Basketball Sports Primer
Transition team with potential
The Mustangs girls’ basketball team
Ennis girls’ basketball returns to the court as an athletic team with less experience than in recent past years.
The Mustangs have lost 10 girls from graduating classes within two years. The four returning varsity players are juniors and sophomores, including two, second team all-conference selections Jenna Snider and Landri Paladichuk.
Snider, a starting point guard, is prepared for the 2019-2020 season. Her experience could potentially lead this team to success in the District 12C conference. Landri, a starting shooting guard, was another strong player last season as a sophomore. As a junior, she will continue to be a contributor to the Mustangs.
The two returning sophomores, Shae Lovett and Shelbey Klein, had valuable time on the court last season and are expected to contribute more this season.
A new face on the varsity team, Ennis High School senior Kennedy Davies, has shown promise in practice. She does not have much experience but the head coach, Jordan Overstreet, expects Davies to have a good season.
“I’m excited to see our growth as a team from the beginning of the season to the end,” Overstreet said. “With how hard these girls have been working, I look for us to be a tough team to beat by the end of the season.”
Defense remains strong on this team, but the Mustangs’ inexperience could occur in the offense. With a strong point guard setting shooters up for success, the Mustangs could easily undertake the challenge.
Overstreet would like to see the girls push the ball and take advantage of easy points in transition.
“I feel we have an athletic team and we need to really use that and play fast,” Overstreet said.
The Mustangs will tip off the season against conference competitor, the Lima Bears, at home Tuesday, Dec. 10.
A young team
The Mustangs boys’ basketball team
Five varsity players return to Ennis’ boys basketball team as juniors and sophomores.
The young team will have to work hard this season to overcome a lack of experience on the court. But a few players will lead the season for the Mustangs, including second team all-conference selection, Ian Swanson.
Swanson, point guard and a junior at Ennis, distributes the ball well and is a consistent scorer for the Mustangs. Sophomore shooting guard, Brand Ostler is expected to be another contributor to the team. Ostler makes baskets and recognizes opportunities on the floor well.
“You never have to worry about effort with either player,” Ennis Head Coach, Jared Smithson said.
Smithson wants his team to give more effort than their opponents no matter the outcome of the game. He sees a lot of potential in the boys and is excited to watch their transformation and progress throughout the season.
The team’s only senior is not among the varsity players returning to the Mustangs. The other three players who have returned are Jarret Jenkins and Cordell Severeid, both juniors, and Jaxson Kloote, a sophomore.
Ennis will begin its basketball season against the Lima Bears on Mustangs’ territory at 7 p.m. Dec. 10.
New season, new coach
The Panthers boys’ basketball team
A new coach, Ben Holland, will lead the Sheridan High School boys’ basketball team for the 2019-2020 season.
Six players return to the court for the Panthers, including senior point guard, Jadon Chilsholm, senior forward, Cade McParland and junior point guard, Hartson VanHouten.
Sheridan High School had a good number of students come out for basketball this year. The Panthers will rely on the three retuning upperclassmen for their varsity experience. Only one starter, from last year’s 2-17 season, returns to the team. But all returning varsity players return with significant playing time, which offers more help in bringing the newcomers up to speed.
“Those new faces have a lot to bring to the table, so getting them up to speed should be less of a challenge,” Holland said.
Several junior varsity players from last year, whose progress has earned them a spot on the varsity team, fill new roles as potential contributors to the Panthers’ success on the court.
Holland wants to see this team dominate its opponents in the things within their control like effort, fundamentals, intensity and GPA.
“We do have experience, but we also have inexperience. That will lead to challenges as the season goes on,” Holland said. “I do believe we have the guys to overcome those challenges.”
The Panthers will tip off the season against the Lone Peak Big Horns at Absarokee Saturday, Dec. 14.
Return of the Panthers
Sheridan girls’ basketball team
Eleven She-Panthers return to the court for the 2019-2020 basketball season. Twelve, counting Head Coach, Emily Pierson.
This Panthers team has potential to be a threat in the District 12C conference. They have an abundance of experience, including Sheridan High School junior and second team all-conference center, Desaray Tipton. Tipton will likely remain a solid scorer and consistent contributor for the Panthers.
She is in good company with fellow upperclassmen Tia Hill, Grace Larsen, Madison Fable, Mackenzee Fable and Elizabeth Hamilton returning as well. Hill’s speed and defensive presence as a shooting guard on the court makes her a valuable player. Madison Fable distributes the ball well as the Panther’s senior point guard and like her younger sister, Mackenzee Fable, she plays quick and aggressively.
The sophomore class brings value and experience to the team as well. Forward Jorien VerHow is a consistent defensive player around the net. As a couple of top shooters for the Panthers, Brooke Grow and Faith Larsen also contribute to defending the perimeter with Hill and the Fable sisters.
Maintaining possession and not fouling, will be an obstacle this team will have to overcome for steady success. But the team has grown from last year’s 4-15 season record.
Pierson wants the team to have endurance, playing quick, full court defense better than their opponents for the entirety of the game, and to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
“The girls dedicated a lot of time in the gym this summer and improved greatly in various aspects of the game,” Pierson said. “I’m looking forward to seeing that pay off and the girls are excited to compete.”
The Panthers’ first game will be against the Robert Rockets at Lone Peak High School Saturday, Dec. 7.
Twin Bridges’ boys basketball team
Twin Bridges will likely to be a major competitor in the District 12C conference.
Last basketball season for the Falcons ended in intensity. They fell to the Arlee Warriors in the final seconds of Divisionals. Eight players from that successful 24 - 2 season return to the court.
Bryce Nye and Nate Konen, seniors at Twin Bridges, return to the team as 2019 all state selections and will be forces to play against. Nye has earned a reputation as one of the best guards in area, arguably the state, offensively and defensively. He has been contributing to Falcons basketball as a starter since he was a freshman. Head Coach Josh Keller believes Nye has the experience and leadership skills to lead this team.
“Nate Konen is just an all-around tough kid,” Keller said.
Konen’s contribution to the team will shine n the score board.
Returning Twin Bridges’ senior, Jake Hughes, is injured but is expected to be healthy for tournament time. He consistently makes baskets and has earned many points for the Falcons.
“Great kid to coach, Jake is always doing the right thing,” Keller said.
Standing at almost six-foot-seven, Charlie Kruer returns to the team as a junior. He had a remarkable off season in the weight room and on the court. Kruer drains three pointers like nobody’s business.
“I think we will see some big offensive numbers by Charlie this year,” Keller said.
Matt Kaiser, Tate Smith and Axton Anderson are the other returning juniors. All have improved over the summer and have strengths to offer the team. Kaiser is a strong rebounder and three pointer, and Smith’s athleticism makes him a diverse player.
Keller is excited to see how high this team can jump in the Class C conference.
“I think they are going to just be a fun team to watch and coach,” Keller said. “We need to get and stay healthy. Grind out the season and see where we can go from there.”
As of press time, we had not received information from the Twin Bridges Lady Falcons or either of the Harrison Wildcats basketball teams. Check in next week’s edition to learn more.