What an absolute whirlwind of prep sports last week. There were more than 40 high school basketball games on Friday night and six wrestling meets with at least one Missoula area team competing.
Then came Saturday.
Needless to say, there were plenty of top prep performers, and some may have fallen through the cracks, but the five boys and five girls in the first edition of the 2017-18 winter prep athletes of the week are certainly deserving.
Each week, we nominate an equal number of boys and girls for our “Prep Athletes of the Week.” Readers will be able to vote for one boy and one girl in polls that appear by noon Monday at Missoulian.com. Voting will be open through 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The winners will be published in the Missoulian’s Prep Extra section each Thursday.
Here are this week’s nominees:
Missoula Hellgate's Katharine Berkoff didn't get to claim an individual win as part of the Knights squad at the Butte Invite on Saturday. That's because she was setting records at the USA Speedo Winter Junior Nationals. Berkoff, swimming for the Missoula Aquatic Club, posted a pool record in the women's 100-yard backstroke. Berkoff clocked in with the winning and record time at 51.95 seconds.
Corvallis' Isabel Evans was a beast in the paint for the Blue Devils on Tuesday against Loyola Sacred Heart. Evans scored a game-high 30 points and added 21 rebounds to help Corvallis come from behind and win, 66-53. Evans added a 16-point performance and a 10-point game in a pair of wins at the Western A Tip-Off tournament over the weekend.
Darby's Casey Ehmann was on fire for the Tigers. Ehmann finished with a game-high 31 points in the Tigers' 61-49 win against Lincoln on Thursday. She added another team-high 14 on Tuesday against Salmon, Idaho.
Loyola Sacred Heart's Tessa Burke scored 29 on Saturday in a 66-50 win against Cut Bank one day after scoring 31 points in a 63-48 win against Shepherd. If the performance at the Shelby tournament wasn't impressive enough, the senior finished with 17 points a loss to Class A Corvallis on Tuesday.
Ronan's Micalann McCrea was praised by Corvallis coach Andy Knapp as the "real deal" despite the Maidens' close loss, 51-49, to the Blue Devils on Saturday at the Tip-Off tournament. McCrea scored 21 points in that one, and she added another 17 in Ronan's 56-45 win against Stevensville on Friday.
Missoula Hellgate's Darragh Mahns was a two-time individual winner at the Butte Invitational on Saturday. Mahns touched the wall first in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 50-yard freestyle, winning the backstroke by nearly two seconds. Mahns beat out his teammate Lyndon Amon in the 50-free.
Hamilton's Coy Whyte improved to 4-0 on the year with two wins by pin on his home mat at the Hamilton Hard Nosed Tournament on Saturday. Whyte won the 285-pound bracket with a 1 minute, 12 second pin against his teammate in the title bout. He clinched a berth to the championship round with a pin 56 seconds into the second round of the semifinal match.
Arlee's Phillip Malatare picked up where he left off from last year's state championship season, as the senior all-stater scored a game-high 36 points in the Warriors' season-opener. Arlee topped Rocky Boy in that one, 69-61, and Malatare followed his Friday night performance with a 25-point output in the Warriors' 73-51 win against Harlem.
Thompson Falls' Jase Sorenson won the 170-pound bracket at the Bob Kinney Classic in Superior on Saturday. With the win, Sorenson improved to 7-0 on the season, and Thompson Falls won the Bob Kinney Classic with 184.5 points. Sorenson did his part with three pins at the tournament.
Missoula Sentinel's Sam Beighle was not only lights out Friday night against Billings West, he was clutch. The senior scored a game-high 29 points, including the game-winning steal and subsequent score after West tried to work the clock for a final shot. The Spartans won that won 64-62, but they fell to Billings Senior on Saturday, despite Beighle's 20 points.