By Kim Staudinger
The Montana State University-Northern Lights basketball team will have a much different look Saturday than it did the first time it played the University of Great Falls.
Monday morning, senior guard K.C. Moultrie and freshman guard Jared Moultrie left the team. The brothers have been key players on the team.
"At this point Jared and I don't feel like it is in our best interests to continue to play," K.C. Moultrie said Tuesday night.
Said head coach Brian Harrell: "We'll miss them both. Both are class kids and good students. They represent the program well, the way we want our program to be represented. I hate to see anybody quit, especially their senior year."
As to why they left, Harrell said he figures both K.C. and Jared were not happy.
Senior forward E.J. Little is still on the injured list with a slight fracture in the ball of his foot. Jermaine Walton missed last Saturday's game for the Lights against Westminster because of a death in the family, but will play this weekend at Great Falls.
The Lights defeated UGF 108-80 at MSU-Northern Jan. 12.
Harrell said Tuesday he plans to start Chester native Jeff Graham in place of K.C. Moultrie for Saturday's game.
"It's a heck of an opportunity for a freshman to come in and start," Harrell said. Graham had five points in the first meeting between the two teams.
With Graham moving to a starting role, the other members of the Lights bench will see more playing time.
"With those two guys not here, it throws Tabarus (Phillips) into the mix," Harrell said. "And Charlie's got to be ready to step in at the three and give us some minutes."
The changes to the lineup will likely mean a closer outcome than last time, Harrell said.
"They've played a lot of people tough," he said. "It's a game of 40 minutes and we will have to play all 40 minutes. It will be tough and should go down to the stretch."
The key for the Lights (14-11, 3-6) against Great Falls (4-22, 2-7), Harrell said, is not just one player.
"They hurt us down low, Dustin Lym did," he said. "Spencer (Lazosky) came in and kind of shut him down in the second half. Those guys have got to be ready to step up. We need to work on containing their three-point shooters in (Dave) Jensen and (Danny) Ball and at the same time, we need to stop their inside game with Lym and Samuelson."
Still, Harrell said, after a good day of practice Tuesday, the team is ready for this weekend.
"I think our best days are ahead of us," he said. "I think we are playing better. We've got to make an adjustment, obviously, but we're ready to move on."