SHERIDAN, Wyo. — The Montana All-Star girls team defeated Wyoming 61-37 on Friday at Sheridan College in the opening game of the Midland Roundtable All-Star Basketball Series.
Missoula Sentinel graduate and future Montana Grizzly Kylie Frohlich led all scorers with 11 points and Butte Central’s Kloie Thatcher and Dillon’s Brynley Fitzgerald each added 10 apiece.
The game started slow, which can be expected since most of the players had been busy with other sports and tried to gel as a team in a matter of days.
The girls handled it well, though, beginning to heat up as the game went on.
“I was pretty happy that I got the opportunity that I knew I was going to play with this team,” Thatcher, who will play college basketball at Rocky Mountain College, said. “I looked at the roster and I knew that it was a bunch of athletic girls that would be good to play with.”
Montana blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Wyoming 20-8. The run gave the Montanans a 20-point lead and they never looked back.
“I think we had to get into a groove with actually playing together, but I think most of us are a little out of shape,” Thatcher added with a laugh. “We’re not in basketball shape quite yet, but hopefully we get there tomorrow.”
Frohlich came out firing, scoring six of Montana’s first 10 points to pace the Treasure State.
“It’s just a huge honor because you’ve heard about it and I’ve had a couple of family members who have talked about what it’s like,” Frohlich said. “Being able to come down here and meet a bunch of new girls and girls we’ve played against. It’s a lot of fun getting to play on the same team instead of trying to battle.
“(Going forward) we’ll obviously want to take the energy from this game and put it into the next game.”
Montana improves to 30-13 in the all-time series. Emmery Wagstaff led Wyoming with 10 points. The girls will play again on Saturday at Rocky Mountain College at 5:30 p.m.
“I kind of get the idea of what he’s like as a coach which is nice,” Thatcher said about Wes Keller, her future coach at Rocky and the coach of the all-stars. “He’s pretty easy-going right now so I think it’s going to be a whole different coach going into college.”
Montana 76, Wyoming 63
The boys made the first day a sweep after they downed the Wyoming All-Stars 76-63.
Bozeman grad and future Grizzly Mack Anderson led Montana with 16 points while Missoula Sentinel’s Sam Beighle, the Gatorade Player of the Year, added 14.
“It’s an honor to be in (the game). Super fun playing with all of these different guys instead of competing against them,” Anderson said. “Tonight was a lot of fun, I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Shelby’s T.J. Reynolds added 11 and Hardin’s David Evans tallied 10 for Montana.
Anderson got the Montana All-Stars started out hot with the team’s first three baskets, all easy layups. That forced Wyoming into a timeout and Montana ran from there, looking like a team that’s played together for years as opposed to just a couple of days.
“We’ve played against each other for so long. Every single one of us met at some AAU tournament at some point or even played together,” Reynolds explained. “It really didn’t take too long at all and we got each other the shots that we look for in each other’s games.”
Montana led by double digits quickly and 31-12 after a pair of 3's from Beighle. Anderson helped add to that with an easy dunk off of a smooth inbounds pass from Billings Senior’s Connor Kieckbusch.
Wyoming used a strong third quarter to chip away, and Hayden Peterson of Buffalo drilled a near half-court shot to make it a 58-48 deficit heading into the final frame.
Wyoming got within single digits but not for long. Baskets from Belgrade’s Dawson Fowler and Great Falls CMR’s Garrison Rothwell helped pad the lead as well as two more buckets from Anderson, including a two-handed slam right over one of Wyoming’s players.
“I was kind of aggravated a bit. They were coming back, we weren’t playing great,” Anderson said. “So I kind of just drop-stepped with a little spin and put it down.”
The boys will play at 7:30 p.m. at Rocky Mountain College on Saturday. Montana coach Steve Keller is now 13-0 in the series, and the Treasure State boys have won 13 straight. The Montana boys lead the series 58-27.
“It was a lot of fun just playing with different guys, just knowing that every single one of these guys are great players,” Reynolds, who will college basketball at Montana State-Northern, said. “I’m excited (to play Saturday at Rocky). I heard that they pack the place and I’m ready for the atmosphere.”