Boys BBall State

Butte Central bottles up Polson

BOZEMAN – The Polson Pirates couldn’t regain their stroke or repeat their 2010 magic, losing to Butte Central 51-41 at the State A boys’ basketball tournament Thursday.

Andy Ritter scored 13 points – eight in a fourth quarter dominated by the Maroons – and Butte Central bottled up the Pirates in the second quarter as well.

Polson, 14-7, will face the 8-14 Rams in a loser-out game Friday at 2 p.m.

Butte Central 51, Polson 41

The Pirates started out hot, getting three 3-pointers from Vince DiGiallonardo while building a 17-13 first-quarter lead. Then they didn’t score again until DiGiallonardo hit another trey with 7 seconds left in the first half.

By then the Maroons had put together a 9-0 run, going up 22-17 on Zach Kasperick’s basket at the 1:40 mark. They led 23-20 at half.

The second half went similarly. Polson’s Tyler Krell got loose inside to help the Pirates keep pace, and Louis Mohr’s 3-pointer before the third quarter buzzer cut Butte Central’s lead to 36-33.

But those were Mohr’s last points; he missed five shots in the fourth quarter, when Polson clanked its first six field goal attempts and had four turnovers before Krell finally scored with 2:15 left. That cut the gap to 45-36. The Pirates came no closer.

“I knew they were going to play good man-to-man defense and be physical,” Polson coach Brad Pluff said. “Once we had, I think, three points in the second quarter, we kind of got into a lull we couldn’t get out of.”

The Maroons avenged a 56-50 overtime loss to Polson in last year’s semifinals partly by putting 6-foot-2 Phil Antonioli – who had seven points and seven rebounds – on Mohr, the 6-3 2010 state tournament MVP.

Mohr had 10 points on 4-for-18 shooting, and after a frenetic first quarter in which he drove and dished, Polson’s offense sputtered.

“You know what they’re going to do, and it’s still really difficult to stop them,” said Maroons’ coach Brodie Kelly.

DiGiallonardo finished with 12 points before fouling out. Krell had nine points, all in the second half.

Polson shot 12 for 23 from the floor in the first and third quarters, and was 5 for 6 from the 3-point arc in the first quarter.

“It gave us a false sense of security where we can just sit out here and hit threes,” said Pluff, whose team shot just four free throws, all by Krell. “You can’t do that against a good defensive team.

“We can quit or we can come back and play Saturday night, which is a pretty big deal. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us tomorrow because we didn’t play well tonight. So hopefully we’ll come back and play better.”

Polson 17 3 13 8 – 41

Butte Central 13 10 13 15 – 51

POLSON – Louis Mohr 4-18 0-0 10, Kyle Bagnell 1-6 0-0 2, Tyler Krell 4-5 1-4 9, Sheldon Fisher 1-4 0-0 3, Vince DiGiallonardo 4-6 0-0 12, Ian Laimbeer 0-0 0-0 0, Zack Camel 1-3 0-0 3, Cody Fischer 1-1 0-0 2, Will Davey 0-1 0-0 0, Riley Sampson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-44 1-4 41.

BUTTE CENTRAL – Phil Antonioli 2-2 3-6 7, Jonathan Richards 2-8 2-3 7, Aschan Richards 4-8 1-1 9, Andy Ritter 4-9 3-4 13, Colin Hollow 2-3 0-0 4, Keegan McCarthy 3-5 0-0 7, Zach Kasperick 1-2 1-3 3, Jake Simkins 0-1 0-0 0, Brady Tippett 0-0 1-2 1, Kevin Burt 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Ritter 0-0 0-2 0, Cole Noctor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-38 11-21 51.

3-point goals – Polson 8-25 (DiGiallonardo 4-5, Mohr 2-10, Camel 1-3, Fisher 1-3, Bagnell 0-3, Davey 0-1), Butte Central 4-11 (Ritter 2-5, J.Richards 1-3, McCarthy 1-2, Simkins 0-1). Rebounds – Polson 23 (Krell 6), Polson 30 (Antonioli 7). Fouls – Polson 18, Butte Central 6. Fouled out – DiGiallonardo. Blocks – Polson 3 (Mohr 2, Krell), Butte Central 1 (McCarthy). Steals – Polson 4 (Bagnell 3), Butte Central 2. Turnovers – Polson 10, Butte Central 10.

