotten better and better. I think the experience and leadership of the returners on varsity will be great this year. I’m very excited to get the season started and the girls are anxious to get back out on the hardwood.” The Wildcats have five seniors in their returning lineup, who are L’Tia Lawrence, Taeshon Scheaffer, Kristyn Kittson and Aria Owens. The rest of the returners are Gabi Bell and Alaney Hawley. Newcomers to the squad are Chloe Messerly, Vanise Little and Dodson transfer Kailee Henry, one of the five seniors. The upperclassman leadership will be a great help for the team, but Harlem will still have to face tough teams like the Malta M-Ettes and others in District 2B. Malta has put up some challenging competition in the past and the Wildcats will aim

to have a good battle against the MEttes this year. Lawrence has a good amount of key aspects that he will look for in his tea mthis season, too. “Our four leaders and returners,” Lawrence said, “Last year was their first state berth and we made it to that level. It was a big accomplishment. To have that experience will help them and hopefully, with a lot of hard work and teamwork, we’ll get back to that level.” Harlem is poised for another strong season and with the right mindset, the team may just find themselves back to a state berth and quite possibly, a good postseason run. There is a lot of excitement for the team and that will aim to fuel the fire moving forward. Harlem opened the season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

Harlem boys have high hopes for the 2019-2020 season Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com It has been a bumpy ride for the Harlem boys basketball team of late. Last season, the Wildcats finished with a 5-15 record and had some injuries that put a bit of a dent in the year. But, this time around, the team looks to lick their wounds and come back ready for whatever comes their way. New Harlem head coach Geno LeValdo is ready for his team to be back out on the hardwood. “We’re more mature,” said LeValdo. “I think we’ll do better.”

The Wildcats were a young team last year, with a few freshmen putting in some work for the varsity squad. Now, those players are sophomores and ready to step up once again. Harlem has no real newcomers to the squad, as much of the team last year will be back this season. Some of those players include R.J, Ramone, Trenton Main, Amari Stanley, Truth Brockie, Cassius Johnson, Jenton Long Fox, Tyler Cichosz, Daniel Lawrence and veteran leader Brad Cichosz, who will be ready for more action this year. With the Wildcats being more mature, they will aim to have an

impact on the difficult 2B district. Teams like Malta, Glasgow, Wolf Point and Poplar on the list of opponents in the schedule. There is a lot of heated competition in the 2B district and it will not be an easy task to make it to the top. Even so, LeValdo has a key factor that can drive his team to do better this year. “One of the main keys that I think will be successful is just being relentless,” LeValdo said. “Just pretty much go, go, go, go, and pretty much controlled chaos.” The Wildcats opened thier season at the Northern Native American Classic which was played in Great Falls.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson The Harlem boys basketball team looks to be much-improved this season.

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Jeremy MacDonald returns to lead the Bears Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com It has been a rollercoaster the past few years for the Box Elder Bears boys basketball team. Last season, the Bears finished with a sub-.500 record and went 1-2 at the district tourney. But Box Elder is ready to get back in action, and after coach LaVon Myers moved to Las Vegas, a familiar name is back on the sidelines. Under veteran head coach Jeremy MacDonald, the Bears have an exciting atmosphere coming into the 20192020 season. “I’m pretty excited to work with this group of boys,” MacDonald said. “It’s my first time getting to coach most of them, so we’re learning about each other right now.” Four young men will be returning to the court for Box Elder. Kaden Duran, Jayden Jilot, Tayce St. Peierre and Tyrus LaMere are prepped to lead the charge this year, while newcomers Gabe Saddler and Jayden Gopher are ready to fill in whenever needed. This season is going to be another tough one for the Bears. After all, they will be competing in the tough 9C district, containing teams like Chinook and Fort Benton, which will bring a challenge to Box Elder. Other teams like Big Sandy and Chester-Joplin-Inverness will look to stay ahead, too. It will not be an easy year, but the difficult competition will aim to make the team

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Kadyn Duran and the Box Elder Bears have a new head coach this season, but, he's also one of the winnnegst head coach in Bear's history — Jeremy MacDonald. stronger as they go along. Even so, MacDonald believes his team has the capabilities to put forth a great season. “I really love their work ethics,” MacDonald said. “Their attitudes are great. We don’t have a ton of size this year, so we’ll have to rely on quickness. That’ll be something we emphasize, plus, playing transitional basketball, attacking the basket and shooting the three. Those are going to be key for us this year.” The Bears have always played tough and strong every year, including being

four-time champions of the district in their history. After the rough season Box Elder had previously, the team will aim high and look to shake things up again among the Class C spectrum. Even when the days are getting colder here on the HiLine, the Bears are heating up and ready to prove that they have the power to reach the title this season. It will not be the easiest path to climb, but the spirit on the Box Elder squad will not keep them down so easily, either. The Bears opened their season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

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vs. Laurel - Havre ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Billings Central - There ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Glendive - There ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Miles City - There ~ 2:30 p.m. vs. Great Falls - Havre ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - There ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Lewistown - Havre ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Sidney - There ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Browning - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - There ~ 4:30 p.m. vs. Glendive - Havre ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Miles City - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. CMR - There~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Sidney - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Browning - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Lewistown - There ~ 7:30 p.m. DIVISIONALS - Billings (Metra) STATE - Billings (Metra)

Havre High girls are loaded for yet another Class A postseason run Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Another season of Class A basketball is back and with it comes many different stories to be told, the Havre High girls have a great one. The Blue Ponies have a great number of moments in the past decade. In 2014, Havre won the Class A State title. Then, it won consecutive state championships in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. Now, a new season is upon the Blue Ponies and the chance to three-peat as state champs is on the radar. For HHS head coach Dustin Kraske, it is another exciting year and the same goals are in mind. “They’re the same as they always are to be honest,” Kraske said. “We’re just trying to get better every practice and work to accomplish that, quite frankly. Everything revolves around that, getting better every day.” Havre will have a lot of its key players back on the court again this year. The Ponies graduated three seniors last year, who will be remembered for their help in getting the team to its second state championship victory. The returning squad will be very familiar. University of Montana commit Kyndall Keller will be ready to make some more noise in her senior year, along with fellow senior Kadia Miller, who looks to impress. Other players like Loy Waid, Jessa Chvilicek, Sadie Filius, Katie Wirtzberger, Sam Oliver, Kylie Walker and Britton Paulson will look to do their part, too. Wirtzberger, Oliver, Chvilicek and Walker join Keller and Miller to round out an incredible senior class for the Ponies,

while Filius was named Class A All-State as a freshman. There will not be new faces on the varsity roster, as the players on varsity are the same as last season, minus the graduated seniors. There is a lot of excitement for the Ponies. After all, winning back-to-back state titles is a great accomplishment and what better motivation to go for a third. It will be somewhat different for Havre this season, though, as there will be some new teams in the conference to play twice a year. Familiar rivals like Lewistown will not change, but Glendive, Miles City and Sidney are now on the Ponies’ schedule twice a year for the new Northeast A conference. These are teams that HHS has not met much in the past, so the new competition will certainly help test the Blue Pony squad. But Havre has been known to rise up to the many challenges it has faced, and Kraske has some key elements that will keep his team on the right path. “Well, I think that we’ll have to learn what our new roles are with this particular group,” Kraske said, “hen, strive to play together. I think that’s the key to any team to do well, and we want to do well, so we have to share the ball, collectively work defensively and play together. It’ll be fun.” As far as the entire Eastern is concerned, Havre, rival Billings Central, and Hardin will all be teams to watch, while Class A stalwarts like Columbia Falls and Hamilton should also be strong this season. Havre opened its season at home against Laurel and on the road against rival Billings Central. The Ponies will compete at the Eastern A Feb. 26-29 in Billings, while the State A Tournament is also scheduled for Billings, March 12-14. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High's Kylie Walker is part of an incredible Blue Pony senior class. From top to bottom, the Ponies enter a new season loaded with talent.

