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Lights climb in NAIA Poll


The Montana State University-Northern men's basketball team is heading in the right direction in the NAIA rankings.

The Lights jumped from No. 25 to No. 16 in the latest NAIA Coaches Poll, released on Monday afternoon. It's Northern's highest ranking in some time, and it comes on the heels of a home sweep of UM-Western and Montana Tech this weekend. The Lights beat then No. 19 Western on Friday and crushed Tech on Saturday night.

Northern has one tough road trip left this weekend as it heads to rivals Rocky Mountain College on Thursday night and Carroll College on Saturday. The Lights are a game in front of Carroll and Western in the jam-packed Frontier Conference standings with four games left in the regular season.

Westminster College is the only other ranked Frontier team. The Griffins sit at No. 22 this week, while Western and Carroll received votes.

On the women's side, Westminster is ranked No. 9 this week and Lewis-Clark State is ranked No. 11.

Kelsey DeWit of Montana Tech was named the Frontier Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week.

DeWit is a 6-foot-2 freshman center from Columbia Falls, Mont. Montana Tech went 2-0 on the road with a 70-59 victory over the University of Great Falls and a 76-68 victory over Montana State-Northern. Dewit averaged 26.5 points and 11 rebounds per game for the weekend. She made 19 of 28 field goals (69 percent) and 14 of 17 free throws (82 percent).

MSU-N's Laramie Schwenke was also nominated.

Mark Celaya of the University of Great Falls was named the Frontier Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week.

Celaya is a 6-foot-3, senior guard from Chandler, Ariz. Great Falls went 1-1 for the weekend with a 74-64 victory over Montana Tech and losing in overtime to No. 19 Montana Western 79-81 . Celaya averaged 33.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and one steal per game. He hit 22 of 34 field goals (65 percent), 9 of 16 in 3-point field goals (56 percent) and 14 of 15 free throws (93 percent).

Northern's Joe Simpson was also nominated for the men's award this week.

The Lights and Skylights visit RMC Thursday night in Billings and Carroll Saturday night in Helena.


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