Polson downs Billings Central to move on in state tournament

By Brandon Hansen, Sports editor The Leader Advertiser

BOZEMAN – Polson will live another day. The Pirates downed Billings Central 67-62 today in Bozeman to advance to the consolation semi-finals of the Class A Boys’ basketball state tournament. Senior Louis Mohr scored 33 points with 19 of those coming in the second half as Polson pulled away from the Rams.

Billings Central had the 13-12 lead after the first, then Mohr scored 12 points in the second quarter to help Polson take a 33-27 lead into the locker room at halftime. They scored 21 points in the second quarter and appeared to have better rhythm on offense than in their first game of the state tournament.

Right out of the chute in the second half, Polson went on an 11-2 run to build a comfortable 44-29 lead. Mohr would scored 12 in the period and finished the game 11-for-19 from the field.

In the fourth quarter, Polson scored 11 of its points from the free throw line and weathered a 20-15 run by the Rams to win the game.

Polson again saw some great play by junior Tyler Krell, who scored 12 points to be Polson’s second highest scorer. He’s been an offensive force so far in the post-season.

Senior Kyle Bagnell scored 11 despite battling through injuries.

Polson will play Laurel tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. for a chance to play for third place at 6:30 p.m.

Polson – 12 – 21 – 19 – 15 – 67

Billings Central – 13 – 14 – 15 – 20 – 62

BILLINGS CENTRAL (8-15) – Justin McDonald 4-7 0-0 8, Jacob Stanton 3-3 4-7 10, Ryan Burke 6-15 4-10 20, James Stanton 1-1 0-1 2, John Werner 0-1 2-4 2, Joe Barta 5-10 2-5 13, Bobby Kell 0-2 0-0 0, Ian Byorth 0-0 1-3 1, Daniel Meyer 1-1 0-0 2, Dylan Hanser 2-4 0-2 4. Totals 22-44 13-32 62.

POLSON (15-7) – Tyler Krell 4-5 4-4 12, Vince DiGiallonardo 0-6 3-4 4, Kyle Bagnell 5-11 1-3 11, Sheldon Fisher 1-2 2-2 5, Luis Mohr 11-19 8-17 33, Ian Laimbeer 0-0 0-0 0, Zack Camel 1-2 0-0 3, Cody Fischer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-45 18-30 67.

3-point goals – BC 5-15 (Burke 4-8, Barta 1-3, McDoanld 0-2, Kell 0-2), Polson 5-16 (Mohr 3-6, Fisher 1-2, Camel 1-2, DiGiallonardo 0-4, Krell 0-1, Bangell 0-1). Rebounds – BC 31 (Barta 5), Polson 24 (Mohr 6). Assists – BC 11 (MacDonald 4), Polson 9 (Mohr 4). Steals – BC 5 (Burke 2), Polson 8 (Mohr 3). Blocks – BC 0, Polson 1 (Krell). Turnovers – BC 13, Polson 12. Fouls – BC 23, Polson 20. Fouled out – Krell. Technicals – none.

Polson falls to Laurel

By Brandon Hansen, Sports editor The Leader Advertiser

BOZEMAN – Polson made a run at it, but couldn’t get by Laurel in the consolation semi-finals, losing to the Locomotives 62-54 on Saturday morning at the Class A boys’ basketball state tournament MSU in Bozeman. Senior Louis Mohr and junior Tyler Krell combined for 47 points but Polson couldn’t overcome the hump in the fourth quarter.

Laurel jumped out to an early 16-6 lead in the first quarter. Polson started to work the ball inside to Krell and Mohr heated up in the second, turning a 24-10 deficit in the second quarter to just trailing 26-19 at halftime.

In the third quarter it was all Louis Mohr. Other than a jumper by junior Vince DiGiallonardo, Mohr scored nearly all of the Pirates points – notching 13 on their 15 – and keeping Polson in it, trailing the Locomotives 42-34.

Mohr finished the game with 27 points after scoring 33 against Billings Central yesterday.

In the fourth, Polson made its move, going inside the Krell again. The junior scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and the Pirates pulled within 45-40 at the beginning of the period, but Laurel was able to get to the free throw line and pull away.

