Girls basketball previews: Ronan Maidens poised for big season

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Ronan Maiden Jaylea Lunceford was an all-conference selection in the 2018-19 season. (Bob Gunderson/Lake County Leader)

Basketball opponents scheduled to face Ronan girls this season might be advised to take out one of those insurance policies to protect themselves against mayhem of the variety that Maidens are capable of inflicting upon those they face on the hardcourt this upcoming season.

Ronan graduated a trio of contributors that included their spoon that stirred the pot second leading scorer in all-conference (hm) Tiana Ulutoa (VB 2x hm 2018-17), the night-mare of the Frenchtown Lady Broncs last season who corralled a win for the Maidens with a last second putback.

Ronan returnees accounted for a luxurious share of the scoring that falls within the parameters of the 70th percentile, lending credence to the anticipation that the Maidens have the potential to gravitated north of .500 this season. How far they might climb will be contingent upon melding individual parts into a cohesive unit that maximize output despite pressure to unravel rather than solidify.

Spearheading the lineup will be all-conference (2nd-tm) junior 5-10 post Jaylea Lunceford, a seasonal triple-double, double century contributor in both scoring and rebounding as she crested into the mid-200s in both categories last season.

Seasoned seniors include the twin tandem of trajectory torment in 5-9 wing/posts Madison and Regan Clairmont, who collaborated to contribute more than 200 points and 100 rebounds to the Maiden cause. The Clairmonts also picked the pockets of prized possessions from the unwary more than three dozen times or better each. Rounding out senior returnees is 5-7 wing/post Kieauna DeRoche, who was a mere point shy of accruing century club credentials for scoring last season and on any given day is capable of having a sharp eye from downtown beyond the arc.

The junior contingent infusing the roster include 5-11 post Madeline McCrea (VB 3x a-c: 2nd-tm 2019, hm 2018-17) and 5-5 wing/point Jaeleigh Gatch. McCrea was one of the Maiden blockin-maniacs who just culminated her junior volleyball season by cresting the century threshold for career trajectory rejections.

Where Ronan is going to be exceptionally dangerous will be the season of experience that some of their former frosh phenoms acquired last season when they gleaned varsity minutes on the floor.

Sophomore 5-2 guard Ari Burke minted a new varsity career high 30 on reserve minutes during a cross-classification contest.

Sophomore 5-8 forward LaReina Cordova sliced and diced inside for 25 points as she shredded the defense of a rival Mission Valley junior varsity team last season, warranting a reapplication to the phonetics of her forename along the lines of the reign of rain.

Sophomore 5-2 guard Lexi Wirz garnered expanding minutes of floor time last season with ambidextrous ball handling, suffocating defense and some stellar sharpshooting when she wasn’t setting the table for teammates.

Sophomore 5-2 guard Analeta YellowBird (XC all-state, all-conference) will be able to push the pace on opponents with her superb conditioning coming off a spectacular cross-country season.

Those are just the more prominent returnees. What is unknown at such an early juncture of the preseason is who else might be lurking among the program rosters that will lend further catalyst to already potent potential.

If head coach Steve Woll can find the right blend to calibrate the carburetor, the Maidens could be off to the races if not even challenge some of the more established programs in the area. The trick will be to get the team to cook at just the right temperature so that they sizzle on the court without getting burned by the heat of competition.

Ronan has already held their annual Orange & Black scrimmage for both boys and girls on Tuesday, December 3, at the Ronan Events Center. The Maidens open their season at the NWA/SWA Tip-Off against Stevensville and Butte Central the weekend of December 6-7, relocated to Frenchtown due to a UM campus venue conflict.

Western A girls basketball capsule:

NWA Ronan Maidens

(2019-18: 5-5, 11-14) 1040pts

(2018-17: 8-16, 1089pts)

mascot: Maidens

coach: Steve Woll, 3rd yr (260-311)

asst: Robert McCrea, Naomi Mock


Tiana Ulutoa

(GBB a-c hm; VB 2x a-c hm 2018-17; TF 2019 2x a-d: 4x100 3rd, 4x400 6th)

(TU2019-18:237p, 98r,48a,87s,5b),

Aislyn Baker (38p,35r,17a,15s),

Hannah Moss (21p,12r,4a,8s)


jr. 5-10 P Jaylea Lunceford

(GBB a-c 2nd-tm 2019-18)

(JL2019-18: 251p,257r,24a,39s,12b),

sr. 5-9 W/P Regan Clairmont

(SB a-c hm)

