CHOTEAU — In every season since 2008, either the Malta or Fairfield girls have claimed the Class B state title. The Eagle’s and M-Ette’s streak of dominance has, at times, overshadowed several other quality teams in the Northern B.
But this year a few teams have emerged as potential Northern B spoilers, including the Choteau girls. The Bulldogs have swept the regular season series with Fairfield for the first time in recent memory and currently sit atop the District 1B standings with a 5-1 record (11-2 overall).
“We’re playing well – we have four conference games coming up and those are going to be big games for us,” said head coach Bill Durocher of games remaining against Shelby, Rocky Boy, Conrad and Cut Bank. “It’s going to change the seeding in the (district) tournament and no game is ever easy in the 1B and so we better come ready to play.”
Choteau only has eight girls listed on it’s varsity roster but what the lineup lacks in depth, it makes up for in experience and talent. Senior twins Payge and Payton Durocher provide much of the scoring punch for the Bulldogs along with their cousin, sophomore Whitney Durocher and fellow seniors Megan Krone and Molly Salmond.
When the shots are falling like they did in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 59-49 win over Centerville, in which the Bulldogs outscored the Miners 23-11 – coach Durocher believes his team is very hard to stop.
“We put five girls on the court that can all shoot the ball,” he said. “We’ve got a good inside game, we’ve got a good outside game. As long as the shots are going we can be pretty tough.”
Choteau’s lone 1B set back this season was a 52-50 loss to Rocky Boy on January 7th. The Bulldogs will earn a rematch with the Morning Stars on the road Saturday after a home game with Shelby on Friday. Each game will set the team up for a battle at the Northern B tournament in Glasgow Feb 23-25 where tough teams from District 2B – Malta, Poplar, Wolf Point – await.
“There’s such good basketball players and good teams but that’s what makes it fun,” said Durocher “If you get out of that division and make it to state, you’ve got a good shot.”