Ronan High School basketball coach Steve Woll emphasizes in his pre and post-game speeches to play ball “the Maiden Way” and the message resonated with his team.
The Maidens are so close and still need work as they begin to prepare for the final portion of the regular season before they start the postseason in the Class A Districts Feb. 15-17 at the Ronan Events Center.
Ronan split last week’s conference games defeating cross-country rival Polson 70-53 and fell to Columbia Falls 68-41.
Woll said he felt the 27-point loss to Columbia Falls was “deceiving.” At the end of the first quarter, Ronan trailed the Wildkats 13-10 but allowed 21,15 and 19 points in the final three quarters and couldn’t keep up with C-Falls.
“I felt like we were in the game and all of the sudden, it was a nine-point swing,” Woll said. “The girls played exceptionally well and we got beat by 27 even though the scoreboard didn’t show the tell-tale of the basketball game.”
Woll said he felt his team will be “challenged” every night because of the competitive dynamics of Class A. After the reclassification in late 2016, the conference became more difficult.
“We got challenged every night (in Class A) and our schedule is tough,” Woll said. “We’ve played the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 ranked teams in Class A and the No. 3 team in Class B. It was just good competition and I think it makes you better. Hopefully, at the end of the regular season, we will give ourselves a fair chance in that tournament.”
Woll said he doesn’t take any opponent lightly as his team faced a noticeably much-improved Polson Lady Pirates team in their 70-52 victory Friday night at the Ronan Events Center.
Ronan’s offense was anchored by the performance of guard Micalann McCrea, who led the team in point production accounting for 26 of the team’s 70 points.
“During the playoffs, it can be anyone’s game when coming down the stretch,” Woll said. “We knew they were much improved going into the game and during the playoffs, we don’t want to overlook them at all. Our kids are focused and practiced hard. Polson came to play.”
The Maidens were able to contain Polson’s main scorers: Quinn Motichka and Jaycee Frydelund. Motichka scored 14 points and Frydelund led the team with 15.
“We tried to focus on their main scorers and both Smith and Frydelund are good players,” Woll said. “They stop and try to contain them. They also try to focus on that the second time around. They made adjustments and changed some things up the next time around. Our hats off to Polson as they improved a lot.”
The Maidens are focused on their offensive and defensive rotations as they enter the final stretch of the season and prepare for the Class A District play Feb. 15-17 at the Ronan Events Center.
The Maidens called up several players from the Junior Varsity to the varsity and are still establishing offensive and defensive continuity with each other.
“We need to give ourselves a chance to score right now because we are pretty up and down scoring wise and we have two or three players scoring 15 to 20 points a night,” Woll said. “You have to get open on screens, share the basketball with your teammates and get them in a position to score. We are working on sharing the ball. We continue to work on our team chemistry and having fun sharing the ball.”
Aside from scoring, McCrea is contributing to building the team dynamics.
“We need to make a big difference and work hard to get her teammates involved,” Woll said. “They’ve done a really good job there. Our girls started to show a lot of chemistry and sharing the ball to play better defense. We are starting to really trust each other. We trust whoever we pull off the bench and that is when it starts to get fun.”