The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

2017-18 Lady Trojans basketball focuses on defense


November 29, 2017

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Dorothy Mastel is the lone returning starter on the Whitehall High School girls basketball team.

With their season opening game just days away, a new coaching staff for the Whitehall High School girls basketball team is happy with the competitive nature the team has shown in the first two weeks of practice.

The Lady Trojans will open the 2017-18 campaign Saturday, December 2 when they host Manhattan Christian, and will do so under the direction of first-year coach Kelly Nieskens. Julie Kieckbusch is the assistant coach of the team.

"As a team, what is great to see is they are pushing each other to get better. This is a group that wants to be competitive, but knows it's going to take hard work to get there," Nieskens said.

Junior post player Dorothy Mastel is the team's lone returning starter, and Asha Noyes will also be back after gaining varsity minutes last season.

With a young team, Nieskens said progress in practice has been slow, but that was the plan going into the start of the season.

"There is a lot of new information being taught to the girls along with a different type of structured practice. They are working hard, which is expected of them. The intensity and knowledge can be easily overwhelming but that's also why our progress as been slower. With this group its important we teach everything correctly from the beginning so we don't skip any steps," he said.

Since he took over the job, the new coach said a large percentage of the girls participated in the offseason program.

"Those girls are ahead of the rest, but with our numbers and youth its important we don't leave anyone behind. As coaches we expect a lot of these girls; its important to us that we keep moving forward, but we also know what has to be done as a program," he said.

Looking towards the Saturday game in Varsity Gym, Nieskens said he wants to the team to come out and compete, and take pride in their defense.

"Offensively we know we can get our looks and need to focus on taking care of the basketball, but it all starts on the defensive end," he said.

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Nieskens was the head coach at Wolf Point High School for five years, and during this time won the 2011 MHSA Class B State Championship. He was named the 2011 Montana Coaches Association Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, and his 2011 team finished the season undefeated.

His Wolf Point squad finished second in the state in 2013, and his squads also won numerous Northern B Divisional and District 2B Championships.

During the 2016-17 season, he was an assistant coach for the Whitehall High School boys basketball and football teams.

He has also served as an assistant football coach in Mesquite, Nev., and at Wolf Point Junior High School.


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