Havre Daily News - News you can use

Season on the line in Chinook

Area teams look to make noise at the Northern C volleyball tournament


November 2, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

North Star's Peytan King, right, goes for a smash during last weekend's District 6C East tournament in Chester. The action shifts to Chinook this weekend for the Northern C Divisional Tournament, where the Hi-Line is represented by the Knights, as well as Chester-Joplin-Inverness, Chinook and Fort Benton. The Northern C starts today and runs through Saturday.

For four local prep volleyball teams, their season will either continue or come to an end over the next three days. And it all happens in Chinook.

The Northern C Divisional volleyball tournament comes to the Chinook High Gymnasium, starting today and running through Saturday night's championship match. And not only is a divisional championship on the line, but two coveted spots in next week's Class C state tournament are also up for grabs.

But attaining one of those spots is never easy because the Northern C, comprised of the top three teams from the District 6C East, the top two teams from the 6C West and the top three teams from the 7C, is easily the toughest division in Class C. So no question, this weekend will be a battle for all of the Hi-Line teams in attendance, and everybody else, too.

However, all of the area squads have high hopes as the Northern C begins, especially North Star, which captured the 6C East championship last weekend in Chester. The Knights, led by Peytan King, Paij Peterson, Kate Hansen and Lily Pedersen, have a deep rotation, they have height and they have talent, so a run to the state tournament after winning their first district title in six years is a definite goal.

"We've been talking about this stage of the season all season long, so I think the girls will be ready," North Star head coach McKenzie Jenkins said. "It will be a fun tournament."

North Star opens the tournament against a familiar foe, the Fort Benton Longhorns. Fort Benton was the third-place team out of the 7C, and the Longhorns are much like the Knights in that, they have a ton of talent and plenty of depth. Maddie Thompson, Alia Evans, Leah Gannon, McKenzie Clark and Aspen Geise are all top players for the athletic Longhorns, and that should make for an interesting match against the Knights.

And whoever wins will have their hands full in the next round, because waiting for them will likely be tournament favorite Belt. The Huskies dominated the 7C this season, rolling to the district title last weekend. Adrian Malek and Dani Urick are powerful players for the Huskies, but they also have tons of depth and talent, and they're heavy favorites this weekend. Belt plays Power today in the opening round.

Chester-Joplin-Inverness and Chinook are on the other side of the bracket.

The Hawks, led by Kim Ghekiere, Khloe Kamerzell and Peyton Hawks, among others, made an outstanding run to the 6C East championship match on their home floor last weekend. And while they couldn't quite get over the hump against North Star, they come into the Northern C with a ton of positive momentum. Still, CJI has a first-round opponent in Great Falls Central that, the Hawks know all too well. The Mustangs beat the Hawks twice in non-conference play this season, so the Hawks know they'll have their hands full today.

The winner of the CJI/GFCC match will play the winner of the first first-round match today, which pits the host Chinook Sugarbeeters against arch rival Simms. Chinook and Simms have had some great non-conference and divisional tournament matches over the years, as both have had their share of time being an elite Northern C team. Simms comes to Chinook as the 6C West champion, and the Tigers are powered by Lissey Willekes and Maddie Bloom.

Chinook meanwhile, might be on its home floor this weekend, but the Beeters are in an unfamiliar spot, as they play the role of underdog. Chinook finished third in the 6C East tournament, after winning the previous four championships. But no one will be overlooking the Beeters this weekend. Chinook is led by Kourtney Hanson, Megan Molyneaux, Sierra Swank, Carrie Hofer and Erin Pula, and head coach Mollie Rose' squad will be more than ready to put up a great fight on its home floor.

And that's what the Northern C is all about, it's a fight to the very end because all eight teams in the field are strong and talented. Yes, Belt might be the favorite, but every match for every team will be tough, and the two teams left standing at the end will have certainly earned their way to Bozeman and the state tournament next weekend.

"Our divisional is going to be tough," Jenkins said. "With Belt and Great Falls Central, along with Simms, it'll be a challenge. I think our division is one of the toughest in the state. Hopefully our girls can use their momentum from winning the district championship to strive for that championship match on Saturday."

The Northern C starts with six matches today, followed by five more Friday. Saturday features four matches, including the championship match, which is slated for 4:30 p.m. and an if-necessary match to follow. All of the Northern C action takes place at the Chinook High Gymnasium.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2020

Rendered 09/28/2020 06:07