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Business as usual for starstudded Blue Pony girls

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Kadia Miller, left, and the Havre High girls have won the last two Class A state championships. And the Ponies will be favored to three-peat this season.

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vs. Laurel - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Billings Central - Havre ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Glendive - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Miles City - There ~ 1:00 p.m. vs. Great Falls - Threre ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - There ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Lewistown - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Sidney - There ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Browning - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - There ~ 3:00 p.m. vs. Glendive - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Miles City - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. CMR - Havre ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Sidney - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Browning - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Lewistown - There ~ 7:30 p.m. DIVISIONALS - Billings (Metra) STATE - Billings (Metra)

HHS boys take the next step Blue Ponies ready to take last year's successes even further Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com As the 2019-2020 winter sports season approaches fast, many teams have been excited to get back out onto to court, including the Havre High boys basketball team. The Blue Ponies had some major improvements last season under first-year head coach Walynn Burgess, but the season ended at the Eastern A divisional tournament in Rimrock Auto Arena. Havre lost to Billings Central and then Sidney, falling out of state contention. But this season, Burgess and the Blue Ponies are ready to get back out there. “Excited for it to kick off the year,” Burgess said. “Boys had another good summer.” The Ponies graduated a talented group of seniors like Tommy Brown, an aggressive shooter; Austin Delarosa, known for his great percentage of 3-pointers; and Tysen Sangrey, a tall player

and great teammate. But much of the remaining squad is ready for another round. Returning players include junior Kellen Detrick, senior Mason Rismon, senior Jake Houston, junior Clint Owens, junior Josh Warp, junior Nolan Lotton, junior Max Olson, sophomore Caden Jenkins and senior Tyrel Kjersem. Havre has some new faces on the court, as well. Sophomore Josh Currie is the youngest newcomer, while seniors John South and Quinn Springer will be fresh to the scene, helping out the Blue Ponies, too. Not only will HHS find many of the familiar bodies back on the court, but some new players will look to boost the Ponies already tough core. Many Havre fans will be excited to see Detrick, Rismon and Houston back again. Detrick was a physical athlete and if he’s let him free, the crowd was sure to watch him dunk the ball right into the net. Rismon proved his versatility on the arc and close to the net, while Houston was adaptable to many different areas on the team. But there will be new conference competition for the Ponies this season. With the Class A spectrum realigned, Havre will play new teams twice this year. Familiar

conference rivals like Lewistown will return, as well as playing Browning twice a year in non-conference games. The new opponents for HHS are Glendive, Miles City and Sidney. It will be a new experience for both parties in the future matchups, but it will surely test the Ponies against the new batch of rivals. Havre will play teams like Fairfield, Malta, CMR and Great Falls, as well. Other non-conference games this season will be against tough teams like Laurel and Billings Central, the defending Class A state champions. With new faces in conference play and tough teams scattered across the schedule, the Blue Ponies will have their hands full. But, Burgess has key elements for his team that will help them succeed. “We just have to get better day-by-day,” Burgess said. “And focus on the little things to have a successful year.” Havre will look to get some redemption at the Eastern A Divisional Tournament, which will be played Feb. 26-29. There the Blue Ponies will look to advance to the Class A state tourney for the first time since 2016. The state tourney will also be held in Billings this season.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Senior Mason Rismon and the Havre High boys basketball team is aiming for big things this season, including making it back to the Class A state tournament for the first time in almost four years.


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vs. Laurel - Havre ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Billings Central - There ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Glendive - There ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Miles City - There ~ 2:30 p.m. vs. Great Falls - Havre ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - There ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Lewistown - Havre ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Sidney - There ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Browning - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - There ~ 4:30 p.m. vs. Glendive - Havre ~ 7:30 p.m. vs. Miles City - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. CMR - There~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Sidney - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Browning - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - Havre ~ 5:30 p.m. vs. Lewistown - There ~ 7:30 p.m. DIVISIONALS - Billings (Metra) STATE - Billings (Metra)

Havre High girls are loaded for yet another Class A postseason run Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Another season of Class A basketball is back and with it comes many different stories to be told, the Havre High girls have a great one. The Blue Ponies have a great number of moments in the past decade. In 2014, Havre won the Class A State title. Then, it won consecutive state championships in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. Now, a new season is upon the Blue Ponies and the chance to three-peat as state champs is on the radar. For HHS head coach Dustin Kraske, it is another exciting year and the same goals are in mind. “They’re the same as they always are to be honest,” Kraske said. “We’re just trying to get better every practice and work to accomplish that, quite frankly. Everything revolves around that, getting better every day.” Havre will have a lot of its key players back on the court again this year. The Ponies graduated three seniors last year, who will be remembered for their help in getting the team to its second state championship victory. The returning squad will be very familiar. University of Montana commit Kyndall Keller will be ready to make some more noise in her senior year, along with fellow senior Kadia Miller, who looks to impress. Other players like Loy Waid, Jessa Chvilicek, Sadie Filius, Katie Wirtzberger, Sam Oliver, Kylie Walker and Britton Paulson will look to do their part, too. Wirtzberger, Oliver, Chvilicek and Walker join Keller and Miller to round out an incredible senior class for the Ponies,

while Filius was named Class A All-State as a freshman. There will not be new faces on the varsity roster, as the players on varsity are the same as last season, minus the graduated seniors. There is a lot of excitement for the Ponies. After all, winning back-to-back state titles is a great accomplishment and what better motivation to go for a third. It will be somewhat different for Havre this season, though, as there will be some new teams in the conference to play twice a year. Familiar rivals like Lewistown will not change, but Glendive, Miles City and Sidney are now on the Ponies’ schedule twice a year for the new Northeast A conference. These are teams that HHS has not met much in the past, so the new competition will certainly help test the Blue Pony squad. But Havre has been known to rise up to the many challenges it has faced, and Kraske has some key elements that will keep his team on the right path. “Well, I think that we’ll have to learn what our new roles are with this particular group,” Kraske said, “hen, strive to play together. I think that’s the key to any team to do well, and we want to do well, so we have to share the ball, collectively work defensively and play together. It’ll be fun.” As far as the entire Eastern is concerned, Havre, rival Billings Central, and Hardin will all be teams to watch, while Class A stalwarts like Columbia Falls and Hamilton should also be strong this season. Havre opened its season at home against Laurel and on the road against rival Billings Central. The Ponies will compete at the Eastern A Feb. 26-29 in Billings, while the State A Tournament is also scheduled for Billings, March 12-14. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High's Kylie Walker is part of an incredible Blue Pony senior class. From top to bottom, the Ponies enter a new season loaded with talent.

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Business as usual for starstudded Blue Pony girls

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Kadia Miller, left, and the Havre High girls have won the last two Class A state championships. And the Ponies will be favored to three-peat this season.

