Chiefs earn second win of the season
RONAN — The Ronan Chiefs scored a pair of 48s at home last week, with one serving up their second win of the season.
Ronan fell behind early on Thursday against Class AA Big Sky, trailing 18-8 after the first eight minutes. But the Chiefs hung in there and fought back in spurts over the final three quarters.
Big Sky kept pounding the boards and busting jumpers in the second half, pulling ahead to a 20-point lead (50-30) with 4:55 remaining in the fourth. But then the Chiefs started playing some of their most inspired basketball over those final five minutes.
Colten Cheff came in off the bench and started muscling his way to the ball down low. His offensive rebound and put-back, plus a free throw, cut Big Sky's lead to 16 (52-36) with 3:33 to go. After a Big Sky turnover, Justin Dusty Bull scored on a cutter lay-in with 2:11 to go and Lucus Black busted a three-pointer with 1:21 remaining to make the lead just 11 (52-41).
Jerod Tanner's free throw cut Big Sky's lead to 52-42 with 1:10 remaining, but that's when Big Sky got back to scoring, sinking two buckets down the stretch to hold off Ronan's run for the 56-48 win.
Tanner led Ronan with 15 points, while Black had 12. Kevin Wroblewski, the Northwestern A Conference's fifth-leading scorer, hit for seven points.
The Chiefs took some positives away from the late run against Big Sky and put them to work Saturday night at home against Mission. Ronan used steady defensive pressure to hold Mission to four points while the Chiefs put up 11 in the first eight minutes. That defensive pressure held Mission to 12 second-half points and the Chiefs rolled to a 48-28 non-conference win, improving to 2-10 on the season and notching their second victory over the Bulldogs this season.
Black led Ronan with 15 points, while Wroblewski hit for nine and both Dusty Bull and Tanner scored eight points each.
The win was a good boost for the Chiefs, but more importantly they are playing better as a team, according to their coach.
"I think our kids are getting better. They are starting to figure things out," Ronan head coach Steve Woll said. "The last few games we played together and like teammates. They are working hard, picking each other up ... that's nice to see. I think we became a team last week."
Woll is hoping that will start to translate into some more wins, and even more development of his talented team.
The Chiefs will get a chance to battle for a conference win at home on Thursday as the Whitefish Bulldogs come to the Ronan Event Center. The Bulldogs won their last game 59-39 — their only conference win — on Jan. 2 in Whitefish, thanks to good runs in the first and third quarters.
On Friday, the Chiefs will travel to Class B Superior.
Big Sky 56, Ronan 48
Big Sky 18 11 12 15–56
Ronan 8 11 10 19–48
BIG SKY - Drew Owens 7, Ryan Devlin 19, Jordan Schafer 7, Jason Neibergs 2, Ed Apostol 6, Aaron Koster 12, Eric Deneault 3.
RONAN - Jerod Tanner 15, Gordon North Piegan 2, Marcus Hungerford 4, Lucus Black 12, Justin Dusty Bull 5, Kevin Wroblewski 7, Colten Cheff 3.
Ronan 48, Mission 28
Mission 4 12 6 6–28
Ronan 11 15 1 11–48
MISSION - Riley Charlo 2, Dillon Evans 2, Jorren Gies 11, Gui Silva 3, Jake Durglo 6, Lakota Matt 2, Josh Durglo 2.
RONAN - Jerod Tanner 8, Marcus Hungerford 3, Lucus Black 15, Justin Dusty Bull 8, Kevin Wroblewski 9, Colten Cheff 2, Jordan Franklin 3.