Warriors play for more than just their second-consecutive MHSA Class C state title

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BUTTE — All season the Arlee Warriors remained adamant that their quest to capture an MHSA Class C state title meant more to them than just winning their second consecutive state championship.

Through the medium of basketball, the Warriors wanted to win this to bring positivity to their community, the Mission Valley, and their reservation.

Last week, after their 69-60 victory over Manhattan Christian against Hamilton, Arlee made a suicide-awareness video that has gone viral throughout the world. Last week, at this time, the video had over 250,0000 hits and now it is closing in on one million hits.

The coaching staff and the players made it clear in every interview this was more than just history for Arlee basketball. They hope their victory and message can bring hope to a country suffering from a multitude of social issues.

For senior guard, Will Mesteth, who like his senior teammate Phil Malatare will have an opportunity to play collegiate basketball, said they were doing this for more than their community.

“This isn’t just for our community,” Mesteth adamantly stated. “This is for our reservation and Indian Country throughout the state of Montana. Winning this championship means everything to me. It will always be in my heart and there will always be a special place for this moment.”

Mesteth also credited the Warriors fan base for providing them the inspiration and support his team needed in order to achieve the 66-58 victory over Manhattan Christian.

“We just play off of our fans energy,” Mesteth said. “All of their energy really gets us going.”

Lane Schall, who is also the Warriors’ quarterback during football season, articulated why winning was so much more than just capturing another basketball title.

“It was pretty emotional,” Schall said. “It was hard dealing with what took place during the season with the suicides that occurred and it really took a toll on our team. It was hard and a lot of kids in our school were affected. Even some kids on our team thought about going down that path. To have the community rally around us, it’s pretty special.”

Arlee’s star senior guard Phil Maltase admitted when his team did their suicide-awareness video, they had no idea the reach would be so far beyond the state of Montana.

“I didn’t know the video was going to get that many views,” Malatare admitted. “It shows that even in a little town in Montana, you do something big and anything is possible. It really motivated our younger kids.”

Last year after the Warriors defeated Manhattan Christian 71-67 to capture the state title, Malatare said he realized the significance of his responsibility as a role model to the community.

“Winning the championship is bigger than basketball,” Malatare stated in a post-game interview with the Leader. “We are trying to help stop something and bring everyone together. By us winning the game, if we bring the community and the Flathead reservation together, that is what it is all about.”

At the end of the game, an elated Malatare threw the basketball up in the air near Manhattan Christian’s 3-point line after the sound of the buzzer.

“The pressure is off,” Malatare stated. “We were always feeling lots of pressure to win for our community. That is what it’s about. They would have been behind us whether we won or lost but I didn’t want to lose. Finally, the pressure is off.”

Malatare said winning means a lot to the older players because of the significance of what they mean to their community and reservation.

“Winning means a lot to us older guys because we are role models for a lot of younger kids,” Malatare explained. “We have shown them when they grow up, whatever they do in life, if they work hard they can succeed.”

Mesteth said the emotion of winning it all was more intense than last year.

“It hit me way harder and I felt better and more amazing,” Mesteth said. “Not many kids get to win back-to-back and for us to be able to do this, it’s just amazing.”

Malatare admitted because of the weight this game carried and the sense of responsibility he and his team had, they weren’t going to lose to Manhattan Christian.

“I knew we weren’t going to lose,’ Malatare said. “I knew my boys weren’t going to lose from the start. We have too much heart.”

2018 State C Tournament

Butte Civic Center


March 1-3, 2018


Arlee 66, Manhattan Christian 58

At Butte in a rematch of championsip contenders last season, the Warriors would repeat as back-to-back State C champions. Phillip Malatare turned in his second double-double of the tournament that included 14 rebounds, while the trio of Will Mesteth, Lane Johnson along with Isaac Fisher delved into double digits as well as collaborated on another 21 boards.

14C Arlee (26-0), 11C Manhattan Christian (24-4)

Manh.C. 10 9 17 22 – 58

Arlee 10 16 14 26 – 66

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN – Caleb Bellach 27, Matthew Amunrud 13, Josiah Amunrud 7, Caden Hill 5, Ryan Busch 4, Parker Dyksterhouse 2.

ARLEE – Will Mesteth 5 5-6 18, Philip Malatare 5 8-8 18, Isaac Fisher 7 0-0 14, Lane Johnson 4 4-5 12, Greg Whitesell 1 2-2 4.

3FGs: MC7-21 (Bellach 3-10, M.Amunrud 2-5, J.Amunrud 1-1, Hill 1-1), A3-13 (Mesteth 3-9). REBOUNDS – MC27r (M.Amunrud 8, Bellach 5), A37r (P.Malatare 14, Johnson 8, Mesteth 7, I.Fisher 6, Whitesell 2). ASSISTS – MC10a (Bellach 3, Dyksterhouse 3), A12a (P.Malatare 5, Whitesell 3, Johnson 2, Meseth 2). STEALS – MC9s (Hill 3, M.Amunrud 2, Bellach 2), A8s (P.Malatare 4, Mesteth 2, Johnson, I.Fisher). BLOCKS – MC1b (Bellach), A1b (P.Malatare). (Sa03Mar18gm12st)

some venue details may vary from sideline specs which were unavailable for comparison at press time.

