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Skylights take on an old foe in first home games

Northern home games will be played without fans for now, games can streamed on Youtube

 

Last updated 12/11/2020 at 8:30am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Allix Goldhahn, left, and Montana State University-Northern' Skylights are set to make their long-awaited home debut this weekend. And while the Skylights won't be playing Frontier Conference games, they will be playing a former Frontier rival in Lewis-Clark State. The games are set for tonight at 5:30 and Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

It's been a struggle for many Frontier Conference teams to get the 2020-21 basketball season off the ground. Actually, because of COVID-19, it's been a struggle for college basketball in general.

And that's why Montana State University-Northern head coach Chris Mouat is grateful that his team has two games in already. And now, the Skylights (1-1) get the opportunity to play in their home gym.

After last weekend's Frontier openers at Rocky Mountain College were postponed due to COVID issue at both schools, the Skylights resume their schedule tonight and Saturday with an old foe - the vaunted Lewis-Clark State Warriors.

LCSC is making the trip to Havre for the first time as a member of the Cascade Conference after more than two decades as a member of the Frontier. Northern, however, has already seen the Warriors this season, as the Skylights opened the year against LCSC in a close loss in Helena two weeks ago.

"After playing LC State in Helena, it is clear that they are again a really good team," Mouat said. "They just have so much experience and can hurt you in so many ways. They are pretty complete. They shot the ball really well against us in Helena, and their bigs had good games, too. They are always tough on the boards, and they force a lot of turnovers for points. They are just really active with their hands and do a nice job defensively. We are going to have to do a much better job of stopping their transition. They get it and go off of turnovers, makes, and misses, and they convert for points very well. They are nationally ranked for many reasons, and picked to win the Cascade Conference, which is no surprise to me."

The Warriors are good, just like they always were in the Frontier. With stars like Peyton Souvenir, Jansen Edmiston and Kiara Burlage, who played with current Skylights Peyton Kehr and Sydney Hovde in high school, LCSC is once again a powerhouse. But the Skylights, who are led by a veteran team with Kehr, Hovde, All-Conference point guard McKenzie Gunter, Tiara Gilham and Allix Goldhahn, gave the Warriors all they could handle in a six-point game at the Carroll College Thanksgiving Classic.

"LC State has excellent depth and returns a ton of players who have all had great careers there," Mouat said. "Kiara Burlage, Abbie Johnson, Peyton Souvenir, and Abbey Farmer (to mention just a few) are all returning, as well as some very talented players around them. They had a good recruiting class, and Heidi Snellman returns after missing the season due to injury last year. They are deep and talented."

No doubt, LC State is good, and two games against the Warriors will be tough. Nevertheless, this season is going to be a challenge for everybody and so, the Skylights are just excited to keep playing, and especially to play in the Armory, albeit without spectators.

"This season has just been a challenge in many ways," Mouat said. "We were fortunate to get a couple of games under our belt in Helena, but that feels like years ago. Our kids have done a nice job of taking care of each other, and staying positive. We have just had a lot of stops and starts this year, which hasn't allowed us many practices or to get into any kind of rhythm. The practices we have had, however, have been great.

"Our kids know we are up against a strong LC State team, and they are looking forward to playing again," he continued. "We know full well that we're nowhere near where we'd be during a typical year, so it almost feels like we are starting over. But, if we get to play, I'd just as soon play a good team to see really just where we are at. These games will give us a lot to look at over the break as we head into conference play. We are thankful that LC is able to come to Havre and just looking forward to being on the floor in the Armory again."

Northern and LC State meet tonight at 5:30 and again Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Armory Gymnasium. The games can be viewed on http://www.golightsgo.com . The Skylights are scheduled to return to Frontier Conference Jan. 4-5 against Carroll College.

 
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