Krell finished the game with 20 points.

The Locomotives last ten points were from the charity stripe. Polson trailed just 52-49 with 2:26 to go in the game but couldn’t get the momentum turning shot.

Polson – 6 – 13 – 15 – 20 – 54

Laurel – 16 – 10 – 16 – 10 – 62

LAUREL (19-4) – Jake McKinney 7-12 5-7 19, Luke Lohof 4-5 1-2 9, Derek Budge 0-4 0-0 0, Bobby Anderson 3-11 2-2 9, David Swecker 5-10 8-9 20, Matt Heidinger 0-0 0-0 0, Tanner Klien 0-0 0-0 0, Jay Dempster 1-1 1-2 3, Zach Cortese 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-45 17-22 62.

POLSON (15-8) – Tyler Krell 7-11 6-8 20, Vince DiGiallonardo 1-7 0-0 2, Kyle Bagnell 2-15 0-0 5, Sheldon Fisher 0-3 0-0 0, Louis Mohr 10-15 4-5 27, Ian Laimbeer 0-0 0-0 0, Zack Camel 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Fischer 0-2 0-0 0, Will Davey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-53 10-13 54.

3-point goals – Laurel 3-13 (Swecker 2-5, Anderson 1-5, Budge 0-2, McKinney 0-1), Polson 4-24 (Mohr 3-6, Bagnell 1-11, DiGiallonardo 0-5, Fisher 0-1). Rebounds – Laurel 34 (McKinney 9), Polson 27 (Krell 6, Bagnell 6). Assists – Laurel 9 (McKinney 3, Swecker 3), Polson 3 (Mohr 2). Steals – Polson 6 (Anderson 3, Swecker 3), Polson 4 (Krell 2). Blocks – Laurel 0, Polson 5 (Krell 2, Mohr 2, Bagnell 2). Turnovers – Laurel 12, Polson 9. Fouls – Laurel 15, Polson 17. Fouled out – McKinney, DiGiallonardo, Fisher. Technicals – none.

Polson state basketball: King for a day

By Brandon Hansen, Sports editor The Leader Advertiser

BOZEMAN – Polson senior Louis Mohr and the rest of the Pirates’ basketball team didn’t come out on top at the Class A boys’ basketball state tournament as they sure wanted to, but they went out with a bang.

After a deflating 51-41 loss to Butte Central that was plagued with poor shooting last Thursday in the opening round of the state tournament, Polson and Mohr bounced back in a big way.

“He was frustrated, we all were after the first game,” Polson head coach Brad Pluff said. “He felt he had something to prove.”

Mohr certain proved it.

Against Billings Central on Friday afternoon, a team the Pirates upset in the first round of the state tournament last year, Mohr went off for a season-high 33 points to help lead Polson to a 67-62 victory over the Rams.

After Billings Central had taken the 13-12 lead in the first quarter, Mohr scored 12 points in the second and Polson took a 33-27 lead into halftime. He would then score 12 points again in the third quarter as the Pirates used an 11-2 run at the beginning of the second half to build a comfortable 15-point lead.

“When he gets going he’s that kind of player,” Billings Central head coach Shel Hanser told the Daily Inter Lake. “We threw a lot of different guys at him but he takes a lot of different shots from a lot of different places.”

Billings Central outscored Polson 20-15 in the fourth quarter, but Mohr continued to tear things up on the court, scoring seven in the final stanza as the Pirates lived another day in Bozeman.

“I just want to bring a trophy to our county,” Mohr told the Inter Lake after the victory over the Rams. “We want to show them that we’re here to represent them well. You know you never say die, ever. Even if you lose one and you can’t get that state championship you go as hard as you can for third place.”

Their reward was a less-than-appealing 9:30 a.m. game on Saturday morning against the defending state champion, Laurel, with the winner moving on to the third-place game.

The Locomotives defeated the Pirates last season in the state championship game, 60-48, so there was already history going into the matchup. Mohr, true to his word, never said die and put in 27 points for Polson.

Laurel shot 47 percent from the field in the game, and held a 16-6 lead after the first quarter. However, the Pirates battled back and used a 9-2 run at the end of the first half to pull within seven points at halftime.

