Lady Vikings set sail for good season
CHARLO — Head coach Bret Thompson oversaw a gym full of Lady Viking basketball players Jan. 4, dividing them into groups to practice ball handling, free throws and other basketball skills as he and assistant coach Sheryl Kain circulated among the groups. Kain and Thompson demonstrated defensive moves and talked to each player.
Although the Lady Vikes beat the Superior Bobcats on Jan. 3, Thompson called the girls together and talked about turnovers and missing layups.
“We make a great play, and the last thing you want to do is turn and hand the ball to (the other team),” he said.
Naming seniors Haley Berkram, Rachel Hoyt and Derika Stipe as team leaders, Thompson praised the players for their attitudes and their grades.
The team likes and respects Thompson, too. Hoyt, who plays post, said Thompson is known for putting a well-rounded team on the floor. Hoyt has played basketball all four years of her high-school career and thinks Thompson is “awesome.”
“We have lots of potential,” Hoyt said.
Berkram agreed. She’s also played ball all four years. The team is doing well, she said, and since the Lady Vikings lost three seniors after last season, “We are going to be underestimated.”
Although volleyball may be Stipe’s favorite sport, basketball is close to the top. Her goal is for the Lady Vikings to make it as far as possible during district, divisional and state tournaments.
The Lady Vikings are doing pretty well, Stipe said, although they need to work on more vocalization and confidence.
Stipe thinks Superior is the team to beat in Charlo’s conference, the Western 14-C.
Thompson agreed, although he also named Arlee and St. Regis as tough teams to beat.
Thompson has taught and coached in Charlo for 27 years, beginning as an industrial arts instructor and switching to history 12 years ago.
Another teacher retired and Thompson said he asked for the history job and now teaches all the high school students and half the middle- schoolers.
Thompson grew up in Superior and attended Montana State University-Western in Dillon before accepting a job in Charlo. He likes coaching, and he can remember when he only had 11 girls out for basketball instead of this year’s 25. Thompson said the junior varsity doesn’t play as many games as he’d like, since some other Class C teams don’t have a JV squad.
The Lady Vikings work hard for Thompson. With a 5-1 record, they beat the Granite Lady Prospectors in Philipsburg Jan. 5.
Thompson said the Lady Vikings have a bigger mix of girls this year and started off 2013 really well with their win over Superior.
“We did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. I’m really, really happy with the defense, and the offense will only get better,” Thompson noted.
A good defensive team, Thompson said his girls could improve on offensive and working as a team.
“Every team goes through this, and their season will just get better and better,” Thompson explained.
“Every year teams change,” he said. “Physically we were bigger last year. This year we’re quicker on the floor.”
“This year, straight across the board, everybody is good,” Thompson said.
The veteran coach’s goals for the year are to keep all his players healthy to the end of the year, that the team is a good representative of Charlo High School and the community and that no one settles for second best, a personal saying of Thompson’s.
“The ultimate goal is a state championship, but we have a lot of games between now and then,” Thompson added.
Charlo 49, Philipsburg 13
Charlo 9 15 14 11 – 49
Philipsburg 7 0 0 6 – 13
CHARLO – Derika Stipe 2, Rachel Hoyt 23, Jordan Ludeman 8, Madison Faust 2, Abbey Knight 4, Haley Berkman 5, Aspen Runkel 5.
PHILIPSBURG – Anna Pence 8, Nikki Shattuck 3, Maggie Althaus 2.
Charlo 39, Superior 27
Charlo 13 8 10 8 – 39
Superior 6 7 9 5 – 27
CHARLO – Darika Stipe 2, Rachel Hoyt 8, Jordan Ludeman 7, Sienna Brown 3, Haley Berkram 7, Aspen Runkel 12.
SUPERIOR – Marissa Koke 1, Danielle Ewoniuk 7, Myranda Kuhl 12, Nicole Stroot 7.