Both teams from the Western C advanced to the semifinal round at the Class C girls basketball state tournament last year, but neither was able to get a trophy.

Arlee lost to Box Elder in one semi and Seeley-Swan lost to eventual champion Belt in the other. The Blackhawks finished fourth at the tournament and should have another solid squad for the 2016-17 season. The Blackhawks are one of the favorites in District 13C, while the Scarlets are the coaches’ pick to win District 14C.

Ennis is expected to lead the way in District 12C, and the new-look District 11C appears to be up for grabs. Districts 11 and 12C are separated this year after being combined in years past.

Breakdowns from teams from the Western C are below. MTN Sports did not receive completed questionnaires from teams not listed.

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Charlo Vikings

Record in 2015-16: 17-7
Tournament finish: Lost out at Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Bret Thompson
Years with program: 31
Overall record: N/A

Charlo returns only one starter, but it’s a good place to start. Cheyenne Nagy, a 5-foot-7 senior guard coming off an all-state season, is one of six returning letter-winners.

Sakoya Gaustan (junior forward), Kenzie Couture (senior guard), Tyrah Hammond (sophomore forward), Teaira Truman (sophomore guard) and Kaitlin Cox (sophomore guard) are also back for the Vikings, who will have plenty of speed and athleticism but lack height.

Drummond Trojans

Record in 2015-16: 14-9
Tournament finish: Lost out at Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Sara Wagner
Years with program: 2nd
Overall record: 14-9

Coach Sara Wagner guided Drummond to a 14-9 record in just a first season, and the Trojans are poised to improve that finish with four returning starters.

Seniors Addison Schindler and Ahnna Goodrich are joined by juniors Morgan Radtke and Allie Parke in the starting lineup. Those four started last year, and sophomore Sara Kielley will see an increase role. The Trojans will field a young team but will play strong fundamental basketball with a balanced attack, per Wagner.

Ennis Mustangs

Record in 2015-16: 15-10
Tournament finish: Lost out at Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Jordan Overstreet
Years with program: 2nd
Overall record: 15-10

Coaches unanimously picked Ennis at the top of the preseason poll in District 12C, and second-year coach Jordan Overstreet is hoping the Mustangs fulfill their potential.

They have four starters back – Danyel Martin (junior center), Danika Philpot (senior point guard), Brigit Croy (senior wing) and Jourdain Klein (sophomore forward) – and some good depth. Whitney McKitrick, Amanda Kimney, Paige Anderson, Emily Schaufler and Josie Jenkins will give Overstreet options with his lineup this season.

Lima Bears

Record in 2015-16: 6-13
Tournament finish: Did not qualify for Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Jack Hutchinson
Years with program: 13
Overall record: N/A

Lima returns two starters from last year’s team that will be looking to improve on its 6-13 record. Katey Sutton, a 5-foot-9 senior post, and Hunter Hales, a 5-7 junior guard, are back for the Bears, who will also get a boost from a couple of transfer students.

Kaycee Cox, a 5-8 senior post, transferred to Lima from Dillon, and Jasmine Hurlbert, a 5-3 junior guard, joins the Bears from Broadview-Lavina.

Plains Trotters

Record in 2015-16: N/A
Tournament finish: Third at Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Jessica Nagy
Years with program: 1st
Overall record: N/A

Coaches picked Plains to finish second in District 14C despite the Trotters having a new coach and returning only one starter.

First-year coach Jessica Nagy will look to build around Jessica Thompson, a 6-foot junior returning to the starting lineup. Thompson will get help from juniors Lindsay Laws and Kara Altmiller, as well as sophomores Kassidy Kinzie and Rachel Huenik.

Seeley-Swan Blackhawks

Record in 2015-16: 25-4
Tournament finish: Fourth at state tournament
Head coach: Shawn Holmes
Years with program: 11th (previously coached the Seeley-Swan boys)
Overall record: N/A

Four starters return for a Seeley-Swan team that went 25-4 a year ago, and has been one of the more consistent programs in Class C girls basketball the past few seasons.

Alex Bohlman was an all-conference and all-state choice last year, and Tessa Grimes earned all-conference honors. Bohlman and Grimes are two of five seniors on the roster for coach Shawn Holmes. Mary Strumpher, Cera Strumpher and Stevi Meade will also play pivotal roles for the Blackhawks.

Shields Valley Rebels

Record in 2015-16: 7-11
Tournament finish: Did not qualify for Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Peyton Spencer
Years with program: 1
Overall record: N/A

Shields Valley has two returning starters back for the 2016-17 season in Brook Russell and Jen Fairchild.

Russell, a 5-foot-8 junior guard/forward, averaged 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last year, and Fairchiled, a 5-4 junior guard, averaged 5.2 points per game. Ashley George figures to have an increased role, too, as the Rebels fight for a divisional berth in District 11C.

Twin Bridges Falcons

Record in 2015-16: 22-3
Tournament finish: Lost out at Western C divisional tournament
Head coach: Josh Keller
Years with program: 1st
Overall record: 33-12 (with Twin Bridges boys)

Twin Bridges saw a spectacular season end at the Western C divisional tournament last year, and the Falcons will have one of the best players in Class C trying to lead them back to the state tournament.

Kailee Oliverson, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, earned all-state honors last year and is one of the players to watch in Montana. Keller expects Oliverson to be a dominant presence on both the offensive and defensive ends. Oliverson is joined by returning starter Mara Johnson in the lineup. Johnson is a consistent 5-9 guard who was an all-conference selection last year.

Seniors Cassie Williams, Brooke Schandelmeier and Audrey George and juniors RaeAnne Bendon and Michaela Madden will also be big contributors. George started last season until suffering a knee injury.

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