At the Maroon Activities Center (MAC) in Butte last weekend, the Arlee Warriors embarked upon a more perilous stretch of trail along their path to secure a bid to the State C tournament to defend their back-to-back titles.
This past Thursday, the Warriors dictated the tempo of their contest against the Trojans of Drummond early on, building up to a mid-teen lead at intermission. The third period saw more turning of the table on the Trojans. Highlight reel segments included a behind the back pass from Billy Fisher to Lane Johnson in the left corner, who promptly drained a triple from beyond the arc, 56-32. Chase Gardner would close out the third quarter with a layup just before the buzzer after a Billy Fisher rebound led to an outlet pass to Greg Whitesell, who dished the ball to Gardner, 60-34.
Last Friday, the Warriors were able to bear up against a Bruin barrage from beyond the arc, but maintained an edge in deuces, at the charity stripe and on the boards. Four of Gardiner’s handful of losses up to that point had been to then undefeated teams Twin Bridges and Manhattan Christian. Lane Johnson and Greg Whitesell almost combined for four dozen, while both Johnson as well as Zach RunningCrane gathered in eight rebounds apiece.
The Saturday night marquee event marked the sixth sequential time that the Manhattan Christian Eagles and Warriors have clashed along the way in Western C, with Arlee winning three of five en route to a three-peat of divisional championships. Fed up with playing second fiddle to the orchestrations of the Warriors, the Eagles opened with a 16-4 run while holding Arlee to a half dozen field goals over the course of the first half to carve out a lead in the mid-teens.
The Warriors would counter by outscoring the Eagles over the course of the third period to carve into the deficit, stringing together some runs of their own to close the gap that include ten straight of which senior guard Greg Whitesell contributed eight.
Early into the final frame, Lane Johnson would splash a triple to close within eight, 48-40. Billy Fisher along with Isaac Fisher would collaborate on another quintet to close within five, 51-46. A Cody Tanner trey with 3:08 remaining would pull the Warriors within four, 55-51, forcing a Manhattan Christian timeout. But thereafter, missed bonus opportunities at the charity stripe failed to narrow the contest further to within a one possesion affair.
The Eagles were able to reacquire their previous double figure margin when Sam Leep converted on a baseline drive, followed by Josiah Amunrud converting a pair of foul shots after Lane Johnson fouled out with less than a minute remaining, exaccerbated by a subsequent pair of freebies deriving from a technical, which made it 61-51.
Despite the loss, Warrior head coach Zanen Pitts commented, “We played pretty well in that second half. Those boys balled out, they really came at it.” As for coming out on the short end of the confrontation this time around, Pitts waxed philosophical, “That’s basketball. It just depends on what time you have the ball and what runs you’re going to make when.”
The other down side of the loss in addition to its distaste was that it left Arlee vulnerable to a challenge match in the event they had not faced the consolation winner. Due to weather conditions on Monday and Tuesday when challenge contests ordinarily take place, the game was rescheduled for Wednesday, weather permitting. Results were unavailable at press time.
Western C challenge game
(1st) 12C Twin Bridges (24-1) vs (1st) 14C Arlee (21-2)
Re-rescheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 in Deer Lodge
Western C championship
Manhattan Christian 63, Arlee 51
Greg Whitesell crested the half millennial (500) mark for season scoring while surpassing the 1200 threshold for varsity career scoring.
Arlee (21-2), Manh C. (23-0)
Arlee 10 12 13 16 – 51
Manhattan Christian 18 18 10 17 – 63
ARLEE – Lane Johnson 4 5-6 15(7r,1a), Greg Whitesell 5 3-3 14(3r,3a,1s), Isaac Fisher 4 2-5 10(7r,1a,3b), Cody Tanner 2 0-1 5(3r,1s), Billy Fisher 3(3r,1a,1s), Zach RunningCrane 2(1r,1a,1s), Lane Schall 0 2-2 2, noID(8r), tmA (MAC: 32r,7a,4s,4b)
MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN – Caleb Bellach 20(7r,4s), Sam Leep 19(6r,3a,5s), Josiah Amunrud 16, David Aamot 3, Tyler Kamps 3, Caidin Hill 2, tmMC(MAC: 30r,13a,15s,1b).
3FGs – A5-18 (Johnson 2-3, C.Tanner 1-1, B.Fisher 1-2, Whitesell 1-9), MC5-15 (Amunrud 3-5, Bellach 2-7). (Sa23Feb19gm12div)
hudl footage misidentifies 3FG shooter as Isaac Fisher.
Arlee 76, Gardiner 62 semi
14C Arlee (21-1), 11C Gardiner (17-6)
Gardiner 12 16 16 18 – 62
Arlee 16 22 13 25 – 76
GARDINER – Sean Rehmer 24, Clancy Thomas 11, Elijah Byrd 9, Luke Stermitz 9, Jacob Perius 5, Bennett Roberts 2, Ben Bierle 2, tmG(MAC: 45r,13a,7s,4b).
ARLEE – Lane Johnson 6 12-15 25(8r,3a,2s), Greg Whitesell 9 2-4 22(2r,1a,3s), *Isaac Fisher 2 2-4 6(3r,1b), Cody Tanner 1 3-4 6(4r,1a,1s), *Billy Fisher 2 3-4 5(5r), Zach RunningCrane 1 2-4 4(8r,2a,1s), Darshan Bolen 1 1-2 4(3r,4a,2s,1b), Lane Schall 1 0-1 2(1r,2a), Levi Fullerton 2(1r).
3FGs – G10-34 (Rehmer 6-13, Byrd 3-9, Stermitz 1-5), A6-17 (Whitesell 2-4, C.Tanner 1-2, Bolen 1-2, Johnson 1-3, B.Fisher 1-3).
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from media coverage: I.Fisher 8p, B.Fisher 3p. MACvenue: Bolen 3a, Johnson 9r4a
Arlee 74, Drummond 51
Darshan Bolen crested the double century (200) point plateau for varsity career scoring, while Lane Johnson surpassed the 200 tally for season scoring. Greg Whitesell pilfered his way past the century (100) threshold for season steals.
Arlee (20-1), 12C Drummond (15-7)
Drummond 10 11 13 17 – 51*
Arlee 18 19 23 14 – 74*
DRUMMOND – Jonah Parke 23, Luke Holland 20, Caleb Parke 4, Riley Allen 4, Braden Huberg 2, tmD(MAC: 40r,6a,5s,2b).
ARLEE – Lane Johnson 8 1-1 19(7r,3a,1s), Greg Whitesell 6 4-5 17(2r,6a,3s), Isaac Fisher 5 0-0 10(7r,3a,1b), Billy Fisher 3 0-0 9(2r,1a), Zach RunningCrane 3 0-2 6(1r,3a,2s), Cody Tanner 2 0-0 5(1r,5a,4s), *Chase Gardner 2 0-0 4(2r,3s), *Darshan Bolen 2(6r,2a,1s), Deion RedCloud 0 2-2 2, Lane Schall (2r,1a,1s,1b), Trey Tewawina (1r).
3FGs – D (), A7-25 (B.Fisher 3-5, Johnson 1 0-0 2-4, C.Tanner 1-3, Whitesell 1-8) (Th21Feb19gm2div)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from media coverage: Gardner 2p, Bolen 0p
discrepancy in scoring traced to 4th qtr tallies: A12p=72/D19p=53