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November 04, 2008 3:01 am

State Champs!

Girls bring home PHS's second volleyball championship

When they first stepped on the volleyball court this fall, the Powell High School Lady Panthers wanted nothing less than a state championship.

On Saturday night, they got it.

The Lady Panthers capped their 3A championship season with a hard-fought, 3-0 win over the Kemmerer Lady Rangers at the Casper Events Center Saturday. The victory gave the Lady Panther volleyball program its first state title since 1987. It also is only the second volleyball title in the school's history.

November 04, 2008 3:00 am

Sub-Region champions

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Lady Trappers Carol Martin (1), Angela Schuman (middle) and Irelis Avendano (5) celebrate following a kill by Avendano during Saturday's match with Miles Community College. Tribune photo by David Dickey

NWC's attention turns to Region IX North Tournament

Playing for the first time since making their initial appearance in the NJCAA's Division I volleyball poll, the Northwest College Lady Trappers secured a three-set sweep (25-21, 25-22, 25-12) against Miles Community College Saturday afternoon in Powell.

The win helped NWC land the North Sub-Region title along with the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye during the Region IX North Tournament, which will begin Wednesday in Cheyenne. It also gave the Lady Trappers (38-8 overall, 13-2 North Sub-Region) an unblemished 8-0 mark in matches played in Hank Cabre Gymnasium this season.

November 04, 2008 3:00 am

Panthers tame Tigers

PHS edges Lander 12-7, advances to semifinals

Powell High School's football team traveled to face Lander in a first-round playoff matchup Friday night and came away with a 12-7 victory over the Tigers.

For PHS (6-3), the win helped them avenge a 19-14, regular-season setback to Lander during the fourth week of the season. More importantly, Friday night's decision helped PHS earn a date in Class 4A's semifinal round. The Panthers are scheduled to face Douglas (7-2) in a road matchup Saturday at noon.

“Offensively, we were able to move the ball pretty well,” said PHS head coach Jim Stringer. “But we still made some mistakes that kept us from taking advantage of some scoring opportunities or kept us from keeping some drives going.”

One such turnover occurred on PHS's first drive of the game after the Panther defense held Lander to a three-and-out. Powell's drive started on its own 37, and using a good mix of passing and running plays, the Panthers were able to move the ball inside Lander's 10-yard line.

However, on a second-and-goal play from the Lander 8, a potential touchdown pass bounced off the shoulder pads of receiver Gavin Mills and was picked off by a Tiger defender at the Lander 1.

Powell's defense then held the Tigers to just one yard and forced the home team to punt from its own end zone. Matt McArthur broke through the line of scrimmage on the play and blocked Lander's punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety and the first points of the game.

“That was a huge play,” Stringer said of the block by McArthur. “It was good to have that after we turned the ball over.”

Not to be outdone, the Tigers blocked a punt of their own during the second quarter. The block gave Lander a first down at the PHS 20, and it took the host team just three plays to score. Bret Klop capped the drive with a 6-yard scoring run, and with the successful PAT, the Tigers moved ahead 7-2.

The Panthers, after suffering a pair of interceptions and a blocked punt in the first half, saw their first drive of the third quarter end with a fumble inside Lander's 25-yard land. The turnover ended a march that began on the PHS 20.

“Our kids could have folded the tents after that one,” Stringer said. “But they didn't give up, and they kept playing hard.”

Lander endured another three-and-out following the Panthers' third turnover of the game, and PHS quickly atoned for the miscue with a 70-yard scoring drive that featured a 56-yard touchdown run by quarterback Galen Mills. On the scoring play scoring run, receivers Gavin Mills and Ryan Brandt and running back Billy Harshman all made key blocks. Stringer said he was particularly impressed with Harshman's effort.

Harshman, after fulfilling his initial blocking assignment, raced downfield and took out a Lander safety and cornerback with a second block.

Drayson Bratt added the PAT after Galen Mills' run to put the Panthers ahead 9-7 just past the midway point of the third period.

With 2:17 left in the fourth quarter, Bratt tacked on three more points for PHS with a 37-yard field goal.

