Wolf Point Herald

Lady Wolves Knock Off An Unbeaten At State Tourney, Keep State Champion Within Three Points For Three Quarters


The Lady Wolves took a passion to bring home championship hardware or at least pocket a second- or third-place trophy to the first state tournament in 13 years for a Wolf Point girls’ basketball team. They knocked off an undefeated team and kept the eventual state champion within three points for three quarters at the state class B tournament at the 12,000-seat MetraPark Arena in Billings Thursday through Saturday, March 9-11.
The Lady Wolves played a like a state champion in the quarterfinal Thursday, easily dispatching the undefeated Colstrip Fillies 55-44.

A semifinal loss in a close game the following day to eventual state champion Fairfield denied the Lady Wolves an opportunity to play for the ultimate prize, the state B girls’ basketball championship.
Fairfield denied Malta a third consecutive class B state title in a 34-33 nail-biter that came down to the final seconds.
It was the seventh state championship contest between the M-Ettes and Lady Eagles in eight years and the 10th time the class B powerhouses have met for the state B girls’ championship. Each team has defeated the other for the state title.
Senior standouts Sophia Stiles of Malta and Natalie Klinker of Fairfield led their teams the past few seasons. Klinker scored 23 points against Wolf Point in Fairfield’s 8-point semifinal win. Stiles is a repeat selection for the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year for girls’ basketball.
The Lady Wolves opened the quarterfinal with the Colstrip Fillies with a 9-point run, took a 1-point lead into halftime, led 40-30 at the final quarter break and pocketed an 11-point 55-44 win.
Shelby Hanks shot 100 percent from the free throw line for 15 of her game-high 23 points against Colstrip. Aubrey Zilkoski hit the mark twice from outside the mark for six of her 18 points.
Wolf Point as a team shot 81 percent from the charity stripe against Colstrip, counting 21 points on 26 attempts. Colstrip shot 14 for 25 for 56 percent.
On the boards, the Lady Wolves pulled down 35 rebounds. The Fillies posted 34.
Wolf Point played with high intensity, a positive attitude and gave their best performance of the season.
“Schematically, we did a couple of adjustments that have been beneficial,” Wolf Point head coach Cody Larson said after the win over Colstrip.
“We’ve always believed in this group. The sky’s the limit,” he said.
Larson addressed what he believes is a lack of belief by some people that the team could achieve a high level of success.
“We’ve always felt as a coaching staff and team that no one has looked at us [as a state contender],” he said.
The Lady Wolves proved in the Colstrip game what they are capable of achieving, Larson said.
“Don’t give the credit to the coaches. Give credit to the kids. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.
“I thought Ashtyn [Hentges] was phenomenal. Shelby [Hanks] was 15 for 15 from the line. Defensively, Brenna [Kurokawa] had two huge steals,” Larson said. He added that Abby Juve came off the bench and played well.
In the semifinal Friday, the Lady Wolves took a 1-point 7-6 lead into the first quarter break and remained within three points of Fairfield at halftime and after the third period. Fairfield took a 30-27 lead at the start of the fourth quarter and outscored the Lady Wolves 18-13 in the final stanza to pocket a 48-40 win.
Mahala Shawl posted a team-high 17 points and shot a trio of treys from outside the arc against Fairfield. Zilkoski shot a pair of 3-point goals and Hanks recorded one.
The loss to Fairfield put the Lady Wolves in a loser-out bracket with third-place hardware as the potential prize. That pitted Wolves against Wolves when Wolf Point faced eventual third-place finisher Three Forks in a loser- out game Saturday. Three Forks controlled the first half and led 31-16 at halftime. The Lady Wolves tied Three Forks 28-28 in the second half, but the Three Forks Wolves pulled ahead of the Lady Wolves for a 59-44 win and Wolf Point was eliminated from the tournament.
Hentges led Wolf Point with 12 points. Hanks, Hentges, Shawl and Zilkoski each posted one 3-pointer.
Wolf Point shot 10 for 16 from the free throw line while Three Forks shot 21 for 31.
Each team pulled down 34 rebounds.
“It really was a great season. You couldn’t ask for a better ending for a season,” Larson said after the tournament.
Beating undefeated Colstrip and losing to the eventual state champion by just eight points were a huge accomplishments, he said.
“Everyone who put on a Lady Wolves uniform should be proud of themselves,” Larson said.
“I think all of us decided, ‘Why not us?’” senior Shelby Hanks said about two hours before the Lady Wolves played Fairfield in the semifinal.
“We all are realizing we are coming down to our last couple of games,” junior Brenna Kurokawa said.
“I think that we all just really wanted the [Colstrip] game and we really played well together,” senior Ashtyn Hentges said.
“I’m just glad that we played together as a team and that we finished together as a team,” senior Mahala Shawl said.
“We all realized that we can do this, so I think we are just hyped,” junior Aubrey Zilkoski said.
Wolf Point 55, Colstrip 44
Wolf Point 11 13 16 15—55
Colstrip 11 12 7 14—44
Wolf Point: Kurokawa 2, Hanks 23, Zilkoski 18, Hentges 4, Juve 6, Shawl 2.
Colstrip: Trinity Lewandowski 2, Emma Dudley 2, Taylor Factor 12, Kya Egan 1, Madison Bighorn 15, Shelby Jordan 8, Amaya LaFranier 4.
Fairfield 48, Wolf Point 40
Wolf Point 7 7 13 13—40
Fairfield 6 11 13 18—48
Wolf Point: Kurokawa 6, Hanks 8, Zilkoski 9, Shawl 17.
Fairfield: Allix Goldhawn 9, Natalie Klinker 23, Kenna Pitcher 6, Aria Johnson 3, Kaitlyn Jones 7.
Three Forks 59, WP 44
Three Forks 19 12 13 15—59
Wolf Point 9 7 14 14—44
Three Forks: Heather Wilson 2, Shainy Mack 23, Josee Scott 6, Sinclair Oliver 1, Kyle Olson 14, Morgan Allen 4, Paeton Ohs 2, Talyn Pitcher 7.
Wolf Point: Kurokawa 7, Hanks 9, Zilkoski 7, Hentges 12, Mary Big Horn 2, Shawl 7.
Malta 62, Three Forks 59
Red Lodge 70, Ronan 61
Wolf Point 55, Colstrip 44
Fairfield 55, Florence 36
Three Forks 59, Ronan 49, loser out
Florence 60, Colstrip 59, loser out
Malta 55, Red Lodge 29
Fairfield 48, Wolf Point 40
Red Lodge 47, Florence 42, loser out
Three Forks 59, Wolf Point 44, loser out
Three Forks 63, Red Lodge 56, third place
Fairfield 34, Malta 33, championship

