Arlee Warriors tear through season with passion
ARLEE — The Warriors are riding a perfect season, ripping through competition with a fury and outsmarting even the best of them when it comes to court play.
After placing second in Districts last season and a third place in the Divisional tournament — barely missing out on a State spot — the Warriors are proving they will fight until a State title is sitting in their trophy case, stomping through one team at a time with ease.
“The boys are making it look pretty good,” Head Coach Zanen Pitts said. “We have a lot of depth, we have a lot of kids that all contribute to the team.”
Though the Warriors graduated some hoops top dogs last year, including Josh Reed who is pacing a 20 point game average at Columbia Basin College, new faces have taken charge in the scoring department for Arlee led by Warriors Tyler Tanner, Patrick Big Sam, Justis Haynes and Bradley Brazill. All four have consistently posted big scores but not without the help of teammates, creating the dominating system the Warriors has been producing on the court.
Adding to their undefeated flow, the Warriors picked up a couple more victories over the last week of play while challenging 14-C rivals.
At home Thursday in front of a packed gym, the Warriors punched through Charlo’s defense to outscore the Vikings in every frame and pulled out their own defensive moves to keep the Vikings from getting anything done at the hoop, sending Charlo home with the 63-28 loss.
Leading the even attack was Tanner, who scored 14 and came away with 10 rebounds as well. Big Sam and Haynes each chipped in 10 apiece with Brazill right behind with nine.
Friday the Warriors challenged Two Eagle River, who’s had their own fire lit in the last few weeks of the season.
After keeping it close in the first half of play, the Warriors pulled away in the third frame, posting 30 over the Eagles 10 thanks to a big 13-point push by Haynes, which took the Warriors all the way to the 84-52 victory. Haynes netted 16 total in the contest.
Big Sam and Brazill led with 17 apiece while Tanner added 14 and Chance Brazill came in with 10 in the five man, double-digit blowout.
For Pitts, though his Warriors have proved fierce, it also takes more than just athletics — it takes a staff of coaches and of course super fans to fuel the fire and help make a team complete.
“I think it’s been pretty awesome how all the boys and how the coaching staff has contributed,” he said. “Everyone one of (the coaching staff) has been a huge asset and I tip my hat to my coaching staff and the boys. The boys have been growing every day, I am really excited and proud of what they have done so far.”
As for the fans, Pitts wants to show some “love” and said that Warrior style of ball is fueled by the adrenaline of the fans and said the community has been “amazing” in their support of Warrior basketball.
In his second year of coaching the Warriors, Pitts is not counting his chickens just yet and knows the Warriors have a lot of basketball left on the season but for right now, the Warriors are just enjoying the ride.
“We set goals as a team when we came into the season and those goals are set pretty high. I tell the boys there’s no point in having a goal unless it’s something you’re shooting for,” Pitts said. “At the moment it’s take every game – game by game, team by team — the typical saying because if you start looking too far ahead, you can get backdoored by somebody pretty quick, especially by a team that you overlooked.”
The Warriors hope to continue to pick up W’s with a pair of games against tough District foes. On Friday the Warriors visit last season’s District champs, the Bobcats in Superior, and then will host Hot Springs on Saturday.
Arlee 16 17 15 15 – 63
Charlo 10 6 6 6 – 28
Tyler Tanner 14, Justis Haynes 10, Patrick Big Sam 10, Bradley Brazill 9, Chance Brazill 6, Isaac Desjarlais 6, Phillip Malatare 4, Riley Rogers 2, PJ Haynes 2.
Arlee 17 19 30 18 – 84
Two Eagle River 19 10 9 14 – 52
Bradley Brazill 17, Patrick Big Sam 17, Justis Haynes 16, Tyler Tanner 14, Chance Brazill 10, Riley Rogers 4, Phillip Malatare 2, Zach Felsman 2, PJ Haynes 2.