Lander got the ball back at its own 47-yard line following a squib kick that bounced off a Tiger just past midfield. Lander was able to recover the ball and needed to go just 53 yards for a go-ahead score. However, much like it did throughout the game, the Panther defense rose to the occasion and held the Tigers to four straight incomplete passes to end Lander's hopes of a dramatic come-from-behind effort. After the Tigers turned over the ball on downs, PHS held the ball until the remaining time expired.

For the game, PHS's defense limited Lander to only 64 yards rushing and 27 yards passing. The Tigers completed just two of 16 passes. In the earlier meeting between the two teams, it was Lander's passing game that helped propel them to victory in Panther Stadium.

Among those playing a major role in grounding the Tigers' passing attack was safety Gavin Mills. He was given the role of covering Matt Baker, Lander's No. 1 receiver, throughout the game.

“Gavin played extremely well on defense,” Stringer said. “He shut down Baker throughout the game and really took him out of his element. He was frustrated because he couldn't get open, and that led Lander's quarterback to get confused and frustrated.”

McArthur also played well throughout the contest, according to Stringer, and finished with a team-leading 21 defensive points.

“He was really flying around the field the whole game,” Stringer said of McArthur.

As for Powell's offense, Galen Mills proved to be effective both running and throwing the ball. He finished with 14 carries for a game-high 128 yards and completed 13 of 23 passes for 122 yards. The receiving effort was paced by Brandt and Trevor Donarski. Brandt caught five passes for 65 yards, and Donarski had six catches for 43 yards. Of Donarski's catches, four were for first downs.

Both teams were hit hard by penalties throughout the contest. PHS was flagged 10 times for 68 yards, and Lander committed 12 penalties for 90 yards.

In other Class 4A playoff action last weekend, Douglas defeated Rawlins 55-0, Buffalo overpowered Worland 34-7 and Cody blasted Torrington 47-0.

In addition to PHS's semifinal matchup at Douglas Saturday at noon, Buffalo will be at Cody Friday for a 6 p.m. matchup.

November 04, 2008 3:00 am

Ghoulish greeting

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Brielee Ashcraft and her father, Sam, help arrange Halloween decorations in the yard of Mary Brady and Dwain Ashcraft on Sunlight Drive. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner

Mangold, Sapp value downtown business

On Election Day, local voters will decide which mayoral candidate, incumbent Scott Mangold or City Councilman Tim Sapp, will lead Powell in the next four years. In the primary election, Mangold led with nearly 65 percent of votes, and Sapp received 34 percent. In this interview, candidates submitted written responses to the following questions.

Scott Mangold

Mangold is running for his second term as mayor. Mangold, 51, has lived in Powell for 28 years. He graduated from Great Falls High School and attended Eastern Montana College and Ron Baille Broadcasting School. He began working for KPOW radio in 1980 and has been the voice of the Panthers for 27 years. He's now co-owner of MGR Media.

Tim Sapp

Sapp is finishing his second term as Ward 3 councilman. Sapp, 55, was born and raised in Powell. His family has had the same home property for six generations. He graduated from Powell HIgh School and Northwest College. Sapp has worked for Superior Machine for 36 years. His community involvement includes volunteering in Boy Scouts of America, hunter safety and the Heart Mountain Rod and Gun Club, and he's active in church projects.

With Election Day just days away, candidates discuss Powell City Council issues. In Ward 3, Don Hillman and John Sides are vying for the council seat currently held by Tim Sapp. Hillman led the primary election with 70 percent of votes, while Sides received close to 30 percent. In this interview, candidates submitted written responses to the following questions.

Don Hillman

Hillman, 66, served on the council from 1986-93. Hillman grew up in Powell, graduating from both Powell High School and Northwest College. Aside from time spent in Billings and Sheridan, Hillman has spent his life here. His career with Montana Dakota Utilities spanned 40 years before he retired in 2004.

John Sides

Sides, 55, also has council experience, serving from 2004-06. He currently serves on the Planning and Zoning Board and Habitat for Humanity Selection Committee. Sides owned the Good Buy Store in Powell from 2002-06. He works at the Cody Enterprise as the production manager. He began working in newspapers in 1972 and has worked as a production manager since 1980.

