Teams from Western Montana gathered in Frenchtown on Friday and Saturday for the 2018 Western C Basketball Tip-Off Tournament. Sixteen boys and girls teams matched up to start their season and check out the competition. Both Mineral County schools, the Clark Fork Mountain Cats Superior/Alberton co-op and the St. Regis Tigers, played in two games, one on each day.
The St. Regis Lady Tigers won both of their games, beating Valley Christian on Friday afternoon, 57-31, and Darby Tigers Saturday evening in a close game, 58-53. During the rival Tiger game, St. Regis led the way in all four quarters where Madison Kelly put up 20 points followed by Emma Hill with 14. Baylee Pruitt had nine, Sunny Shoupe eight and Kylee Thompson six.
The Clark Fork boys received a mixed bag of results with a win and a loss. They faced Noxon on Friday morning and lost 73-53. Noxon is starting their season with five returning seniors and two juniors, leaving a lot of experience on the court. The Cats came back in their second game on Saturday and beat Granite, 57-51.
THE LADY Mountain Cats are a young team this year and lost their season openers. They played Charlo Friday morning with a defeat of 52-31. They also took a beating against Plains on Saturday with a 55-37 loss.
“We have 18 players out this season, thanks to four eighth graders that volunteered to play up with the high schoolers,” said head coach Jeff Schultz.
He said the team is returning with four seniors. “The team is very young. Ten of our 18 are eighth and ninth graders. Everyone is working very hard but we need a lot of work on fundamentals.”
He said their strength will be their hustle as well as their defense. “I feel like we could be special on defense for sure,” the coach said.
Their weakness going into this season will be fundamentals since the team is so young. “Scoring will be harder to come by. Hopefully, our defense will lead to some easy buckets. We return three players that played a lot from last year’s 23-2 team. Madison Mask is the only returning starter and earned second-team all-conference honors. Margaret Parkin and Sophia Krutilla played a lot last year and will be asked to have larger roles this year,” Schultz said.
The St. Regis boys’ team is also starting their season with some inexperience — with only one returning senior, James Booker. They also lost their season-opening games, facing Victor on Friday evening with a close game, 61-58. They also lost to Seeley Saturday afternoon, 74-51.
The Cats next travel to Troy on Thursday, Dec. 6 and then meet up in St. Regis on Dec. 15. That is followed by a home game on Dec. 18 against Lincoln. St. Regis teams will travel to Noxon on Saturday, Dec. 8 and then meet Charlo at home on Dec. 14.