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Senior Lady Wolves Are College Bound

The seniors that play for the Wolf Point Lady Wolves are (from left to right) Mahala Shawl, Shelby Hanks and Ashtyn Hentges at MetraPark Arena in Billings during the Class B State Tournament Friday, March 10.
(Photo by John Plestina)

The three seniors who played for the Lady Wolves at the state Class B Tournament at MetraPark Arena in Billings Thursday through Saturday, March 9-11, played on a postseason tournament team as freshmen and were on the varsity roster three full seasons.
Today, they are team leaders.
The trio entered kindergarten [two at Southside School and one at Frontier School] a half year after the Lady Wolves last appearance in a state tournament. None remember the Wolf Point girls being the 2004 state runner-up after a 2-point loss to Townsend in the title game. The Lady Wolves were the 2003 state champion.
Shelby Hanks, 18, Ashtyn Hentges, 17, and Mahala Shawl, 18, all played on the varsity squad at the end of the 2013-2014 season.
They played three full season as varsity Lady Wolves.
Two of the girls are likely to play college womens’ basketball next year.
Shawl has an athletic scholarship to play womens’ basketball at Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D. She has had offers from several other colleges.
“I have offers to play at Minot [N.D.], Havre and Williston [N.D.],” Hanks said.
So far, Hanks has not made a decision.
Hentges plans to attend Montana State University in Bozeman.
The three seniors responded to a question of what advice they give freshman players on the team.
“Never be afraid to succeed,” Hanks said.
“Always work hard and never give up,” Hentges said.
Shawl reiterated Hentges’ comment and added, “working hard and giving 100 percent effort with everything you do. To not be scared and take chances.”
“This [state tournament] has been a really humbling experience and having our community members come out and cheer for us,” Hanks said.


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Locals Compete At Gymnastics Meet In Billings

All the level three and four gymnasts from Eastern Montana Gymnastics competed in Billings Jan. 28 at the Yellowstone Invitational. The six level three girls brought home the third-place trophy for the Circle gym, out of the five competing teams.

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Read more: Locals Compete At Gymnastics Meet In Billings

Malta Pockets Boys’ Championship

Malta beat the odds winning the Class B state boys’ title after coming from behind late in the fourth quarter for a 54-51 win over Anaconda in the title game at MetraPark in Billings Saturday, March 11.
The Copperheads led the Mustangs by 12 points during the third stanza. Malta’s road to the state championship came after a third-place finish at the northern B divisional tournament, after squeaking by Lame Deer in the quarterfinal, after topping Missoula Loyola in double overtime in the semifinal.
Malta has won seven boys’ state championships; the most recent prior to this year was 2013.
Anaconda advanced to the championship game with an overtime win over Shelby.
Whitehall pocketed the third-place trophy.
Shelby 70, Lodge Grass 44
Anaconda 68, Whitehall 55
Malta 74, Lame Deer 69
Missoula Loyola 79, Cut Bank 72
Whitehall 71, Lodge Grass 56, loser out
Lame Deer 68, Cut Bank 66, loser out
Anaconda 68, Shelby 64 (ot)
Malta 90, Missoula Loyola 88 (2 ot)
Shelby 76, Lame Deer 48, loser out
Whitehall 62, Missoula Loyola 59, loser out
Shelby 52, Whitehall 42, third place
Malta 54, Anaconda 51, championship

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Game With Scotties Friday Crucial For Wolves’ District Tournament Seeding

The last regular season conference game with Glasgow visiting the Wolves’ Den Friday, Feb. 10, is crucial for the Wolves’ district 2B tournament seeding.