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December 13th December 14th December 20th December 21st January 2nd January 4th January 10th January 11th January 17th January 18th January 24th January 25th January 30th February 1st February 8th February 14th February 15th February 21st February 26th-29th March 12th-14th

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vs. Laurel - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Billings Central - Havre ~ 5:00 p.m. vs. Glendive - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Miles City - There ~ 1:00 p.m. vs. Great Falls - Threre ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - There ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Lewistown - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Sidney - There ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Browning - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - There ~ 3:00 p.m. vs. Glendive - Havre ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Miles City - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. CMR - Havre ~ 7:00 p.m. vs. Malta - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Sidney - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Browning - There ~ 6:00 p.m. vs. Fairfield - Havre ~ 4:00 p.m. vs. Lewistown - There ~ 7:30 p.m. DIVISIONALS - Billings (Metra) STATE - Billings (Metra)

HHS boys take the next step Blue Ponies ready to take last year's successes even further Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com As the 2019-2020 winter sports season approaches fast, many teams have been excited to get back out onto to court, including the Havre High boys basketball team. The Blue Ponies had some major improvements last season under first-year head coach Walynn Burgess, but the season ended at the Eastern A divisional tournament in Rimrock Auto Arena. Havre lost to Billings Central and then Sidney, falling out of state contention. But this season, Burgess and the Blue Ponies are ready to get back out there. “Excited for it to kick off the year,” Burgess said. “Boys had another good summer.” The Ponies graduated a talented group of seniors like Tommy Brown, an aggressive shooter; Austin Delarosa, known for his great percentage of 3-pointers; and Tysen Sangrey, a tall player

and great teammate. But much of the remaining squad is ready for another round. Returning players include junior Kellen Detrick, senior Mason Rismon, senior Jake Houston, junior Clint Owens, junior Josh Warp, junior Nolan Lotton, junior Max Olson, sophomore Caden Jenkins and senior Tyrel Kjersem. Havre has some new faces on the court, as well. Sophomore Josh Currie is the youngest newcomer, while seniors John South and Quinn Springer will be fresh to the scene, helping out the Blue Ponies, too. Not only will HHS find many of the familiar bodies back on the court, but some new players will look to boost the Ponies already tough core. Many Havre fans will be excited to see Detrick, Rismon and Houston back again. Detrick was a physical athlete and if he’s let him free, the crowd was sure to watch him dunk the ball right into the net. Rismon proved his versatility on the arc and close to the net, while Houston was adaptable to many different areas on the team. But there will be new conference competition for the Ponies this season. With the Class A spectrum realigned, Havre will play new teams twice this year. Familiar

conference rivals like Lewistown will return, as well as playing Browning twice a year in non-conference games. The new opponents for HHS are Glendive, Miles City and Sidney. It will be a new experience for both parties in the future matchups, but it will surely test the Ponies against the new batch of rivals. Havre will play teams like Fairfield, Malta, CMR and Great Falls, as well. Other non-conference games this season will be against tough teams like Laurel and Billings Central, the defending Class A state champions. With new faces in conference play and tough teams scattered across the schedule, the Blue Ponies will have their hands full. But, Burgess has key elements for his team that will help them succeed. “We just have to get better day-by-day,” Burgess said. “And focus on the little things to have a successful year.” Havre will look to get some redemption at the Eastern A Divisional Tournament, which will be played Feb. 26-29. There the Blue Ponies will look to advance to the Class A state tourney for the first time since 2016. The state tourney will also be held in Billings this season.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Senior Mason Rismon and the Havre High boys basketball team is aiming for big things this season, including making it back to the Class A state tournament for the first time in almost four years.


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Wildcats will be really good, again Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson L'Tia Lawrence and the Harlem Wildcats had a special season last year. But with so much talent returning, Harlem could go even further this winter.

The Harlem girls basketball team has made some impressive leaps over the past few seasons. Now, another year approaches fast and the Wildcats are ready to go all out. Harlem has been known to put up a strong team in the recent seasons, including a first-ever Northern B title and state berth last year, and another year means another chance at making it to the top. It should be a wild ride for Wildcats this season. Harlem head coach Marlin Lawrence is excited to see his team back in action after a hard-working summer. “I’m feeling pretty confident and pretty good about the girls,” said Lawrence. “They worked again this summer, put a lot of time in the gym and I think each year going into the

season has gotten better and better. I think the experience and leadership of the returners on varsity will be great this year. I’m very excited to get the season started and the girls are anxious to get back out on the hardwood.” The Wildcats have five seniors in their returning lineup, who are L’Tia Lawrence, Taeshon Scheaffer, Kristyn Kittson and Aria Owens. The rest of the returners are Gabi Bell and Alaney Hawley. Newcomers to the squad are Chloe Messerly, Vanise Little and Dodson transfer Kailee Henry, one of the five seniors. The upperclassman leadership will be a great help for the team, but Harlem will still have to face tough teams like the Malta M-Ettes and others in District 2B. Malta has put up some challenging competition in the past and the Wildcats will aim

to have a good battle against the MEttes this year. Lawrence has a good amount of key aspects that he will look for in his tea mthis season, too. “Our four leaders and returners,” Lawrence said, “Last year was their first state berth and we made it to that level. It was a big accomplishment. To have that experience will help them and hopefully, with a lot of hard work and teamwork, we’ll get back to that level.” Harlem is poised for another strong season and with the right mindset, the team may just find themselves back to a state berth and quite possibly, a good postseason run. There is a lot of excitement for the team and that will aim to fuel the fire moving forward. Harlem opened the season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

Harlem boys have high hopes for the 2019-2020 season Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com It has been a bumpy ride for the Harlem boys basketball team of late. Last season, the Wildcats finished with a 5-15 record and had some injuries that put a bit of a dent in the year. But, this time around, the team looks to lick their wounds and come back ready for whatever comes their way. New Harlem head coach Geno LeValdo is ready for his team to be back out on the hardwood. “We’re more mature,” said LeValdo. “I think we’ll do better.”

The Wildcats were a young team last year, with a few freshmen putting in some work for the varsity squad. Now, those players are sophomores and ready to step up once again. Harlem has no real newcomers to the squad, as much of the team last year will be back this season. Some of those players include R.J, Ramone, Trenton Main, Amari Stanley, Truth Brockie, Cassius Johnson, Jenton Long Fox, Tyler Cichosz, Daniel Lawrence and veteran leader Brad Cichosz, who will be ready for more action this year. With the Wildcats being more mature, they will aim to have an

impact on the difficult 2B district. Teams like Malta, Glasgow, Wolf Point and Poplar on the list of opponents in the schedule. There is a lot of heated competition in the 2B district and it will not be an easy task to make it to the top. Even so, LeValdo has a key factor that can drive his team to do better this year. “One of the main keys that I think will be successful is just being relentless,” LeValdo said. “Just pretty much go, go, go, go, and pretty much controlled chaos.” The Wildcats opened thier season at the Northern Native American Classic which was played in Great Falls.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson The Harlem boys basketball team looks to be much-improved this season.

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Jeremy MacDonald returns to lead the Bears Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com It has been a rollercoaster the past few years for the Box Elder Bears boys basketball team. Last season, the Bears finished with a sub-.500 record and went 1-2 at the district tourney. But Box Elder is ready to get back in action, and after coach LaVon Myers moved to Las Vegas, a familiar name is back on the sidelines. Under veteran head coach Jeremy MacDonald, the Bears have an exciting atmosphere coming into the 20192020 season. “I’m pretty excited to work with this group of boys,” MacDonald said. “It’s my first time getting to coach most of them, so we’re learning about each other right now.” Four young men will be returning to the court for Box Elder. Kaden Duran, Jayden Jilot, Tayce St. Peierre and Tyrus LaMere are prepped to lead the charge this year, while newcomers Gabe Saddler and Jayden Gopher are ready to fill in whenever needed. This season is going to be another tough one for the Bears. After all, they will be competing in the tough 9C district, containing teams like Chinook and Fort Benton, which will bring a challenge to Box Elder. Other teams like Big Sandy and Chester-Joplin-Inverness will look to stay ahead, too. It will not be an easy year, but the difficult competition will aim to make the team

