The Choteau High School boys basketball teams will play their final games of the regular season this week, playing at Cut Bank on Feb. 15 and ending at home against Conrad on Feb. 18.
Last week, the boys lost, 77-42, to Fairfield and 77-24 against Rocky Boy. Though they have been close several times, and even lost one game in overtime, the CHS varsity squad has not notched a win so far this season and remains in seventh place in the district.
The District 1B tournament will be next week. The higher seed team will host the lower seed team in play on Feb. 24 through 26, and the top six teams will play in Conrad on Feb. 27 under COVID-19 plans. With one week of regular play left, Shelby is ranked first, Fairfield second, Rocky Boy third, Conrad fourth, Cut Bank fifth, Great Falls Central Catholic sixth and Choteau seventh.
CHS head coach Kevin Kovatch on Monday said Choteau will likely open against Fairfield at Fairfield in the tournament next week.
He said the boys are continuing to work hard, but last week the tough Fairfield and Rocky Boy defenses took Choteau’s boys out of their offensive game. He said Choteau’s boys, who have been very good at playing team ball all season, in both of these games got rattled and lost offensive focus. He said they started taking quick shots under the pressure of Fairfield’s and Rocky Boy’s defense and didn’t play team ball as well as they can.
The Choteau boys played well with Fairfield and Rocky Boy in the first quarter of each game, but then were unable to match offensive production and fell farther behind as the games progressed.
In the game against Fairfield, Choteau’s Tony Daley had 12 points and Henry Bieler had 11 to lead the team in scoring. The boys made 50% of their free throws.
In the Rocky Boy game, Daley had 14 points and was the only scorer in double digits. The boys made 81% of their free throws.
This week, Choteau’s boys traveled to Cut Bank on Monday for a make-up game. Results of that game were unavailable before the Acantha went to press. The boys’ last game of the regular season is Thursday at home against Conrad. Both varsity and JV games will be played against both teams.
Choteau had been scheduled to travel to Townsend on Feb. 20, but Broadwater County High School has canceled the game because of a COVID-19 outbreak. That game will not be rescheduled.
Kovatch said Choteau’s varsity players had leads against Cut Bank and Conrad in the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs played them earlier in the season, but couldn’t hold that lead for the win. This week, he hopes the Dawgs can play hard, lead in the fourth and finish on top for the win.
In practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, the coach said the team will focus on strategies to defend the post position, to improve their interior defense and to take care of the ball. The coach will also talk with the boys about the importance of playing team ball and being patient on offense.
Kovatch said this season has been hard on the Bulldogs as they haven’t seen any wins, but the boys are continuing to work hard and have improved.
“The hardest thing we have to go through this year, and maybe next year, is working through these losses. We have to look at tournaments, and prepare for tournaments, and maybe in tournaments knock one of these teams off,” he said.
This is just a really tough year. “We’ll just keep plugging away and hope to get a few wins at tournament,” he added.
Choteau 13-9-5-15 — 42
Fairfield 20-23-22-12 — 77
Choteau — Henry Bieler 3 2/4 11, Jacob Brewster 2 2/4 6, Sterling Stott 1 0/0 2, Jacob Beattie 1 0/0 2, Tony Daley 4 2/4 12, Tommy James 2 0/0 6, Cody Hunter 1 0/0 3. Totals: 14 6/12.
Fairfield — Bryden Batson 3 2/2 8, Conor Murry 4 0/0 8, Guidry Giles 2 0/0 4, Gavin Mills 2 0/2 4, Daniel Faith 5 0/0 12, Owen Cartwright 5 0/0 10, Hunter Rapp 0 0/2 0, Cooper Christensen 4 2/3 10, Kaelob Flores 2 4/4 8, Michael Wambach 1 0/0 2, Cadence Anderson 2 0/0 4, Brayden Kolwyck 3 1/2 7. Totals: 33 9/15.
Fouls: Choteau 12, Fairfield 12. Fouled out: none. Three-point goals: Bieler 3, Daley 2, James 2, Patterson, Faith 2.
Choteau 8-10-4-4 — 26
Rocky Boy 18-22-20-14 — 74
Choteau — Henry Bieler 1 2/2 5, Jacob Brewster 2 0/0 5, Jacob Beattie 1 0/0 2, Tony Daley 3 7/7 14, Landon Jamison 0 0/2 0. Totals: 7 9/11.
Rocky Boy — Nacona Limberhand 2 1/2 7, Joe Demontiney 5 3/4 16, Ben Crebs 4 0/0 8, Domitri Standing Rock 1 0/0 3, Sean Gibson 2 1/2 7, Joe Standing Rock 5 0/0 13, Brayden LaMere 2 0/0 6, Teague Stump 4 0/0 10, Kellen Colliflower 2 0/1 4. Totals: 27 5/9.
Fouls: Choteau 10, Rocky Boy 13. Fouled out: none. Three-point goals: Bieler, Daley, Limberhand 2, Demontiney 3, D. Standing Rock, Gibson 2, J. Standing Rock 3, LaMerere 2, Stump 2.