The Choteau High School girls basketball teams are playing their last week of the regular season, traveling to Cut Bank on Monday and hosting Conrad on Thursday.
Coach Carissa Jenkins said the CHS junior varsity team will play half games against both Cut Bank and Conrad. At home on Thursday, the girls JV game will start at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity game will start at 7 p.m.
Choteau had been scheduled to travel to Townsend on Feb. 20 for a nonconference game, but the Broadwater County High School officials canceled the game because of a COVID-19 outbreak. That game will not be made up.
The Choteau girls will start the postseason next week, most likely in second place in the conference behind Fairfield. Choteau has a 9-4 record overall and an 8-2 record in conference with its only conference losses to Fairfield. The District 1B girls and boys tournaments will be played Feb. 24-27. The higher seeds will host the lower seeds on Feb. 24-26. Then on Feb. 27, the top six teams will play at the Conrad High School gym.
In practice this week and next, Coach Jenkins said, the girls will work on situational drills to help them take a fourth quarter lead and make sure they come out on top at the final buzzer. They’ll work a little this week to prepare for Conrad’s press, and also work on defensive schemes to make sure other team’s outside shooters don’t get easy shots.
As always, she said, the girls will continue to work on ways to minimize turnovers, play their best team ball and handle whatever defense comes against them.
Jenkins said the varsity girls will likely be playing the rest of the season without sophomore Asia Bouma, who came in off the bench to play post and give Choteau some size in rebounding and inside offense. She was injured two weeks ago and having an MRI on her knee this week to pinpoint the damage. The injury could be season-ending, Jenkins said.
Without Bouma, Choteau has just 11 girls out for basketball, including two eighth graders.
Last week, the girls lost a heartbreaker to Fairfield at home, 44-43.
Choteau led, 18-12, at the end of the first quarter and 25-22 at halftime. At the end of the third quarter, Choteau was up 34-31, but Fairfield outscored Choteau, 13-9, in the fourth quarter to come up with the one-point win.
Choteau’s Ada Bieler led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 20 points and was the only player in double digits. Fairfield held Christine Funk to just 9 points. The Choteau girls made just 45% of their free throws in the loss.
Jenkins’ team had hoped to win by at least 9 points to earn finish the season No. 1 in the conference, but Fairfield’s girls came up with some big three-point shots and free throws to get the win.
Even though Choteau lost, Jenkins said, the girls hit a number of their goals in the game, including limiting turnovers, having the lead at the end of the first three quarters, breaking Fairfield’s press and staying mostly out of foul trouble. T
Against Rocky Boy, the Choteau girls dominated the court. Up by 17-2 at the end of the first quarter, Choteau won the game, 75-33. Bieler again led the team in scoring with 20 points, but Emma Gunderson and Abby McCollom each chipped in17 points while Funk had 14. The girls made 69% of their free throws.
“We are trying to stay as focused as possible,” Jenkins said of the last week of the regular season.
She was pleased to be able to get some of Choteau’s junior varsity players into the Rocky Boy game and hoped to be able to do so against Cut Bank and Conrad, so those girls, who will be part of the tournament team, will have some more varsity experience.
She said her team has continued to improve every week in the season and the girls are excited for the postseason play to begin.
Choteau 18-7-9-9 — 43
Fairfield 12-10-9-13 — 44
Choteau — Emma Gunderson 3 1/3 8, Christine Funk 3 2/5 9, Ella Stott 1 0/0 2, Abby McCollom 1 0/0 2, Ada Bieler 8 2/3 20, Savannah Durocher 1 0/0 2. Totals: 17 5/11.
Fairfield — Natalie Kolste 1 1/2 3, Madison Rosenbaum 1 0/0 3, Emma Woods 5 2/3 17, Tori Jones 6 0/0 12, Cheyenne Maddox 2 1/2 5, Kyler Bake 2 0/0 4. Totals: 17 4/7.
Total fouls: Choteau 11, Fairfield 11. Fouled out: McCollom. Three-point goals: Gunderson, Funk, Bieler 2, Rosenbaum, Woods 5.
Choteau 17-29-19-10 — 75
Rocky Boy 2-12-8-11 — 33
Choteau — Emma Gunderson 8 0/0 17, Maili Miller 0 3/6 3, Christine Funk 4 4/4 14, Ella Stott 1 1/2 4, Abby McCollom 7 3/4 17, Ada Bieler 9 0/0 20. Totals: 29 11/16.
Rocky Boy — Jour’Dai Coffee 1 5/8 7, Kirsten LaMere 8 2/4 20, J’Leanna Raining Bird 1 0/0 2, Alyssa Demontiney 2 0/0 4. Totals: 9 7/12.
Total fouls: Choteau 11, Rocky Boy 16. Fouled out: Kodee Henderson. Three-point goals: Gunderson, Funk 2, Stott, Bieler 2, LaMere 2.