(RC2019-18:143p, 49r,25a,46s,2b)

sr. 5-9 W/P Madison Clairmont

(SB a-c 2nd-tm)


jr. 5-11 P Madeline McCrea

(VB 3x a-c: 2nd-tm 2019, hm 2018-17)

(MM2019-18: 33p,127r,23a,12s,35b),

sr. 5-7 W/P Kieauna DeRoche

(KD2019-18: 99p,53r,18a,19s,7b)

so. 5-2 G Analeta YellowBird

(XC a-s, a-c 2019: 2p,1r,2s)

jr. 5-5 W/P Jaeleigh Gatch

(JG2019-18: 69p,69r, 19a,21s,2b)


Fr06Dec19 vs Stevensville (Frenchtown MS)

Sa07Dec19 vs Butte Central (Frenchtown HS)

Mission poised to climb another rung on ladder of competitiveness

The Mission St. Ignatius Lady Bulldogs graduate a lone senior from last season in Afton Brander, but will be further impacted by the transfer of post Addison Arlint, their leading scorer. Both players provided the height among the roster, necessitating the deployment of a smaller but quicker lineup this season.

The Lady Bulldogs return two-thirds of their offensive firepower that includes a quartet of century credential contributors in guard Azia Umphrey, Sydney Brander, Karolyna Buck and Madyson Currie. Another trio of seasoned seniors bring substantial experience to the court who are anticipated to fill in the gaps with expanded roles.

Others who are in process of adapting to the pace of varsity action will round out the remainder of the roster.

The Lady Bulldogs played some of their most competitive games in years last season.

Mission opens the season on the road in Great Falls at the Native American Classic on December 6-7, where they will face Harlem and Rocky Boy.

Western B girls basketball capsule

7B Mission Lady Bulldogs

(2019-18: 1-7, 9-12, 1065pts)

(2018-17: 0-8, 2-17, 704p)

(2017-16: 0-10, 0-20, 700p)

mascot: Lady Bulldogs

coach: Jennifer Brander, 4th yr

asst: Chris Eichert


Afton Brander (2019-18: 88p),

(TF 2019 a-s: tj 5th, hj 6th; 2018 a-s: hj 5th; 2017 a-s: lj 6th, tj 7th; 2019 a-c: hj 3rd, lj 2nd, tj 3rd, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th; 2018 a-c: lj 1st, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th; 2017 a-c: lj 3rd, hj 5th) 94p

(AB2017-18: 94p)

further roster adaptations

Addison Arlint (219p), transfer


sr. 5-5 G Azia Umphrey (2019-18: 201p; 2018-17: 114p)

(SB a-s, 2x a-c 1st-tm);

jr. 5-9 F Sydney Brander (2019-18: 159p; 2018-17: 142p)

(VB a-c 1st-tm; GBB a-c 2nd-tm 2019-18; TF 2019: a-s tj 4th; 2019 a-d: Western B champion tj 1st, 100 4th, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th; 2018 a-d: tj 3rd, lj 5th, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th);

sr. 5-9 F Karolyna Buck (2019-18: 144p; 2018-17: 156p),

(VB 3x a-c: 1st-tm 2018, 2nd-tm 2019, 2017; XC 3x a-c: Western B champion 1st 2019; 7th 2018, 10th 2017; TF 2019 5x a-d: 800 3rd, 1600 3rd, 3200 4th, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th; 2018 a-s: hj 3rd; 2018 4x a-d: Western B champion hj 1st, 800 3rd, 1600 5th, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th; 2017 a-d: 800 5th);

so. 5-7 G Madyson Currie (106p),

sr. 5-6 F Courtney Mitchell (55p),

sr. 5-9 F Olivia Garland (19p),

sr. 5-8 F Hunter Eichert (7p)

(VB a-c 2nd-tm; TF 2019 a-d: jav 2nd, 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th; 2018 a-d: 4x100 3rd, 4x400 5th)

Native American Classic

Fr06Dec19 vs 2B Harlem (gm4)

Sa07Dec19 vs 1B Rocky Boy (gm13)

Scarlets reconfigure

to new roster,

new conference

The Arlee Scarlets will undergo a lot of changes this season. First, they shift up a classification from District 14C over to District 6B, the backyard of Missoula Loyola and the Florence Falcons.

Arlee also graduated the lion’s share of their point productivity. Foremost among roster attrition is the departure of their stellar post Alyssia Vanderburg, who scored a half millenia worth of points each of the past pair of seasons and is now playing collegiate ball with NAIA Montana Tech.

