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Warriors look to win third straight title, Scarlets shooting for first

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ARLEE – With the 2018-19 basketball season well under way, one could say this season is sort of a swan song for the Arlee boys and girls basketball teams so far. Because of increasing enrollment numbers, both the Warriors and Scarlets will be moving back up to Class B next season where they had played for many years before playing the past ten seasons in Class C. Over the last decade, the Warriors have become a basketball powerhouse at the Class C level. 

This season, the two-time defending state champions are looking to make their fourth consecutive appearance in the state championship game and win their third consecutive state title. 

As the Warriors opened conference play at home, they won 71-22 over visiting Two Eagle River Eagles on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Isaac Fisher, a 6-foot-9 senior, scored a game-high 17 points. Arlee already led 13-7 before their second-quarter scoring outburst, which led to a 51-14-halftime cushion. For the Warriors, Cody Tanner added 16 points, while Greg Whitesell chipped in 13. 

On Thursday, the Warriors rolled to a 76-29 double-digit win over the visiting Hot Springs Savage Heat as three players scored in double figures. Fisher led with a game-high 25 points. Whitesell scored 16 points and Tanner followed up with 14.

In the final game of the three-game home stand for the Warriors, Whitesell bucketed a season high 27 points and Fisher chipped in with 14 points as Arlee jumped out to a cozy early 14-7 first quarter lead and cruised past the Seeley-Swan Blackhawks 61-39 on Saturday night.

While the Scarlets have had successes at the district and divisional levels, a second-place finish was the end result in their lone state championship appearance at the end of the 2016-2017 season. First-year head coach Missy Tiensvold said the Scarlets are working hard this season.

In the home opener on Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Scarlets had no problem moving to 1-0 in conference as they blasted Two Eagle River Lady Eagles 77-15 behind a 21-point night from senior Alyssia Vanderburg. Arlee turned in a dominating first-quarter performance, outscoring the Lady Eagles 33-2 en route to their first win on the season. Noelle West scored 11 points and Louetta Conko-Camel and Nellie Desjarlais scored 10 points each for the Scarlets.

On Thursday, Vanderburg scored a game-high 18 points, while Conko-Camel added 13 points as Arlee rolled past the  visiting Hot Springs Lady Savage Heat 49-26. The Scarlets led 36-6 at halftime.

In Saturday’s matchup against visiting Seeley-Swan Blackhawks, Vanderburg poured in a game and season-high 33 points to help the Scarlets knock off the Lady Blackhawks 78-53. Conko-Camel and Desjarlais also scored 15 and 13 points respectfully.

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