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KPAX Year in Review: Arlee boys make a difference while winning big

Posted at 4:59 PM, Dec 28, 2018

The KPAX countdown of the top sports stories in 2018 continues with number 4.

The Arlee Warriors have put on quite a show with beautiful basketball over the past several years. But the wins and another championship were only part of what made this past season memorable.

Arlee ran over the competition throughout the year. The defending state champs made it to the class C tournament undefeated.

Then in the week leading up to the big bracket in Butte, the team released a mission they called the “Warrior Movement,” bringing awareness to high rates of suicide among Native Americans. The video quickly went viral and has now been watched over one million times.

The added attention only fueled Arlee to even more success. The Warriors claimed three mores wins to become back-to-back state champions. But they also became something more important along the way.

“It is bigger than basketball,” said senior guard Philip Malatare after the championship game. “We try to be role models for these guys right here, these younger kids. That’s who we do it for because they’re the next generation coming up. If we can prove to them that anything is possible like this, then we did our job.”

“These boys, they dug deeper than any group of kids I’ve had the opportunity to coach,” said head coach Zanen Pitts about the title game. “We had a lot of turnovers in that game, but my gosh they dug deep.”

Arlee beat Manhattan Christian in the championship for a second straight year. The Warriors look like strong contenders to shoot for three straight titles this season.