Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Helmville claims championship, Swan Valley takes second

 

February 10, 2022

Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

Helmville Eight Grader Kyle DeRonnebeck puts in two of his 14 points against Swan Valley.

SEELEY LAKE– The Swan Valley Warhawks hosted the Blackfoot Valley League Tournament at Seeley Lake Elementary Feb. 5. Helmville defeated Ellison and Swan Valley to take home the championship.

The Warhawks wrapped up their basketball season in second place after defeating Elliston and falling to Helmville. Despite a season filled with "micro challenges to push through," Head Coach Chris Auchenbach was proud of how hard the players worked and "the season was fantastic."

At the peak of their season, the Warhawks had 14 players from third grade to eighth grade. However due to sickness and transfers, the team was in constant flux. Auchenbach said there was a time where there were only five players at practice because the others were out sick.

Auchenbach said they had two incredible eighth graders Lily Boyd and Darby Gleason who he has coached since they were in third grade. Boyd was injured pre-season but she still came to practice and was an active part of the team.

During the season they worked on the fundamentals, layups and passes. Auchenbach loves watching the players improve their skills, especially being able to do something they couldn't do at the beginning of the season like dribbling left handed.

"Anything you practice, you keep practicing through," Auchenbach said. "Eventually you get better at it and it gets easier, faster, quicker and stronger."

Auchenbach said the sixth – eighth graders on the A squad were good role models to the younger players. They pushed them to work harder, better, faster and listen.

"It is just nice to see because some of the kids really need a winter time activity to get them out of the house," Auchenbach said. "It is a good positive thing for a lot of the kids to motivate them."

The Swan Valley played four games during their regular season, two against Ellison that they won in tight games and two they lost to Helmville. They were never able to connect with Avon, the fourth team in the league.

Auchenbach said even though they never beat Helmville, they adapted their offense and the gap got narrower each game. They only lost by 15 in the championship game.

"It leaves us with a good sense of accomplishment because the kids got better," Auchenbach said.

Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

Eight grader Darby Gleason takes a shot. She led Swan Valley with 11 points in the championship game.

"Every kid left it all on the court and they all worked phenomenally well," Auchenbach said.

Auchenbach thanked SLE Superintendent Josh Gibbs for allowing them to hold the tournament at SLE and Michael Robbins and Bradley Miller for refereeing the tournament.

He also really appreciated his Assistant Coach Katie Gleason.

"Without her we would not have it as organized. She is the root of the whole team," Auchenbach said.

While a few of the girls will be joining the Seeley Lake Elementary Eagles in their season, the final game for the Warhawks will be their annual parent scrimmage in a few weeks.

"It great because the kids get to show off some of their skills to their parents," Auchenbach said. "It is always a lot of fun."

 

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