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Kadyn Duran and the Box Elder Bears have a new head coach this season, but, he's also one of the winnnegst head coach in Bear's history — Jeremy MacDonald. stronger as they go along. Even so, MacDonald believes his team has the capabilities to put forth a great season. “I really love their work ethics,” MacDonald said. “Their attitudes are great. We don’t have a ton of size this year, so we’ll have to rely on quickness. That’ll be something we emphasize, plus, playing transitional basketball, attacking the basket and shooting the three. Those are going to be key for us this year.” The Bears have always played tough and strong every year, including being

four-time champions of the district in their history. After the rough season Box Elder had previously, the team will aim high and look to shake things up again among the Class C spectrum. Even when the days are getting colder here on the HiLine, the Bears are heating up and ready to prove that they have the power to reach the title this season. It will not be the easiest path to climb, but the spirit on the Box Elder squad will not keep them down so easily, either. The Bears opened their season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

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Turner girls hungry for more Tornadoes will keep fighting North Star boys will be a Knights will be dangerous Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com The Turner boys basketball team has always had its ups and downs. As always, the 9C district is a ruthless one that can be difficult to find much footing in. And last season was another one of those toough ones for Turner. The Tornadoes went 5-15, losing out in the 9C to North Star. It was a tough year for Turner and the team will be facing the same district once again. Tornadoes’ head coach and former standout player Dylan Welsh, who will look to help Turner regain some traction in his first-year of coaching the team, is excited to have the team back on the

court. “It should be a pretty good group of boys,” Welsh said. “They’ve come a long way. Got a lot of young guys. We’ll be pretty competitive all season.” Turner currently has seven boys on its roster. Senior Jack Harmon, juniors Austin Welsh and Shane Kimmel, sophomores Trevor Kimmel and Shay Humphries, and freshmen Carter Calvert and Colden Honey make up the squad. One major thing that the Tornadoes will have to prepare for this year is a relentless 9C district. There is never an easy way to the top in the 9C and every team is bent on getting there. Opponents like Big Sandy, Chester-Joplin-Inverness, Chinook, Fort

Benton, Hays-Lodge Pole and North Star will all be familiar rivals to Turner. Welsh knows the toughness of the district but has key elements that will help his team throughout the year. “We’re going to have to control the game,” Welsh said. “We’re going to have to control the ball on offense and our defense is going to have to be pretty good. We got to control the boards and make our shots.” In the end, the Tornadoes have another challenging year in the 9C, where the teams will give it their all in every game. Turner will have their hands full but will look to make some noise and get to the top, as well. Turner kicked off the year at the Class C Showcase in Glasgow.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Turner's Shyan Krass shoots during a District 9C tournament game last February in Havre. Turner has finished third in each of the last two 9C tournaments, and while the Tornadoes lost three starters to graduation from last year's team, which came so close to going to state, they will still be a force again this season.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

The Turner girls have been on a meteoric rise the last two years — a rise that included back-to-back thirdplace finishes in the District 9C. Of course, those finishes also came with coveted trips to the Northern C Divisional, and that’s where Turner made a huge splash a year ago, coming within a game of getting to play for a trip to state.

And while Turner did graduate key players off of last year’s squad, the Tornadoes should still be right in the hunt to challenge for District 9C supremacy again this season. Veterans Sarah Billmayer and Shyan Krass are both back to lead the Tornadoes. Billmayer, a senior, is in her fifth season of varsity basketball, while Krass, a junior, is playing her fourth. Krass is also considered one of the top post players in Class C basketball.

The Tornadoes also have Juniors Brandy Calvert and Brooke Reed returning, while several newcomers should keep the Tornadoes among the best in the 9C. And yet, staying atop the 9C, and or getting back to Great Falls won’t be easy. Defending 9C champion Fort Benton returns a loaded roster, while North Star will be a dangerous team this winter, and Box Elder can’t be counted out, while Chinook and Chester-Joplin-Inverness could be much-improved this season, as well. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Turner's Shane Kimmel shoots over the North Star defense during a District 9C boys game last February in Havre. The Tornadoes are always battling in the 9C, and while they lost some key players to graduation last year, the Tornadoes will once again be a tough opponent for everybody in the district.

factor in the District 9C Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com The 2019-2020 basketball season is back and the teams are ready to get on the court, including the North Star boys. Last year, the Knights lost to a team that went to state in an exciting 9C consolation game, but the season as a whole went fairly well. North Star placed fifth in conference, fourth at districts, went 7-11 in the regular season and 4-10 in the district. This time around, head coach Cody Donoven is ready for more opportunities for his team to succeed on the court again. “I’m excited,” Donoven said. “We’re returning all of our starters from last year, except for the one that got injured, so we’re pretty excited. Our district is going to be pretty loaded again this year, so it’s going to be a battle every single night.” With 11 players starting on the varsity squad, North Star will have a lot of talent and depth on the court. Returning players include All-Conference Caden Rettig, senior Hayden Massar, senior Austin Hansen, junior Payne Ditmar, senior Brody Wendland and senior Ethan Federspiel. The only player to not return from last year’s junior class is Bailey Spicher, a senior, now, who suffered an injury during the football season. The Knights will have many young guys getting minutes this season, as well. As Donoven mentioned and as many know, the 9C district is ruthless. Teams like Hays-Lodge Pole, Big Sandy, Chinook and Chester-Joplin-Inverness will be common rivals for North Star. The Knights will be

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson North Star senior Caden Rettig has seen it all when it comes to the District 9C. Now in his final season of basketball, Rettig is ready to lead the Knights to a trophy in the 9C. put through another intense year on the court, but the team knows that will only make them stronger. On top of that, Donoven knows the other key factors will help North Star push its way to the top. “We just got to take care of the ball,” Donoven said. “And try to cause some turnovers, try to make some extra possessions. I think it’s

going to be big for us because we’re a little undersized, so maybe speed the game up a little bit.” With the season nearing, the Knights will look to stand up proud and tall in front of the competition. The team looks to improve on a lot and this is the year to do so. If North star can conquer the conference, then it will be quite the improvement.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com The North Star Knights have always been tough in District 9C girls basketball. But with the conference being so loaded, it’s been tough for the Knights to make any headway in recent years. Now, as a new season dawns, the Knights are aiming to push their way through the crowded 9C field, and back to Great Falls for the Northern C tournament. That’s the goal for a talented and tough North Star team. “The team would like to end up in the top at Districts and make a run at Divisionals,” North Star head coach Jennifer Wendland said. “One of our main concerns is free throws. We want to be over 70 percent as a team. We are short numbers, but we feel we can maintain each game by staying out of foul trouble and playing smart.” North Star finished fourth at district last year, but the Knights return a solid core group from that run, including Jade Wendland who was All-Conference a season ago. Shayla Borlaug and Kenidee Wolery are also returning starters for the Knights while coach Wendland listed Rainee Watson, Laynie Sattoriva, and Kaytlyn Domire as key returnees, as well as newcomer Kenzie Sargent as a key addition to the Knights. Of course, all of North Star’s key players and more, will be needed this season as

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Shayla Borlaug and the North Star Knights will be a strong contender in the District 9C this winter. the 9C figures to be a very demanding and difficult league once again. “It’s going to be another exciting 9C,” Wendland said. “As always I believe we have one of the most competitive Districts around. With Joel leaving Box Elder and Turner losing some key players, it is still going to be a tough season. Hays is return-

ing players and after playing them over the summer, be on the lookout for them to be great contenders. Fort Benton will be tough as always, but I believe in this league when it comes tournament time … anything can happen. I look forward to our girls being a contender on championship night.”


