The Choteau High School Lady Bulldogs split in conference play last week and this week will be on the road, traveling to Fairfield on Friday and Rocky Boy on Saturday as CHS hosts the massive two-day Choteau Classic wrestling tournament Jan. 17 and 18.
The Choteau girls are now 2-2 in conference, fourth in standings and 3-5 overall. On Friday, the junior varsity game will start at 3 p.m. and the varsity will play at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the JV squad will play at 1 p.m. and the varsity squad will play at 4 p.m.
Coach Carissa Jenkins on Sunday said two of her players who banged their heads in play against Cut Bank last week are likely to be back in the lineup. She had Samara DeBruycker and Abby McCollom sit out part of the Cut Bank contest after being injured in separate plays.
McCollom does not appear to have a concussion but will be re-checked on Monday and the team will go from there, Jenkins said.
In practice this week, Jenkins said the girls will work to learn some new offenses that can be effectively run against two-three zone defenses and man-to-man defenses as they may see from Fairfield and Rocky Boy.
The Choteau girls will be preparing to try to contain Fairfield’s Kenna Pitcher who had 33 points against Rocky Boy, and to contain Rocky Boy’s Jeralyn Parker, Sasha Coffee and two Gopher girls. “Rocky Boy is always one of those teams that can just get hot and go off,” she said.
Also on defense, she said, she wants to work with the girls on moves that can not only contain an inside game, but also keep perimeter shooters from doing damage. Against Shelby, she noted, the Choteau girls contained the Lady Coyotes big inside shooter but got hurt by another girl who put up five three-point shots.
Choteau lost to Shelby on the road on Jan. 10, falling 54-32, in a game that was never close. The Lady Coyotes jumped out to a narrow 10-8 lead after the first quarter and were up, 27-13, at halftime. Choteau made adjustments at the half, but couldn’t stop Shelby from scoring as the Coyotes out-scored Choteau 19-11 in the third period. Both teams scored eight points in the final period.
Choteau shut down Maddison Underdal, limiting her to just two points in the first half, but then Kendall Anderson got hot and put up five three-point shots.
Junior guard Christine Funk led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 points and was the only player for Choteau in double digits though the Ladies did have six players scoring.
In the first half, Shelby’s press wasn’t killing Choteau, Jenkins said, but in the second half, Shelby dropped back and the Choteau girls started to feel the pressure of Shelby’s lead and began hurrying their offense. Jenkins said her girls could not ever get back into the game.
The CHS girls made 100% of their free-throws in the game, but were only able to sink 11 shots from the court.
Despite the loss, Jenkins said she thinks next time Choteau plays Shelby, it will be a different story because the girls learned and improved during the game.
At home on Jan. 11, the Lady Bulldogs played a gritty low-scoring defensive battle and came out on top, defeating coach Brandon Kavanagh’s Cut Bank Lady Wolves, 37-29.
The Choteau girls led, 9-5, at the end of the first quarter and were up, 14-12, at halftime. In the third quarter, Cut Bank outscored Choteau, 11-5, and pulled ahead but couldn’t sustain the rally. Choteau answered in the fourth quarter, putting up 18 points to Cut Bank’s six, for the win. Cut Bank started pressing Choteau in the fourth quarter, and the girls handled that press very well, Jenkins said. “I was really, really proud of them for that. That was a big lesson learned,” she said.
Choteau played very aggressive defense, pressing throughout the first half and forcing turnovers. Jenkins said the Choteau press helped keep Cut Bank from getting into an offensive rhythm. The coach said the girls focused on shutting down Cut Bank’s inside play. They were also tough rebounders, limiting Cut Bank to one-chance at the basket and capitalizing on steals for points.
Choteau had six girls scoring with Funk notching 12 points and freshman guard Ada Bieler putting up 10 to lead the team. The Choteau girls made 50% of their free-throws. Choteau didn’t land any threes on the night, but attacked the basket well to get their inside shots to drop.
Choteau 8-5-11-8 — 32
Shelby 10-17-19-8 — 54
Choteau — Christine Funk 4 1/1 11, Jessie Henderson 1 0/0 2, Samara DeBruycker 2 5/5 9, Ella Stott 1 0/0 2, Abby McCollom 1 0/0 2, Ada Bieler 2 2/2 6. Totals: 11 8/8.
Shelby — Brook Luly 2 0/0 4, Bailey Johnson 2 2/2 6, Rachel Heald 1 1/4 3, Brielle Aklestad 3 6/10 12, Maddison Underdal 3 3/6 9, Kendall Anderson 5 2/2 17, Brogan McAllister 1 0/0 3. Totals: 17 14/24.
Fouls: Choteau 16, Shelby 12. Fouled out: none. Three-point goals: Funk 2, Anderson 5, McAllister.
Choteau 9-5-5-18 — 37
Cut Bank 5-7-11-6 — 29
Choteau — Emma Gunderson 2 2/4 6, Christine Funk 3 6/8 12, Jessie Henderson 0 1/4 1, Samara DeBruycker 2 0/0 4, Ada Bieler 4 2/2 10, Nicole Krone 1 2/6 4. Totals: 12 13/26.
Cut Bank — Jada Rides at the Door 1 3/4 5, Sadie Pepion 1 0/4 2, Jackie Waller 1 0/0 2, Sienna Spotted Bear 2 3/4 8, Aryana Black 2 0/1 4, Samantha Burke 1 0/0 2, Hannah Fetters 2 2/2 6. Totals: 10 8/15.
Fouls: Choteau 15, Cut Bank 20. Fouled out: Rides at the Door, Spotted Bear. Three-point goals: Spotted Bear.