October 30, 2008 3:02 am

Powell ghost project

Warning: If you're scared of ghosts, don't read this haunting narrative

With Halloween just around the corner, ghosts are running amuck in Powell.

Frank Ebert, speech communications and forensics instructor at Northwest College, has experienced a few chills and thrills over the years.

When Ebert was a student in the late 1970s, Nelson Auditorium was spooky indeed.

“(Haunting) was pretty active at that time,” Ebert said.

October 30, 2008 3:02 am

New faces abound for NWC

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Trapper sophomore Julian Olubuyi, shown during a slam dunk contest earlier this season, is one of only two returning players from last year's team. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Ward likes look of this year's squad

One might think Northwest College men's basketball coach Andy Ward would be a bit nervous about the start of the 2008-09 season Friday night.

After all, 13 players from last year's sophomore-dominated lineup are gone. However, thanks to a pair of solid returning players and a strong group of recruits, Ward enters the slate with optimism.

Smart takes season title

Last year, Mississippi's Chance Smart watched friend and Powell cowboy Kanin Asay claim the season title during the Dodge Xtreme Bulls Tour finale in Indianapolis.

After last Friday, however, Smart can now say he knows how Asay felt when he finished at the top of the Xtreme Bulls Tour standings.

Smart capped the 2008 Xtreme Bulls Tour season by placing first at the finale in Indianapolis. By doing so, he won the season title by more than $22,540.

Last year, Smart finished second in the standings behind Asay.

Asay, who missed two months of the 2008 season due to injuries sustained in a bull riding event in early July, wasn't able to defend his title, but he finished the Xtreme Bulls Tour season on a strong note and all but solidified a return trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

During last Friday's competition in Indianapolis, Asay finished with the fifth-best money total and had the sixth-best average. He rode two of three bulls for 171.5 points. His best ride netted 90 points.

“I'm glad I won some money, but I should've rode all three bulls,” said Asay when evaluating his performance. “But I'm happy for Chance. Last year, me and him were one and two going into the Xtreme deal, and I would have been happy either way it turned out. I managed to come out on top then, and he was able to win it this year. I'm happy for him, and I'm glad he was able to win it.”

The Xtreme Bulls Tour title was Smart's first. And unlike last year when Asay and Smart both had a shot at the season crown, Asay was well out of the title picture because of his two-month absence in July and August. During that time away from the sport, Asay recovered from a number of injuries he received during a single ride at an event in Oregon. That disastrous ride resulted in the removal of his spleen and left him with a fractured left eye socket.

The good news for Asay is that he's almost regained the form he showed when he qualified for his first-ever WNFR last year and from what started out as a promising 2008 bull riding season.

“I'd say I'm at about 90 percent if not better,” Asay said. “When I'm getting bucked off right away, it's not because I'm hurting. I've been able to ride some pretty rank bulls, and I feel like I'm about to where I was before I got hurt.”

That could spell bad news for Asay's fellow competitors. Currently, Asay is sitting in 12th place in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's world standings. As long as he remains among the top 15 after the conclusion of the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Championship in Dallas Nov. 7-9, he'll qualify for his second WNFR.

“I feel pretty good about where I'm at (in the standings),” Asay said. “A lot would have to happen for some of those guys outside the top 15 to change the standings. Right now it looks like I've made it.”

Asay, who mainly keeps up with the standings through reports from friends and family, said he's going to continue to ride using the same approach that has proven to be effective. That means riding one bull at a time, and letting the rest take care of itself.

“I'll just keep riding and wait for that call or that letter that lets me know I made it,” Asay said. “You just have to do the best you can, and the rest will take care of itself.”

