By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
It isn't important how the Chinook High School girls basketball team made it to the Northern B Divisional. The Beeters are just happy to make it and continue their season.
Chinook will open the today's divisional in Glasgow at 1 p.m. with a familiar foe in the Malta M-Ettes.
After having to fight just to qualify to be playing today, the Beeters are hoping for a better start to the tourney in comparison to last week's District 1B tournament.
Chinook opened last week's tourney with a disappointing 42-29 to Conrad. The Beeters had to scrap their way back into the tourney consolation game with 52-41 win over Shelby before losing to Fairfield, 60-50, in the consolation game.
"It's not exactly what we had in mind to qualify," joked Chinook head coach Mark Roseberry. "But we're looking at this weekend as a fresh start."
The Beeters come into the divisional confident bunch for good reason, the Beeters compiled a 5-1 against District 2B schools, including a split with Malta during the regular season.
"We played very well against 2B schools and had some success," Roseberry said. "Our regular season schedule really put us in a better situation than other 1B teams."
Beating Malta 50-40 on Jan. 27 in Chinook, has been a great confidence boost for the Beeters. Roseberry also believes that playing Malta very tough in a 43-40 loss in Malta on Dec. 10 also has benefits.
"It definitely helps that we are familiar with them," he said. "Getting that win in Chinook is big, because we had lost, we'd still be wondering if it could be done. Now we know it can be done and what it takes to do it."
What it takes to beat Malta is stopping its high-powered scoring trio of senior Roshon Nordlund, sophomore Kelly Pankratz and freshman Laramie Schwenke.
Nordlund and Pankratz lead the M-Ettes in scoring and can easily score a combined 40 and sometimes 50 per game.
"They can really go off at any point," Roseberry said. "For whatever reason, they didn't in Chinook."
Schwenke may be the wild card. Although the program says she is a freshman, Roseberry knows she doesn't play like one.
"Schwenke is very scary," he said. "She is capable of scoring points in bunches and she has a lot of composure."
Basically Malta causes matchup problems with its speed and athleticism. Roseberry knows he won't stop it, he just hopes to contain it.
"At some point you run out of quickness defensively," he said. "We are going to try and matchup the best we can and stop their best players and force their other players to beat us."
While defense is key, Chinook must play aggressive offensively, something it didn't do enough in districts, particularly the loss to Conrad.
"We've seen that Malta was vulnerable to a baseline attack and that's what we used to beat them," Roseberry said. "We need to be aggressive and take the ball at them. We need to be more aggressive. I thought we passes up a lot of good shots against Conrad."
Chinook is led by senior forward Whitney Lybeck, who is averaging just over 13 points per game. Guards Crystal Roseberry and Monica Thackeray are solid playmakers and can score if need be. Junior forwards Georgia Barber and Kassie Dugan are also capable of big games.
While Malta is definitely the power of the 2B, Roseberry believes that a team from the 1B might be the favorite.
"We played against both conferences and I just think the 1B is very solid with the exception Shelby. There were tough games every night in that league. Conrad and Cut Bank and Fairfield are all very strong."