Pirates prep for Billings Central in the first round of tourney

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  • POLSON PIRATE player Jaydon Bautista puts his hands up in a regular-season game against Stevensville. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON PIRATE GUARD Tanner Wilson looks for the open man in a regular-season game against Stevensville at Linderman Elementary. According to Coach Randy Kelley, Wilson is a key to the Pirates defensive scheme as they prepare to play Billings Central in the first round of the Class-A Montana State basketball tournament Thursday at the Butte Civic Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON PIRATE Forward Matthew Rensvold will be one of the key contributors to the Pirates' run for a Montana Class-A state basketball title. Rensvold, a 6 foot, 4 inch post player, is also signed to play football for the University of Montana-Grizzles for the 2017-2018 season. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

  • POLSON PIRATE player Jaydon Bautista puts his hands up in a regular-season game against Stevensville. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

  • 1

    POLSON PIRATE GUARD Tanner Wilson looks for the open man in a regular-season game against Stevensville at Linderman Elementary. According to Coach Randy Kelley, Wilson is a key to the Pirates defensive scheme as they prepare to play Billings Central in the first round of the Class-A Montana State basketball tournament Thursday at the Butte Civic Center. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON PIRATE Forward Matthew Rensvold will be one of the key contributors to the Pirates' run for a Montana Class-A state basketball title. Rensvold, a 6 foot, 4 inch post player, is also signed to play football for the University of Montana-Grizzles for the 2017-2018 season. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

Polson High School basketball coach Randy Kelley knows his team has as good of a chance as any team in the competitive landscape of the Montana Class A State Basketball Tournament.

The Polson Pirates will play Billings Central Catholic at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Butte Convention Center in the first round of the playoffs.

“You have to be focused on the task at hand and as far as who you are matched up with, you just have to take it one possession at a time,” Kelley said. “We know it’s our final weekend (playing basketball this season). We just want to relax and play some of our best basketball of the season.”

According to Kelley, the Pirates’ offense begins and ends with one player: Matthew Rensvold. The Pirates will utilize the 6-foot-4 inch senior’s size to pound the ball inside.

Despite the fact the Pirates’ offense is predicated around Rensvold he has plenty of offensive help with Jeremiah North Piegan, J’Von Johnson, Tanner Wilson, and Jayden Bautista.

Kelley said his team is familiar with the Rams. Currently, the Rams have played the Pirates in the state tournament now in three sports defeating them in both soccer and football earlier in the season.

“It all depends on how we’ve handled ourselves.” Kelley said. “We didn’t take very good care of the ball (against Dillon) and we didn’t really go at them. Bottom line is we have to play better defense, shoot the ball better, and rebound better.”

Prior to the 50-34 loss at the hands of top-ranked Dillon, the Pirates were riding an 11-game win streak, including playoffs.

Billings Central will enter this contest with a three-game win streak defeating Fergus, Custer County, and Hardin. They have lost five games this season against Hardin, Billings West twice, Laurel, and Billings Senior.

Kelley acknowledges anything can happen.

“This is our final weekend and some of these kids just want to go out, relax and play our best ball,” Kelley said. “You just have to focus on the task at hand, get matched up and play one possession at a time.”

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