When the Charlo High School boys basketball coach was hired, he marked Jan. 11 against Arlee on his calendar.
Cox, who inherited a team in the middle of the pack of the Class 14-C District, is aware of his team’s potential. Cox inherited a well-coached team from legendary Mission Valley coach Gale Decker, and he had a goal: to translate the success of the Vikings’ football team into the boys’ basketball program.
Cox has the ingredients to do just that by possessing a roster that includes several players from the Vikings’ football team that finished second in Class C, 8-man football in 2016 and lost in the quarterfinals to Forsyth in 2017.
“This is the biggest matchup that we are going to face this season,” Cox proclaimed. “Arlee and Plains were always the biggest tests in basketball and I’ve been looking forward to this challenge since we started. I am not nervous about playing Arlee. I am more excited and I’ve been waiting for this one. I want to set the tone and send a message to the rest of the District and state that Charlo is competitive. We are looking to stay in the mix and we aren’t a team to be overlooked. Plains and Arlee (in our district) state competitors and I think our team is a divisional competitor. Only two teams get to represent and in order for us to do that, we have to pull off some upsets to be in the mix.”
Reese said he approaches the game of basketball like a game of chess and he said two key pieces on the court will be Arlee’s Will Mesteth and Phillip Malatare. Some of his key pieces include two of the best all-around athletes in Class C, Landers Smith and Tyson Petticrew.
“Malatare is one of the most valuable and if you look at the court, I’d like to change the idea that it isn’t basketball we are playing, it is chess,” Cox said. “We have Landers and Pitts has Malatare. Those are some of the most valuable pieces on the court. That probably is kind of a weird thing to say about a highly intense basketball game. I’ll see Malatare and I’ll raise him my Landers.”
Another piece Cox has that the Warriors’ defense will have to account for is Tyson Petticrew.
“We can always count on Tyson to have a double-digit night,” Cox said. “We can always count on Tyson because of how competitive he is and he wants to grab 20 points a night. He still finds a way to get that double-digit scoring and he is another piece they are going to plan for. He has to cover a double-double machine out of Landers and also take care of a hot shooter with Tyson. On my end, he is all-around flash and gash. We are going to have to focus on who is going to do a better job and be the victor.”
Cox also complimented every member of his team and singled out Toby Odom, Garrett Vaughn, and Brady Fryberger as being key pieces to trying to pull off the ultimate upset.
They’ll find out Thursday exactly how much they’ve improved when they face Arlee.