• First round: 1. B.J. Schumacher, 90.5 points on Silverado Rodeo Company's Scorpion, $4,794; 2. Kanin Asay, 90, $3,675; 3. Colin McTaggart, 88, $2,717; 4. (tie) Logan Knibbe and Fred Boettcher, 87, $1,438 each; 6. Bobby Welsh, 86.5, $799; 7. Spud Jones, 86, $639; 8. (tie) Tate Stratton and Chance Smart, 85.5, $240 each; 10. (tie) Clayton Savage and Shane Proctor, 84; 12. Stormy Wing, 82; 13. Douglas Duncan, 81.5; 14. Allen Helmuth, 80; 15. Cody Hancock, 79; 16. Shawn Hogg, 78; No score: Nat Fly, Corey Navarre, Zack Oakes, Zeb Lanham, Shane Gordon, Jesse Bail, Seth Glause, Charles Zoss, Danny McDowell, Clayton Foltyn, Dave Samsel, Jordan Hooton, Marcus Michaelis, Jake Wade, Colby Reilly, Jay Morrow, Jarrod Ford, Will Farrell, Howdy Cloud, Luke Haught, J.W. Harris, Tater Hins, Mike Moore and Chad German.

• Second round: 1. Clayton Savage, 89 points on JK Rodeo's The Widow Maker, $4,794; 2., $3,675; 2. Clayton Foltyn, 87, $3,675; 3. (tie) Jordan Hooton and Mike Moore, 86.5, $2,237 each; 5. (tie) Bobby Welsh and Colin McTaggart, 86, $959 each; 7. (tie) Colby Reilly and Stormy Wing, 85, $559 each; 10. (tie) Will Farrell and Howdy Cloud, 84.5; 12. Tater Hins, 84; 13. Jesse Bail, 83.5; 14. B.J. Schumacher, 82; 15. (tie) Jay Morrow, Dave Samsel and Kanin Asay, 81.5; 18. J.W. Harris, 80.5; No score: Shane Gordon, Shane Proctor, Charles Zoss, Nat Fly, Douglas Duncan, Luke Haught, Danny McDowell, Chance Smart, Allen Helmuth, Zeb Lanham, Zack Oakes, Jarrod Ford, Jake Wade, Corey Navarre, Marcus Michaelis, Spud Jones, Logan Knibbe, Fred Boettcher, Chad German, Cody Hancock, Shawn Hogg, Seth Glause and Tate Stratton.

• Dodge Championship Round: 1. Chance Smart, 90.5 points on Silverado Rodeo Company's Alabama, $5,273; no other qualified rides.
n Average: 1. Chance Smart, 176 points on two head, $9,588; 2. Colin McTaggart, 174, $7,351; 3. Clayton Savage, 173, $5,433; 4. (tie) Bobby Welsh and B.J. Schumacher, 172.5, $2,876 each; 6. Kanin Asay, 171.5, $1,598; 7. Stormy Wing, 167, $1,278; 8. (tie) Clayton Foltyn, Logan Knibbe and Fred Boettcher, 87 points on one head, $320 each.
n Total money: 1. Chance Smart, $15,101; 2. Colin McTaggart, $11,026; 3. Clayton Savage, $10,227; 4. B.J. Schumacher, $7,670; 5. Kanin Asay, $5,273; 6. Bobby Welsh, $4,634; 7. Clayton Foltyn, $3,995; 8. (tie) Jordan Hooten and Mike Moore, $2,237 each; 10. Stormy Wing, $1,838; 11. (tie) Logan Knibbe and Fred Boettcher, $1,758 each; 13. Spud Jones, $639; 14. Colby Reilly, $559; 15. Tate Stratton, $240.

Unofficial final 2008 Dodge Xtreme Bulls Tour standings:
(As of Oct. 24. Includes all divisions)
1. Chance Smart, Philadelphia, Miss., $72,788
2. Bobby Welsh, Gillette, $50,248
3. Zeb Lanham, Sweet, Idaho, $43,425
4. Mike Moore, Kankakee, Ill., $43,014
5. Wesley Silcox, Payson, Utah, $42,199
6. Colin McTaggart, Las Vegas, Nev., $38,679
7. Logan Knibbe, Rockdale, Texas, $18,087
8. Clayton Foltyn, El Campo, Texas, $17,390
9. Kanin Asay, Powell, $17,270
10. Nat Fly, Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, $15,666
11. Luke Haught, Weatherford, Texas, $15,212
12. Colby Reilly, Stratford, Wash., $14,849
13. Seth Glause, Rock Springs, $14,580
14. Joe Meling, Pendleton, Ore., $14,470
15. Cody Hancock, Taylor, Ariz., $12,649

October 30, 2008 3:01 am

Lady Trappers boast veteran lineup

Team expecting to be strong in 2008-09

Another basketball season will begin for the Northwest College Lady Trappers Friday, and they will enter the slate with a wealth of returning players.