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Fort Benton girls primed to take the next step George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

The Fort Benton girls basketball team has been really good since joining the District 9C. Try three 9C championships in five years kind of good. Now though, Fort Benton doesn’t just have its sights set on repeating as 9C champions, the Longhorns, who return a starstudded team, want to finally go to state. A year ago, Fort Benton went a spectacular 20-4, won the 9C title again and advanced to a third straight Northern C tournament. There however, the Longhorns fell short of reaching the state tourney, and now, with so many veteran players returning, longtime head coach Cassie Pimperton’s team is ready to move past the Northern C. “We are an older team and the girls are working hard and have the drive to push to the post season,” Pimperton said. The Longhorns are a veteran group, led by returning standouts McKenzie Clark,

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Young Hawks look to soar CJI girls ready to make

strides on the hardwood

Cassie Nack, McKenna Hanford, Megan Clark and Maci Molinario. The return of junior Aspen Geise, who saw her season cut short early last year with an injury, will also be huge. Geise was All-State as a freshman. Fort Benton also has something that’s key in Class C basketball and that’s depth. The Longhorns will be 10-deep off the bench, and that will play a big role as they try to repeat as 9C champs. Still Pimperton said, the 9C will once again not be easy. “The 9C will be competitive with Turner and North Star returning some key players,” Pimperton said. The District 9C Tournament will be held in February in Havre.

George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

Being a young team in the District 9C is tough, so last season was certainly a learning experience for the Chester-Joplin-Inverness girls. After all, the Hawks had just one senior on their roster last winter. But the good thing about being young is the Hawks return a ton of talent as the 2019-2020 season gets underway, and they certainly will be looking to make some noise. Under returning head

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Fort Benton's Cassie Nack dribbles the ball during a Northern C tournament game last year in Great Falls. The Longhorns are the defending 9C champions and return a wealth of talent for a season they hope will be a magical one.

coach Kristie Pulst, CJI will be a team on the rise in the 9C this year. The Hawks will still be young, but juniors Emma Wickum, Abby Fraser and Molly Nelson have a lot of experience, while the Hawks also return leading scorer and rebounder Tatum Hull. Hull started for CJI as a freshman last year and was outstanding from start to finish. Fellow sophomore Averie Mattson will also be key for CJI as will freshman Haddie Woods, who saw varsity action as an eighthgrader a year ago. And while CJI will have

plenty of talent to work with this season, not only will the Hawks still be young, but they also play in the 9C, which is perhaps the top district in all of Class C girls hoops. Defending 9C champion Fort Benton returns a loaded roster, while North Star will be a dangerous team this winter. Box Elder and Turner can’t be counted out, while Chinook and HaysLodge Pole could be muchimproved this season, as well. Of course, all of the 9C will meet in February for the annual 9C tourney in Havre.

Talented Longhorns hoping it's their year Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Fort Benton's Logan Giles goes up for a shot during the 2018 District 9C tournament last February. Giles and the talented Longhorns are going to make plenty of noise this winter, and it will be fun to see just how far they can go.

The Fort Benton Longhorns have been building for this — a season with so much promise. It has now been some time since Fort Benton has been in the District 9C and each year has shown a lot of promise for the team. But last year was a season that gave the Longhorns a lot of hope moving forward. Fort Benton had an overall 19-5 record, reached the 9C chipper and advanced on to the Northern C. But this year, veteran head coach Tyler Pasha has a lot he is looking forward to when his team takes the court. “We’re looking forward to getting the season going,” Pasha said. “I’m excited and I think they are, too. We should feel pretty good about who we’re returning. We got

to make sure injuries don’t plague us too much, but we got to come ready to go.” The Longhorns have a good amount of returning players on the squad this year. Seniors Garett Diekhans, Logan Giles and Max Lane will look to lead the team forward. Other players like Hayden Diekhans, Jace Thompson, Andrew Valentine and Tim Lane will aim to make an impact on the squad, as well. With 18 kids on the roster, there is a lot of promise for Fort Benton this year and, after last season’s run, it would be no surprise if the team did well again. But, as always, the 9C district does not go easy on its fellow teams. The Longhorns will have to face teams like Chinook, who they lost to three times in the previous year, Big Sandy, Box Elder, Turner and others. Each team has a goal to make it to the top and Fort Benton will have to get through each

of them to stay ahead in the conference. Pasha knows that the 9C will be one of the most difficult sets of games the team will have this year. “Our conference is going to be pretty darn tough,” Pasha said. “Big Sandy, Chinook, North Star are teams that are hungry and want to keep going, so we got to make sure that we don’t take days off in practice or think that when we walk into a gym, we’re just going to walk over somebody. We got to make sure we show up and are ready to roll. We got to keep momentum that we get from games and keep it going from week to week.” Fort Benton will look to make another great run in the postseason, starting with the 2020 District 9C tournament, which returns to Havre in February. Then, it's on to the Northern C, which will return to Great Falls.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Chester-Joplin-Inverness' Andrew Woods shoots over the Chinook defense during a District 9C tournament game last February in Havre. Woods is one of a handful of returners for the Hawks and new head coach Joe Horel.

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Among the many winter sports teams ready to go on the Hi-Line is the ChesterJoplin-Inverness boys basketball team. Last season, the Hawks found a lot of struggles, only winning a few conference games while trying to work their way to the top. But now, the 2019-2020 season is one in which CJI is hoping to battle back. Hawks’ head coach Joe Horel has a good feeling about the upcoming year. “We’re young,” Horel said, “but the kids are eager to learn and full of energy. They do everything we ask them to try to do, so it’s a really, really good bunch of

kids. We’re also aware of the fact that the 9C is tough, top to bottom. There’s no easy games.” Many young players will make up the team, and every member will look to give their best every game they play. With the readiness to step up and work hard, CJI will have an exciting atmosphere around the team. The Hawks do return some experience from last season led by Spencer Richter and Andrew Woods. But as every coach in the 9C district knows, it is never an easy ride to the top. Instead, the teams within the conference are always battling to see who will come out on top by the time the postseason comes around. Teams like Big Sandy, Box Elder, Chinook, Fort Benton, Hays-Lodge Pole, North Star

and Turner will be ready to battle to the last shot every game. It will be a rough ride for the Hawks, but there is a lot of upside for the young team. After all, those players will progress and get better throughout the years they play, providing some good experience and leadership for the future. With that, Horel has some good key elements that will look to give the team a needed boost this year. “We need to execute what we’re good at,” Horel said. “We’ll have to do the little things right. I know this is cliché stuff, but it could never be so true. We can’t make mental errors. We just got to stay on top of everything we do well. That’s kind of it in a nutshell.”

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Tatum Hull, left, and the Chester-Joplin-Inverness girls basketball team will be young by grade again this year, but the Hawks will also be talented enough to be a very difficult matchup for everyone else in the District 9C.


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Young Stars ready Morning Stars hoping to rise up yet again to shine bright again George Ferguson

Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports editor

Havre Daily News sports

WINTER SPORTS

Big Sandy boys poised for a big hoops season

gferguson@havredailynews.com

gferguson@havredailynews.com The Class B basketball season is back in action and the many teams within it are ready to get back on the hardwood for a chance at the title. It is always an exciting season in the Class B spectrum and there is sure to be some heated competition once more. Among the competition is the Rocky Boy boys basketball team, who after making a great run in the postseason last year, are ready for another shot at the title. There is never a dull moment for the Stars and another season comes with a lot of excitement. Rocky Boy head coach Adam Demontiney, who is glad to be back on the court with his team, is excited for another seson. “We’re young,” said Demontiney. “We’ll be pretty fast. We don’t have much size, so we have to use our quickness to our advantage and playing in the 1B is going to be pretty tough being undersized. I think we’re going to take some lumps early on, but I think we’ll learn from them and we should be ready to go come February tournament time.” The Stars are made up of a variety of players. Only one senior, Blake Cantrell, will play a big role for the team, along with the only junior, Devin Johnson. There is a decent-sized sophomore class made up of Ben Crebs, Joe Demontiney, Sean Gibson, Isiah Limberhand, Tip Baker and Sarinas Mithlo, while the freshmen on the

