Horsemen split Tip-Off tourney games

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Plains senior Derick Curry launches a jumper over Carson Callison of Clark Fork during a Western C Tip-Off Tournament contest in Frenchtown. Matt McCracken (30) of Plains sets a screen and Nathan McNulty (24) moves toward the play. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent)

Plains split its first two varsity boys’ basketball games of the season at the Western C Tip-Off Tournament in Frenchtown, falling to Drummond 53-47 and rebounding to earn a 54-32 victory over Valley Christian.

Tyrel Allen, an assistant coach in the Horsemen program the last four seasons, takes over the helm.

Plains trailed Drummond 11-5 after one period and by nine at halftime. The Horsemen turned in a 21-point fourth quarter, but the deficit was too large to overcome.

“The kids really struggled with the first game of varsity experience,” Allen said. “It was the first-game jitters. We talked at halftime about their lack of intensity.”

On the boards, “We did OK defensively but we didn’t have many offensive rebounds,” Allen said. “In transition we really struggled.”

Derick Curry begin his senior season impressively, scoring 25 points — 15 in the final period. Jake Weyers added nine points.

A positive was that Plains had only 12 turnovers.

Nine players scored in Saturday’s win over Valley Christian, where the Heat exploded to a 21-3 first-period advantage.

“I’m happy the kids could come in and get some good minutes, and contribute to the offensive score,” Allen said. “Our defensively intensity was much better. We caused a lot more chaos for the other team.”

Treydon Brouillette and Esvin Reyes shared scoring honors with 11 points each. Matt McCracken led in rebounding with nine, and Reyes and Brouillette added six each.

Up next for the Horsemen is their home opener this Saturday against Darby, varsity game time 6 p.m.

Richard Griffin, a former coach at Plains, is in his second year as the Darby head coach. “That will be fun for us,” Allen said.

Allen takes over as head coach for Plains b-ball

Allen has entered his first year as head coach of the Plains boys’ basketball team, after serving as an assistant coach for the Horsemen for the previous four seasons. He is a graduate of Plains High School, and played basketball for last year’s head coach Mike Cole, the ongoing athletic director.

The Horsemen have only one returning starter — 6-foot senior McCracken. Curry, a senior who is 6-4, is the tallest starter.

Other starters this season are a trio of juniors — 5-11 Brouillette, 5-9 Weyers and 5-10 Nathan McNulty. First players off the bench are 5-10 junior Reyes, and sophomores Nathan Feliksa (5-11) and Parker Flock (6-4).

What is the team’s strength? “They all love basketball,” Allen said. “They play outside of school a lot.”

With the change of command, Allen said there are no changes in offensive or defensive schemes this season. Last year, the Plains boys posted an impressive 20-5 record. Four of the five losses were to eventual repeat state champion Arlee. Plains lost to the Warriors in the divisional tournament title game, and lost to Valley Christian in a challenge game and failed to qualify for the state tournament.

Allen believes Arlee will be “loaded” again this season.

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