By Jim Orr
The Courier 

When The Going Gets Tough

Top Ranked Scotties Keeping Eye On Their Goal As Competition Heats Up


Lih-An Yang / The Courier

The Scotties are unified, focused, talented. They're ranked first in the state, but that's just on paper and they know it.

The boys basketball Scotties are an undefeated, motivated and balanced unit with only one goal, and all G-Town fans know exactly what it is.

The goal is not is to be MaxPreps' top ranked Class B team in the Big Sky State. GHS has hustled, pressed and shot its way to this fine place, but coach Norm Braaten isn't one to discuss it.

"I don't pay any attention to it at all," Braaten told The Courier. "I haven't heard the boys talking about it either. In the event that it gave us an automatic bye to the state championship, then I'd pay attention. I'm not going to say anything about it at all."

Glasgow's pull-away win last weekend at Wolf Point, a Montana Top 10 team at the time, was another challenge met, but obstacles await. This stretch of the season is looking very tournament like and not getting any easier for GHS, 5-0 in District 2B and 10-0 overall.

Three of the next four games include two Top 10 Class A teams, Sidney and Dawson County, coming to town and a road trip to that gymnasium down Highway 2 where people wear blue when they gather.

No. 8 ranked Sidney comes first, tomorrow night at the Dawg House. The Eagles (3-2, 5-4) not only will want to avenge their 56-46 home loss to Glasgow earlier this season, they'll do it with some muscle.

"Sidney is a very, very good Class A team," Braaten said. "They're big. They're strong. It will be a good test. We'll need to be physical."

The Scotties again need to contain an Eagle nucleus that includes Casey Strasheim, Tristan Rohner and Brett Norby, who combined for 29 points the first time around.

Next comes Friday night's annual regular season battle at Malta. The rival Mustangs are 3-2 and third in 2B, 5-5 overall. In their last two games, MHS knocked Glasgow out of the state tournament and the Dawgs retaliated with a 65-60 win Dec. 19.

"With Malta, it's a great rivalry and you throw out the records," Braaten said. "We hope to play better against them and not give up as many 3's as the first time. We've been practicing real hard on that."

Closing out the month will be a breather Jan. 29 against visiting Saco/Whitewater and another test Jan. 30 against a tall Dawson County team (2-3, 6-4) that's ranked No. 7 in Class A.

Against Wolf Point (4-1, 6-3), the Scotties pulled away for a 61-44 victory after leading 32-30 at the half.

"The biggest thing I think the kids learned in that game is they pushed the ball in the second half," Braaten said. (Point guard Jason Thibualt) took off and the other kids followed."

Jake Kolstad led the Scotties with 16 points, 12 in the second half. Braaten said it's the kind of shooting he's looking for from Kolstad, who hit on three 3-pointers.

Also scoring for Glasgow were Thibault with 14, Chase Fossum with 11, Jake Page with 8, Zach Miller with 6, Gage Legare with 4 and Ethan Etchart with 2. Starter Keil Krumwiede did not play. He was at an Arizona baseball camp.

Tyson Bridges led the Wolves with 15.

The night before, the Scotties improved to 9-0 with a 78-28 road win over 2B foe Poplar (1-4, 4-6). Scoring for GHS were Fossum with 17, Miller 16, Page 11, Thibault 10, Kolstad 9, Legare 8 and Etchart 7.

Scottie Notes

• The Scottie C squad plays Lustre's JV and its JV plays Lustre's varsity in away games Saturday. Said Braaten: "It will basically be our varsity team for next year, so it will be very good experience for them."

• Thibault's hip was "banged up a bit in practice, but the team is about as healthy as it can hope to be for this time of year," Braaten said.

• MaxPreps' Class B Top 10: 1 Glasgow, 2 Choteau (5-0, 9-0), 3 Bigfork (4-0,8-1), 4 Sweet Grass County (5-0, 8-1), 5 St. Labre Indian Catholic (4-0, 5-1), 6 Loyola-Sacred Heart (3-1, 8-2), 7 Columbus (4-1, 6-2), 8 Lodge Grass (4-0, 6-2), 9 Thompson Falls (3-1, 7-3), 10 Jefferson (3-2, 7-3).


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