Coach Chad Oletzke's squad has five players back from last season, including sophomores Kassi Tucker (5-6), Sheena Ryan (5-5), Lacey Gilmer (5-5), Gita Grava (5-11) and Erin Cooke (6-2). Of those players, four garnered considerable playing time in 2007-08. Tucker, however, missed the season while recovering from a knee injury suffered during a practice before the first week of action.

“We've got a good group back, and we've got some new players that should give us a boost,” Oletzke said. “During a scrimmage against Great Falls' JV team last week, we got a glimpse of what we can do. Our experienced showed, and I think it gave the girls some additional confidence.”

Among the players who are expected to challenge for postseason honors are Cooke and Grava. Cooke, a post player, averaged more than 12 points and nine rebounds per game as a freshman. Prior to last season, Cooke was somewhat of an unknown, but she quickly established herself a key contributor in the absence of then-sophomore Ashley Bucker, who sat out the first half of the season due to being ruled academically ineligible. Cooke is now considered to be among the top post players in NWC's region.

“Erin should have a great year,” Oletzke said. “She steadily improved last year, and she's playing with a lot of confidence.”

Grava, who can play at the post position or on the wing, returns after averaging just more than seven points and seven rebounds per contest last season. Oletzke said the sophomore from Riga, Latvia, has been strong in practices and enjoyed a solid showing in NWC's scrimmage against Great Falls last week.

“She's really progressed,” Oletzke said. “The biggest thing is that she's showing more maturity. She can have a good season, and right now it looks almost like she's stepping into a leadership role for us.”

Ryan and Gilmer, according to their coach, also appear ready to enjoy solid performances this year. Ryan, a point guard, emerged as a key contributor last season, particularly in the region tournament, where she came off the bench and earned all-tournament honors. Oltezke described Gilmer, a guard, as “the quarterback of the team” because of her leadership abilities and work ethic.

“Sheena plays with consistency, and she's really progressed a lot last season,” Oletzke said. “Lacey had a good offseason, and she's shooting the ball with more confidence. If those two can continue to shoot the ball well, that will open up things for us on offense.”

As for Tucker, Oletzke said she will be a freshman as far as experience because of her injury last season. However, he added she still learned a great deal as part of the team in 2007-08, and that should help her become a contributor.

“She's still gaining confidence in her knee,” Oletzke said. “As she gets more comfortable playing, I think she'll be able to help us a lot.”

Newcomers to the team include freshmen Sharla Stevenson (5-6), Cheyenne Cammack (5-9), Chanda Hallows (5-7), Izzy Gustafson (5-11), Larissa Crump (5-8), Madara Upeniece (6-0), Kati Oliverson (5-11) and Rachel Tilley (6-2). Of those, Crump, a point guard, has made a quick impact and appears ready to contribute.

“She was a late addition,” Oletzke said. “We got her the week before classes started. She's athletic, and she'll be a good secondary point guard for us. She sees the floor well, and she's a good passer.”

Oletzke said all of the freshmen have made strides in practice, and he expects them to endure a bit of a learning curve in the early stages of this year's campaign. At the same time, he said they also can make a difference this season. He did note, however, that Cammack currently is out of the lineup due to a knee injury.

“We just have to keep working and getting a little better each day,” Oletzke said. “If we can do that, I think we can challenge in our sub-region and in our conference.”

Unlike the Trapper men's team, which opens the season at home Friday, the Lady Trappers will begin the 2008-09 slate on the road at the two-day Williston State College Tournament. On Friday, NWC will face Lake Region. On day two of the event, Oletzke's squad will match up against Williston State College.