The Scarlets also graduated two other all-conference decorated players in Nellie DesJarlais as well as Noelle West along with their second leading scorer Louetta Conko-Camel. Any team that has to replace a thousand points of scoring productivity, not to mention rebounding acumen, will inevitably find themselves somewhere along the scale of a rebuiding phase the following season.

Fortunately, the Scarlets have some seasoned returnees among the roster to help them recalibrate that include Halle Adams, Cheyenne Pablo and Peyton Lammerding.

The Scarlets open the season at the Western C Tip-Off at the Ronan Events Center the weekend of December 6-7 against Seeley Swan and Darby.

Western B girls basketball capsule

6B Arlee Scarlets

(2019-18: 11-1, 16-10, 1533pts)

Conf crown, 14C: 2nd 1-1, WesternC: 2nd 2-1, StateC: dnp 0-2

(2018-17: 10-2, 19-7, 1296pts)

Conf crown, 14C: 2nd 4-1, WesternC: dnp 1-2

mascot: Scarlets

coach: Missy Tiensvold, 2nd yr (6th yr overall: Mayville State 16-5, San Miguel High)

asst: Sue Carney-Lammerding


Alyssia Vanderburg

(GBB 3x all-trny 2019-18, 2017-15, 3x a-s, 4x a-c: 1st-tm 2019-16, 2nd-tm 2016-15)

(AV2019-18: 548p,240r,27a,56s,31b)

(AV2017-18: 599p,234r,14a,56s,51b)

(AVv4yr2019-15: 1870p,805r,51a,177s,133b)

Louetta Conko-Camel

(GBB 6B a-c 2nd-tm 2017-16; VB 14C a-c hm)

(LCC2019-18: 300p,79r,80a,72s,3b)

(LCCv4yr2019-15: 614p,186r,157a,159s,3b)

Nellie Desjarlais

(GBB a-s, 2x a-c 2nd-tm 2019-17; VB a-c 2nd-tm 2018)

(ND2019-18: 232p,165r,28a,49s,12b)

(NDv4yr2019-15: 589p,447r,78a,128s,45b)

Noelle West

(GBB 3x a-c: 1st-tm 2018-17, 2nd-tm 2019-18, 2017-16)

(NW2019-18: 135p,80r,88a,66s,2b)

(NW2018-17: 95p,85r,89a,52s,12b)

(NWv4yr2019-15: 354p,230r, 229a,165s,8b)

Sydni Rogers

(SR2019-18: 68p,33r,14a,26s,1b)

(SRv4yr2019-15: 139p,94r,48a,75s)

Tomi Brazill

(SB a-s 2018, 3x a-c: 1st-tm 2019-18, 2nd-tm 2017)

(TB2019-18: 23p,40r,12a,18s)

Hailey Shepherd (15p)

further roster adaptations:

Emily Fiddler

(VB 2x a-c: 2nd-tm 2019, 1st-tm 2018; TF 2017 a-c: 4x100 5th; HC R 2019)

(EF2019-18: 115p,57r,57a,62s,3b)

(EFv3yr:2019-16: 222p,121r,117a,131s,5b)

Shelby Smith, transfer

(SS2019-18: 19p,25r,3a,1s,2b)


jr. 5-10 F Halle Adams

(HA2019-18: 48p,62r,3a,12s,8b)

so. 5-5 G Cheyenne Pablo

(CP2019-18: 18p,23r,5a,10s,2b)

sr. 5-8 F Peyton Lammerding

(TR 2019 a-s: sp 4th, dsc 6th; 2019 a-d dsc 5th; 2019 a-c dist champion sp 1st; 2018 a-s sp 2nd; 2018 a-d sp 2nd; 2018 2x a-c: dist champion sp 1st, dsc 2nd; 2017 a-d sp 4th; 2017 a-c sp 2nd)

(PL2018-17: 23p,36r,2a,4s)

Western C Tip-Off at Ronan Events Center

Fr06Dec19 vs. 13C Seeley-Swan

Sa07Dec19 vs. 13C Darby

Scarlets vs 9C Box Elder (Sa08Dec2018)

Lady Pirates aspire

to climb new heights

Winston Churchill once said something along the lines of, “Mountaintops inspire ..., but valleys mature.” The Lady Pirates have had their share of maturing opportunities the past couple of seasons, but now aspire to ascend to greater heights. If not perched atop the peak, at least somewhere along the slope.

Polson graduated their two leading scorers, but will be further impacted by the unavailability of up-and-comer reserve Megan Rost, who sustained a broken digit by avoidable means attending a sporting event as a spectator when the flag she was waving was ripped from her grasp, taking her finger with it.