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Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Joe Demontiney is a young returner for the Rocky Boy Stars, who once again went deep into the Class B state tournament last season. squad are Jo Jo Standing Rock, Kellen Colliflower and Keenan Gopher. With a young team, there will be a lot of growing that will happen and definitely some great experiences alongside it, esocaiclly in the 1B district. With teams like Choteau, Fairfield, Shelby, Conrad and Cut Bank in the mix, there is bound to be many trials for Rocky Boy. Even so, Demontiney has some key factors that can give his young team a boost in the coming year. “Just staying positive and having positive attitudes,” said Demontiney. “They’re

young and they have some meltdowns, so just having positive attitudes and being ready to go each game — not looking at anybody and just staying positive.” The Stars will aim to align quickly and come out on top in the tough 1B district. It is certain that the year will test the boys, but it will make them stronger going forward, as well. As the season continues, Rocky Boy will look to find the force that propelled them through the postseason last year. Rocky Boy opened the season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

Class B winter sports are back and that means that Rocky Boy girls basketball is excited for another year in the court. Last year was rough for the Morning Stars, who ended the season with a 3-15 record and were knocked out of the postseason by Choteau in a 50-38 loss. This year, Rocky Boy will look to get back on the hardwood and give it everything they have to win. Stars head coach Dwyane Gopher and his team will have a bit of a difficult season on their hands this year, too. After all, Rocky Boy plays in the hardest district in Class B. The 1B district contains challenging teams like Choteau, Fairfield, Conrad and Shelby, who will all be ready to fight for the top spot in the district. Class B in general is tough on its own, so having

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com Both the Chinook and Harlem wrestling programs have a long and storied tradition, and that's because they are both led by great head coaches. Recently though, both teams have struggled with numbers. Last year, Harlem tied for 26th with Bigfork and Three Forks at state, while Chinook finished second in Class C, but scored just five points overall. It was not the best year for both teams, but the 2019-2020 season has a lot of potential to give the teams a boost.

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Pioneers should be improved George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com It’s been a long time since the Big Sandy Pioneers ruled District 9C girls basketball. But, make no mistake, for a long time the Big Sandy girls were the 9C. Recently though, Big Sandy has been through rough times, having gone seasons without winning a conference game, and the annual 9C tourney in Havre hasn’t been much fun for the Pioneers either. Still, Big Sandy has a proud

basketball tradition, and the Pioneer girls program is trying its best to return to glory. While the Pioneer will be an underdog team again this season, they will be a team with talent and finally, some veteran experience. Big Sandy graduated just two players a year ago, and return four starting seniors. Amanda Cline, Stacey Allderdice, Lainey Gregory and Seanna Demontiney have been longtime standouts for the Pioneers, and they form a strong nucleus. Big Sandy will also have

young talent to mix with the veterans. Laynee Ophus saw extensive playing time as an eighth-grader a season ago, while fellow freshmen Caydence Pleninger, and Mattie and Amy Gasvoda also played high school basketball a season ago. And, even though the 9C is still a district with starstudded teams like Fort Benton, North Star, Box Elder and Turner, with what the Pioneers return, don’t be surprised of they make more noise in the 9C than they have in a long, long time.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Sasha Coffee, right, and the Rocky Boy Morning Stars should have a much more successful season this winter.

a district that becomes difficult to find footing in if a team is not careful can be even harder. But, Rocky Boy has been known to persevere in tougher times, especially in basketball. In the end, the team will be striving to do better and is most likely anxious to

be back on the hardwood another year. The Morning Stars will be led by the trio of Sasha Coffee, Kirsten Lamere and Jaynah Gopher, all who started last year. So there's no reason to think that Rocky Boy won't be much-improved this winter.

Chinook, Harlem led by mat legends George Ferguson

December 2019

Chinook, led by longtime head coach Perry Miller, returns J.T. Hauer and Rebecca Stroh, among others, while Harlem's biggest returner is Lyle Faulkinberry, who came out of retirement to take over for the now retired Joe Shupe. And Faulkinberry will, no doubt, light a fire under the Harlem mat program. Chinook and Harlem will battle it out at the Northern B-C this year in Conrad, along with CJI and the Fort Benton-Big Sandy co-op, which are two more local wrestling programs. Of course, everything wil culminate with the All-Class State Tournament Feb. 14-15 in Billings.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

J.T. Hauer and the Chinook Sugarbeeters will once again battle for a Class C trophy in the B-C division at state in Billings.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Ryan Roth and the veteran Big Sandy Pioneers have high hopes for this coming season. The Pioneers are loaded with talent and have a lot of depth, something they haven't had in quite some time.

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com It is another year on the basketball court and the Big Sandy boys basketball team is ready to go once again. The Pioneers are poised to rise up and own the moment this season. Last year was a big improvement for the boys compared to previous seasons. Big Sandy finished 8-8 in conference and 11-10 overall on the year. This year, all five starters are back on the court and ready to make some noise. With head coach Thomas Dilworth at their side, the Pioneers are happy to have another go at the title, too. “We’re pretty excited with what we got coming back,” Dilworth said. “I am extremely excited for this year. Our goal is to try and fly under the radar a little bit and have teams overlook us, but unfortunately, I think our first four

or five games are against the top teams in the conference this year. We’re going to know exactly where we stand and what we’re made of after Jan. 4.” First off, Big Sandy picked up another big Hi-Line talent in Chris Burns, a senior who transferred from Box Elder. Other players like Ryan Roth, Kade Strutz, Brock Proulx, Jeremiah Genereux, Elijah Wagoner and Clint Darlington will be making their return to the court. Secondly, freshmen Kody Strutz, Braydon Cline and Rusty Gasvoda will be ready to fill in wherever need be. But there is an unfortunate injury that has happened to the Pioneers already. Junior Parker Proulx is out for a majority of the season with a hand injury. Even so, the team looks in a prime position to aim higher this year and give it their all. With teams like Chinook, Chester-Joplin-Inverness and Fort Benton among the dis-

trict, it will not be an easy task. But Big Sandy has a knack for persevering in many key moments of the season. Success for Dilworth and his team is key and Dilworth knows what his team must accomplish to make it far into the year. “We have to be willing to share the basketball,” Dilworth said. “We have a lot of kids that can score, so putting our ego aside and playing as a team is key. Defensively, we just have to step it up and just be an outstanding defensive team. If we can control the glass and out-rebound other teams this year, with no turnovers, I think we’re going to be a pretty competitive team.” The competition will be fierce for the Pioneers, but with the fire the team has, it can go very far if they put its mind to it. With the season fast approaching, Big Sandy has a lot on its plate and are ready to tackle the season head-on.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Amanda Cline handles the ball during a Big Sandy District 9C tournament game last February in Havre. The Pioneers have struggled as of late, but they are hoping to make some noise in the 9C this winter.


