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Crosstown Hoops: Pack girls want to stop skid; Braves seek first W

Jan. 19—Coming into their Crosstown game at 6 p.m. Friday at the Flathead gym, neither the host Bravettes nor the visiting Glacier Wolfpack girls basketball teams have been scoring in bunches.

For Flathead, the problem is getting shots off; for the Pack it's getting them to fall.

Both teams are looking for their first conference win; Flathead (3-3) is 0-2 in the Western AA and Glacier (2-5) is 0-3. Both are itching to play after weather canceled games last week.

And they're not alone: When they're done the boys will tip off, at roughly 7:30.

Girls

Glacier is led by Reese Ramey, who is averaging 11.6 points a game; Karly Allen is next at 7.7 and Noah Fincher follows at 6.7. The Pack started 2-1 but found themselves struggling to score in losses to Helena Capital and Missoula Big Sky.

"The Helenas and Big Sky are probably the top three teams in the conference. I like our chances against them the second time," Glacier coach Amanda Cram said. "Most of all, we have not been shooting the ball very well. That has been our biggest issue."

Flathead counters with Kennedy Moore, who averages 12.5 points, followed by Celie VandenBolsch (8.7 points and 5.0 rebounds) and Harlie Roth (7.2 ppg).

"We just have not taken care of the ball very well, offensively," Flathead coach Kaylee Fox said. "We've just had a lot of turnovers, and it's been hard to get the ball in good scoring position."

Cram has noticed.

"Our foundation is our defense and I know our offense will come," Cram said. "We do aim to be very aggressive and we want to pressure half- and full-court."

Beyond that, Fincher is one of four Glacier seniors who don't have a Crosstown win, though the games have been close.

"I think it's going to be competitive," Fox said of playing the Pack. "They are aggressive defensively; they play really hard. They run some good stuff offensively. Any time it's a crosstown game it's a little bit extra, but this year it should be very competitive.

"We're looking forward to it. We haven't played in a long time, we feel like."

Boys

Flathead comes in 0-6 but with narrow losses to Great Falls High, Helena (56-48) and Capital (61-52).

"We were up on Helena by one, with one minute to go," first-year Flathead coach Dan Trageser noted. "I think our kids have really bought into what we're preaching. It's a lot of changes across the board, in terms of philosophy and style of play.

"I think the more we're in the gym the more it's starting to click, and the more they buy in. And it's starting to show in Western AA play."

Glacier coach Mark Harkins has noticed.

"Dan's doing a good job with them," he said. "He has the kids bought in and playing hard. You look at the group and Lyric (Ersland, who is averaging 15.5 points) is obviously their leading scorer. Their offense goes through him a lot. He can shoot it, so we have to know where he's at. But they have other guys playing really well for them."

Jordan Griffin has been big off the bench for Flathead, averaging 8.8 points; Korbin Eaton is next at 7.8.

Cohen Kastelitz leads the Pack at 14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds a game; Brantly Salmenson (7.9 ppg) and Liam Ells (6.3) can fill up the scorebook for a team that has seen its 3-point shooting tick up in conference play.

The Pack is 3-4 overall and 2-1 in league; the nightcap takes on a little added interest because Noah Cummings, who transferred from Flathead, is now eligible to play.

"It's just going to add more excitement to another exciting game," said Harkins, who has three Flathead transfers on the roster, including Slate Burrington and Josh Eagleton.

"This whole week we've been preaching, we're focused on the kids that are in our program," Trageser said. "We know that Glacier is going to come in and be ready to play. It's not just about shutting down one guy, it's about limiting what Glacier does as a team."