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By Andi Bourne

Warhawks Leave It All on the Court


February 8, 2018

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

The 2018 Swan Valley Warhawks. *Notes member of All-Star Team. Back (L-R): Coach Chris Auchenbach, Kase Anderson*, Head Coach Katie Gleason, Kyla Conley*, Seth Richardson*, Connor Matthew*, Chris Auchenbach, Jalen Kauffman, Coach John Tapp and Levi Webb. Front (L-R): Lilly Boyd, Laciey Auchenbach, Aubrey Matthew, Darby Gleason, Rilyn Richardson and Trista Alexander.

SEELEY LAKE – The Swan Valley Warhawks hosted the Blackfoot League Tournament at Seeley Lake Elementary Feb. 3. The Hall Huskies won the tournament and also received the Sportsmanship Award. The Warhawks finished third.

The first seeded Hall Huskies were pitted against the Avon Elks in the opening game. Hall advanced to the Championship game.

The second seeded Warhawks faced the third seeded Helmville Mustangs in the second game. The Warhawks beat the Mustangs in both the pre-season matchups.

Swan Valley started out strong taking a two-point lead in the first quarter. Helmville stepped up their game taking the lead at the half 11-14.

Helmville stayed just ahead of the Warhawks through the third and fourth quarters. With five minutes left on the clock the Warhawks were within two baskets of the lead.

Helmville brought the biggest spread of the game leading by seven points with three minutes left on the clock. The Warhawks refused to give up. They held Helmville to three points while they made up the difference. Trista Alexander stole the ball and put up two points bringing the Warhawks within one point for the tie and 1:11 left on the clock.

Helmville's Jessie Struna drew the foul and sunk both her free throws putting the Mustangs' lead out to three points.

With 15 seconds left on the clock Kase Anderson sunk a two-pointer. While the Warhawks played until the end, they fell to the Mustangs 32-33 knocking them out of the championship game.

"We knew going into the game that we were going to have to work hard.  We knew Helmville was going to be ready for us," wrote Head Coach Katie Gleason in an email. "Our shots didn't fall quite as well as they had in the previous game we played against them. They all hustled and played hard." 

Connor Matthew scored into the double digits for the Warhawks leading their charge with 11 points. Kase Anderson and Seth Richardson each added 8 points. Kyla Conley, Trista Alexander and Chris Auchenbach each added 2 points.

The Warhawks faced the Elks in the consolation game. All but three players added points to the board never letting the Elks get within 10 points winning 56-23.

"The Avon game was a fun game. Everybody got to play and did a great job," wrote Gleason. "It was really great to have our younger kids out there on the floor with the older kids and getting some really great game experience.  The older kids were great leaders."

Kyla Conley led the Warhawks scoring 16 points. Also scoring: Jalen Kauffman, 8; Kase Anderson, 7; Connor Matthew, 6; Seth Richardson, 6; Levi Webb, 4; Aubrey Matthew, 3; Lilly Boyd, 2; Trista Alexander, 2 and Chris Auchenbach, 2.

Gleason was pleased with how well the season went and how much the players improved.

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Surrounded by Elks, Warhawk Kase Anderson soars above and sinks two.

"Our goal was to have fundamentally sound ball players and I believe we achieved that goal this season," wrote Gleason. "I am so proud of each and everyone of these kids. They really left it on the floor Saturday."

Wednesday, Feb. 7 the Warhawks host the Blackfoot Valley League All-Star Game at 5 p.m. at Swan Valley School. The top players from all four teams combine to form two teams and play against each other.  Seth Richardson, Kyla Conley, Kase Anderson and Connor Matthew were the Warhawks chosen to play.

Gleason said she and coach Chris Auchenbach encourage the kids to have a ball in their hands whenever possible and spend some time this summer working on their shooting and ball-handling skills.

Gleason wrote, "Next season will be here before we know it."


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