In the third quarter, it was “Mohr Rules.”

The senior scored 13 points in the period, including a stretch of nine straight and kept the Pirates within eight points heading into the fourth quarter. It was then that Polson turned to a different scorer.

Junior post Tyler Krell, who finished the tournament with 41 points in three games, helped spark the Pirates near comeback against the Locomotives.

Polson went inside to Krell for their first two buckets of the fourth, then a bucket by senior Kyle Bagnell pulled them to within five points, 45-40, early in the period.

Krell would go on to score an eyepopping 13 points in the fourth and finished with 20.

However, Laruel couldn’t miss from the free throw line, with their final ten points coming from the charity stripe. The Locomotives won 62-54 to end the Pirates’ season.

“We knew we couldn’t afford a bad start against Laurel,” Pluff said. “You’ve got to play a full game against good teams.”

Polson finished the season 15-8 with a second-place finish in the Northwestern A conference in both the regular season and the divisional tournament.

“They played hard every game this season,” Pluff said. “That’s never a problem with this bunch.”


Despite having a broken bone in his wrist and a stress fracture in his foot, senior Kyle Bagnell still suited up and played hard for the Pirates.

“He gutted up,” Pluff said. “He really wanted to play.”

The baseball commit to Oklahoma State scored 18 points in the tournament, despite suffering from injuries that would normally sideline a player.

He finished the regular season as the fourth-best scorer in the league, averaging 14 points per game.

“He’ll never admit it but he was pretty banged up,” Pluff said.

Bagnell still got plenty of minutes in those games and continued to be a warrior throughout the tournament.


Junior Tyler Krell was phenomenal all postseason, coming up big for the Pirates when they needed him the most.

Krell posted a 12-point performance against Billings

Central and then a 20-point explosion against Laurel.

In Polson’s opening game against Butte Central, Krell scored nine points off of four-of-five shooting.

“We didn’t feel like we did a good job getting the ball to

him in the first game,” Pluff said.

This speaks well for next year, with Krell coming back he could be the dominant scoring force for the Pirates.

“Tyler is going to be a beast next year,” Pluff said.


Against a tough Butte Central defense, junior guard Vince DiGiallonardo found his stroke from the three point line in the first quarter of the Pirates’ opening round game.

He hit three three-pointers in the first quarter as the Pirates built a 17-13 lead. He would hit another three-pointer in the game and finish with 12 points, Polson’s leading scorer.

The shooting just went cold for the Pirates after the first, as they were held to just three points in the second quarter but were resilient enough to hang in the game.

“I thought our defense was awesome after that first quarter,” Butte Central head coach Brodie Kellie told the Inter Lake. “Our guys toughened up in the second quarter and did a good job.”

Polson did pull to within three points at the end of the third quarter, 36-33, but couldn’t get the big shot in the fourth to fall.


Seniors Louis Mohr, Kyle Bagnell and Sheldon Fisher will be tough to replace.

“There’s a lot of points, rebounds and assists there,” Pluff said. “But those just don’t go away.”

Stepping up next year will be a stable of young players that got plenty of playing experience of the state tournament and knows what it takes to reach that level again.

Junior Cody Fischer has been seen out on the floor on a regular basis and showed that he’s a muli-talented player and should be a big impact guy next season.

Sophomore guard Zack Camel filled in well for junior guard Vince DiGiallonardo this season and is a real threat when his three-point shot is on. His defense is also formidable.

“Zac got some great experience this season,” Pluff said.

DiGiallonardo also will return and should provide senior leadership to go along with his defense and three-point sharpshooting. The Polson quarterback can also slash to the hoop when he’s given room.

Junior Ian Laimbeer saw plenty of playing time at the end of the season and should be solid at the forward position next year.

Multi-faceted sophomore Will Davey, who made quite a splash on the football field this season, played well when he was out on the court for the Pirates. His natural ability should help him excel next season.

“I think he’s the best athlete on the team,” Pluff said.

Junior post Tyler Krell should be a huge difference-maker next year as well. With his size and hustle, teams will be hard-pressed to slow down his presence inside.

Factor in that the Northwestern A Conference was very senior-heavy this year, and Polson could be gearing up for a third-straight state tournament run.

“I expect us to be right in the thick of things,” Pluff said.