Arlee 76, Scobey 71 (semi)

At Butte in a state semifinal, the Warriors mounted a second half rally to overtake the previously unbeaten Spartans. Phillip Malatare turned in a double-double that included a baker’s dozen rebounds.

14C Arlee (25-0), 3C Scobey (24-1)

Scobey 22 17 6 26 – 71

Arleev 15 18 22 21 – 76

SCOBEY – CJ Nelson 22, Riley Linder 14, Jeremy Handy 12, Caden Handran 9, Parker Cromwell 7, Martin Faver 2.

ARLEE – Phillip Malatare 11 6-7 28, Will Mesteth 5 7-9 18, Greg Whitesell 6 0-1 14, Lane Johnson 5 1-1 11, Dar Bolen 2, Lane Schall 2, Isaac Fisher 1.

3FGs: S4-10 (Nelson 2-5, Handy 1-1, Cromwell 1-2), A3-10 (Whitesell 2-4, Mesteth 1-2). REBOUNDS – S22r (Nelson 7, Meyers 5), A32r (P.Malatare 13, Whitesell 4, Johnson 4, Mesteth 3, I.Fisher 3, Bolen 3, Schall, Billy Fisher). ASSISTS – S9a (Nelson 5), A8a (P.Malatare 4, Johnson 2, Mesteth 2). STEALS – S13s (Nelson 4), A12s (P.Malatare 3, Whitesell 3, Johnson 2, Mesteth 2, Bolen, Schall). BLOCKS – A1b (P.Malatare). (Fr02Mar18gm7st)

some venue details may vary from sideline specs which were unavailable for comparison at press time.

Arlee 58, Belt 37

At Butte, the Warriors placed a trio in double figures to counteract the bite of the Huskies.

14C Arlee (24-0), 8C Belt (18-8)

Arlee 14 13 22 9 – 58

Belt 14 10 7 6 – 37

ARLEE – Will Mesteth 5 2-2 15, Greg Whitesell 4 2-3 12, Phillip Malatare 3 4-4 10, Lane Johnson 3 2-2 8, *Chase Gardiner 6, Isaac Fisher 2 0-0 4, Lane Schall 2, *Billy Fisher 1.

BELT – Keagan Stroop 12, Trey Heitzman 10, Troy Hennes 9, Brayden Haugrose 3, Hunter Vogl 3.

3FGs: A7-23 (Mesteth 3-7, Gardiner 2-4, Whitesell 2-5), B4-12 (Stroop 2-4, Haugrose 1-1, Vogl 1-6). REBOUNDS – A26r (I.Fisher 6, B.Fisher 5, P.Malatare 4, Whitesell 3, Gardiner 2, Schall 2, Mesteth, Johnson, Dar Bolen, Cody Tanner), B30r (Brendan Wing 7, Heitzman 6). ASSISTS – A15a (Whitesell 6, Mesteth 2, P.Malatare 2, Johnson 2, I.Fisher, B.Fisher, Trey Malatare), B4a (Heitzman 2). STEALS – A14s (Whitesell 3, I.Fisher 3, Johnson 2, P.Malatare, Mesteth, Gardiner, Schall, Bolen, Tanner), B4s (Stroop 3). BLOCKS – A4b (I.Fisher *4). A15defl (Whitesell 5, Mesteth 2, P.Malatare 2, I.Fisher 2, Johnson 2). (Th01Mar18gm2st)

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs may differ from venue/media coverage:

Chase Gardner played, Nate Coulson did not suit out; David Haynes 1p (did not score), A2q12p typo

(27r,10a,13s,4b)BCCvenue: I.Fisher (6r,4s,4b), B.Fisher (5r,1a), P.Malatare (4r,2a,1s), Whitesell (3r,5a,2s), Johnson (2r,3s), *Gardner (2r,1s), Schall (2r), Mesteth (1r,1a), Tanner (1r,1s), Bolen (1r,1s), T.Malatare (1a).

2018 Western C Divisional

Dale Berry Court

Hamilton, MT


February 22-24

Arlee 77, Plains 33

At Hamilton in the Western C Divisional championship, the Warriors corralled the Horsemen early in a rematch of the District 14C title tilt. Lane Johnson crested the triple century (300) point plateau for varsity career scoring, while Phillip Malatare surpassed the varsity career 1600 scoring threshold.