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T-Birds hope to still fly HLP girls look to be on the rise high after last year's magical run to state Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com

A new season has arrived for the Hays-Lodge Pole girls basketball team and with it comes another chance to improve. The Thunderbirds had a better season last year than previous years, including a win at districts. Now, HLP is excited to step back onto the court and compete once more in the Class C spectrum. Thunderbird's head coach Corey Morgan is happy with last years’ improvement but is ready to take advantage of the 2019-2020 season alongside his team. “We’re pretty excited,” Morgan said. “Of course, like every team, we’re shooting for first. Our realistic goal

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Another year on the hardwood is here and so is the Hays-Lodge Pole High boys basketball team. There has been some incredible highs for the Thunderbirds in recent years, including making it to the state tourney last season, and the team is excited to change things up. It has been a great summer for HLP and now the team will get to prove how hard it has worked. Thunderbirds head coach Derrick Shambo is ready for his team to step out onto the court once again. “We’re going to be young and scrappy,” Shambo said. “We’ll be quick and our strength will be our quickness. We don’t have much for height, so we’ll have to make up with our pressure and our press. Once we get some more games under our belt, I think we’ll settle into our roles and positions. This is basically a new team I’m starting over with. We’ll still be competitve.” HLP has no returning starters on the team, but there are six returning players. Siris Grandchamp, Wyman Bringing Good, Deshon Shambo, Tyshawn Shambo, Estevan Granados and Lane Kirkaldie are the returning members, along with others like Ethan Werk. The young team has a lot of excitement for the year. The Thunderbirds, as always, will have a very tough

this year is to be top three in our conference.” The team may have lost two seniors, but HLP will have four of five starters from last year returning, with its only senior this season being standout Muleeah Stiffarm. Other returners include Tahtianna Morgan and Cassidy Perez. There is a lot of excitement that most of the team will be back for another year. And as always, the Thunderbirds will be up against some tough opponents within the 9C district. Many teams like Chinook, Turner, North Star and Box Elder will be obstacles in HLP’s climb to the top three. But there has been some big improvements on the team in recent years and the anticipation to prove how much the team has grown is very present.

To make it to the top three is easier said than done in the 9C, but Morgan has key aspects that he will be looking for in his team to reach their goal. “Our keys are working on protecting our defense,” Morgan said. “And fix our focus a lot on transition. I think we’re able to do that. Teamwork is the biggest thing I’ve been preaching so far this season — a lot of teamwork.” There is a lot to look forward to when it comes to the Thunderbirds’ upcoming season. With the majority of last years’ squad back on the court again and a great look for the teams’ future, it will be a year for HLP to work hard and make some noise. The T-Birds opened their season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Wyman Bringing Good returns to a Hays-Lodge Pole boys team that reached the Class C state tournament last season, but then lost all five starters to graduation. schedule in the 9C district. Teams like Chinook, Fort Benton, Big Sandy, Turner, Chester-Joplin-Inverness, North Star and Box Elder will all be fighting for a top spot this year. For HLP, it will not be easy to get to the top, but it is not impossible. When it comes to the challenging season, Shambo has some key elements that can help his players stay ahead in the race to the top. “If we stay on the same page, support and cheer for each other, we’ll go a long

way,” Shambo said. “These kids are trying to celebrate each other’s success. We’ve been trying to emphasize that at practice. This is probably one of the most vocal teams I’ve had in practice and these kids are good.” It is a big stage in the 9C district and HLP will be hungry to make some noise. There will be lot to look forward to this year for the Thunderbirds and it all starts with the season opener, where they will look to set a good tone right away.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Hays-Lodge Pole's Tahtianna Morgan, right, is part of a stellar group of returning Thunderbirds. After wining a game at the 9C tournament last season, HLP has its sights set on even more success this winter.

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Beeters are back for more Youthful Chinook girls still

aiming high this season

Aarron Thompson Havre Daily News sports

gferguson@havredailynews.com Last season was a big one for the Chinook High boys basketball team. The Sugarbeeters owned the District 9C, won the Northern C and went back to state for the first time in decades. This year, Chinook aims to repeat the great year and go above it. When the team goes 25-2, wins the district tournament championship for a second year, wins the divisional tourney and wins in the quarterfinal game at state, it is a pretty big deal. Head coach Mike Seymour, who has been with Chinook for nine years, is excited for his team to go out and play once more. “I think the team’s been working very hard,” Seymour said. “We’re getting good leadership out of our lone senior, which is Hunter Neibauer. We’re not the same team we were last year. Anytime you lose six seniors, especially when you have two all-state players, there’s some changes to be made. We’re back in the gym and getting better after every practice to compete.” The Beeters may have graduated six seniors, but the team still carries some great talent on the court. Neibauer will have a big role in this year’s climb to try making it to the top once more, but he is aided by players like Ethan Bell, Damon Hannum, Braden Eoff, Benton Elliot and Toby Niederegger. On top of that, other teammates like star center Reese Elliot, Ethan MacLeod, Oskar Pula and Hunter Molyneaux will help make the Beeters better, too. There is a lot of anticipation to live up to expectations this year and Chinook is poised to step up to the challenge. Of course, that goal is always easier said than done when it comes to the 9C dis-

Mike Jones is Chinook's new head coach George Ferguson

Havre Daily News sports editor gferguson@havredailynews.com

A year ago, the Chinook girls basketball team was loaded with senior talent. But, as often is the case, graduation can hit a team hard and it did last year. Chinook lost standouts Megan Molyneaux, Kourtney Hanson, Lincy Johnson, Rachel Gunderson and Ash-

ley MacLeod to graduation, with Hanson and Molyneaux being four-year varsity players. So, it would stand to reason that this season, under new head coach Mike Jones, who is also Chinook's football coach, the Sugarbeeters will have their struggles. But the cupboard isn’t bare in Chinook, and after an outstanding volleyball season, Chinook is hoping to do the same in basketball. Jones’ team returns some standouts in Delaney Kellam, Ginger Hauer and Lily Surber, who all saw extensive playing time a season ago. Jayden Miller and Al-

lison Powell will also be expected to step up for the young Chinook squad, which doesn’t have a returning senior on the roster. And while Chinook is talented, being young is not easy in the District 9C. Defending 9C champion Fort Benton returns a loaded roster, while North Star will be a dangerous team this winter, and Box Elder can’t be counted out, and neither can Turner. Hays-Lodge Pole and Chester-Joplin-Inverness could be much-improved this season as well. The 2020 9C tourney will be held at the Havre High gymnasium in February.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Reese Elliot is part of a talented Chinook boys team that enters the 2019-2020 season fresh off one of the most successful years in Sugarbeeter history. The Beeters won the 9C and Northern C titles a year ago, and will contenders to do so again. trict. Teams like Box Elder, Big Sandy and Fort Benton are all looking to disrupt the Beeters’ plans to make it back on top of the district. The 9C is a tough conference to be in, but the teams that come out on top are definitely considered a difficult team to best. Even so, Seymour has his team focused on some key aspects that can lead them back to a top spot. “On the defensive end, we’ve got to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the basketball,” Seymour

said, “and have the defense get us some easy transition baskets. I think that we need to stay healthy, and we’ve got some younger kids with only one senior. My juniors and sophomores are going to need to step up a little bit and grow up quick.” The season is almost here for Chinook and there will be a lot of eyes on them to see if the team can emulate last year’s success. It will be a tough road back to the top, but the Beeters have a lot of promise to do it again.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Ginger Hauer, left, is a key returning player for a Chinook team under the direction of new head coach Mike Jones. Chinook will be young this season, but the Sugarbeeters still have plenty of talented athletes.


