The Ronan High School girls basketball team will experience a youth movement headed into the 2018-19 upcoming basketball season.
Maidens head coach Steve Woll, who will enter his second year at the helm of the Ronan girls’ team, will still have a group of three seniors and three sophomores as they prepare to head into their second consecutive season in the Class A classification.
Ronan is just two seasons removed from a flawless regular season when they featured Alicia Camel and Lee Camel, a recent University of Montana signee. Ronan hopes to return to Divisionals in a stacked conference that includes perennial Montana High School Association Class A powerhouses Columbia Falls, Browning and Libby, who is entering its second consecutive season in the Class A classification.
Woll knows his team will be young, but also possess skill like most Ronan teams traditionally do.
“It’s going to be a real learning curve headed into this season,” Woll admits. “We will have girls that probably won’t be really tall. We will have a little bit of length, and hopefully we can defend in transition a little bit. That will be our first goal. We will try to get some easier shots by sharing the ball and scoring points on defense to create some offense.”
For several years, Woll has put an emphasis on team chemistry and constantly preaches cultivating that with his team.
“We all hope it comes down to chemistry and playing together, and that has always been the biggest thing,” Woll said. “We always want to play well together as a group and as a unit. How we play together as a team will always tell the tale of our season.”
Another characteristic of a Woll-led squad is that no one on his team, regardless of seniority, will ever have a secure spot on his team. Woll believes in building a fundamental philosophy that every player on his team must earn their position.
“That is our philosophy is the ‘next man up,’ and I was telling my players if they don’t play well enough, I can’t play you,” Woll said.
The Maidens, who will travel to the Missoula Tip-Off and prior to tipping off the first half of the season, will have the orange-black scrimmage Thursday night at the Ronan Events Center.
In spite of the team’s youth, Woll has expressed confidence in his team’s level of experience playing varsity minutes.
“These players are normally pretty receptive, and you don’t really have to modify anything because they are young,” Woll said. “We have a different group. There are a few core players. Some of our girls went to the gym and put in quite a bit of time over the off season, and it has paid off for them a little.”
NWA Ronan (8-16, 1089pts)
coach: Steve Woll, 2nd yr (249-297)
asst: Robert McCrea, Angela Rossi
Micalann McCrea, career high 27
(GBB Western A all-trny 2nd-tm, 2x a-s, 3x a-c: 1st-tm 2018-16, 2nd-tm 2016-15)
career 4yr: 1266p,595r,299a,250s,19b
Jaelynn Askan (GBB a-c hm)
v2yr+ career: 255p,171r,53a,69s,3b
Gabby Wirz (SB a-s, a-c 1st-tm)
Louetta Conko-Camel, transfer
sr. 5-6 wing Tiana Ulutoa
(VB 2x a-c hm 2018-17)
jr. 5-9 wing/post Regan Clairmont
jr. 5-9 wing/post Madison Clairmont
jr. wing/post 5-7 Kieauna DeRoche (19p,19r)
so. 5-11 post Madeline McCrea
(VB 2x a-c hm 2018-17)
Fr07Dec Frenchtown vs. Ronan
Sa08Dec Dillon vs. Ronan
— John Heglie contributed to this article.