The Choteau High School boys basketball team has a busy week. They traveled to Boulder on Monday to make up a game postponed last week because of high winds along the front range, and they will be at home this weekend for the final games of the regular season against Fairfield and Rocky Boy.
As of Feb. 8, the boys were 11-4 overall and 6-4 in conference. They will finish the season this week with one nonconference game and two conference games. On Valentine’s Day, Choteau will host Fairfield with the junior varsity game at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity game at 7:30 p.m.
On Feb. 15, the junior varsity squad will play Rocky Boy at 2:30 p.m. and the varsity team will play at 5:30 p.m. Before the girls varsity game (set for 4 p.m.), CHS will honor all girls and boys senior players, cheer squad and pep band members.
Senior boys basketball players are Acton Snyder, Gage Cummings, Kyler Crabtree, Johnny Rappold, Brady Armstrong, Oliver Jorden, Kolby Kovatch and Keegan Thomas.
Senior cheer squad members are Abby Hadlock, Brigid Miller, Declan Fladstol, Hope Linquist and Delani Daley.
Senior pep band members are: Armstrong, Cummings, Jorden, Jessie Henderson, Wilbur Bechtold, Amber Johnson Rebekah Major, Cole Nelson and Sam Stutz.
Coach Austin Schilling on Monday said the Bulldogs are looking forward to a rematch with the Fairfield team, which is undefeated so far in conference. “It’s a great rivalry,” Schilling said, adding that the boys would like to avenge their earlier season loss.
They are also hoping to notch a win over Rocky Boy, a powerful team that defeated Choteau on the road last month. Since then, Rocky Boy has lost a couple of conference games, and getting a win would give Choteau the third seed going into the district tournament.
Schilling said Choteau’s boys are playing better basketball now than when they faced these two teams. “I think both games will be better than the first go-around because we are playing better,” he said.
In last week’s game against Shelby, the Bulldogs played point-for-point in the first quarter and only trailed by one at the start of the second, but Shelby’s big height advantage ruled during the second quarter as the Coyotes out-scored Choteau, 25-15, to take a big 37-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Shelby continued to out-produce Choteau on offense in the second half, defeating the Bulldogs for the second time this season, 79-60. Sophomore Rhett Reynolds, at 6-foot-8, scored 30 points for the Coyotes while powerful Tanner Parsons, a senior at 6-foot-1, put up another 17 points as did junior Logan Leck, 6-foot-4, in the win.
Schilling said Reynolds, Leck and Parsons are among the best boys basketball players in the conference, and they played Choteau tough. Rappold, usually one of Choteau’s high scorers, got in foul trouble early and had to sit out parts of the game. Coming off the bench, Thomas and Armstrong played tough. Kovatch, who was nearly shut down against Shelby in their first matchup, managed to get good shots and played aggressively at the basket and on defense despite being sick most of the week.
Schilling said the boys fought to stay in the game and never gave up. In the third quarter, as Choteau trailed by eight, Daley got called for an intentional foul on Reynolds, resulting in a seven-point swing that hurt Choteau’s momentum.
Schilling said that Armstrong said he was the one who actually fouled Reynolds though Daley got called for it. The coach said there was no malicious intent in the play.
He said he liked that the boys played with confidence throughout the game even though they couldn’t get the win.
Choteau was led by Kovatch who scored on penetrating drives to the basket, three-point shooting and free-throw shooting to tally 25 points in the loss. Crabtree had 14 points. The boys made 56% of their free throws.
Traveling to Cut Bank on Feb. 8, the Bulldogs notched another conference win, defeating the Wolves, 66-41. Choteau led, 18-16, at the end of the first quarter and never let the Wolves take the lead. Crabtree was hot on offense, putting up 20 points, junior Tony Daley had 12 and Snyder had 10 points in the win. The boys made 62% of their free throws.
Schilling said Choteau went up 11-0 in the first quarter and took advantage of Cut Bank scorer Devin Gobert getting in foul trouble and Hayden Harrell playing with an injury. Those two are usually Cut Bank’s lead scorers.
He said Crabtree did a great job of guarding Gobert and of scoring himself while Daley had his best point tally of the season and Snyder put up some timely three-point shots in the win. Schilling said the boys did a great job of attacking the basket and getting their inside shots to fall.
Choteau 11-15-16-18 — 60
Shelby 12-25-19-23 — 79
Choteau — Acton Snyder 3 1/2 8, Kyler Crabtree 5 3/5 14, Johnny Rappold 2 1/2 5, Brady Armstrong 1 0/0 2, Tony Daley 2 0/0 6, Kolby Kovatch 8 4/6 25. Totals: 21 9/16.
Shelby — Logan Leck 6 5/6 17, Rhett Reynolds 10 8/10 30, Trenton Emerson 1 2/2 5, Tanner Tustian 1 0/0 2, Aiden Torgerson 0 2/2 2, Tanner Parsons 5 3/4 17, Taylor Parsons 2 1/2 6. Totals: 25 21/26.
Fouls: Choteau 23, Shelby 19. Fouled out: Daley, Torgerson. Three-point goals: Snyder, Crabtree, Kovatch 5, Daley 2, Reynolds 2, Emerson, Tanner Parsons 4, Taylor Parsons.
Choteau 18-15-18-16 — 66
Cut Bank 12-6-13-10 — 41
Choteau — Acton Snyder 4 1/2 10, Gage Cummings 1 1/4 3, Kyler Crabtree 6 5/5 20, Johnny Rappold 2 5/8 9, Brady Armstrong 1 0/0 2, Tony Daley 6 0/0 12, Oliver Jorden 1 1/2 3, Kolby Kovatch 3 0/0 8. Totals: 24 13/21.
Cut Bank — Devin Gobert 3 0/0 6, Hayden Harrell 4 1/2 10, Justin Crowe 2 0/0 4, Dawson Vasboe 2 1/1 5, Chevy Burdeau 1 0/0 3, Coalter Littrel 1 2/4 4, Cody Racki 2 0/2 4, Will Sewell 1 0/0 2, Dayne Barbie 1 1/2 3. Totals: 17 5/11.
Fouls: Choteau 11, Cut Bank 17. Fouled out: Barbie. Three-point goals: Snyder, Crabtreee 3, Kovatch 2, Harrell, Burdeau.