The injury detrimentally impacted her soccer season as goalkeeper and will now wash out her ability to contribute in basketball as well.

It is hoped that a third spring sport is not impacted by a completely unnecessary act that could have been avoided had the other party kept their hands to themselves.

The Lady Pirates return their third and fourth producers in point proficiency.

Senior 5-8 forward Sharmaine Zempel was on the upward ascent last season, flirting with double digits as she factored into the scoring column in over eighty percent of regular schedule contests before an untimely knee injury sidelined her on the cusp of the postseason. Junior 5-10 forward Mossy Kauley factored into the scoring column in ten contests last season that included her first varsity contest that delved into double digits along with multiple games with handfuls of rebounds.

Coach Juan Perez enters his third season at the helm of the Lady Pirates, assisted by Terry Souhrada and Matt Dalbey.

The Polson girls will inaugurate their season at the NWA/SWA Tip-Off at Frenchtown against Dillon and Glendive on December 6-7.

Western A girls basketball capsule

NWA Polson Lady Pirates

(2019-18: 0-10nwa, 0-20, 472pts)

(2018-17: 1-9nwa, 2-18, 647pts)

mascot: Lady Pirates

coach: Juan Perez, 3rd yr

asst: Terry Souhrada, Matt Dalbey


Karly Lawson, career high 24

(GBB: 14C 2nd-tm 2016-17, 14C hm 2015-16; VB: 14C 2nd-tm 2016; TF: a-s C jav 6th 2017, a-c A jav 10th 2018, placed 7th at stateA), (KL2019-18:105p),

(v3yrKL2019-18,2017-15: 489p + 2017MVAS:6p + 2019MVAS:6p+6x3FG = >500p),

Mahala Buffalo (2019-18: 68p),

(v2yrMB2019-17: 100p),

Alex Pierre (19-18: 55p),

(v3yrAP2019-16: 144p),

Olivia Perez (19-18:42p),

(v3yrOP2019-16: 117p)

Lisa Costilla (19-18:12p)

(SB a-c 2nd-tm 2019)

Natasha Gravelle (19-18:7p),

further roster adaptations (injury, attrition, et al):

Megan Rost (19-18:10p),

(GSC 3x a-c: 2nd-tm 2019-18, hm 2017; TN a-c D 3rd 2019, st D 6th 2019);

Berkley Ellis (19-18:5p)

(VB a-c hm 2019; TN 2x a-s: D 2nd 2019, D 4th 2018; 2x a-c: 2x NWA D champion 1st 2019-18)

Ali Hupka (GSC a-c 2nd-tm)


sr. 5-8 F Sharmaine Zempel (63p)

jr. 5-10 F Mossy Kauley (48p)

sr. 5-10 F Misty Tenas (28p)

(VB a-c 2nd-tm)

jr. 5-6 G SaVanna Carpentier

transfer in:

sr. 6-0 P Ali Kienitz


Fr06Dec19 vs. Dillon (Frenchtown MS)

Sa07Dec19 vs Glendive (Frenchtown HS)

Young Eagles flex

wings, set to soar

When a team generally falls under the rubric of “young,” it ordinarily refers to former underclassmen shifting over into upper level roles. Last season, two thirds of the roster for the Lady Eagles of Two Eagle River were comprised of middle schoolers and freshmen contending against teams with far more seasoning.

Two Eagle will travel to Great Falls to inaugurate their season at the Native American Classic on December 6-7.

Western C girls basketball capsule

14C Two Eagle River Lady Eagles

(2019-18: 0-12, 0-20, 264pts)

(2017-18: 0-12, 1-19, 341pts)

mascot: Lady Eagles

coach: DJ Piapot, 1st yr

asst: Laura Tenas, 4th yr

departures: none

roster adaptations:

TaRae GoodLuck, so.

Rachelle Hewankorn, jr.

Mara Parizeau, transfer

Tia Carpentier, transfer

Trinity Carpentier, transfer

Viviana AfterBuffalo-Adams, so. ?


5-3 Patience AfterBuffalo-Adams, sr.

5-3 Liz Hill, sr.

5-3 Larissa Powell, sr.

5-5 Lu’lani Miller, so.

5-5 Lahtai Finley, fr.

5-5 Heather Atwin, 8th

Native American Classic Tip-Off

Fr06Dec19 vs. Kainai, AB (gm9)

Sa07Dec19 vs. Heart Butte (gm18)

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