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December 14th December 20th December 21st January 4th January 11th January 18th January 24th January 25th February 1st February 8th February 14th-15th

Havre - 12:00 p.m. Great Falls - 4:30 p.m. Great Falls - 12:00 p.m. Class "A" Meet - Hardin - 1:00 p.m. Bozeman - TBD Great Falls - TBD Great Falls - TBD Butte - 11:00 a.m. Missoula Open State - Great Falls

2019-2020

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Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com

Havre High swim teams should be fast again

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com

Ladies and gentlemen, they are back. The Box Elder High girls basketball team is roaring and ready to go another year. After earning back-to-back Class C state championships last season, the Bears are excited to step back on the court and dominate once more. However, there will be a lot of changes to the Bears this coming season. The past two years have been nothing short of magical for Box Elder and to emulate that success once more would make a sure mark on Hi-Line sports history. Under new head coach Jerome Gopher, who takes over for longtime head man Joel Rosette, the Bears are looking to climb their way back to the top. Gopher is excited for his first year and another shot at the state

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson After winning back-to-back Class C state titles, Sarah Parisian, right, and a younger Box Elder team will have a lot of newness to it this winter.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Senior Morgan Flammond and the Havre High boys and girls swim teams are fired up for a brand new season. The season starts at the Havre Community Pool with the annual Havre Invitational.

derclassmen are Megan Miller, Nina Flores, Blakelee Lines and Taliya Manual, while junior Kobi Burchard is a top returning swimmer in Class A. The Class A swim spectrum is full of tough teams like Billings Central, Hardin, Columbia Falls and Whitefish, to name a few. The Ponies will also get to test themselves against not just Class A, but also to the Top AA competition all season long. Havre will have meets in Great Falls, Boze-

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Blue Pony swimmers Box Elder girls entering a new era excited to jump in the water for a brand new season

Aarron Thompson

With December here, winter sports are upon us, and that means swimming. And the Havre High swim team is ready to dive into a new season. Last year, the HHS boys team tied with Billings Central for the Class A state championship with 63 points, while the Pony girls team placed fifth with 19 points in Class A. It was a good season for the Blue Ponies and now, the teams look toward the 2019-2020 year. This season, the teams are excited to get back into the pool and so is HHS head coach Bill Kilgore. “I’m always excited to get to work with a new group of kids,” said Kilgore. “We graduated a lot of kids last year and have lots of newbies this year. I look forward to teaching this group of swimmers how to compete in every aspect of the word.  We are going to win, and we are going to lose, but there are lessons to be learned in both situations. I look forward to coaching them through every aspect and teaching them how to learn from each situation. Along the way, I expect us to get more resilient, tougher and harder to beat as a team.” The Pony teams have a decent handful of returning swimmers. For the boys team, seniors Jacob Miller and Troy Powell will be the leadership of the team, while underclassmen Riley Klein and Hiram Cammon will be back, too. For the newcomers, who are the lifeblood of the program at Havre, Riley Kilgore plans to be a nice addition to the very green boys’ team. On the HHS girls team, seniors Katelyn Maloughney, Carsyn Vogel, Morgan Flammond, Angela Rhines and Tori Messineo are all back to lead the way. The returning un-

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man, Missoula and Butte, as well. There is a lot of diversity among Class A and the Ponies will aim to reach new heights this season. Though the competition will be fiercely competitive, Kilgore always reminds himself and the team members of what should be key in this year’s season. “I want the kids to have fun,” Kilgore said. “Nobody is earning a living on this swim team, and I believe that the swim-

mers should just have fun while learning a few life lessons. If we have fun, compete and learn how to deal with victory and defeat in a mature manner, then I will consider the season a success.” And with that, the Havre swim season is right around the corner and the teams will start of the year with the annual Havre Invite. The Ponies also host the annual Class A Invite in Janury. The state meet is set for Feb. 14-15 in Great Falls.

championship, with his team looking quite good once more as the season approaches. “We have a young team,” said Gopher. “But the senior leadership is what’s going to help us win games. This year, that leadership is really helping the younger girls just learn the system and everything.” Box Elder may have a younger squad, but the roster is still made up of some great talent. Senior Sarah Parisian will play a key role in bringing the other girls into the state that the team will need to be in this year. Other players like Zayna Henderson, Annalise Johnson, Maia Henderson, Farrell Top Sky, Aysia LaMere and Makayla Kelly will aim to help the team reach a high standard. Parisian had a role in the Bears’ back-to-back championships, and now as a senior her skills are a major factor in the team’s goal to make it back to the top. She has made a name for herself among the Class C spectrum and to be back on the court will be exciting for her. Gopher is happy to have Parisian leading the squad and finds her to be a key element in the team’s work, especially considering the firepower the Bears lost from last year’s team.

“She had key roles in those two teams,” said Gopher. “Last year, she was starting and having Sarah there really helps them learn and pick it up easier.” Box Elder graduated a star player in Lilly Gopher last season, who left her mark on the program. She was a major key in the state championships that the Bears had and will be missed this year. Even so, the team in the 2019-2020 season has a lot to look forward to. But Parisian and the other girls will have a tough conference to face, as always. The 9C district is a difficult one to overcome and every team is hungry for a spot at the top. With teams like Chinook, Turner, North Star and Big Sandy in the path, Box Elder will have to get through each of them and more to stand back on top. The expectations for the Bears are high, but the team is ready for another shot at making some more noise. After all, a three-peat by Box Elder would be something that would rock the Class C world. Keep an eye out for the Bears because they will be ready to give it their all once again. The Bears opened their season at the Native American Classic in Great Falls.


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Dec. 12th December 13th-14th December 20th-21st December 21st January 4th January 10th-11th January 11th January 17th-18th January 18th January 21st January 24th-25th February 1st February 8th February 14th-15th

Butte Central Mixer - Butte 6:00 p.m. Mining City Duals - Butte CMR Holiday Classic - Great Falls Great Falls (JV) - Great Falls Lewistown/Glendive/Sidney - Sidney 1:00 p.m. Cut Bank Invite - Cut Bank Cut Bank Invite (JV) - Cut Bank Missoula Invite - Missoula John Fisher (JV) - Missoula Glasgow - Havre Class "A" Duals - Lewistown 1:00 p.m. Malta - Malta Divisionals - Lewistown State - Billings

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Havre Blue Pony wrestling ready to stay among Class A's elite this year Ponies' numbers down, but Havre still has plenty of firepower on the mat this winter

Aarron Thompson

Havre Daily News sports gferguson@havredailynews.com The winter sports season is back in Havre and that includes one of the most physical sports out there, wrestling. Once again, the return of the Havre High wrestling team is here and the Ponies are ready to make some noise out on the mat. Last year went pretty well for the Ponies. HHS finished in second place at the state meet behind Sidney. While the second-place finish may not have been the end goal Havre had in mind, the team was quite a distance ahead in score from the teams behind them. Now, HHS second-year head coach Beau LaSalle is ready for his team to hit the mat once more. “I’m excited,” said LaSalle. “We got a little bit of a younger team than we had in the past, and I’m excited to see what these guys can do.” The Blue Pony grapplers graduated quite the senior class last year, including but not limited to, Lane Paulson, four-time state champion Martin Wilkie, Austin Ratliff and Taylor Gopher. Now, many returning members of last year’s squad are ready for more. The HHS returners include 103-pound state champion Mick Chagnon, AllStater Connor Harris, All-Stater Cameron Pleninger, Riley Pleninger, Kendall Pleninger, All-Stater Orion Thivierge, Randy Tommerup, Hunter Stadel, Hunter Velk, Wyatt Hansen, Jayce Jensen and Dominick Perkins. Newcomers to the mat will be freshmen Kyle Van Campen, Justin Rosette and Cole Adams. Havre will also challenge itself with a tough schedule. There is a lot of exciting competition this year for Havre. The Ponies opened their season at home with the Havre Invite. On top of that, the tough schedule will include the return of the CMR Holiday Classic, one of the more challenging meets in the state. Havre also attends the tough Cut Bank Invite, the Missoula Invite and the Class A Duals. With the last season ending on a good

note, there is a lot of anticipation to be back out on the mat and LaSalle knows what his team must do to succeed this year. “Biggest thing for us to succeed is to keep working hard every day and staying healthy,” LaSalle said. “Our numbers are a little bit down, so keeping everybody

healthy throughout the season will be a big key for us.” The Blue Ponies will once again be among the Class A's top teams. Sidney is a heavy favorite again this season, while Havre, Lewistown and Laurel will be stalwarts out of the Eastern A, and Polson and Frenchtown are expected to be top teams from the Western A.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Havre High's Cameron Pleninger, top, wrestles in the state championship match last February in Billings. The Blue Pony wrestling team is short on numbers this season, but Havre should still be one of the best teams in all of Class A wrestling.

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