The Cut Bank Wolves boys basketball team faced three really good opponents over the last two weeks. Although the Wolves are improving each week, they saw their season record fall to 1-7 with losses to Rocky Boy, Browning, and Choteau.
The Wolves hit the road to Rocky Boy knowing all about Rocky Boy sharp shooters Ben Crebs and Joe Demontiney. The Wolves left Rocky Boy knowing more about the two star sophomore guards.
“We started really well defensively. We came out and were communicating well on defense and getting stops,” said Coach Josh Larson.
The Wolves’ solid defense would keep them close at the end of the first period and they would trail 10-12 after one. Foul trouble would bite the Wolves in the second quarter, however, and things would roll heavily in favor of the Stars.
“We didn’t do a very good job of finishing in the second quarter. We started to lack communication on the defensive end,” said Larson.
“Demontiney really got going in the second quarter. We kept losing him in transition and he hit five 3-pointers from the exact same spot on the floor,” he added. Rocky Boy’s hot shooting paired with nine Cut Bank turnovers stretched the deficit to 20-37 at the half.
“We played them fairly close in the second half. The hole we dug ourselves was just too big to overcome,” stated Larson. Rocky Boy defeated the Wolves 73-51.
Devin Gobert led the Wolves with 13 points. Rounding out the scoring were Justin Crowe 10, Dawson Vasboe 9, Hayden Harrell 8, Cody Racki 6, Dayne Barbie 4, and Coalter Littrell with 1.
Next up for the Wolves was a date with the Browning Indians. Browning’s pressure got the Wolves early and often. Cut Bank found themselves down 26-7 after one quarter.
The first six minutes of the second quarter saw the Wolves show tremendous grit. “We did a much better job of taking care of the ball and handling pressure in the second quarter. We settled in offensively and started getting easy buckets,” said Larson.
At the 2:03 mark of the second quarter a Gobert bucket cut the Browning lead to just nine points. Then things would change. The Browning pressure caused numerous turnovers in the last two minutes of the second quarter and any hope the Wolves had was lost amid a 14-0 run to end the half.
“We just lost our composure towards the end of the half. It’s pretty demoralizing from going down nine points to down 23 points in just a short time,” said Larson.
Browning pulled away in the second half, winning 90-37. Gobert led the Wolves again with 10 points. Following him were Harrell 9, Crowe 8, Vasboe 4, Racki 4, and Barbie 2.
The Wolves hit the road Saturday for a meeting with the No. 3 ranked Choteau Bulldogs. The Wolves would regroup in a hurry and came out strong against the Bulldogs.
“I thought for the first time all season we started strong. We still struggle a little bit defending in the half court, but we played much better defensively in this game,” Larson said. “Littrell, Barbie, and Racki did a much better job rebounding the basketball in this game. That’s a big reason we were able to stay in this game.”
Cut Bank did a good job defending Choteau’s sharp shooting Kolby Kovatch in the first half. Gobert and Harrell put on an offensive show as well and the Wolves trailed 40-33 at the half.
Cut Bank continued to play hard in the second half. Racki and Littrell hit the offensive boards hard and that led to easy buckets for Cut Bank and allowed them to stay within striking distance. Cut Bank found themselves down just six points late in the game, but came up empty on three consecutive trips down the floor and had to foul. Choteau went onto win the game 77-64.
“We are getting better. That is our only goal right now is to get better every single week. We struggle to end quarters strong right now and still turn the ball over too much, but those things are all fixable and we are getting better,” concluded Larson.
Gobert and Harrell led the Wolves in scoring with 22 and 21 points respectively. Following them were Littrell 12, Racki 6, and Vasboe 3.
The Wolves are finally back at Willie DeGroot Gymnasium this Friday against Shelby and back on the road Saturday to face Great Falls Central.