Arlee (23-0)

Arlee 29 18 24 6 – 77

Plains 14 12 4 3 – 33

ARLEE – *Phillip Malatare 9 3-3 21, Greg Whitesell 20, *Will Mesteth 6 4-4 19, Lane Johnson 2 2-4 6, Isaac Fisher 1 2-4 4, *Nate Coulson 3, Cody Tanner 0 2-2 2, David Haynes 0 2-2 2.

PLAINS – Jay VonHeeder 10, Kyle Weeks 6, Tanner Ovitt 5, Derick Curry 5, Matt McCracken 3, Sinjin LaDeaux 3.

3FGs: A8-17 (Whitesell 4-7, Mesteth 3-6, Coulson 1-2), P (Ovitt , Weeks ). A27reb (I.Fisher 7, Johnson 6, P.Malatare 4, T.Malatare 3, Mesteth, Whitesell, Coulson, Haynes, Bolen, Lane Schall). A14ast (P.Malatare 8, I.Fisher 2, Johnson 2, Mesteth, Schall). A13stl (P.Malatare 5, Mesteth 4, Johnson 2, Whitesell 2). A2blk (P.Malatare, Whitesell). A16defl (P.Malatare 5, Johnson 4, Whitesell 4). (Sa24Feb18gm12div)

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from venue/media coverage: Mesteth 21p, Malatare 19p, Chase Gardner= N.Coulson

Arlee 69, Manh.C 60 (semi)

At Hamilton in the Western C Divisional semi, the Warriors supressed illness while tethering the Eagles from taking flight in a rematch of the state title tilt last season. Phillip Malatare surpassed the season scoring half millennial (500) mark, while Greg Whitesell crested the triple century (300) point plateau for season scoring. Arlee (22-0)

Arlee 20 19 10 20 – 69*

Manh.Christian 16 14 14 16 – 60*

ARLEE – Will Mesteth 9 5-6 25, Greg Whitesell 6 2-4 16, Phillip Malatare 5 2-3 12, Lane Johnson 5 1-2 11, Isaac Fisher 5.

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN – Matthew Amunrud 13, Jacob Bos 12, Parker Dyksterhouse 11, Caleb Bellach 11, Sam Leep 6, Josiah Amunrud 4, Caidan Hill 3.

3FGs: A4-13 (Mesteth 2-6, Whitesell 2-6), MC7 (Amunrud 3, Dyksterhouse 2, Bellach, Hill). A28reb (P.Malatare 9, I.Fisher 6, Johnson 5, Whitesell 3, Mesteth 2, Billy Fisher, Dar Bolen, Lane Schall). A10ast (P.Malatare 3, Mesteth 2, Whitesell 2, I.Fisher, Johnson, Bolen). A15stl (Mesteth 6, Whitesell 5, P.Malatare 3, Bolen). A2blk (Mesteth, I.Fisher). A14defl (P.Malatare 5, Whitesell 3, I.Fisher 2, Johnson 2). (Fr23Feb18gm7div)

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from media coverage: inaccurate online posting: A(1q18,2q23,3q8,4q20), MC(1q16,2q18,3q10,4q16).

Arlee 101, Darby 31

Billy Fisher took game high scoring honors with a varsity career high performance. Will Mesteth crested the triple century (300) point plateau for season scoring while simultaneously surpassing the varsity career 700 tally threshold. Arlee (21-0)

Arlee 30 33 19 19 – 101

Darby 9 14 6 2 – 31

ARLEE – Billy Fisher 10 1-4 23, Greg Whitesell 7 0-0 20, Isaac Fisher 7 1-2 16, Will Mesteth 4 1-2 12, Phillip Malatare 5 0-0 11, Lane Johnson 3 0-1 6, David Haynes 2 0-0 5, *Darshan Bolen 3, Cody Tanner 3, Lane Schall 2.

DARBY – Nelson Smith 10, Aaron Hansen 9, Brandon Winter 8, Cole Kayser 4.

3FGs: A15-40 (Whitesell 6-12, Mesteth 3-8, B.Fisher 2-2, P.Malatare 1-2, Tanner 1-2, Haynes 1-3, Bolen 1-5), D4 (Winter 2, N.Smith 2). A37reb (I.Fisher 9, P.Malatare 6, B.Fisher 5, Bolen 5, Mesteth 2, Johnson 2, Haynes 2, Nate Coulson 2, Whitesell, Tanner, Schall, Trey Malatare). A28ast (P.Malatare 6, Mesteth 5, Haynes 4, Schall 3, Whitesell 2, I.Fisher 2, Johnson 2, Bolen 2, Tanner, T.Malatare). A28stl (Mesteth 5, P.Malatare 4, Johnson 4, I.Fisher 3, Whitesell 2, Bolen 2, Haynes 2, Coulson 2, Schall 2, B.Fisher, T.Malatare). A2blk (I.Fisher 2). A17defl (Johnson 5, P.Malatare 2, B.Fisher 2, Bolen 2, Schall 2). (Th22Feb18gm2div)

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from media coverage: A103p (Bolen 5p)

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