Belt teams capture district championships

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Roy-Winifred Co-Coach Mauri Ellness gives her players some instructions while a free-throw is being shot during the Lady Outlaws’ semi-final win over Winnett-Grass Range.                                                                        Photos by Doreen Heintz

Nothing much has changed at the top of District 8C basketball over the past few years. Since District 7C and 8C combined three years ago to form a new District 8C, the Belt Huskies and Lady Huskies have dominated in basketball. Both teams won easy battles for the district championships again this year.
The Huskies defeated Centerville by a score of 67-29 in the boys’ championship, while the Lady Huskies defeated Roy-Winifred 57-31 for the Lady Huskies’ eighth consecutive district girls’ championship.
In the boys’ championship, the Huskies came out strong behind 6 points from Keagan Stroop and 4 points from Jess Bodner in the opening quarter. After the first period, Belt led, 17-2. The tough Husky defense continued in the second period, holding the Miners to 6 points, while adding 17 more to their own. At halftime, the Huskies led, 34-8.
The onslaught continued in the second half with Belt adding 22 points to its total, while Centerville was only able to rack up 8 points in the period.
Despite being hardly tested during the district tournament, Belt Coach Kyle Paulson was pleased with his team’s performances.
“Every game is a test, regardless of the results,” said Paulson about the tournament.
For the Belt boys, it was their fourth consecutive district championship.
Bodner led a very balanced scoring attack for the Huskies with 12 points. Stroop and Jaren Maki added 10 points each with 10 Husky players hitting the scoring column. Centerville did not have a single player in double figures in the championship contest. Senior Briggs Judd led the Miners with 7 points.

Lady Outlaw Kaylie Carlstrom misses championship contest
Lady Outlaw Co-Coach Mauri Ellnesss thought her team would have given the Lady Huskies a much better contest on Saturday night at the FHS Fieldhouse in Lewistown, but Ellness and Co-Coach Marietta Boyce decided to hold senior guard Kaylie Carlstrom out of the lineup.
“Kaylie hurt her ankle in the last second of the contest against Winnett-Grass Range on Friday night,” said Ellness. “We decided to get her healthy for the divisional tournament.
“Offensively against Belt we did not play very well,” added Ellness.
The Lady Outlaws only scored 2 points on two free throws from Keyara Bahnmiller after the Lady Huskies jumped to an 11-0 score. Bahmiller provided most of the scoring punch for Roy-Winnett throughout the contest. She had a total of 14 points, with 10 of those points coming from the free-throw line.
Ellness was pleased with her team’s defensive effort as the Lady Outlaws held Belt to 57 points.
“Our trapping defense worked well,” she said.
At one point in the contest, the crowd heard Belt Coach Jeff Graham yell at his players, “Quit going to the corner.”
Belt led 16-2 at the end of the first quarter and 30-14 at halftime. Graham made good use of his bench throughout the contest. On several occasions, he put an entire new lineup on the floor. Ellness and Boyce also gave their young girls some playing time in the championship contest.
“Our young kids got some great experience,” said Ellness.
“Over-all, I am very happy and proud of the performance of our team throughout the district tournament,” she added.
Coach Graham was also happy with his team’s performance throughout the tournament.
“We played great defensively and rebounded much better against Roy-Winifred in the championship contest than we had done earlier in the tournament,” said Graham.
Besides 14 points from Bahnmiller, Jada Goettlich had 7 in the contest for the Lady Outlaws. Belt was led in scoring with 14 points from junior Dani Urick and 13 points from senior Kerstyn Pimperton. Ryan Schraner and Morgan Cooper each added 9 points in the win.

Divisional matchups for the teams
In a very balanced Northern C Divisional Tournament, it might be hard to say who the real favorites are. Both Belt squads should be favored. If the Lady Huskies should win this weekend in Great Falls, it will be their seventh consecutive Northern C crown. In 2010 they lost the divisional championship by 1 point.
The Belt girls open the tournament against Cascade at 9:30 Wednesday morning.
“Monday was man day and Tuesday zone day in practice this week,” said Graham. “We are also focusing on our presses, press breakers, half-court offense, BLOBs and SLOBs.”
Graham added his team needs to cut down on turnovers at the divisional tournament. He sees Roy-Winifred, Winnett-Grass Range, Box Elder, Fort Benton and Great Falls Central as being tough in the Northern C Divisional.
The Belt boys open the tournament on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Power, which is the third seed from District 10C.
“All the teams in the divisional tournament are capable of going to state,” said Belt Coach Paulson, when asked who was the tournament favorite.
Paulson said his focus during a very short week of practice was the same as always – improvement.
The Roy-Winifred girls face Fort Benton in their opening round game at the Northern C Divisional. They play the Lady Longhorns at 12:30 p.m. today (Wednesday).



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