Wescolite (Dillon, Mont) 1949-2009, March 22, 2001, Image 6

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Wescolite-March 22,2001 - Page 4 Sports... Bittersweet Season for the Dogs By: Kyle Holbrook The Western Montana basketball team did n ot win a conference title. They finished just barely over .500 a t 16-15 (8-6 in the conference, placing 4th). They did not win a chance to go to the National tournament. Does this constitute an unsuccessful sea­ son? Absolutely not! \It was a g reat year. We beat some good team s!\ Stated coach Mark Durham. \We lost five games by two or less, and three were lost a t the buzzer. We were VERY close to being in the Na­ tional Tournament.\ The facts back these claims up. Six of the 15 losses were to schools that play to a higher level of competition (NCAA Division 1 and II). This year could have a twenty-plus-win season if a few more things could have gone differently. There were certainly some terrific players this year, including All- American honorable mention forward Josh F ranz, who a t one point earlier in the season led the NAIA in scoring. Playing through injury and family hardship, the fact that Josh averaged over 20 points is all that much more of an accomplishment. Forward Rashi Marbury put together a solid season in the scoring and rebounding depart­ ment on his way to an All-Confer­ ence Honorable Mention team selection. Neil Christiaens, a transfer from NCAA II MSU-Billings was ineligible for all games before Christmas due to a credit transfer gone badly. After his mandatory sit, Neil averaged over 12 points a game, and added a much needed post presence tq the mix. He too earned All-Conference honors. Scott B arrett was ranked in the top ten in the conference in steals. Gabe Walker started much of the year and offered dependable three-point shooting. West Hernandez started and efficiently ran the offense from the point guard position. Wes Holmquist provided valu­ able minutes and versatility to die team. Randy Ranalli, only a freshman, earned a spot on varsity, and became an essential p art of the team. Josh Keller offered a huge energy burst on defense off the bench with his relentless defense and marksmanship from the field. This team was so talented that coach Durham reverted to a \platoon\ style of substitution so minutes were balanced, and everyone got to contribute their own unique talents and make it very tough for opposing coaches to carry out a gameplan. The fact is, the Bulldogs were competitive all year, and in spite of losing four seniors (Holmquist, Walker, Barrett, and Franz), next year is looking up for the return­ ers, with Rashi Marbury and Neil Christieans coming bade for another year. Freshman Randy Ranalli should see a more exten­ sive role next year, as should red shirt freshman Brandon Day, transfer Kevin Flatow, West Hernandez, and Josh Keller. To the seniors who were on this team, you should be congratu­ lated for your contributions and commitment. Your senior season was well spent! This year was great, and surely, n ext year wiP be even better! Men's Basketball Season Ends at Conference Tournament Semifinals. By: Kyle Holbrook Coming into the conference tournament as the fourth seed, the Western Montana Bulldogs had a single goal, win three games in a row and qualify for the National Tournament. Riding into the tourney on the coattails of two straight wins, and having a first round date with Montana Tech, a team that they had beaten just a week earlier, they looked to have a g reat shot. Western got by Tech, but lost a heartbreaker to Carroll College in the semifinal game. The first round saw heated rivals go at it tooth and nail. It was a back and forth game much of the way, with the score knotted up at 30. Early in the second half however, Tech jumped out to a 12-point lead with 15 minutes to go. Western took over after that, coming back with a vengeance, and finishing the game going away, winning 89-70. The Bulldogs got very balanced scoring, on high percentage shooting (54% from the field). The three Dogs in double figures were Josh F ranz 21 points and Rashi Marbury and Randy Ranalli with 10 each. \This was a typical W estern/Tech game.\ Commented Western Coach Mark Durham. \We were down by 12 with 15 minutes to go and we rallied and wore them down.\ The second round found the Dogs up against the second seeded Carroll College Saints. Carroll came out firing right off the bat, . going up by as much as 19 early in the game. Like the previous night, Western rallied, and by the end of the half cut the deficit to 5. The second half was a back and forth affair with the score tied down the stretch. The game was up for grabs when Carroll's All-American Center JD Solomon slipped behind the Western defenses and made die game­ winning dunk for his squad. The Dogs did all they could to win, shooting over 50% from the field. Senior Josh F ranz led the way with 2 8 points, and Neil Christieans with 19. \We fell behind early again (32- 11), but fought back to 5 (39-34). The second half was back and forth and it was just a great college basketball game.\ Said coach Durham of the game. Western v. Teefe W; 90-70 Gate Walker 3-5 2-2 9 ; W ^3Htech»d«'2--i'2-2''5“ '{ •;/' Josh keller 2-7 Scott Barrett 2-5 0-0 5 ; Randy Ranaffii4-71-I40;: Wes Holmquist.... 0*1 2 2 \2-, /; \ :Key& r f JoshEiramC 7-9 '6-8; '2TjJf'r -v*-/ Rashi Marbury 4-5 2-4 10 \ Neff v2-5 ;4 4 ^ CarroU t : 80-68 Neil Christians\ 8-12 '3-3\ 19 > Josh Keller „ 1^3 0-0 3TC ; ; • Randy Rarialli2~7 1-2 6 f West Hemandez 2~5 0-0 6 Scott Barrett 3-7 0-0 7 - - Gabe Walker 0 2 0-0 0 ; Wes. Holmquist 1-2 *0-0 3 Kevin Flatow 2-4 0-0 4 Rashi Marbury 1-4 0-2 2 Josh Franz 12-18 0-0 28,

Wescolite (Dillon, Mont), 22 March 2001, located at <http://montananewspapers.org/lccn/Wescolite/2001-03-22/ed-1/seq-6/>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.