Friday, March 24, 2023

Charlo teams take early exit from Class C Divisional

Valley Press | March 2, 2023 12:00 AM

For Charlo’s boys and girls basketball teams the journey to frozen Butte and the Maroon Activities Center ended way to soon.

Both of the town’s entries in the Western C Divisional tournament went 0-2 in the double elimination event, a surprising outcome by any stretch of the imagination. Last Monday, both teams fended off challenges from District 14C opponents to clinch the district’s second seeds and earn the right to take part in the Butte Divisional.

The boys ran into West Yellowstone’s tall and talented Wolverines in their first-round match Thursday and lost 72-40, bumping the Vikings into the consolation rounds. Friday morning they took on Drummond and fell behind early against the 18-5 Trojans who came away with a 59-46 victory.

The Charlo girls, meanwhile, had the misfortune of being matched with eventual Division champion Twin Bridges Thursday afternoon and were beaten 58-23, sending them to the loser-out consolation rounds of the double elimination tournament.

There they ran into Seeley-Swanand lost 54-46 to end their season and tournament run.

The Vikings boys, who fended off a challenge from Superior last Monday night in Thompson Falls, came out flat against West Yellowstone and 6-7 forward Logan Kingston, who engaged in a spirited battle underneath the basket with Charlo’s 6-6 junior Wesley Anderson.

The Wolverines emerged from the first quarter with a 14-9 lead, then expanded it to 29-16 at the half. West Yellowstone, out of the Western 11-12 C conference where they went unbeaten in conference play, added three points to their lead in the third quarter, then exploded to outscore the Vikings 24-8 over the final eight minutes of play and coast to the opening round victory.

Senior Keaton Piedalue led the Vikings in scoring with 14 points, while senior teammate Stetson Reum chipped in 13 for the Vikes.

The loss pushed Charlo into a Friday morning consolation game with Drummond, which got a game high 25 points from 6’ 4” junior forward Trey Phillips, and 15 points from senior guard Colt Parsons.

The Trojans took a slim 6-4 lead in a hectic, defense-dominated first quarter, then began to pull away in the second quarter as they built a 22-12 advantage by halftime.

Charlo outscored Drummond 17-14 in the third quarter but could not slow down Phillips and Parson who played a key role in stopping Charlo scoring runs during the fourth period.

The pair of losses left Charlo with a 15-8 season mark which included an 11-1, 14C record that clinched the regular season number-one seed for district play.

The Vikings lose their talented senior trio of guard Tucker Love, Piedalue and Stetson to graduation, but return a slew of young, tall and talented players led by Anderson, who paced the Vikings with 13 points versus the Trojans. Charlo also got 12 points from junior Hayden Hollow and 10 from Reum against Drummond.

As was the case with the Charlo boys, the Lady Vikings first round game was against one of the top tournament contenders, the Lady Falcons from Twin Bridges. The Falcons went on to win the Divisional with a win over Manhattan Christian Saturday evening and finished the tourney with a number-one seed from the West at next week’s state C finals in Billings. They are 21-2 on the year.

The Lady Falcons wasted no time establishing themselves as a Divisional championship contender against Charlo, leaping out to a 22-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, then stretching their advantage to 40-9 at the half.

Reserves played most of the second half for Twin Bridges which added four points to its first half lead as they breezed to the comfortable win.

The loss dropped Charlo into the consolation rounds, where they took on Seeley-Swan in a Friday afternoon, loser-out game.

Seeley and Maughan took a slim 12-8 lead after one quarter of play, then outscored Charlo 19-8 in the second quarter on their way to a 31-16 halftime lead.

Charlo battled back in the third and fourth quarters and was able to trim the Lady Blackhawks lead by seven points but the Lady Vikes could not overcome their 15-point halftime deficit.

The loss left Charlo with a 16-8 season record, including a 10-3 mark in 14C play, good for second place behind District champion Superior.

Standout sophomore Seeley McDonald scored 20 points to pace the Lady Vikings, while Maughan scored a game-high 22 for the Lady Blackhawks.

The Lady Vikings lose two key seniors to graduation, standout guards Hayleigh Smith and Sidney Bauer. However, they return a solid group of juniors and freshmen, along with McDonald, for the 2023-24 season.


Charlo guard Sheadon Kain heads down court with the ball during the Lady Vikings Divisional playoff game versus Seeley-Swan Friday afternoon in Butte. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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