Pioneer girls projected for speed, multi sets on D


December 11, 2019

New Year’s Day is still a few weeks away but the Big Sandy Lady Pioneers have already turned the page and are looking to a fresh start.

First-year head coach Pete Jerrel enters with some familiarity with many of his players, having coached them as junior high ballers. Jerrel has also previously been an assistant coach for the varsity boys.

“There’s some good athletes on the team … a whole pile of them that can get up and down the floor,” he said.

The Pioneers will need to make the most of their athleticism to compete in a strong 9C district. A disappointing 2-win season a year ago leaves plenty of room for improvement.

“Fort Benton is probably the top team. Box Elder should be strong despite some losses,” Jerrel said, noting the move of the two-time state champion Bears’ coach Joel Rosette and stepdaughters Joelnell and Kyla Momberg to Mead High School in Spokane. “Those are the teams you’ve got to beat if you want to get out of districts. I don’t know that there’s an easy game in the 9C.”

A quintet of seniors will lead Big Sandy’s turnaround effort: Amanda Cline, Seanna Demontiney, Bailey Gasvoda, Lainey Gregory and Erin Taylor.

Gasvoda returns after missing the 2018-2019 season.

“She can get up and down and we can spread the floor with her,” Jerrel said.

Freshmen Kylee Sternberg and Laynee Ophus are also expected to be key contributors for the Pioneers this season.

“We’re going to try to play some good solid defense and see what happens from there, see what we can become on offense,” Jerrel said. “We will run some man-to-man, 1-3-1 and 3-2 defense … depending on who we’re playing.”

Shaela Wallen will assist Jerrel in coaching the varsity girls and will take the helm of the junior varsity squad.

Junior Madison Terry is projected to join the five seniors as strictly a varsity player. The Pioneers’ roster lists sophomore Savannah Weaver and freshmen Sternberg, Mia Dilworth, Amy and Mattie Gasvoda and Jaycee Worrall as “floaters,” playing varsity and JV. Junior Lily Winderl and freshmen Ophus, Angie Sant and Mace Bachoco complete the JV lineup. Cadence Pleninger will serve as team manager.

The Pioneers are scheduled to tip off their 2019-2020 effort at 6 p.m. Friday at Dutton-Brady with a neutral-court matchup against Augusta at 3 the following afternoon in Dutton.

“We’ll mix in some different lineup combinations and try to figure out rotations,” Jerrel said, in the nonconference opening weekend.

The Pioneers play their league opener Friday, Dec. 20, at Chinook and host their home opener Saturday, Dec. 21, against the Hays-Lodgepole Thunderbirds.


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